Saturday, 30 June 2012

Bat Form Vampire

This pictures been around for a while, but I thought it was such a cool picture I thought I would post it anyway!

Keeping On, Keeping On . . . . .

Cracked on for a while with Harker last night, couldn't really get into it properly.

Not too sure of the colours I've chosen though LoL!

Hoping to finish him today if I get the chance.

Friday, 29 June 2012

There is Nothing Steampunk Cannot Make More Awesome . . . . . .

He, He, He . . . . .

The Escaped Lunatic

YET ANOTHER fantastic Empire of the Dead Concept picture - the Escaped Lunatic!

Jade Dragon

Ooooooh - 'Jade Dragon', a Chinese Assassin Character for Empire of the Dead . . . . . . 

What the Future Brings!

Someone asked my what I'm planning on doing after finishing the Slayer Society to the point its painted and playable!

After I've finished Harker I'm thinking maybe a couple of additional Regular Members - "Bettie the Vampire Slayer", Mina Harker, and Francois DuPont (a French Artist turned Slayer)

Carry on re-painting my Vampire Wars miniatures to do some more Factions - in between painting the new EotD Characters - plus working up a Mob.

THEN start on my "Torchwood 1888" idea, and start painting the new EotD Faction Miniatures.

(and all that whilst hopefully building terrain)

So LOADS to do!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Johann Van Helsing (Society President)

Johann Van Helsing is Dr. Abraham Van Helsing’s adopted son. He was left on Abraham’s doorstep one night, and the secretive vampire hunter could find no one to take the child. Though he tried to keep his affairs with the Slayers private, Johann was an inquisitive boy and eventually joined the cause. Abraham saw to his training himself and apprenticed him to the Brotherhood to further refine his skills.

I tried really REALLY hard to get the eyes "just right" but a combination of the face actually being slanted (only having one of these I can't tell if its a casting error, upon saying that I have to admit both sets of claws were miscast and they've been re-built using plasticard) and the bloody brim of the hat means I was stuck with what I could achieve. But on the table the brim of his hat covers the upper part of his face - so I needn't have bothered really.

Johann Van Helsing (Society President) – 20 Shillings

Slayer Claws (Counts as being armed with two Swords) – 6 Shillings
Gas-Powered Repeating Crossbow (Counts as a Man-Portable Gatling Gun) - 15 Shillings
Stake – 2 Shillings

Total Cost - 43 Shillings

Only Harker to do now!

Mr. Ashley A. Ashcroft - Regular Slayer Society Member

Mr. Ashley A. Ashcroft (before you mock, its a real name of someone I know LoL) - was a well respected Architect, his house and garden designs were renowned throughout England and Wales.

One day he was called upon to renovate a very old building, when he and his work team were examining the foundations in the cellar - one of his labourers was attacked, he died quickly after having his throat horribly torn out.

It wasn't long before Ashcroft came face to face with the Vampire that had been trapped down there, feral and decrepit Ashcroft faced the terror and killed it in spite of his workers fleeing in terror. Harker, hearing of Ashcrofts encounter (and his apparent natural talent for killing Vampires) quickly recruited him into the Ranks of the Slayer Society.

"He'll do" seems to be my constant remark about my own Painting, but this bugger was troublesome. I simply COULDN'T get him finished - I had a bad mental block over him. Still my "core" Regular Members are done - everything is gravy from now on.

Mr. Ashley A. Ashcroft (Regular Member) – 10 Shillings

Light Pistol – 5 Shillings
Knife – 1 Shilling

Total – 16 Shillings

The Slayers Society Update!


Just Harker to paint now for my "Slayers Society".


Pictures later!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Whitechapel 1888 Gaming Environment - Stoelzel's Structures

Got an Email off Carl (Stoelzel's Structures) - if you remember I posted under the title Whitechapel 1888 Gaming Environment "What I personally want to do is a tight and compressed environment, something like Millers Court (where the Rippers last victim Mary Jane Kelly was found) - a literal warren of flop houses and alleyways. "

Carl's response - "ONE WEEK.  I hear ya, and  I'm already a week and half into it, and it is coming quickly, thus far 180 pages of modular goodness,  I only ask you wait ONE WEEK.


I swear, it's like that man can read my Mind!

The Collection Continues

More for the Collection!

I Had some more Vampire Wars Bits arrive today - Jack the Ripper (my original one vanished without a trace), & some London Thugs!


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Whitechapel 1888 Gaming Environment

As my "obsession" with Empire of the Dead grows - I've been seriously thinking about terrain.

I can do (like most gamers can) ruins and country-side table layouts. But I'm now looking to doing some London Streets - HOWEVER I personally do not want open spaces, posh streets, housing estates, mills, or any of that sort of layout (I'm sorry to those who do - I mean no offense, but I personally think battles with supernatural creatures simply would not happen out in the "open").

What I personally want to do is a tight and compressed environment, something like Millers Court (where the Rippers last victim Mary Jane Kelly was found) - a literal warren of flop houses and alleyways.

Almost like a Space Hulk Board really. I envisage it to be a 3'X3' ground level setup. Hopefully with some interior detail - some dwellings, maybe some abandoned buildings, a warehouse - I'm sure you know the general thing.

It looks like its out with the Depron Sheet and on with the Elbow Grease LoL!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Empire of the Dead - Printer Friendly Faction Roster Sheet

For those of you who don't like wasting Ink - a Printer Friendly Empire of the Dead Faction Roster Sheet!

Printer Friendly Empire of the Dead Faction Roster Sheet

Special Guest Stars

People love Special Characters, no matter what game they play - I'm a sucker for them myself. Even MORE SO with Empire of the Dead. These astonishing Men and Women (well, Woman) - are available for you to hire from time to time - here is a rough breakdown of what we have to play with (so far).

You can find the rules for these Characters here - Gentlemen & Jackanapes

"Professor Erazmus" - the Special Edition Miniature that comes with the Rulebook. There are few inventions that cannot be traced in some way back to the brilliance of Professor Erazmus.  An expert in manipulating Infernium it is no surprise that Factions of all hues will stop at nothing to secure his services or prevent his knowledge falling into the hands of their enemies.  The Professor has dedicated his life to the study of the occult and the mythical creatures of the world.  Having gained a knowledge and understanding of these horrors, he has vowed to employ this knowledge in the protection of his fellow man. Though he abhors violence he will defend himself if necessary. Useful no matter who hires him, Erazmus is neutral in a alignment - mostly down the the character background I would imagine.

The "Gallows Hag" - Hanged a century ago for the crime of witchcraft.  She now stalks the streets of London again seeking vengeance on the living by dragging them to the gates of Hell at the end of her noosed rope.  Once entangled few can escape the long painful road to damnation that she desires for all blessed with life. She's neutral, so any Faction can take her (oops). A nice chance to add something "spooky" to your faction.

The "Reaper Deathlight" - one of the theories about "Infernium" the magical element that makes everything work, is that its fossilized "Angels Blood" (I love this background LoL) When angels fall, remnants of their shattered souls remain bound to the earth. Trapped between the mortal and ethereal they must sustain their existence by capturing the souls of mortals as they expire. Fueled by this energy their power and corporeal form grows, alongside an ever increasing hunger. Locked in an addictive spiral, a Reaper becomes the very image of death, helping speed the passing of many a poor individual. Mankind has learned to fear these spectral beings as harbingers of death reaping the souls of the innocent and guilty alike. Once again neutral (Death is indiscriminate) and a really cool and creepy model.

"Lady Luck" - This anonymous (one would imagine "Suffragette") very independent woman haunts the underworld of "Empire of the Dead" as an Assassin and Bounty Hunter. Throughout the dark and closeted back-rooms of London, stories abound of her murderous exploits and ability to evade any trap, no matter how well set. However to the poor unfortunates of London’s rookeries, Lady Luck is a beneficent angel ministering to their needs.  Another (very interesting) and neutral character,

"Cedric Hyde" - Yes, you read right - this guy is the illegitimate Son of Mister Hyde. Another neutral character - though the offspring of the infamous beast and a destitute lady of the night, Cedric Hyde is actually an innocent that is easily misled but has a temper that would put fear in the heart of the Devil himself.  He combines the strength and temper of his father with the vulnerability of the sad child that he really is. Cedric is capable of feats of great strength and though unpredictable, Cedric can help a faction achieve great success.

"Mr Chop" - this is actually the only miniature in the whole range so far I'm not that keen on. He looks "out of place" to be frank. UPON SAYING THAT he is a demon from the seventh gate of Hell who likes nothing better than to feast on the flayed souls of those most evil sinners condemned to the fiery pits of his lair. Only the desperate will attempt to bind Mr. Chop to their cause - and yes, he's Evil!

The "Cirque du Noir Man Ape" - I FRACKING LOVE THIS MINIATURE. Anyone who's familiar with ANY version of "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" (whether the original Story, or from the 1932 Movie) or "The Island Doctor Moreau" of  will "get"the origins of this guy. Although this follows the 1932 Movie more than the Book, as its a Gorilla not an Orangutan - he is the creation of "Doctor Moreaux" - Trapped between man and animal in a body corrupted by the foul Infernium experiments of Dr Moreaux, crowds used to flock to see the gorilla possessed of a human intellect. Treated as a freak by society, having escaped the Cirque, he now roams Europe hiring out his services. Another neutral character, for all factions to take advantage of.

"Jack the Ripper" - Linda and I are self confessed "Ripperaholics" - we can't get enough on the whole circus that was Jack the Ripper. The writers have given him a more accessible "slant" - so the character is more durable in game terms. Centuries ago he was a learned man who discovered a way to perpetuate his life, although at a gruesome cost. In a grisly arcane ritual he discovered a way to replace his own organs with ones harvested from those around him.  Now he prolongs his life through the grisly visceration of strangers and what better place to practice this than in London, the greatest city in the world. He has a PARTICULARLY useful "Unusual Occurrence" making him VERY slippery indeed. Without saying, Jack is (of course) Evil.

There isn't a new sculpt for Jack, but any suitable Miniature would do - West Wind (of course) do a VERY nice one).

Last (but not least) we have -

"Sherlock Holmes & Doctor Watson" - The world’s one and only consulting detective (and perhaps my favourite literary characters of all time), Sherlock Holmes, and his loyal friend and chronicler Dr John Watson, are available to provide their services to right wrongs and bring the guilty to justice.  Using his vast intellect, Holmes applies himself to unravelling foul deeds and solving mysteries across the Empire. By the sheer nature of who they are and what they do - Holmes and Watson are good in alignment!

All in all a fantastic selection of Special Characters for your Factions to draw upon - I can't wait to see what West Wind come up with in the future!

Empire of the Dead Fans - Dressing the Part

Empire of the Dead Fans - Dressing the Part??

Confusion Abounds!

Prada Goes "Steampunk" For Fall

Now we can all dress the part for our games LoL!

Saturday, 23 June 2012


I've not done a great deal hobby-wise in the last few days, the real world REALLY got in the way - and I've been Ill (again!).

Still, I've finished some writing (the Cult of Sutekh, nothing too exciting really) - and I'm feeling a little better now.

Re-Basing some more Vampire Wars miniatures tonight, and watching Dracula AD 1972.

Ho Hum!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Cult of Sutekh

After another round of Playtesting "The Cult of Sutekh" (my Mummy Faction idea for Empire of the Dead), I need to do a couple of additional tweaks (and play some more) I shall then type it up and present it properly - then unleash it on the world!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Stoelzel’s Structures - Victorian Disctrict: Townhouse

The First of my friend Carl's Victorian Pieces is available for Purchase and Download!

Victorian Disctrict: Townhouse

"Wood Hall" ;-)

(My Sir-name is Wood LoL)

Choices, Choices.

There are loads of choices to be made when planning a Faction for Empire of the Dead, some in game and practical - others simply cosmetic.

The Good "Holy Orders" are deliberately left Vague - you could happily do them as Knight Templars, Warrior Monks, Shaolin Temple Martial Artists, or a "Vatican Hit-Squad" when it comes to the "look" and choice of Miniatures. But in all Cases the rules would remain the same.

The Neutral Lycaon Faction, (when it come's to people playing multiple Lycaon Factions within the same campagin) again are pretty much all the same as well (a Werewolf is a Werewolf is a Werewolf as it were) - however, again there's nothing stopping you throwing swap-outs with the Miniatures and using variant models Were-Cats etc. to give things a little more flavour.

The Evil Nosferatu are "set" and Specific in their flavour and style when it comes to their rules (it doesn't follow the "varient vampire" Captain Kronos logic - no doubt because it would have cause the Rulebook to be huge) - but again using different types/styles of Vampire Miniatures allows some flexibility.

Then we come to the "Gentleman's Club" Faction - probably the most exciting (in my opinion) and flexible - you can have a standard Gentleman's Club with no benefits and hindrances - or you can be affiliated to a larger organization.

The Sons of the Empire - who work for Queen and Country. Who are of Good Allegiance.

The Darkfire Club - who are Evil practitioners of the Black Arts.

The Good Wulfen Yaeger, who are feral Monster Hunting Mountain Men living in the wilds such as the Carpathian Mountains.

Then lastly we have the Neutral Zendarian Officers Society, which grew out of the duelling Societys of the Universities of Prague, Vienna, and Heidelburg.

Of course you can make up your own - taking the benefits and hindrances of one of the others as a base -  my own Slayer Society is based upon the Zendarian Officers Society, but are of Good Alignment.

They way its all set up and written, its very VERY flexible and open to adaption!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Johann Van-Helsing

Having REAL problems with the last Regular Member of the Slayer Society - I seem to have a mental block over it or something!

So I've started (Johann) Van-Helsing, just the base and some tidying up to do now.

I'm HOPING it gets me over my "block" - if not I'll have to do Harker next.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Best Participation Game Award!

Empire of the dead won the best participation game at Phalanx on Saturday!

A hearty congratulations to everyone involved!


Saturday, 16 June 2012

Heinous plot foiled in Lambeth

The Hammer Spreading Truth To The Empire

From our City Correspondent

Heinous plot foiled in Lambeth

Again it seems that forces of destruction and depravity are loose across the City of London.  Although many readers will have experienced growing prosperity thanks to the wondrous properties of Infernium there are many, even amongst the higher echelons of society, who would corrupt its powers to serve their own ends.

In the last three days it has been your correspondent’s task to spend his waking hours with agents of the noble band of the Sons of the Empire.  Many of the members of this most celebrated of gentlemen’s clubs have shown great courage and endeavour in serving Her Britannic Majesty and her Empire.  Their current work, however, requires greater fortitude than even these great engineers, explorers and inventors have needed heretofore.

Whilst the official police force and agents of the Crown must show due regard to the statutes of the land, the gentlemen of the Sons are not constrained by such bureaucracy and rules.  As many less well-regarded souls seek to prey upon the feckless and weak amongst us it is the Sons who provide the bastion of hope that many of us require in these desolate times.

It was two nights ago that your correspondent first had the opportunity to work with these fine agents in their business.  For some time the good citizens of Lambeth have been in mortal fear as, for night after interminable night, the young and virile were snatched away as they returned home on streets once thought safe from such violence. 

Young men, albeit those for whom the local hostelries are too frequent destinations, have been found brutally abused and eviscerated just a few steps from the main highways of this generally respectable quarter of London.  As is too often the case, the official forces had been unable to make noticeable progress in resolving these horrific crimes.  The Sons, unfettered by regulation, had despatched three of their leading agents into the area.  It was these three, well-known and respected in their fields - but for the sake this journal anonymous to protect their work – who invited me to join them in their travails.

At ten minutes before eleven we four found ourselves in a dark alley behind the Red Lion Inn.  A steady stream of unfortunates had already left deep in their cups but none had aroused our interest.  Two men did however raise our senses.  The first a young fellow clearly used to toil rather than the comforts of a more sedentary occupation was accompanied by a somewhat older gentleman dressed similarly but with the gait and demeanour of a man of more genteel background.

As these two swayed away from us my companions, their heads lowered, turned to follow at a discreet distance.  Some fifty paces down the road we saw two dark shadows emerge in front of our two men.  As swiftly as a cobra the older of the two straightened and grabbed his erstwhile companion.  Pinning him to the wall the two new protagonists jumped forward.  The flash of steel unmistakable they plunged towards the unfortunate victim. 

With blurring speed my companions surged forward, in their hands the ugly bulge of revolver and bludgeon.  Two shots rang out the flash of the muzzle illuminating the horror in the alley.  One of the three shouted in alarm and pain his steel falling to the floor as he grasped at his side.  Aware that their plot was unveiled all three felons turned and sprinted towards us barrelling through us and away.

The gentlemen of the Sons regained their footing sharply and turned in pursuit leaving me to tend to the much shaken erstwhile victim.

Some hours later close to the breaking of dawn, I was to rendezvous with my companions on the street close to Smithfields market, a meeting previously arranged.  Their only response to my entreaties for information was a few terse words. ‘Smythe and the Darkfire Club have seen their plans foiled for now.’

My own deductions as to who Smythe may be will provide the subject of my next article in this great organ.  For now though let us rejoice that the burghers of Lambeth may again go about their business in safety thanks to the heroic acts of the small band of Sons committed to service for their fellow man.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Sir Frederick Barrington-Smythe

Sir Frederick Barrington-Smythe got a taste for Monster Hunting whilst in Africa, a Big-Game Hunter of great repute.

Sir Frederick was the Governor of a small province in Western Africa (in Sengal), where he encountered a Witch who was using raised Zombi to do her bidding.

Not happy with the Witch effectively using Slave Labour - Sir Frederick took action, which by necessity led to the Witches demise; only for the Witch to return to life as a Sasabonsam (a type of Vampire with large blood-shot eyes, long legs, and feet pointing both ways) after which she took to sitting in the high branches of trees and using her unnaturally long legs to snare prey.

Upon his return to London (originally to retire) he encountered Jonathan Harker and a number of Slayer Society Irregulars in their first pitched battle on British soil against one Baron Meinster - Sir Frederick personally dispatched several hostiles, and became a Society Regular shortly after.

As usual, I'm not 100% happy - the colours came out too dark (thats what you get from painting under artificial light) and the black lining around the face and monocle is too thick (though on the table it looks fine) - still he's only a "rank & file" really, so I shouldn't berate myself too badly (though I will).

Sir Frederick Barrington-Smythe (Regular Member) – 10 Shillings

Light Pistol – 5 Shillings
Knife – 1 Shilling

Total – 16 Shillings

A brief treatise on the provenance of Lycanthropy by Dr Emmaus Stolfenberg

Another manuscript talks of the origins of those much feared creatures of the dark places of the world the Lycaon:

On the origins and behaviours of werewolves,

A brief treatise on the provenance of Lycanthropy

Dr Emmaus Stolfenberg

In these troubled times there have been increasing reports of supposedly mythical beasts in our great land.  Creatures with the visage and physique of beasts with the sentience of man have been recorded in cities throughout Europe.  Since the earliest times these aberrations have been constrained to myths, legends and fables. The veracity and frequency of recent accounts, however, leave few in doubt that a more scientific study is in order.

From the ancient Egyptian god Anubis, through the Aztecs and the stories from old Cathay there are innumerable tales of werewolves and other mutations throughout the cultures of the world.  For too long these have been seen as quaint superstitions or stories told at a mother’s knee to scare offspring into good behaviour.  Now it would appear there is much truth in these tales.

Mr Darwin and his acolytes, of which I am proud to include myself, have shown the diversity of fauna on this planet is a product of change begotten of the environment.  When one surveys the wild places of the world and the diversity of species that exist, one must presume that this co-mingling of species is not only plausible but given recent reports is a reality.

We have seen in recent months the spectacle of the so called Elephant Man  residing at the London Hospital and given the unfortunate yet grotesque nature of his deformities one must conclude that in the depths of history similar abominations may have manifested themselves.  An over abundance of hair perhaps, deformity of the face, super-extended canines all of these are mutations seen not infrequently.  In less-enlightened times, as these creatures became ostracised, it is my hypothesis that individuals bred together.  As Herr Mendel has shown, when left to propagate, these mutations become inherited and established traits potentially even to such an extent they may form a contagion when introduced to our own kind.

Through the increasing dominance of these hybrids and the potential for transmission, one can presume that those lured towards these strange monstrosities have managed to sustain themselves.

It is my contention that in small pockets these Lycaon groups have survived, albeit the harshness of the climate and difficulties of their situation lead to much reduced longevity.  With only the last vestiges of intelligence remaining, and the feral nature of their existence giving rise to their baser instincts, it is of little surprise that so many tales of horror have arisen around these enigmas.  What is clear, though, from current lore is that the werewolves now appearing with more regularity away from their desolate lairs are not intent on wanton destruction.  What their goals may be I shall not speculate upon in detail.  However, the steady encroachment of our industries into the lands they call home and the astonishing pace of industrial growth may well lie at the heart of their rise from the slumber of ages.

Thursday, 14 June 2012


From the Official West Wind Forum -

"Just to keep you all up to date and on tenterhooks,

we have just started playtesting a Peeler based Faction (the Supernatural Branch) and a Crime Gang one. We are planning to let the generic crime gang to affiliate to a City Street Gang, Chinese Gang or Criminal Mastermind (similar to the Gentlemens' Club).

Please be patient as we want to give them a good testing so that they fit already have in place and most importantly are fun to use.


Mystery papers discovered shedding light on the Empire of the Dead

Whilst sifting through a score of antiquities three documents have come into my possession and the writer is delighted to reveal their contents to the readers of this illustrious forum.

The documents themselves are aged and unable to withstand the rigours of scanning so I have painstakingly transposed them for your delectation.

The first is a short poem which the observant amongst you will notice was subsequently horribly amended by A A Milne.

The unknown author's lines are below:

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head .
Hush! Hush! What’s that on the stairs?
A ghoul or a fiend from someone’s nightmares?

‘God save us from evil, God save us from fright.
Another man slain in the dark streets tonight
Who will protect us?  Who will prevail?
Who will preserve us where all good men fail?

‘Now all of mankind faces beasts born in myth,
That rise from the grave or forest or rift
They stalk through the city, the fields and the wood
Oh Lord please protect me, I wish that you would.

‘I fear for my sister, I fear for Papa ,
I fear that they plan to steal my Mama.
As darkness descends on the city this night,
I fear that I’ll never more see the sunlight.

‘The shadows on walls, the whispers in trees
The chill winds that cause my body to freeze.
 The echoes of ages, of legend and fable
From all of these keep me however you’re able!’

Little Boy kneels at the foot of the bed,
Droops on the little hands little gold head.
Hush! Hush! Heed what he said ,
This is the world of Empire of the Dead.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Empire of the Dead - Warband Roster Sheet

Scorpius - a Member if the Official West Wind Forums did a Warband Sheet - but it needed to be prettier!

So here is my "Tarted Up" Version!

Empire of the Dead - Warband Roster Sheet

Empire of the Dead Reference Sheet

No painting, still poorly - STILL I thought I would do at least something.

Just to Keep People Going until an official one is released upon the Hungry Public!

Not the best of Scans (I've only got a Kodak ESP3) but it prints out "okay"!

Empire of the Dead Reference Sheet

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Tired Eyes, Achey Hands . . . .

Re-reading the Empire of the Dead rules tonight, tired eyes, achey hands :-(

Empire of the Dead - Captured Animals

One of the only things I've found doesn't work is the rules for "Captured" when it comes to Captured Animals. A Wolf under the sway of a Lycaon simply isn't going to change allegiance that easily. So, I've written up some simple rules to deal with such occurrences.

If you try and keep a wild Animal (such as a Wolf) it's going to keep trying to get away - then you run risk of it either escaping, or injuring one of your Faction (as it would HAVE to be guarded). Using the Bravado Roll/Joining the Faction ruling - simply doesn't make any sense.

What I suggest is a simple Table - After the initial Capture, and after each game roll on the table - In addition to this, should the Faction who captured the Animal wants to keep it, it costs 3 Shillings to pay for the Animals Upkeep between games (food, upkeep of the cage, etc).

Dr. John Hamish Watson

I'll be honest, I'm not 100% happy with Watson (my crappy camera skills not withstanding) - still he's finished, and the soft yellow glow in the glass of the lantern came out a lot better than I expected.

"Too Many Browns" - I've learned something here, whilst I am a huge fan of the limited palette approach (I decide before I've even undercoated what colours I plan on using) - this proves SOMETIMES it doesn't really work LoL!

Still, Holmes and Watson are done!

I think I'm definitely "getting there" now -

I've a LOT going on over the next few days, but I'm hoping to at least to get the Society Regulars finished by mid-week.

Doctor Watson

Finally finished Watson, despite having hand issues over the last couple of days AND my favourite brush dying on me (now I've got to break another Brush in Grrr).

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Darkfire Club

OK - I was going to leave it a while, but after several "DO IT NOW" PM's on Facebook!


"The Darkfire Club" - A Group for fans of Empire of the Dead, the Amazing Gothic Victorian Horror Steampunk Miniatures Game from West Wind Productions. Chat about Gaming, Gothic Horror in Movies and Literature, all are welcome inside the Darkfire Club . . .

Vampire Slayering Kit - Authenticity Thoughts

Somebody on one of the Forums I haunt commented on the Vampire Slayering Kit - that its probably not authentic. Citing the publication of Bram Stokers Dracula (1897) as a contradiction of it's believability.

Whilst I am not categorically saying its Genuine, made up of authentic bits and bobs from the period - I will point out a few things about that posters assertion.

"Professional" or semi-professional vampire hunters historically played some part in the vampire beliefs of the Balkans (especially in Bulgarian, Serbian, and Romani folk beliefs) as early as the 1300's. At some point in the Middle Ages the Church in its wisdom recognised the existence of vampires, recasting them from characters in pagan folklore into creatures of the Devil.  The belief in transubstantiation was already in place, that is, that in partaking of the bread and wine of the mass one was literally consuming the body and blood of Christ.  To people who held this belief, there was little difficulty in believing also in its Satanic mirror image; the drinking of blood by vampires.  This also helped promote the idea that vampires couldn't be effectively dealt with without the help of the Church.

In Bulgarian, the terms used to designate them included glog (lit. "hawthorn", the species of wood used for the stake), vampirdzhiya, vampirar, dzhadazhiya, svetocher etc.

"Hunters" were usually either born on Saturday (then called Sabbatarians or sâbotnichav) or were the offspring of a vampire and a woman (typically his widow), and called a "Dhampir" (yes - it's not a made up Fiction word) in Romani (vampirović in Serbian).

It was also believed that someone born on a Saturday could see a vampire when it was otherwise concealed (invisible, or glamoured to look normal) and sometimes other supernatural entities as well.In Croatian and Slovenian legends, the villages had their own vampire hunters that were called kresniks, whose spirits were able to turn into animals at night to fight off the vampire or kudlak.

In some traditions, the killing of vampires could ONLY be performed by such hunters. Aside from the well-known manners of execution (staking, burning, decapitation, etc.) that were normally entrusted to them, the hunters were also capable of using other methods such as enticing the invisible creature with music and then shooting it, or throwing its hat or head-cloth into the water and telling it to go fetch it (which caused it to drown - I know, weird right).

Of course when you reach the early 18th Century, the wonderfully superstitious Victorian British had embraced some of these beliefs as their own - the idea of Vampire Hunters, Hawthorn bushes round estates, Staking, Burning, immersing a Vampire in fresh running water, and (of course) decapitation.

A major vampire scare shook Eastern Europe in the eighteenth century.  It was precipitated by an outbreak of vampire attacks in Eastern Prussia in 1721 and in the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1725-1734.  The most infamous cases were those of Arnold Paole and Peter Plogojowitz.  Paole, an ex-soldier turned farmer who had been attacked by a vampire years before, died while haying.  After his death people began dying and it was widely believed that Paole had returned to prey on the neighbors.  The Plogojowitz tale was that he had died at 62 but returned to ask his son for food a few times after his death.  When the son refused, he was found dead the next day.  Not content to stop there, Plogojowitz again returned to attack some neighbors who died from loss of blood.  During the 1700s even some government officials had taken up hunting and staking.  The vampire panics did goad Western scholars to take a serious look at the subject of vampires.

These two incidents were extremely well documented.  The cases and the bodies were examined by government officials.  Reports were written and books were published afterwards of the Paole case and distributed around Europe.  The controversy raged for a generation.  The problem was exacerbated by an epidemic of, mainly rural vampire attacks.  People were digging up bodies all over the place.  Some scholars said vampires didn't exist - they attributed reports to premature burial, or to rabies which causes thirst.

However, Dom Augustine Calmet, a well respected French theologian and scholar, put together a carefully thought out treatise in 1746 which said vampires did exist.  This had considerable influence on other scholars at the time.  Eventually, Austrian Empress Marie Theresa sent her personal physician to investigate.  He said vampires didn't exist and the Empress passed laws prohibiting the opening of graves and desecration of bodies, quelling the vampire epidemics.

A direct relationship can be traced between these much publicised reports and England's current vampire myths.  It was actually an English translation of a German report on the Arnold Paole vampire staking in Serbia that first brought the word vampire into the English language in 1732.

So it's actually MORE than possible whoever put this Kit together did so some time before Bram Stoker later consolidated many of these myths and folklore beliefs with the publication of Dracula in 1897.

Two Tharks One Cup - Empire of the Dead First League Games Night

Excellent Empire of the Dead Report over at the "Two Tharks One Cup" Blog -

Complete with Sepia Images!


Friday, 8 June 2012

Victorian vampire-slaying kit up for auction in Yorkshire

Though not about Gaming, I thought that this new piece from BBC News was Blogworthy!

The 19th Century box contains a crucifix, pistol, wooden stakes and mallet, as well as glass bottles containing holy water, holy earth and garlic paste.

The box was left to a Yorkshire woman in her uncle's will.

Oonagh Drage of Tennants Auctioneers in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, said she had not seen anything like it before.

Ms Drage said the kit was probably made in the late 1800s and was possibly inspired by the popularity of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula.

"It's probably a novelty thing. It's playing to people's superstitions."

As well as the weaponry, the box holds a copy of the Book of Common Prayer from 1851 and a handwritten extract from the Bible which quotes Luke 19:27.

It reads: "But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me."

The box goes on auction later this month.

The box contains a prayer book and vampire-slaying equipment
I wish I was silly rich with 2k spare!

Empire of the Dead Facebook Page

Being as there isn't an official Facebook page for Empire of the Dead, I thought I would start an unofficial one!

Not much there as of yet, but if people join - start posting pics etc, hopefully we can help raise the profile of the game!

If there seems to be a demand, I may start a Facebook Group as well!

The Game is Afoot!

Well, Holmes is finished (out of sequence for the painting I'm trying to do) jumping the que down to my enthusiasm LoL!

Why green on the Deerstalker and the Inverness Coat? Simple, I'm using a lot of browns/beiges/greys on other models - I wanted Holmes to stand out - I remembered a promo picture for Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes, so I based it on that.

As Holmes is brandishing a revolver - something "uncommon" for the character, so I painted his eyes looking to the corner - showing a little caution (I hope) on his part.

I'm hoping to finish Watson tonight, and then carry on with the rest of the society regulars.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Carried Away!

I got a little distracted - instead of blocking in Holmes and Watson and then finishing another Society Regular Member, I got carried away and finished Holmes instead!


At least it's still something to do with what I'm working on at the moment!

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes on a Gothic Horror Blog - why not, with Holmes & Watson miniatures already present in both Westwinds Vampire Wars and Empire of the Dead Ranges - I thought "Why Not".

It's a rainy afternoon - Hammer's "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (1959) is on the DVD, so my thoughts drifted onto why Peter Cushing is my all-time Favourite Sherlock Holmes Actors; and who the others in my "Top Three" would be.

Peter Cushing's Holmes was particularly authentic, with his gaunt frame and hawk-like nose - combined with his flashes of genius.

Peter's first outing as Holmes was in the 1958 made (released in 1959) Hammer version of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" (In which André Morell turns out to be the best Doctor Watson IMHO) which incidentally was the first Sherlock Holmes film to be made in colour.

Peter Cushing had a deep love for the Sherlock Holmes stories - and in the 50's he had become England's first real television star. Which naturally led to a Movie career.

Though Peter's performance as Sherlock Holmes is not the most famous (or infamous) as some other actors, doesn't mean that he wasn't a good choice for the Role.

Barring the height difference (which wasn't great, as Peter Cushing was 6 feet tall) he has more in common with Holmes physically than most actors given the role.

This excerpt is from "A Study in Scarlett" (which was Holme's first "outing") -

"In height he was rather over six feet, and so excessively lean that he seemed to be considerably taller.  His eyes were sharp and piercing, save during those intervals of torpor to which I have alluded; and his thin, hawk-like nose gave his whole expression an air of alertness and decision.  His chin, too, had the prominence and squareness which mark the man of determination"

Combine his striking physical resemblance with the fact Peter was a huge fan of Conan Doyle - Cushing always insisted that his clothing was authentic, right down to his accessories (and the way he implemented them as an actor).

He will ALWAYS be Holmes to me - whether I am watching the Hammer Movie, the few remaining Episodes of the TV Series that remain, or his Portrayal of Holmes in 1926 in "The Masks of Death" (1984).

My number two choice is Jeremy Brett. Brett is considered by many people as a definitive Holmes (and quite rightly so) he played the detective in 41 television episodes during the 1980s and early 1990s, as well as shooting a TV Movie of The Hound of the Baskervilles in 1988.

His interpretation of Holmes was extremely accurate, right down to the short, maniacal laughter and erratic hand-gestures. Both Jeremy and Peter had more than a passing resemblance physically to Holmes description (even though neither were really tall enough, with Brett being only an inch taller than Cushing at 6'1") - but like Peter Cushing, Jeremy Brett had such a strong screen presence it didn't really matter.

Like Cushing, Brett favoured detailed research before tackling a role, this combined with the fact that Brett's personality was similar to the way Holmes is written in the Stories paid off in spades - he is now remembered by many as a brilliant Holmes with no equal.

My third choice, is beloved by many -  Basil Rathbone.

Basil Rathbone is remembered fondly by many MANY people as Holmes.

He is generally judged poorley by Holmes purists because Rathbone's Holmes is too much of a  gentleman, and not as eccentric and unpredictable as the Holmes of the Conan Doyle novels.

His first outing as Holmes was in the classic 1939 version of The Hound of the Baskervilles and an  instant hit as the character - so much so that that he went on to play him in 14 more Movies.

Rathbone's sleuth was kindly, direct, with a strong (but not silly)sense of humour - which made him instantly compelling and likeable.

Warhammer Undead Graveyard

Today I was given a Warhammer Undead Graveyard - the old "biscuit foam" one. PERFECT for Empire of the Dead Games IMHO (more more suited than the modern Plastic Kit).

I had one of these ages ago, but swapped it for some Pirate miniatures - of course when Empire of the Dead came along, I regretted it. But thought "hey-ho" and got on with things.

It's a little "moth-eaten" in places, some minor damage - but I can't really complain as it was a freebie.

Such repairs are easy when you have some hobby-experience, I'm not worried about that - but does anyone know how to remove the static grass from the model?

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Mr. Kydric Williams - Slayer Society Regular

Mr. Kydric Williams, Cardiff Born & Bred was a Solicitor of some success.

The only Son of a Wealthy Welsh family, his Mother and Father unexpectedly died in a Fire - after which Kydric moved to London to setup practice with the help of Doctor Van Helsing.

Though to the outside world his Parents death was a tragic accident, Kydric's fellow Society Members know the truth  - that they both had fallen to the Vampire curse, and Kydric released his own parents from torment.

Mr Williams relocation to London after selling his Family Estate was one of desperation, because he could not cope with the sadness of his loss - or the torment of what he had to do to release them.

I'm quite happy with him, I went ginger with the hair because I had been so restrained with the colours on his clothing.

And now a Group Shot of the Society so far.

Empire of the dead, the beginning

Empire of the dead, the beginning - at least from the perspective of a Portuguese Bloggers Site.

Great Pics of what looks like a fun games session!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

No Sleep - But Things Done , , ,

As usual these days, no sleep (it's a bloody nightmare really) - my heads killing me.

I did manage to finish another Regular Member (Mr. Kydric Williams, a Welsh Businessman who was drawn into a world of horror after a Family Bereavement) - I also blocked in and highlighted four Bobbies!

Right, loads of (real-world stuff) to do today - Picture of the Mr. Williams Later!

Crappy Crampy Hands

My crappy hands are still kinda "crampy" tonight, but rather than lose momentum - I'm going to block in some London Bobbies (whilst watching Scars of Dracula).

HOPEFULLY if the settle down I shall carry on the Slayer Society Regulars.

Doctor Robert Murray - Regular Member of the Slayer Society

In the end I only managed to get one Miniature finished last night - crampy hands being the biggest issue. Still - another done.

Doctor Robert Murray is not a Medical Doctor, he received his Degree in Philosophy from Kings College in 1878 - and at a loss as to what to do with his life after his studies finished, he joined the Army seeing service alongside Doctor John Watson in the Second Anglo-Afghan War.

After Serving with Watson, he spent time in India in Delhi - where he was involved in toppling a Vampire Cult which was posing as a Kali Death Cult - upon returning to London, he was quickly recruited by the Slayer Society.

Flamboyant in mode of Dress, Murray is not the easiest of men to get on with. Often Surly and Self Opinionated, Murray is often seen to be at odds with his fellow Society Members. However, when push comes to shove - there are few they would trust more when it comes down to the fight against the Vampire Menace.

Dr. Robert Murray (Regular Member) – 10 Shillings

Heavy Pistol – 7 Shillings
Sword – 3 Shillings

Total – 20 Shillings

More as I do it!

More Thoughts on Empire of the Dead

I’m actually still quite stunned by how Good Empire of the Dead Is!

So here are a few thoughts/notes about how things work (for those who don’t know yet) within the framework of the game.

First of all its very Mordheim/Necromunda in concept – small warbands of models, bought with “money” (Shillings in this case, a nice touch I thought) – that fight games/battles/scenarios.

A Warband is about 6-7 members when first created – a nice “starting size” IMHO – no excuse not to have your Models painted! As you play games, you Win/Lose games – earn experience/cash – and the Members Improve as a result of playing said games.

Nice and simple right? Nothing we haven’t seen before – and ACTUALLY, that’s strength IMHO – it’s not so complicated it’s hard to pick up (I’ve read enough sets of rules to know the difference between simple and simplistic rules) but not so basic it’s not worth the time of day.

Whilst familiar, it’s also quite fresh and exciting (and I’m not just talking about the Fluff now, like Pulp City and Freebooters Fate – the rules have an “air” of confidence about them).

Just a few more of my thoughts – if you want a thorough review of the Mechanics, I suggest you head over to Anatoli’s Game Room – he’s done a VERY thorough rules review!