Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Return to the Realm of Horror

Being a Gothic Horror Fan, I've been eyeing up Empire of the Dead for some time now - but was reticent to get "into" another game.

I already have a largish collection of West Wind Gothic Horror Miniatures (and those associated with Rippers - The Horror Wars), and having both sets of those rules - I didn't see the point of jumping in straight away.

Still, I was inspired - so one day I decided to hunt out my Horror Miniatures and dabble in a few games.

However, all the ones I had finished painting had (of bloody course) vanished - after a couple of days panic, and Linda (my partner) and myself tearing the house apart I found them.

Like a lot of my stuff - they had been stored in a case in the attic. Unfortunately, they were under a small crack in the roof tiling - and the case (and the box of old video tapes that was next to the case) had become quite horribly waterlogged with rain-water.

The miniatures themselves had lost almost all their paint, and had become "de-based" - so after a massive cleanup and re-basing effort. I began painting anew.

I wasn't (of course) in the best of moods, painting something for a second time simply isn't as much fun (especially considering what a slow painter I actually am) - but I started plodding though. I had intended to simply block, shading wash, highlight them - with very little detailing. But I love the miniatures (and the genre) so much things got "complicated" quickly.

I'm basing everything on Malifaux cobbled street bases - mostly because I like them, but also because I have a load left over from when I "dabbled" in Malifaux (and I have to admit, I didn't take to it) - so at least the bases are being put to good use now.

I was happily plodding away, when I discovered some had started to go black and break up in places - FORTUNATELY I know what I am doing when it comes to my hobby so with a judicial application of superglue and some re-sculpting with green-stuff I was able to save almost everything (except the Loup Garou's right arm - which broke-up in several places, and the fingers crumbled - so not sure where to go with that one) - so as you can imagine, my mood was not the best and THEN I came down with a tummy bug.

Then my lovely Linda came to me rescue - she got me "Empire of the Dead" Core-Book for Fathers day, and gave it me early because I was feeling so rough.

For THOSE who don't know (which is unlikely) Empire of the Dead is a "Steampunk"skirmish game (which is actually unfortunate - because I HATE that term personally) set in the year 1888.

The discovery of a rare mineral called "Infernium" (how cool is that name - literally crapping on the term "Ghost Rock" for coolness) has given the world a self-perpetuating energy source and changed the course of history forever. However, the discovery of this flame red stone has coincided with the return of the world’s most ancient evils (odd that).

The backdrop is that of a Victorian world where there is not only wonderfully eccentric Victorian technology - but Zombies, Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper, Werewolves and Vampires - and its totally awesome (I've had a total "kid" reaction reading it).

Personally I reckon the mixing of genres into a new, solid, and believable background is a really REALLY hard thing to do - and IMHO only Games Workshop (sadly) have been successful in doing so before - but in this case West Wind's "Empire of the Dead" knocks the ball right out of the cricket pavilion.

In the world of Empire of the Dead - only a select few really know what’s going on in the world. Your average "bloke on the street" is utterly oblivious to the evils that hide in the dark places waiting to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting public - and it falls to the militant arm of the Church and various Gentleman’s Clubs full of Victorian Adventurers (one of my most favourite parts of the concept), finally using their fortunes for good by traveling the world putting monsters to the sword (or torch, or strange technological weapon, or whatever LoL). HOWEVER some Gentlemen's clubs work for their own selfish (and often evil) ends.

The writers do a fantastic job of establishing a sense of dire "end of the world as we know it" peril without labouring the point to the extent it becomes irritating and obtrusive.

It's SUCH a good Background, it deserves an RPG IMHO!

I've called my Blog "The Illustrated London News" and is mostly about my "Return to the Realm of Horror" - just to see if I can do something with it properly (but will probably include rantings about Classic Horror Movies and Comics). 

A BIG THANKS to some of my Friends who inspired me to blogging about it (in no set order) - John ("Too Many Armies") Mackrory, Walt O'Hara, Joe Dunn, Carl Packham, Peter Coleman, Dave Crowther, Simon ("Tater Boy") Moules, Anthony Preece, Jennifer ("Pirate Queen") Fleitmann, Chris ("Radagast") Modd, Ian ("Hendybadger") Henderson (for always been so keen on everything he does), Coleen Henderson (Ian's wife, for being so damn nice and supportive) - and of course my lovely Linda who bought me the rules and puts up with my Hobby!

As (at least for now) I shall be using my existing collection - I shall be "cooking up" Faction Lists out of my existing miniatures (which in itself is quite exciting IMHO).

LOADS to DO (As Always)


  1. Great review, glad you too like the game. I waited for this for almost a year :-)
    Sorry to hear about the miniatures!!

  2. Thanks Brother - I'm ABSOLUTELY in love with it. My rantings have already corrupted, ahem - TEMPTED a few others to taking a serious look at it! Yea, the miniature thing was quite harrowing - but I'm getting there. Pictures soon!

  3. Join the hunt. 'Vampire slayers club'.

  4. I've just downloaded iStripper, so I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my taskbar.