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12/09/2018

It's time for the last interview of 2018. David Guymer answers all of my questions!

I can safely say that 2018 was very for me. Although the full summary will be written soon, I'd just like to say that I'm most happy for the bunch of interviews that I've managed to secure this year. Now it's time to present you to the last one - with David Guymer.

Mr. Guymer has written a bunch of fantastic stories. He's the man who has finished the Slayer saga and pushed it into the Age of Sigmar with the "Realmslayer" audiobook, in which Gotrek is voiced by Brian Blessed himself! He's also a real Skaven aficionado and his portrayal of the Iron Warriors in "The Beast Arises" series is simply awesome. On top of all of that, he also penned the "Ferrus Manus: Gorgon of Medusa" book for the "Horus Heresy: Primarchs" series! I was very lucky to have Mr. Guymer answer a couple of my questions and so here they are, for all of you to enjoy.

This is one, fine-looking cover!


Xathrodox86: I will start with a rather obvious question: how does it feel to write about Old World's most infamous duo?

David Guymer: The first time story that I wrote for Black Library (the first story I wrote!) was the Tilean’s Talisman for Gotrek & Felix: The Anthology so I’ve been around them for a while. Even so, when they asked me to write Kinslayer and Slayer, my first PROPER Gotrek & Felix novels, I still felt pretty excited. I think authors up their game for this kind of work because they now badly they’ll get it from the fans if they get it wrong. You can see that sort of thing throughout the End Times books and the Horus Heresy series. Bringing Gotrek Gurnisson back to the Age of Sigmar was something we’d discussed since wrapping up on Slayer, but it was still a nice surprise to be called back to pick up where I left off with Realmslayer.

Xathrodox86: "Realmslayer" turned out to be quite a hit. Will we see more of Gotrek in the Mortal Realms?

David Guymer: Well we’ve already had Robbie MacNiven’s novella, The Bone Desert, and a short story by Darius Hinks, and I have a short story coming out in this year’s Black Library Advent series so yes – plenty more

Xathrodox86: How did you react after finding out that Brian Blessed himself will be giving voice to the most famour Slayer of them all?

David Guymer: It was pretty awesome actually. I just wish I could have gone down to London to watch the recording. I hear it was a blast.

Xathrodox86: What was the hardest part of writing the ending to the Slayer saga? Did you consult anyone before penning the grand finale to Gotrek and Felix's epic adventures?

David Guymer: I didn’t consult anyone, but I do remember Bill King being asked at the Black Library Weekender (some years ago now) how he envisaged Gotrek finally meeting his doom: he said it would have to be doing battle with gods and daemons with the world blowing up all around him, so all in all I think I’ve been pretty true to his vision!

It’s a while ago now, so I might be looking back on this with some rose-tinted hindsight, but I don’t remember writing Slayer to be all that hard. There was a momentum going into this that sort of pushed me on to the end.

Xathrodox86: What's your recipe for writing Skaven? They've very tough to portrayal, mainly because of their insidious nature. How do you manage to make them interesting?

David Guymer: I actually don’t find them very hard.
Wait, is that not normal? Should my family be worried?

Xathrodox86: Is Queek Headtaker your typical Skaven, or does he posses some traits which make him unique, when compared to other denizens of the Under-Empire?

David Guymer: Yes and no. Every skaven character in that novel is typical for a member of the race, but with a trait so madly exaggerated as to make them appear unique. So Queek Headtaker is still just as craven as any rat-man, it’s just that his vastly swollen skaven self-confidence skews his sense of what is and isn’t a threat. His uncharacteristically loyal servant, Ska Bloodtail, is just as devious and underhanded as other skaven, it’s just that his terror of the Headtaker translates into a kind of witless devotion.
I love writing skaven. Did I mention that? You can have so much fun with them.

Xathrodox86: Are we going to see more rats in the Age of Sigmar? So far you've mainly written about the Stormcast Eternals? It'd be sweet to witness Thanquol, Queek or Snikch sowing chaos and mayhem in the Mortal Realms.

David Guymer: Well keep your eyes peeled, a verminous villain that may or not hail from the world-that-was will be crossing claws with Hamilcar Bear-Eater in Champion of the Gods out in February. I’m also written a Clan Pestilens story set in Blight City (the new Skavenblight), which I guess should see light some time soon.

Xathrodox86: Your Warhammer 40,000 work is as diverse as it is fascinating to read. What's your favorite part about this universe?

David Guymer: As a scientist, originally (I’ve a PhD in Biophysics and worked in labs for years before I somehow found myself writing Gotrek & Felix stories) so I like the chance to exercise that muscle. For the first stories I wrote in that universe I got a bit carried away with stuff like ork biology and how a Geller Field might work. I’ve calmed down since then, but I still love sneaking a bit of science into my 40K stories.

Xathrodox86: Writing about a primarch is no easy fit. What were your guidlines when describing the indomitable nature of Ferrus Manus? I've always found him to be one of the more difficult primarchs to portray in a right way.

David Guymer: I didn’t have any guidelines per se, except everything we know about the character from the various sources. I basically read Fulgrim and the Horus Heresy sourcebooks. He was quite difficult though. He’s a character that keeps a lid on what he’s thinking and feeling. he’s a lot like the Lion in that regard.

Xathrodox86: You've written quite a lot about the Iron Tenth. Are they your favorite Legion/Chapter of the Space Marines?

David Guymer: They are, and yet at the same time they are very little fun to write about. Being so cold and unemotional you have to continually look for new ways for them to express themselves outside of words (which they use sparingly) and body language (which they don’t have at all). I talked to Chris Wraight about it at Warhammer Fest once and I was glad to hear that he understood completely. He said he had to watch half a series of Glee or something after finishing Wrath of Iron. That’s not to say I don’t have my eye on writing at least one Iron Hands book for the Dark Imperium era once I’ve wrapped up my trilogy.

Xathrodox86: "Dreadwing" deals with the 1st legion waging a war against their traitorous brethren, by targeting their home worlds. Why did the Lion considered this task to be more important than reinforcing his brothers' forces on Terra?

David Guymer: It was what he agreed with Guilliman and Sanguinius to do at the end of Ruinstorm. The events of Dreadwing essentially look at the divisions that are exposed in the Dark Angels when this plan is manifestly not working.

As for why the Lion persists with it anyway, well, that’s what the book’s about!

Xathrodox86: I honestly think that the character of Warsmith Kalkator is one of the coolest portrayal of a Iron Warrior in the history of Black Library. Any chance for you writing some more about the bitter sons of Perturabo?

David Guymer: I guess everyone loves a hard as nails anti-hero. I actually know very little about the Iron Warriors as I’ve not done much work with them before. I would though. I don’t think much has been done with them in the 41st Millennium since Graham McNeill’s books so there’s an opening there. I’d hate to become the ‘iron guy’ though!

Xathrodox86: Quite a few of Black Library authors play the tabletop as well. Are you one of them? What's your favorite WH40K/AoS army?

David Guymer: Not any more, though I did. I try and get back into it every now and then but it’s tough as I live in the country and don’t have anyone to play with regularly. Just the occasional game of Necromunda with my sister.

Xathrodox86: Can you tell us about some of your upcoming projects? What will David Guymer write about in the future?

David Guymer: I’ve been writing so much at the moment that when I’m asked these kinds of questions it’s difficult to keep track. I’ve bene writing a ton of short stories for Advent, Inferno, and various forthcoming anthologies. Champion of the Gods is coming soon, an Idoneth Deepkin novel called Court of the Blind King will probably be released some time next year. I’m writing another audio drama, tentatively starting work on the third of my Iron Hands trilogy, Sapphire King, and will be writing my second Primarchs novel after that.

Xathrodox86: Thank you so much for answering these questions Mr. Guymer. I'll be looking to more fantastic stories from you in the future.

Well, that was a blast. Mr. Guymer will have a lot of new and cool stories for all of us, very soon. I can't wait to get my hands on them!

My next post will also be the last one for the 2018. I will see all of you soon, and... take care.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

12/05/2018

I've been invited to the "Mud & Blood" podcast! Also - "AWESOME LIES" is two years old!

Just a quick notice from yours truly.

I've had an honor to participate in an episode of the "Mud & Blood" podcast, hosted by two excellent gentlemen - 9littlebees and Boganova. Together with the legendary Graeme Davis himself we were talking about the changes to Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay through the ages, various campaign ideas, inspirations and other things.

It was a fantastic experience!
Needless to say that this was a experience of a lifetime. I've had tons of fun, and being able to chat with one of the creators of my favorite role-playing system was beyond awesome. I wanted to thank Mr. Davies and our fantastic hosts for this opportunity and a chance to share my opinions and knowledge about WFRP. Thank you.

Here's the episode itself, if you fancy listening to it (Apologies for not embedding it here. Seems my Google-fu is not that strong).


On a related note, the fantastic "AWESOME LIES" blog ran by Gideon is now two years old. It's a real treasure trove of old knowledge and fascinating facts about the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. If you don't know it already, you should definitely check it out. It's one of the coolest blogs in the whole internet.

Click here and enjoy the nostalgia.

This Saturday I will be coming back at you with something really cool. Stay tuned for another cool interview.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

11/24/2018

Grimvember 2018 is here! "Sing For Your Supper" is a solid scenario which you should definitely check out!

It's time to end this year's Grimvember and I've decided to do so with a review of one of my favorite short scenarios - "Sing For Your Supper" by Nathan Greavey.

I've GM'ed it only once, many years ago when I was still a fresh Gamemaster, learing the necessary ropes and niuances of this fine hobby. I've decided to run it right after the finale to the "Paths of the Damned" campaign (which actually references the "Sing For Your Supper") and was not dissapointed. My players also liked it a lot.

They've liked it almost as much as this little fella enjoys getting grinded into a sausage!
The premise is rather simple. The PC's have been hired by a rich man from Nuln to find his missing daughter. Along the way they will meet all sorts of unique and colorful characters, visit the Great Elm Deutz, eat a ton of sausages and uncover a truly nefarious plot, which could threaten the entire city.

"Sing For Your Supper" is a typical investigative adventure, with the PC's snooping for clues, asking the right questions, bribing their way through some unhelpful people and slowly descovering the horrible truth behind the whole deal. That Greavey managed to put a lot of well-placed humor into this scenario, only shows just how well he can structure a interesting and engaging plot. Humor is important in a game, as it can lessen the tension and give the PC's some breathing space, as well as improve their resolve. Even a very dark and serious module that is "The Thousand Thrones" does not shy away from humor, from time to time at least.

For those who like their WFRP martial and bloody, "Sing For Your Supper" will probably be a let-down. There's very little combat in this adventure, and when it finally comes to it, it's all very easy and rather forgiving. I honestly think that this is a good thing, as this scenario is not about the swinging of swords and booming of guns, but investigation, deduction and social interaction. These things Mr. Greavey's work does exceptionally well.

I highly recommend trying out this neat little adventure. You can find it in the "Plaundered Vaults" supplement for the 2nd edition of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, which is crammed with many other scenarios of excellent quality. If I'd be running it nowadays, I would probably use it as an intro to the final chapter of the "Paths of the Damned", even for the little shout-outs, present in the last part of this campaign. Give it a go and I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun playing it.

So this is it. Another edition of Grimvember is behind us. Next time I will have something special for all of you, but until then - take care and watvh out for the shady sausage vendors.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

11/18/2018

Grimvember 2018 is here! Beware the beasts of the Old World!

Slowly we're getting to the end of this year's Grimvember. However, we still have some ways to go and monsters to slay, and every monster hunter from the Old World should posses a copy of the "Old World Bestiary" on his shelf!

Before I'll start reviewing (or rather talking in length) this sourcebook, I'd like to dedicate this article to the memory of Carl Sargent, who sadly passed away a few days ago. He wrote some of the most iconic modules for WFRP, including the "Power Behind the Throne" for the classic "The Enemy Within" campaign, as well as the venerable "Lichemaster", which I personally adore. Rest in peace Mr. Sargent, you will be missed.

I always loved bestiaries in RPG's. Reading the various entries about horrible monsters felt like delving into a lake of forbidden knowledge, and I still remember the fantastically written Monstrous Manual for the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and the impact that it had on me as a wee kid.

Man those Dispalcer Beasts were scary!

Although not as scary as a pissed-off Wyvern!
Anyway, the venerable WFRP 2nd edition also has a book about beasties - the "Old World Bestiary"! I consider it one of my favorite tomes for this game. It's rich in lore, fascinating to read and has a plethora of fantstic and terrifying critters to pit against the hapless PC's... as well as some rather mundane ones, but these are boring! Give me a dragon over a basic horse anytime, I say!

The books is essentialy divided into two parts - the lore and the rules. In the lore section, every, single creature is described in detail by the author, who travelled the world to document its myriad monsters and beasts. There are also opinions and rumors about each beastie, provided by other denizens of the globe, some of whom are of the more... disreputable pedigree, to say the least. I'm still impressed that the author of this books had managed to avoid getting shanked by the Eshin Assassin, whom he interviewed. Not to mention being able to speak with daemons of Chaos and lived to tell the tale!

This part is incredibly climactic and features a lot of fascinating snippets about different races and monsters from the Warhammer world. From the Night Goblin tribe treating their guests with a tasty meal of deep-fried Squig to the Asarnil the Dragon Lord and his faithful mount, tanking cannonballs and throwing enemy riders back into their own ranks. I can't praise this section enough.

The rules section is also good, but there are a few things which irk me when it comes to it. First of all - the "Old World Bestiary" is only really good when the GM wants to offer a challenge to the fairly fresh band of adventurers. Simply put the monsters are really weak. With some exception (the dragons), they're a joke. The Black Orc for example is barely stronger than your average human and the Bloodletters, the foot soldiers of Khorne, are pushovers, pure and simple. If a Gamemaster wants to make these creatures challenging, he will need the additional profiles for monsters from the 2nd edition rulebook. Again, I don't know why these haven't been included in this book, as they're almost mandatory to have, when using the "Old World Bestiary".

There are also a few addition at the end of this tome, none of which is particularly interesting. There's an expanded mutation table, which pales in comparison to the one, found in the "Tome of Corruption". There are spells for shamans, which suck ass and are simply a joke. Finally there's a profile of a typical Imperial soldier, Johann Schmidt, who's said to be a hardcore veteran, but who in reality is just a horrible, sad pushover. If he's a veteran, then I'm the Cathayan Emperor.

That said, this book is awesome, if only beacuse of its lore section. For it alone it's worth buying it and giving it a go, trust me on that. I find myself returning to the "Old World Bestiary" on a regular basis, simply to read about my favorite Warhammer creatures, and everytime I have a lot of fun and satisfaction from doing so. I hope, dear reader, that you'll be having these as well.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86

11/11/2018

Grimvember 2018 is here! Reliving the classic tale of "Eureka!"

There are a few official WFRP scenarios that I really like. Most of them have been written for the 1st edition of the game, and "Eureka!" by Paul Hargreaves is no exception.

It first appeared in the 93rd issue of White Dwarf and was later included in "The Restless Dead" anthology. It's a favorite adventure of mine, as it's simple, tense and has that classic WFRP humor which really distinguished the very first edition of the game.

Welcome to the 80's. Enjoy your stay
The premise is simple. A band of unemployed adventurers, satying for a time in Nuln, have been hired by an eccentric inventor, one Wolfgang Kugelschreiber (I see what you did there Paul). Together with his plumpy assistant Fatboy Smallnose (sic!) he's being blackmailed by a band of thugs, who want to extort money from him and will not settle for empty threats.

During their time as bodyguards for the inventor, the PC's will have a chance to examine some of his fantastic contraptions, including the Kugelmatic Turkey Plucker and the Kugelmatic Fast Draw Scabbard. They're all very unique and fun to interact with, even if most of them don't work as intended. The players will also need to deal with a pesky spy, sent by the city's authorities to spy on the hapless Kugelschreiber.

Soon however the matters get out of hand, as it turns out that the racketeers are all working for the city guard! The inventor and his fat assistant take to their submersible and flee Nuln by the river, while the PC's must trust in Wolfgang's most dangerous and risky contraption, and take to the skies to avoid being captured.

"Eureka!" is a perfect single-session scenario, full of absurd humor, colorful characters and intense chase scenes. Andrew Law updated this adventure for the 2nd edition and I highly recommend grabbing it and giving it a go. It's a true classic, and one that has aged incredibly well.

Until next time!

Xathrodox86