Location of the most recent breach into Malifaux, Latest area to be occupied by the forces of Cryx, Stronghold of the Dark Legion, Homeworld of the 'Night Reapers' Space Marine Chapter, Council of Seven allocated Deadzone and the lair of some opinionated git called GMort who they let hang out with them...when he's not distracted by Steampunk, Gothic culture or Cosplay...
I really hadn't expected to get through to the shortlist of the David Gemmell Legend Award, and hadn't checked the Awards website on announcement day. So it was completely out of the blue when I read a tweet congratulating me on making the shortlist. To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to vote - whatever the outcome of the next round of voting, your support to get me this far is much appreciated.
If you enjoyed my Age of Sigmar novel Warbeast, please consider voting again on the final shortlist - voting closes at midnight on 2nd June, and takes just two clicks. If I win, I promise to Facebook Live my celebratory dancing!
I’ve been thinking about value a bit lately. It’s a difficult concept to summarise because value is something that we bring to a situation or object rather than something that is inherent. Often that value can only be determined retrospectively – if you enjoyed a movie it was probably worth the money, if not…
Last Saturday I was at Salute, the premier UK wargames show in London. I spent the day playing demo games of Open Combat, the universal skirmish system from Second Thunder, which I happened to help my friend Carl write and publish. Everyone enjoyed their games. Some even bought copies of the game.
Entirely coincidentally, Games Workshop announced that they will be releasing 8th edition Warhammer 40,000 later this year (not much of a surprise for anyone paying attention). Cue some wailing and gnashing of teeth, and talk from some quarters of wasting money on Codexes, rulebooks, etc. Games Workshop have even gone so far as to announce that anyone with proof of purchase for a book within the last eight weeks can get a voucher refund for the purchase.
Both of these things made me think about the value of a rules system. Open Combat is a universal system that you can use with any miniatures, so you can try them with whatever you already might have in a collection.
Similarly, the miniatures you have in your Warhammer 40,000 army can continue from edition to edition. Their rules might change but you still have the toy soldiers. Some people are still playing with miniatures they bought for Rogue Trader, the first incarnation!
One way to look at it is as though the miniatures are the hardware and the rules are the software. Occasionally you might need to update the hardware, but it’s the software that makes it work and that can be upgraded continuously.
So how much ‘game’ do you need to get out of a ruleset for it to be good value? If a ten pound cinema ticket gets you two hours of entertainment, then thirty pounds for the hardback of Open Combat only needs to provide you with six hours of fun gaming to have ‘earned out’ that investment. Even if you only had ten games of 40K in last edition, say twenty hours, would that be enough for the amount paid? And we know that miniatures games can continue to provide fun, social activity for many years.
And if a cinema trip for ten pounds nets two hours of entertainment, what price tag for a novel that gives five, ten times that much?
Something worth thinking about.
Jain Zar: The Storm of Silence
Jain Zar, the first of the Howling Banshees, travels to Craftworld Ulthwé to help avert disaster – but Eldrad Ulthran opposes her plans. What path will guide the eldar towards victory: the way of the seer, or the way of war?
My new Phoenix Lords novel, Jain Zar: The Storm of Silence, is released in just over two weeks but the Limited Edition, and regular releases are already available to pre-order from Black Library.
Bryan asked: How long did it take you to come up with the Battle Hymn of Vengeance? And what was your thought process for this? Is there any chance you could write one for the Ravenwing?
I’ll answer these both in one, if I may. It didn’t take too long to write after I had created the general form – after that it was just a matter of getting the meter right for the lines. If you look closely you will see that not only are ravens mentioned, but in subsequent lines we see references to: iron, dread, storm, fire and death. If you add –wing to the end of each of those you have all six Wings of the Hexagrammaton, the original organisation of the Dark Angels. So this is a battle-hymn for not just the Deathwing of 40K but the ancient pre-Caliban Dark Angels Legion.
If you want to ask a question, just reply to the newsletter and I'll get back to you as soon as my schedule allows. I'll pick a question to go in the next newsletter, and combine them all into a blog post for the website. Click the button below for the full Q&A round-up for April.
This month saw the publication of two new audio dramas - Eye of Night and Hand of Darkness, both set in the aftermath of the Gathering Storm. In case you missed it you can read my Author's Notes, where I discuss the origins of the stories and the benefits of writing for audio. There is also an interview with Black Library Audio Producer Matt Renshaw, who outlines the process of turning a script into a finished audio, and shares his three top tips for writing for the audio format.
Eye of Night
Tasked with a mission by Roboute Guilliman, Inquisitor Greyfax and a bodyguard of Grey Knights travel into the Eye of Terror in search of an ancient enemy of the Imperium.
Hand of Darkness
Tasked with a vital mission for Eldrad Ulthran and Primarch Guilliman, Yvraine and her Ynnari head to a place of great power: the Black Library itself.
As announced in last month's newsletter, I am going to be working with Andy Chambers on Warlord Games' new Strontium Dog skirmish game. You can read more about the project here.
If you know anything about Open Combat, or my ongoing Big Stompy Robots project, you'll know that I really like games that allow you to collect the miniatures you want - and Star Eagles has 'an open source unit building system that lets you create your own ships.' On top of that, a ruleset that promises 'standard', 'detailed' and 'epic' ways to play seems to give the players the control to create the gaming experience they want.
I'm a sucker for space ships, and a decent fighter game would really scratch a different itch to most of the big ship games out there already. There are only six days left of this Kickstarter, so you'll have to back it fast.
Page & Spine is an online magazine publishing short stories, flash fiction, poetry, essays and more. It's not genre-specific, but as I've said many times, practicing your writing - any writing - will help you to hone your skills. Getting published by a small press or online magazine can also do wonders for your confidence, and gets your foot in the publishing door.
Read the previously published works on their website to get a feel for the type of content they are likely to publish, and go for it! The submissions window closes on June 1st.
All subscribers to my mailing list are entered into the bi-monthly draw to win a personalised, signed copy of one of my books. The next winner will be picked in May, and will receive a signed hardback of Jain Zar: The Storm of Silence.