It all started with one pic over on Instagram. James MacGeorge, author of Black Sun Deathcrawl, shared a pic of some newly-minted copies of WARBAND! that he'd had printed at his work before they outsourced the copy dept to, I dunno, may Staples? Since the in-house print shop was closing up, James had them print and spiral-bind a few copies of WARBAND! Why? Well, it's not exactly in print. Anywhere. Ever. In fact, I'm guessing that many of you have never even heard of WARBAND! and that's a damn shame. And so, let's take a moment to talk about WARBAND!
What is WARBAND!?
|WARBAND! cover by the very awesome|
WARBAND! is a complete RPG by Mike Davison over on the Sword +1 blog, built on a BX chassis, that's designed to DnD-ify the original Warband rules from Games Workshop's original Realm of Chaos series for 3rd edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle and first edition Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader. In that series of books, a miniature skirmish game is presented whereby each rival player creates a Chaos Champion and their retinue, often with lots of random mutations and crazy gifts of Chaos like all-too-powerful magic weapons and armor. Seriously, the original Warband is the shit. It's also the start of the GW's foray into skirmish wargames that would lead first to Confrontation, then to Necromunda and on from there (down to the Warcry! of today [written after WARBAND!, so they're clearly taking Mr. Davison's exclamation mark]).
WARBAND!, however, takes that framework of "every player creates a Chaos Champion and their retinue" and puts it inside a dungeon. Specifically, inside a space dungeon. Specifically, inside a space dungeon called a Space Hulk.
WARBAND! is currently available for free on the Sword +1 blog and you can find it here:
Metal Gods & Realms Of Chaos
You probably know that before it was a zine, the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad were a gaming group for an online DCC campaign. As you do with your gaming buddies, we grew awfully close and kept trying to meet up (most of us would eventually meet at GenCon in 2014) and had often talked about playing the Realms Of Chaos Warband game on off nights or "when we finally get together" or whatever. That never quite happened, but it's something that at least Wayne and I dreamed of, quietly on our own. We had learned about WARBAND! and it seemed to fuze together some of the stuff we were passionate about and so we thought we'd run it. Sometime. Maybe an off night. But not tonight, I have something going on. You do next week? Oh, man, what a bummer. And we never got around to playing it.
Until MacGeorge posted that pic on Insta.
Sunday Morning Chaos
Now it's years later. G+ is dead and many of the Metal Gods folks have scattered, but at least most of us use the Metal Gods Discord server that Edgar set up to keep in touch. We widened our reach, too, a little bit beyond the initial scope of the Metal Gods crew, and so we added some Cincy folks, my Wednesday Night group and a few others (if you feel left out, let me know and if I know you, I'll probably shoot you an invite). After some early hiccups and disuse, Phil Spitzer asked if we could add an "lfg" channel, where the "lfg" stands for "Let's Fucking Game." Of course, the response was immediate.
In our new channel, we determined that a few key folks are often available on Sunday mornings: me, James Smith, James MacGeorge and Phil Spitzer and talk of what to play turned to WARBAND! very, very early in the conversation. We convened at 8 AM one Sunday morning to make characters and their retinues (some folks ended up with HUGE retinues, but most of our folks had a small cadre of devoted cultists).
We've been at it now for a few months, and it's really been a blast. Most of the time, there are only two players in attendance, trying their luck against the Space Hulk's vast interior, killing of swathes of henchmen. Even with just a few players, it's been a really fun experiment and we've learned a lot, even if a lot of what we've learned is how we'd do it differently.
Conceptually, I'm in a very inspired place right now, which is great. I've still got a lot of work left on Metal Gods #5 & 6 and being inspired somehow is better than not at all. In the meantime, you'll probably see some more WARBAND!-based stuff hereabouts. Enjoy!