Monday 25 March 2024

Eschat-Jihad and the Red Lands

an Unbalanced Skirmish Game of Deception, Madness and Causality Horror, set in the Eklipsis/Prescience Wars paracosm. 

(No, I haven’t actually worked out an entire skirmish game ruleset. I would be crap at actual rule building anyway, but I did get very wrapped up in imagining how one might work and especially in considering different types of Causal Horror and thinking about how they might be incorporated into a game. 

Here is a ‘Planning Document’ for ‘Eschat-Jihad, with a bit on the core ideas, a section on the various Factions and how they might work and be represented, and finally a very long section on ideas in Causal Horror. 

A lot of the art was suggested by people on Discord, so thanks for that.) 


Joseph Mugnaini


Core Ideas 

Inspired a bit by things like ‘Bone Forest’, ‘Trench Crusade’ and the 28-Mag, Eschat-Jihad is an asymmetric, low model skirmish game with semi-random, hidden goals, surreal terrain and Causal  Horror. 

Its models and terrain are conceptualised for artists, kitbashers, and the like to be strange and surreal, especially the terrain. 

Its meant to be a somewhat hipstery/arty game where you play as much for the pleasure of creating and seeing how the manifold horrors turn out as much as to win. It would have a lot of the card flipping and shifting goals of Warhammer but instead of producing granular somewhat non-diegetic aims it would be designed specifically to produce strangeness. So maybe a little like playing through a surrealist film as a wargame.


Kjell Daniel Francisco



The battles of Eschat-Jihad take place amongst and between the factions of a Dark Future and those of a Dark Past. 

In the Past, the Iron Path and Amber Court are are locked in the ‘Prescience Wars’, and apocalyptic magical conflict which will eventually collapse causality into the Red Lands – a Beksynski-style meta hellscape. 

In time, (if such a thing can be said to exist in the Red Lands), a True Hero emerges and leads a crusade to re-make Causality, binding up the shattered lands and strands and creating a liveable reality with a coherent chronology. 

Then, he goes, or maybe always was, insane, and summons Azathoth. Now his descendants pray to Azathoth, who hangs I the sky over their lands, blotting out the sun, in order to delay His annihilation while rebels and surrounding lands war against them to overthrow their evil rule. 

Factions from the past of the Prescience Wars send warriors into their future that is the Red Lands in order to assure their own victory and prevent the apocalypse the Red Lands represent. 

Factions from the future send their own warriors into their past in order to ensure the Apocalypse happens, for they are its children. 

At the same time, factions within the Past and Future, war against each other. In the Past the Amber Court battles the Iron Path, while in the Future the Knights of Eklipsis battle Suleman of the Black Gates and Villains from within their own kingdom. 

And throw in an extra faction; The Hordes of Causality, from the Red Lands themselves, representing the will of that anti-Causal Hell. 

Here, in the Nightmare Reality which is the Red Lands, these warbands meet and battle, though often for causes and ideas even they do not really understand, each fighting to preserve their existence and for their own view or philosophy of Causality itself.




Rules Concepts 

·        Battle as a form of performance.

·        Simple basic rules.

·        But highly metatextual rules specific to each faction. 

Each faction has an entirely different perception of Causality, different culture and a different understanding of what victory means. 

Therefore each sides objectives are fundamentally different, hidden and semi-random each game, meaning its possible, in some circumstances, for both sides to win, or for both to lose, or indeed to lose/win at the last moment as a groups perception of Causality shifts. 

Understanding the enemies culture and perception of Causality is key to intuiting and obstructing their goals for each match, (assuming you even want to do that and are not just focusing on your own, (or are just vibing)).

Piotr Rusjowski





Samuel Araya

The Knights of Eklipsis 

I already did a whole series on these guys so check the blog.


Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

They live in a Kingdom in permanent Eclipse because Azathoth is hovering in their sky blotting uot the Sun. The ‘Sleeping King’ summoned Azathoth and his Knights betrayed him, stabbing him in the back 13 times with poisoned daggers, though even this only caused him to fall into a sleep. 

These are the descendants of those Knights. They worship Azathoth and believe their worship delays the final annihilation of all things. They return to the Red Lands to make sure the Apocalypse happens so the Sleeping King can emerge from the Red Lands to remake Causality, and so lead to their current state. 

They are the dominant force in the Realm/World they come from, and everyone else there hates them because of the whole Azathoth thing, and a bunch of other stuff they do. 

Military Forces 

Knights! Dak gothic somewhat elfin knights from a whole range of groups and orders. (I already have loads of these). Also I guess peasants (blue) and Sorcerer/priests of the Black Church. 

Force is arranged around its highly individual and very odd elite heavy cavalry, with some backup from shitty foot troops, Priests, squires, footmen and animals. Only the knights really matter (everyone else is replaceable) and the behaviours and win conditions all spring from and relate to the Knights. 

Their goals are influenced by Eklispsis Dark Religion and Knightly codes of honour. 

Super-evil Brettonians plus Undead plus Dark Elf aesthetic is the closest thing with already existing miniatures. Ian Miller Knights would also work. Slender Chaos Knights also. 

Concepts of Time 

·        Religious and apocalyptic

·        Tied to the living presence of a singular God (who is Azathoth)

·        A bit similar to mediaeval millenarian Christianity if they worshipped the Nuclear Chaos.

·        A sacred trust inherited from the Sleeping King and sustained by him and by Azathoth.

·        A universally held textual description of Causality describing the entire arc of all time from beginning to end – though quite metaphorical, short on details or exact times and seemingly intra-contradictory.

·        Still, they have Faith!


Remedios Varo


Suleman of the Black Gates 

The main remaining opposition to the Knights of Eklipsis in the Dark Future of Azathoth. A faction influenced by a general grab-bag of Ottoman, North African and Arabic culture but somewhat realised and Oprey-ified by putting through a neo-Ottoman blender. Though honestly throw in a Lammasu or something if you like. 

“The Emperor Sueman has the body of a Bull, the wings of an Eagle and the bearded face of a man. He was famed for thousands of years as a just and wise ruler, a mighty warrior and a master of many magics. He spoke the language of Birds, Djinn, Devils and Ants. He commanded the Arch-Devil Asmodeus who, bound to his will, served him for many years as Vizier, before his ultimate betrayal and escape at the height of the fourth Cold Crusade. 

Suleiman can read minds, scry his enemies, see the future in a limited way, turn invisible, teleport at will and no doubt perform other miraculous actions. His seal is unbreakable once set and can be used to bind creatures like Devils or Djinn if they are subdued first. At the height of his power he commanded the direct loyalty of men, centaurs, birds, djinn, devils and ants as his subjects.” 

The Kingdom of Suleman has access to its own form of Time Travel, ripped straight off from Ted Chaing’s story ‘The Merchant and the Alchemists Gate’ and using exactly the same mechanics, but systematised and spread over an entire Kingdom. 

The Sulemites are fatalistic and so don’t believe the past can be changed, (from their perspective it never is), but one can understand it and perhaps plant things there that are yet to be revealed about their own future 

They hate Azathoth and Eklipsis and are sympathetic to the forces of the Past but believe their cause it doomed so won’t aid them. 

Military Forces 

High morale, fatalistic, professionally trained and those sent to the Red Lands are all veterans of various wars. Largely Turkish influenced, with north African and Saharan elements. 

Ottaman-style cavalry, Zuavre-style infantry, limited use of gunpowder. Their leaders can be sentient, intelligent Arabic and Persian monsters like Sphinx and Lamia but other than that no magical or post-human technology or powers (they don’t really believe in it). 

The leaders or officers can be travellers of the Black Gate, meaning they have used a Gate to travel a set distance into their own past. The forces of Suleman don’t think the past can be changed, so they don’t seek to change what they already believe has taken place, but they do work to find gaps in what is known or understood, to change the meaning or inflection of what has been and to gain wisdom for when or if they loop back into their expected timeline 

Concepts of Time 

·        Rationalist, scientific, fate-bound, fatalistic.

·        All travellers are partial-looping.

·        People are allowed into the gate in the past because the operators recognise them as having come out of it previously.

·        Gates only work in-situ and only for the persons future or past, which they are in so their culture is based around maintaining well-preserved sacred sites for as long as possible.

·        Their culture can only communicate “with itself” over the course of its own existence.

·        All of its messages are true (notwithstanding human error)

·        All ‘future events have already happened (but there may be things we do not understand about them).

·        All of this might be thrown into disorder in the Anti-Causal Red Lands.


Kjell Daniel-Francisco


Villains of Eklipsis

 (Literal ‘villains’ in the early-modern Shaksperian sense).

 A mix of rebels, criminals and Heretics of Eklipsis, those opposed to the Black Church, Azathoth and that whole culture.

 A crazy grab-bag of semi-fairytale-like Rebel Alliance who use radical time travel spells or steal the ability from Eklipsis itself and go back into the past, but with what aim? This could depend a lot on the mixture of their party and who or what is leading it.

Their aim is a fundamental opposition to Eklipsis and that entire situation. They would be fine with the ‘Red Lands’ apocalypse never happening/never having happened. Like many of the ‘Past’ factions they are trying to avert the Red Lands, but unlike them they don’t care about who wins, or about humanity at all. They would have probably been happy in the Pre-Prescience Wars Era.


Stephanie Law In Green Shadows

Military Forces 

Very wild and whacky, with lots of conditional or strange special powers. 

Vere Agentia – the children of imprisoned Summer, with a cyclic understanding of time. Cypto ents, deep cover dryads, seed dryads, woodwose and summer elementals 

Haereticorum Ineptias – literal absurdist anti-causalists. Baku, Hollyphants, Foo Creatures, Blue Dogs and Yellow Bears, the Roly-Poly Bird and Jub-Jub Bird, the Opinicus 

Backup comes from the Avis Invefernalis – Birds like Simurgh, Phoenix, Roc, etc. From minoris heretics like Moon Dogs, Monkey Men, Blink Dogs, Grims, Thaw Mephits etc

Rob Gonsalves

A ‘playful chaos’ faction, (as opposed to the Scary-Chaos of the Hordes of Causality. They would focus on deception, disruption, cycles and frame shifts. These would probably work well against the more ‘Orderly’ forces whom they can ‘bawd’ nicely, but not against the Hordes of Causality, to whom Order and Reason are no more than Dreams anyway, and who the ‘Villains’ would have to battle in a more prosaic fashion. 

Concepts of Time 

If dominated by the Vere Agentia then a cyclic impression of Time predominates and the aim is to restore the cycle. 

If dominated by Haereticorum Ineptas then an absurdist or anti-causal or playful impression of time dominates in which the aim is to disrupt, subvert or make ridiculous whatever others desire.


Remedios Varo



The Amber Court 

A chief faction of the ‘Prescience Wars’ – led by the ‘Twice Redacted King’ whose name cannot be comprehended, often commanded by one of the ‘Orouboros Kin’  - Children raised in the Amber Court in full knowledge of their own futures. This is a world-spanning Empire (in its later form), dedicated to the full exploitation of all forms of Prescience, (under centralised control). They send out their forces commanded by the various Haptic Ranks and Ocular Ranks of the Court. They are meant to have a near-perfect knowledge of the future, but the Red Lands of course often confuse and invalidate this. Their war against the Iron Path, and the ever more extreme use of magical ‘workings’ lead to the ‘Red Shift’ and the Red Lands Apocalypse. 

Obviously they completely blame the Iron Path for all of this. They go into the future of the Red Lands to make sure it doesn’t happen and to ensure the rapid defeat of the Iron Path to make certain of this. 

They are opposed to all Post-Apocalyptic forces because they are invalid spawn of a nightmare that should never take place. 

Military Forces 

Combination of 17th/18th Century France under the Sun King, Renaissance Germany and T’ang/medieval Dynasty China. Think massed armies full of braggadocio and glorious peacocking. 

Largely conventional, albeit large forces, disciplined on the surface but inwardly often riven with hysterics and secret tensions. Lots of low quality infantry with high but fragile morale, (i.e. hard to break once but crushingly easy after that). 

T’ang versions of Currassiers as bodyguards for the Emissarys of the Amber Court. High status bodyguard units like T’ang versions of Landsknechts and Doppelsoldiers. 

Tend to fight in a manner reminiscent of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms – big on tricks, deception and strategy dictated by a central commander who has already predicted and planned for everything. (Until this goes horribly wrong.)  

Concepts of Time 

·        Believe very deeply that the future can be both predicted and changed.

·        They adventure in their own Apocalypse -  the Red Lands, in the belief that they can discover enough to prevent it occurring.

·        Opposed to all future factions as they are ‘post apocalyptic’ insane barbarians. They specifically want the future indicated by the Knights of Eklipsis to not happen. They are also totally opposed to the only other faction from their own time; the Iron Path, who they blame for everything.

·        They play the most like a normal warband but with extra ‘tricks’ from Prescience and lots of ‘yes, but’ powers.

·        All according to Keikaku.


The Iron Path


from 'Cromwell'

A faction, originally radical, eventually coming to encompass all non-Amber Court aligned entities. 

The prime enemy of the Amber Court in the “Past”, they fight specifically against the concept and use of Prescience itself. Like the Court they believe that the future can be grasped and shaped by human will, but crucially, only in the absence of Prescience itself, which makes slaves of humanity. 

Like the Amber Court they battle all future factions as ‘warnings’ of an ‘apocalypse’ to come, for which they blame the Amber Court entirely. 

Early Pathists oppose the Red Lands, fighting to prevent the Apocalypse. Later more radical and insane pathist factions may have pro-Apocalypse leanings, since the annihilation of Causality is a sure defeat of Prescience.  

Military Forces 

English Civil War Puritan or Cromwellian. Radical Protestant. Muted, armoured uniformity. 

Very high morale, quite high quality infantry and muted visible power differentials. Lots of iron and steel. Think Pikemen and Shotte. Hard to break infantry means they stick around a long time. Extreme fanaticism may make them hard to control and can be a double-edged sword when confronting the horrors of the Red Lands 

Extreme radicalism later giving way to Taliban-esque murder squads. Late versions likely to make use of memetic terror weapons, unthinkable anti-causal weapons, mnemovores, or simply fire. Later instantiation have the most radical uses of magic/technology. 

Concepts of Time 

Originally a semi-humanist view in which concerted reasoned effort can shape human futures in positive ways, long years of warfare transformed the Iron Path (or perhaps these tendencies were always there), into an extremely radical, Nietzschean cult of pure human freedom and self determination guaranteed by absolute resolution, willpower and the willingness to make any sacrifice in blood, treasure or morality in order to defeat Prescience, and finally into one that believes that such sacrifices are good and noble in themselves. 

“Better Time die than Men be Slaves.”


The Hordes of Causality



Born of, or perhaps only existing with, the ‘Red Lands, these are people, creatures and entities that either come from outside Causality, or are products of its ruination. 

Relentlessly time-looped individuals or groups, Paradox factions, Mnemovore or Mnemovore-aligned. The Yellow King or other Memetic forces. ‘Bodieless’ or ‘unborn’ minds, personalities or philosophies which may instantiate themselves by varied methods, or perhaps spreading like a disease. Sometimes lost or abandoned forces from other groups which have taken to the Red Lands. 

They fight from madness, from glee, from despair, or simply by chance. All of reality is like a Nightmare to them and they would make it so for all. More a spreading wave front of anti-causal insanity and total chaos than a ‘faction’. 

Military Forces 

A seeming rabble of impossible grieving things. 

Are they even arranged together in anything like a hierarchy? Are they organised or is this simply a group of entities that happen to be alongside each other at this particular moment? 

No plan or discipline, no morale to disrupt or plan to unfurl. Call them ‘Zombies’ or ‘Mutants’ if you like, or forms of the Cybernetic undead, or broken golems, or mind-viruses, or devils or demons or the half-unreal. 

Extensive random interrupts and random actions. Highly destructive if they ever cohere but utterly unpredictable even to their own player. 

Concepts of Time 

In a sense these are anti-colonial forces. The Red Shift or Red Lands are their home and inexorably attached to their nature. They are the living breath of the Causal apocalypse. They are the final product of a Causal war and the ultimate and last fate of all that lives. They are bordered to the future and the past by those who would eliminate or destroy them, removing the Apocalypse and reasserting Causal Time. Though they have little plan, their actions tend towards the growth and extension of the Red Lands till they cover the whole of the future and the whole of the past, till there are nothing but Red Lands anywhen. They are against All Things, Forever, even Azathoth, which is a kind of formal end to reality. For the Red Shift Hordes there is no end and no beginning, there is nothing, and everything, forever and never.


concept art from Disneys 'Back Hole'



To Make the Red Lands 

But, of what are the ‘Red Lands’ composed? 

Artistically, key influences are Miller, Geiger, Beksynski. So I started there and asked for recommendations. The images in this article are the result. 

Conceptually I tried delving into concepts I had pegged in my head as ‘Causality Horror’ or ‘Reality Horror’, made up of bits and pieces I had gathered from various places. 

From that I expanded outwards through ideas or concepts that seemed linked either emotionally or intellectually. I ended up with a curates egg of an essay that doesn’t work fully as a system of classification or a means of exploration but is torn between the two, more of a ‘TV Tropes’ article, but less capacious than those. 

Still, maybe I can make it useful by considering how these ideas might be used in ‘Eschat Jihad’?



Time and Causality Related 

Kjell Danie Francisco

Cursed Prescience 

Inspired by Pauls funky journey in Dune and by the more tragic elements in Dunes racist child 40k and the questions about pe-determination, self-causing determination, inevitability, choice, the 'golden path', the idea that people with prescience tend to be devoured by their own prescience, or that the human mind or human morality become irrelevant when considering deep prescience (which interlinks with ‘Cursed Understanding of History’ below, which is after all a kind of more-accurate cursed prescience, just going backwards). 

This is a very old story and in its fundamentals reaches back to Fairytales and the fact that, in a Fairytale, whenever a prediction is made it often has some monkeys paw self-causing aspect and often the person receiving the knowledge might have been better off without it. This is Peasant logic, and I don’t mean an insult by that. Peasant logic might win out in the long term over liberal cosmopolitan thought. Loss-averse suspicious Peasants always get screwed from dealing with higher powers and knowledge from the higher realm usually has a venomous bite of some kind. There is a line of descent from the God Emperor of Mankind, through Paul Atradies, the Foundation, all the way back to some Slavic grandmother telling a tale about a fairy’s fortune. 

Use; This most powerful and abstract conflict might be the hardest to execute in a two-person wargame due to the very unpredictable nature of events but a possibility might be something like ‘Continuum’s ‘yet’ system, which is basically a dark Bill & Ted system in which you can ‘create’ knowledge and resources when you need them, because you travelled in time to place them there, but you absolutely must then make placing those resources a core part of your mission going forwards, and should you fail, be destroyed by Paradox. In wargame terms this would just mean getting free stuff in a match but then the placement of that stuff being inescapable goals in further campaign play. 


I’m thinking here more of the ‘sting in the tale’ time loop stories rather than the Groundhog Day anhedonia with its search for meaning and escape. 

Lots of this in Warhammer. In Peter Fehervari's Dark Coil stories characters are often sinking into or moving through non-causal spaces and inflecting or influencing their own or others backstories or futures and in doing so usually bringing about something rather terrible or malign. The Dolorosa Coil in ‘Fire Caste’ or wanderers in ‘The Reverie’ might both fit part of my definition of the ‘Red Lands’. 

Use; The Dolerosa Coil is something like an Amazon River system; dense jungle, hundreds of shifting tributaries, impossible to map. As some characters go deeper and deeper into the Coil, the general sense of loss and separation becomes something more; they become lost in depths which should not be there, encountering people, places and situations which are out of joint and sequence with each other. 

What forms of geography could work well with such a ‘passing into strangeness’? It seems to me that anything either very dense or very nothing might work, the key point being to avoid easily navigable geography, as well as the sense that ‘maps don’t work here’; the geography cannot be easily related to anything outside itself. 

·        A curling jungle/river system like the Coil.

·        Dense karst or close creek and valley systems

·        Dense forest

·        Hypnagogic Desert, or salt plain

·        Empty ocean 

Things to be avoided are those which aid in navigation and in relating one place to another, so; 

·        No single roads or rivers making neat borders

·        No tall points like mountains etc giving good relative directions

·        No settlements where people can give you directions

·        No roads at all

·        No neat coastline giving a clear boundary between sea and land

·        No coherent ruins, only incoherent mixtures of run should be allowed, so the ruins of two cities destroyed at different times & in different places but now overlaid together

·        No worked earth or farms

·        No clear stars or regular celestial movements (the sky is red)

·        The sun should never raise in the same place twice, and days should have unclear lengths

·        Fretted boundaries between ecologies, so no ‘treeline’ or ‘desert’, swamp, delta and islands rather than clear coastline

John Frenches Ahriman stories have its own relentlessly Time-looping protagonist at war with Fate and against himself; looping and manipulating his own timeline to being about whatever he currently thinks is the best option while also fiercely resisting his own past or future efforts to manipulate his ‘current’ existence. 

Use; This works quite well with a Skirmish game for in wargames there are always challenges when you have to fight one side against the same side as that’s what your friend has. In Eschat Jihad it can just be assumed that each of these warbands has the same actual people in them, just at different parts of their timeline, each trying to manipulate or escape the other. 

This could also work well for ‘returning’ dead units to the board as they did, in fact, die, and the new versions are from earlier in their timeline, wandering in to find their own dead bodies. (Or realising they are doppelgangers). 

Mushi-Shi did a soft and elegant version of this with a Mushi that loops someone and feeds off their life, they don't quite realise but with each loop they get worse and worse deja-vu and a formless anhedonia they can't place, explain or escape. Though Mushi-Shi has a more neutral and humanist resolution in which the main characters wife dies and in the end they sacrifice a non-looped future without them in order to experience their life over again, this time with a mixture of sadness and joy. 

(Where are the really dark Time Travel stories? Are there doom-laden Time Travel tales? There are many involving sad inevitability, personal destruction or acceptance of fate but few that are outright horror.)


Rob Gonsalves


Brain Don’t Work 

Science merely Alchemy/we are not capable of Science 

The opening parts of Three Body Problem where it seems like the flood of physicist suicides is caused by a growing awareness that science is not 'true' and is merely an advanced form of alchemy that only approximates truth (though in that book it turns out science is true after all and the evil alien CIA are just conspiring to pretend it isn't). 

Use; how on earth could this be represented in a game, let alone in a Paracosm? Is there a way to deliberately make emergent knowledge from the Paracosm deliberately near-causal? As in the ‘rules of nature’, can be learned, and will work, 90% of the time, but 10% of the time they will go slightly or very strange, just enough to indicate that you do not, and cannot, understand the actual truth, which will always be beyond your reach? 

To actually work in an imagined world perhaps some endlessly-recursive and maddening ‘yes-but’ system could be devised in which specific natural laws work as discovered, until.. some particular status or condition has been achieved. Then they work like that in that condition… until some other quite rare status takes place.. which would be an outlier so they work still differently now, but then some other condition happens… 

The aim here would be to create the deliberate sense of reason and nature endlessly and frustratingly slipping away from you, never into full incoherence, always with the illusion that you can understand if you just go a little further, but pursuit of this illusion itself drives you to madness.


We Cannot Understand the Other 

I feel this most from Roadside Picnic and Solaris, it feels very eastern European in origin, though Ballard, Harrison and Vandermeer have done versions with their own moral and emotional tonality. But at least in the Slavic originals; all the power of human reason and organised effort is put into understanding The Zone or The Alien, and we just can’t. We are inherently incapable of comprehending what we are experiencing. In ‘Roadside Picnic’ we can just grub about for semi-comprehended fragments left behind as they were useless to their creators, in ‘Solaris’ all humanities efforts result in, for a moment, something like the equivalent of a lab rat managing to scream in pain and the scientist withdrawing the probe in something that might be sympathy. 

This interrelates somewhat with ‘Powerful Indifference’ though in that case it may be that maybe we could understand the Other, but it doesn’t matter because the Other just doesn’t care enough to try. 

Use; well ‘Roadside Picnic’ and Dungeons and Dragons have prepared us for the ludic instrumentalisation of this concept with the idea of ‘useful but incomprehensible object’, a thing which might do something useful in some way, but clearly wasn’t intended for that, and also does a lot of other weird shit as well.


Consciousness is a malign virus 

From damn who the fuck is that guy? The horror writer who thinks life is a conspiracy against the human race? I have never actually read him. Anyway he thinks the experience of consciousness itself is torture and to live is an act of horror. We can throw in Peter Watts Blindsight which plays with the idea that consciousness is a kind of malign virus, or fail state or disease upon otherwise well-working brains. 

Use; perhaps perfected unconscious warriors? Sleeping warriors? A warband leader their mind replaced with clicking clockwork, immune to stress and fear but producing strategies and tactics like an ‘A.I.’ card deck for something like Kingdom Death. (It should be obvious by now that Eschat Jihad would be a relatively noncompetitive arty/hipster wargame for people as interested in playing against themselves and the rules as each other, and probably for campaign play for those who want to find out what horrors and time loops happen to each Warband.)


Kjell Daniel-Francisco


Fake Realities – Immaterial Edition 

Reality can be Raped 

From Fehervari and from Grant Morrison, reality violations; where characters and general situations remain in place but reality itself decays and changes, which we see but they can't quite sense. Meaning their world, their entire timeline, from beginning to end, gets progressively worse and they can emotionally percieve this but not reason their way out of it. 

Use; this would be a frankly insane thing to put in a game of any kind let alone a wargame. How could you do it? It would mean triggering something and some kind of games master would come in and just make everything awful and worse, and change even the background of characters as well as their current situation, and the characters and playing pieces would not be aware of this, except they might have some emotional recognition, but the players would… Perhaps this would work as a kind of nuclear weapon, an unleash-the-demon element employed either deliberately or accidentally? It might have to be a once-a-campaign thing. 

Reality Decay 

We can maybe add to it the concept of 'Reality Decay', where what is normal and causal seems to blend imperceptibly into the other-natural. This is probably most clearly shown in horror movies in which nearly all are based around a very-normal-maybe-sinister early bit and then the gradual introduction of an horrifically malevolent alteration to reality. What I'm trying to capture here isn't the 'there are hidden monsters' vibe, or even 'there are dark other powers' vibe of Hellraiser, but a more nebulous, formless, near-madness in which the very engines of cause and effect seem to be broken. Sometimes this is actual madness, sometimes demons, sometimes the Matrix fugueing, sometimes conspiracy. I can't think off the top of my head of a story where the horror has no source and no shape but exists only. 

Use? Man the dice are rolling backwards.. Maybe some semi-random alteration to the dice or other decision system that frets or inverts the results? Its hard to systematise the formless.


The Enemy are Editing the Text 

If we bring in Warhammers chaos gods then we can include malevolent extra-causal entities, who are simultaneously present at all points of the timeline and can 'edit' the story - to some extent, to produce their preferred forms of suffering. 

Use; I cannot think of any sane way to include this in a wargame unless perhaps allowing the players to mess with the metadata after a campaign?


Fake Realities – Material Edition 

From the great well of schitzoid-adjacent horror, from the Shaver Mythos to the Matrix and similar films of its era, to Comics like 'Saramis' where an entire city is a physically simulated stage set for one man, to the Truman Show, we have; 

It’s a simulation 

It’s the Matrix, the 13th Floor or similar. 

Curious thing about the Matrix; the majority of the people in it are real living embodied humans, when they ‘die in the game, they die in real life’. So, how real do you want something to be in order for it to count as ‘real’? 

Its Dero mind control machines 

Evil forces under the earth using super-technology to invisibly tilt the nature of society in their preferred manner. The ultimate untraceable outside corruption. Add memory alteration to taste. 

It’s a literal Stage Set 

In ‘Saramis’ an entire city is a literal mechanical moving backdrop, only a few places actually have interiors, most of the people are automata. You can get up on top of the stage sets and run along them. 

Use; the deeply physical and embodied nature of the deception lends it a tantalising aspect to me. 

The Truman Show is another physicalised fiction-in-fiction story of this kind with the conspiracy-victim on an actual stage set. 

The metaphor of theatre, and of theatre interweaving and overlapping reality is something that might be usable in  a game or wargame; cults and societies of theatre-like ‘players’ (40ks Harlequins are already this), grand physical deceptions and ‘plays’ put on by deranged structures of power, actors and those playing a role intermixing with those doing something ‘for real’. The structure and aesthetics of performance being counterpointed to ‘actual’ conflict. That  might be something that the already exiting five or so act structure of wargames, and their highly rules and ritual-based arrangement could actually help to bring about. It’s already the case that armies ‘perform’ differently, Ork armies going for a turn-two Waaaagh! in an assumed five-turn game, Dark Eldar used to have a ‘power from pain’ rule that made them nastier the more losses they took, Necrons popping back up unless you kill the whole squad, etc etc. I feel like there should be something there, though I can’t see it yet. 

Its Robot Rape 

I’m thinking of ‘I Have No Mouth but I Must Scream’ mainly, though there may be other forms I don’t know about. This story has some ‘Fake Reality’ deception I think, but only as part of a larger goal of specifically inflicting as much suffering as possible for as long as possible Here the hyper-powerful entity is usually non-human but still material and within the same causality. 

Use; Is there much that AM does in ‘I have no mouth’ that a reasonably wealthy King or Sultan couldn’t have done to a small select group? Some of the more extreme memory alteration, bodymorphing and resurrections sure but I could easily see a gothic story with an AM-like Sultan or King or Pope having a sadistic super-labyrinth made and getting to watch a select group of victims be endlessly tortured. There might be something there again, with the deep physicality of the idea. 

I suppose the ‘Saw’ franchise is built on this kind of thing. 


Deep Time Horror


Calum Diggle - Humanity Lost

Cursed Understanding of History 

There is also the idea that the simple action of history, when perceived across too deep a stretch of time is essentially horrific to the human mind, becoming more so when one mind becomes inexorably aware of the consequences of their own actions in a way that cannot be denied or avoided. 

I’ve often considered it fortunate that people are both quite ignorant and quite unimaginative when it comes to consideration of History as very deep views of whatever the engines of history are tend to leave me with the feeling of, at best, systems with an utter indifference, or ‘orthogonal’ to human suffering or morality, yet from which we all inevitably descend. In particular, ‘demicide’ involving male extinction and mass female rape, which forms the basis of modern European genetics, and how many more are there of like kind, stretching deeper and deeper back into history, crime upon crime? 

Use; a key element of this seems to be a ‘loss of faith’, in a manner similar to Lovecrafts guys finding out they have gypsy blood or the physicists of 3-Body finding out science isn’t real. It’s hard to have the gradual or dawning horror of realisation if you have no strong pre-existing beliefs that sustain your world. 

An advantage of a game/wargame like Eschat-Jihad is that all the factions have really extremely strong beliefs and particular points of view, and they can all be wrong somehow and therefore go mad with the terrible truth of the Universe. Not only that but some are from the future and some from the past so they can each find out some terrible thing about either how they came to be, or how they end up, and so go crazy about that. There must be a way to gamify that somehow. Hopefully without just adding ‘faith points’. 

If I was going to use a ‘certainty’, ‘faith’ mechanic, it would have to be something other than basic morale, it should only be able to be altered by scenario-specific events, should only go down, and steal a trick from the OSR and instead of just lower points add to each reduction a madness, behaviour or fetishtic action that leader or character has to perform in certain circumstances.


The Origins of Life and Humanity are malign 

From Lovecraft and I suppose from Alien: Covenant, the origins of life being, worse than accidental, some kind of weapons test or laboratory runoff or malign experiment. (Though I think in ‘Covenant’ the experiment was not specifically malign but the general tone of the film made it seem like it was). 

This hits a lot less hard in a post-Christian West where very few people think we are the product of divine creation so the loss of such doesn’t hurt much. Still there may be possibilities in the concepts of someone coming back to ‘harvest’ humanity, of being deliberately ‘made wrong’, with life on Earth being an accidental biproduct of an inherently flawed process and then in the sci fi future we discover that we are from the only planet where that happened and in fact humanity, and all of earths life, has the equivalent of Downs Syndrome, and that this is inherent to the nature of our evolution; we can’t escape it, and every other space borne life form is ‘correct’ or the product of some more perfect and fruitful system. 

Use;man is an inherently inferior species’; there must be some way for me to use this.


Calum Diggle - Humanity Lost


Biologically Instrumentalised Posthumanity in forms horrific and degraded to us. 

From Diggle, and perhaps Geiger, we have a decayed and horrific Posthumanity re-made, (wait, who made 'Man after Man'?) into bestial or horrific instrumentalised forms. Diggle has whole bio-hive worlds with everything made from human-derived flesh. Geiger weaves the human form with Biomechanoid horrors. (I guess the Matrix pod-people work for this too). 

Use; these guys could definitely go in the game. An horrific posthumanity could be anything from fauna to flora to buildings to a sufaction, to riding beasts for other groups that don’t know they are riding their own descendants/ancestors. They would go well with the ‘Hordes of Causality’ faction.


Claude-Joseph Vernet's - The Storm

No Classification 

Powerful Indifference 

Clark-Ashton Smith did one little-regarded story which was basically a Roalnd Emmerich film where Aliens arrive to terraform the world according to their liking, and do. Humanity fights back but fails and the world is gradually consumed and transformed into a wonderous but nightmarishly toxic and dangerous environment. We can add that story about Aliens who take over earth & don't really notice us & humanity ends up living like space rats in their giant machinery. There is a slight difference in inflection in these stories in that they are less about the fundamental incapability of humanity to understand the aliens, since in many of these stories we don’t get the chance, but simply that the Other is so powerful on contact that anything we can do is just irrelevant. We can’t communicate and they wouldn’t care even if we could.   

Use; there are mighty THINGS. You can barely see their feet. They are doing stuff specific to them.


Aibek Begalin

Hidden Sin/Degraded Blood/Syphilis horror 

I'm trying to avoid Lovecraft here because he is the dominant force but I suppose I shouldn't bother. Lovecraft had a kind of ‘miscegenation’ horror where the Anglo finds out they have Fish ancestors, this leading into madness and physical mutation, (though also a connection with the dark sacred truth of Reality). 

This doesn’t play quite the same way with a modern audience though I suppose later versions include the more-pure body-horror of Cronenberg where much of the terror comes from physical mutation.

Use; other than just mutating people I got nothing on this one. I guess mutations are always good, good for modelers and a kitbashing community.


Jason Shiga 

The Jason Shigaverse. I have only read 'Meanwhile' a multiple choice comic book masquerading as a kids story with a background so dark its clear none of the bougie reviewers fully understood it, and 'Demon' about a battle between a person/being who discovers they have the ability to hop bodies on death (their mind devours and annihilates that of the closest person), vs the World Government. In 'Meanwhile', depending on what choice they make the Protagonist discovers that a previous version of themselves already annihilated humanity except for them and uses a time machine to 'loop' themselves millions of times, 'filling in' every role and person again, till the world is full once more. So everyone in his world, has always been him. I suppose this includes transhumanism, time loops and reality being a malign/beneficent stage set. Also; you already lost before you walked in the door and everything you are seeing is a bandaid over your nightmare failure.


Samuel Arya


What Have We Got? 

·        Bill & Ted cursed time gifts system with a spiralling cost.

·        A geography made to allow a ‘passing into strangeness’ (I did a whole list of qualities above, not going to repeat it here.)

·        Possibly recursive of incoherently failing ‘natural laws’ (which probably means core game mechanics).

·        Arguably useful but fundamentally incoherent ‘magic items’ which you never understand which probably can’t be understood by human minds.

·        Replace your leaders brain with a Kingdom Death A.I. card system. Even you don’t know what you will do.

·        Reality Rape extra-causal nuke option; make everything worse for everyone, and always have been worse.

·        Theatre cults, theatre-type scenery and performance-based faction rules.

·        Evil Magic Sultan sadism labyrinths along with I guess the guy from ‘Saw’. Powerful sadists arranging impossible moral and personal tests could be a thing.

·        Everyone can lose their faith or certainty and go more and more crazy.

·        ‘Man is the Least of All things.’

·        Horrific Poshumanity; they’re the trees, they’re the hills! They’re the buildings! They’re the ground. They also turn up in some factions. Also they are also you from the future or past!

·        There are mighty THINGS in the distance, the ocean, the earth, the sky.

·        People get mutated and altered a lot.

·        Jason Shiga is somehow involved.

Piotr Ruszkowski

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Emperor Queen

 No, I am not crazy 

The 1980s and 90’s rock band Queen, fronted by Freddy Mercury, directly sings the story of the God-Emperor of Mankind from Warhammer 40,000 to a degree you would question is likely or possible unless you examined it in depth. 

And examine it in depth I have!!!!! Using ONLY the lyrics of 26 songs by Queen, I have been able to reconstruct a SUBSTANTIAL amount  personal timeline of the Emperor, sung largely in first person, with one song for Horus as I couldn’t leave it out. 

As you  follow me through the following sections, from his early life to the age of strife, to the Birth of the Imperium, the Horus Heresy, the Dark Millenia and possible rebirth of the Star Child you will be forced to agree that EITHER, the rock band Queen were in fact prophets of the Dark Millennium, or, more boringly but more likely a strange kind of Fortean synchronicity has interlaced a deep causal vibration between the mood, tone, subject and specifics of Queens lyrics and the evolving story of the God-Emperor of Mankind. 

At the end of the post I will dive into possible causes and processes of such a Fortean event, but first, I give you, in chronological order, and broken up by period, the life story of the God-Emperor of Mankind, sung by Queen!

History Viewed by an Immortal

We know the Emperor was born, I think about 10,000 years ago in Anatolia, so right on the edge of recorded history, and the final gasp of the Pleistocine and birth of the Neolithic. That makes him already 35,000 years old be the time the Age of Strife begins and, unfortunately, there are relatively few Queen songs describing his experience during that time.


Young E by @mossacannibalis


The Emperor is born as a Perpetual; 

There's no time for us

There's no place for us

What is this thing that builds our dreams

Yet slips away from us?


Who wants to live forever?


There's no chance for us

It's all decided for us

This world has only one sweet moment

Set aside for us


Who dares to love forever

Oh, when love must die?


But touch my tears with your lips

Touch my world with your fingertips

And we can have forever

And we can love forever

Forever is our today


Themes; isolation, eternal life, fate. 


The Emperor Walks in Many Forms throughout History;

Office Gentleman Emperor by Ginias

I'm the invisible man

I'm the invisible man

Incredible how you can

See right through me


When you hear a sound

That you just can't place

Feel something move

That you just can't trace

When something sits

On the end of your bed

Don't turn around

When you hear me tread


I'm the invisible man, I'm the invisible man

Incredible how you can

See right through me

I'm the invisible man, I'm the invisible man

It's criminal how I can

See right through you


Now I'm in your room, and I'm in your bed

And I'm in your life, and I'm in your head

Like the CIA or the FBI

You'll never get close

Never take me alive


Never had a real good friend

Not a boy or a girl

No one knows what I've been through

Let my flag unfurl

So I make my mark

From the edge of the world


Now I'm on your track

And I'm in your mind

And I'm on your back

But don't look behind

I'm your meanest thought

I'm your darkest fear

But I'll never get caught

You can't shake me, shake me, dear


I'm the invisible man, I'm the invisible man

Incredible how you can

See right through me (Watch me!)

I'm the invisible man, I'm the invisible man

It's criminal how I can

See right through you


Themes; deep isolation, invisibility, psychic power 

Key Lines;Now I'm in your room, and I'm in your bed, And I'm in your life, and I'm in your head”, “Never had a real good friend, Not a boy or a girl, No one knows what I've been through, Let my flag unfurl”



The Dark Age of Technology and Revolt of the Machines;



Machines, machines

Machines, machines

Machines machines

Machines, machines


It's a machine's world

Don't tell me I ain't got no soul

When the machines take over

It ain't no place for rock 'n' roll

They tell me I don't care

But deep inside I'm just a man


They freeze me, they burn me

They squeeze me, they stress me

With smoke-blackened pistons

Of steel they compress me

But no one, but no one

But no one can wrest me away

Back to Humans


We have no disease

No troubles of mind

We are fighting for peace

No regard for the time

We never cry, we never retreat

We have no conception

Of love or defeat


What's that machine noise?

It's bytes and mega chips for tea

It's that Machine, boys

With random access memory

Never worry, never mind

Not for money, not for gold, yeah


It's software, its hardware

Its heartbeat, is time-share

It's midwife's, a disk drive

It's sex-life is quantized

It's self-perpetuating

A parahumanoidarianised

Back to Humans

Back to Humans


Back to Machines

Machines, machines

Machines, machines


Living in a new world

Thinking in the past (humans)

Living in a new world

How you gonna last? (humans)

Machine world




It's a Machine's world, woo!

Yeah I'm coming!

Yeah, woo!

Back to Humans

Hey, yeah

Ha ha ha

Back to Humans

Living in a new world

How you gonna last?

Machine world

It's a Machine's world


Themes; terror of machine power, human supremacy. 

Key Lines;They tell me I don't care, But deep inside I'm just a man, ….  But no one, but no one, But no one can wrest me away, Back to Humans” 


The Age of Strife;

by Andreas Rocha

I was told a million times of all the troubles in my way

Mind you grow a little wiser, little better every day

But if I crossed a million rivers and I rode a million miles

Then I'd still be where I started, bread and butter for a smile

Well, I sold a million mirrors in a shop in Alley Way

But I never saw my face in any window any day

Now they say your folks are telling you, “Be a superstar”

But I tell you, just be satisfied and stay right where you are


Keep yourself alive (Yeah), keep yourself alive

Take you all your time and-a money, honey, you'll survive


Well, I've loved a million women in a belladonic haze

And I ate a million dinners brought to me on silver trays

Give me everythin' I need to feed my body and my soul

And I'll grow a little bigger, maybe that can be my goal

I was told a million times of all the people in my way

How I had to keep on tryin' and get better every day

But if I crossed a million rivers and I rode a million miles

Then I'd still be where I started, same as when I started


Take you all your time and money, honey, you will survive

Keep you satisfied, keep yourself alive…


Themes; human survival, eternal life, invisibility, self actualisation.


Key Lines; “Give me everythin' I need to feed my body and my soul, And I'll grow a little bigger, maybe that can be my goal”



Creation of ‘The Emperor’ Persona


The Emperor Decides to Save Humanity Whatever the Cost;  

So you feel like you ain't nobody?

Always needed to be somebody?

Put your feet on the ground

Put your hand on your heart

Lift your head to the stars

And the world's for your taking


All you gotta do is save the world, yeah


So you feel it's the end of the story?

Find it all pretty satisfactory?

Well I tell you, my friend

This might seem like the end

But the continuation

Is yours for the making


Yes, you're a hero, ooh yeah


Themes; personal heroism, self-actualisation 


He Steals Power from the Chaos Gods; 

(If you can't beat 'em, join 'em)

You'd better do it

'Cause it makes you feel good

(If you can't beat 'em, join 'em)

You're never gonna help yourself



Keep your big hands off of my money

Don't try and pull me down

You're taking me out to wine

And dine me, trying to wind

Me 'round and around and bind me

To your legal contract (Ha ha!)

Rumour has it that you can play it dirty

I'll tell you what I'll do

About that, that yeah!

I'll play you at your own game!



Themes; trickery, reversing fate, gaming against superior power 

Key Lines; “Rumour has it that you can play it dirty …. I'll play you at your own game!” 



The Emperor is Supercharged after Moloch; 




One dream, one soul, one prize, one goal

One golden glance of what should be

(It's no good)

One shaft of light that shows the way

No mortal man can win this day


The waiting seems eternity

The day will dawn of sanity

Is this a kind of magic

There can be only one

This rage that lasts a thousand years

Will soon be done


This flame that burns inside of me

I'm hearing secret harmonies

The bell that rings inside your mind

Is challenging the doors of time


The waiting seems eternity

The day will dawn (ahhh) of sanity

(Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooooh)

This is (this is) a kind (a kind) of magic

Therе can be only one

This rage that lasts a thousand yеars

Will soon be, will soon be, will soon be done

This is a kind of magic

A kind of magic


Themes; singular vision of (‘golden’) future, eternities of time, secret personal power. 

Key Lines; every single line of this one is ON POINT 



The Emperor and Malcador discuss their dreams for humanity; 


by Нэн

This could be heaven

This could be heaven for everyone


In these days of cool reflection (Reflection)

You come to me

And everything seems alright

In these days of cold affections

You sit by me and everything's fine


This could be heaven for everyone

This world could be fed

This world could be fun

This could be heaven for everyone

This world could be free

This world could be one


In this world of cool deception

Just your smile can smooth my ride

These troubled days

Of cruel rejection, hmm

You come to me

Soothe my troubled mind


Listen, what people do to other souls

They take their lives, destroy their goals

Their basic pride and dignity

Is stripped and torn and shown no pity

When this should be heaven for everyone


This could be heaven

This could be heaven for everyone


Themes; personal friendship, a perfected world 


The Emperor Reveals Himself to Save Mankind;

Early E by Artemis 10


A-ah, saviour of the universe


A-ah, you saved everyone of us



A-ah, he's a miracle


A-ah, king of the impossible


He's for everyone of us

Stand for everyone of us

Hе saved with a mighty hand (ahhh, ah)

Every man, evеry woman (ahh, ah)

Every child – he's a mighty flash (ahh, ahh, ah)


Just a man with a man's courage

You know he's

Nothing but a man

He can never fail

No-one but the pure at heart

May find the Golden Grail

Ohh, oh

Ohh, oh



Themes; the personal singular power of a saviour of all mankind, dichotomy between supreme power and essential humanity 


Birth of the Imperium



The Founding; 

Hey! One man, one goal

Ha, one mission

One heart, one soul

Just one solution

One flash of light

Yeah, one god, one vision


One flesh, one bone, one true religion

One voice, one hope, one real decision


Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa

Give me one vision, yeah


No wrong, no right

I'm gonna tell you

There's no black and no white

No blood, no stain

All we need is one worldwide vision


I had a dream when I was young

A dream of sweet illusion

A glimpse of hope and unity

And visions of one sweet union

But a cold wind blows

And a dark rain falls

And in my heart, it shows

Look what they've done to my dream



One vision

So give me your hands

Give me your hearts

I'm ready! There's only one direction

One world and one nation

Yeah, one vision


No hate, no fight, just excitation

All through the night, it's a celebration


Themes; singular unified human goal, personal singular power, a personal dream, a perfected world 

Key Lines; again almost all of this is in the ‘Emperors Voice butI'm gonna tell you, There's no black and no white” could be read as a reference to Malal/the Dark King



The Unification War; 


Unification Wars earltheartist

Here I am

I'm the master of your destiny



Give me your kings

Let me squeeze them in my hands


Your puny princes

Your so-called leaders of your land

I'll eat them whole before I'm done

The battle's fought and the game is won


I am the one, the only one

I am the god of kingdom come

Give me the prize

Just give me the prize (The prize)




Now you die!


I have something to say

It's better to burn out

Than to fade away

There can be only one!


Move over, I said move over

Hey, hey, hey, clear the way

There's no escape from my authority

Didn't I tell you?


Themes; total autocracy, the breaking of Kings, claims of godhood, personal singular power 


The Emperor Finds Horus and educates him; 

A word in your ear, from father to son

Hear the word that I say

I fought with you, fought on your side

Long before you were born


Joyful the sound

The word goes around

From father to son, to son


And the voice is so clear

Time after time it keeps

Calling you, calling you on

Don't destroy what you see

Your country to be

Just keep building on the ground

That's been won


Kings will be crowned

And the word goes around

From father to son, to son


hear us sing

Our family song?

(Ba ba ba ba ba ba ba ba)

Ooh yeah, now we hand it on

But I've heard it all before

Take this letter that I give you

Take it, sonny, hold it high

You won't understand a word that's in it

But you'll write it all again before you die, yeah, yeah


A word in your ear from father to son

Funny, you don't hear a single word I say

But my letter to you will stay by your side

Through the years 'till the loneliness is gone

(Sing if you will)

But the air you breathe, I live to give you

Father to son, father to son


Joyful the sound

The word goes around

From father to son, to son

Kings will be crowned

The word goes around

From father to son, to son


Themes; father-son relations, mysterious knowledge to be revealed in the future, loneliness 

Key Lines; I fought with you, fought on your side, Long before you were born”, “Don't destroy what you see, Your country to be, Just keep building on the ground, That's been won”



Unity by Adrian Smith


The Great Crusade, The Emperor creates the Astartes and unifies with Mars as the Omnissiah; 

I'm a shooting star, leaping through the sky like a tiger

Defying the laws of gravity

I'm a racing car, passing by like Lady Godiva

I'm gonna go, go, go, there's no stopping me


I'm burning through the sky, yeah

Two hundred degrees, that's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit

I'm travelling at the speed of light

I wanna make a supersonic man outta you


I'm a rocket ship on my way to Mars on a collision course

I am a satellite, I'm out of control

I'm a sex machine, ready to reload like an atom bomb

About to oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, explode


I'm burning through the sky, yeah

Two hundred degrees, that's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit

I'm travelling at the speed of light

I wanna make a supersonic woman of you


Oh, I'm burning through the sky, yeah

Two hundred degrees, that's why they call me Mister Fahrenheit (Hey)

Travelling at the speed of light

I wanna make a supersonic man outta you (Hey, hey)


Themes; intense personal glorification, transhumanism (supersonic men), Mars, being a ‘Sex Machine’. Honestly this one is very much not in an ‘Emperor Voice’ but it does have fragments of the elements stated above. 


Mankind revenges itself against the Xenos empires (especially the Aeldari);

How do you think I'm going to get along

Without you, when you're gone

You took me for everything that I had

And kicked me out on my own

Are you happy, are you satisfied?

How long can you stand the heat?

Out of the doorway the bullets rip

To the sound of the beat

Look out


Another one bites the dust

Another one bites the dust

And another one gone, and another one gone

Another one bites the dust

Hey, I'm gonna get you, too

Another one bites the dust


There are plenty of ways you can hurt a man

And bring him to the ground

You can beat him, you can cheat him, you can treat him bad

And leave him when he's down, yeah

But I'm ready, yes I'm ready for you

I'm standing on my own two feet

Out of the doorway the bullets rip

Repeating the sound of the beat

Oh yeah


Themes; warfare, revenge, systemic destruction


Humanity defeats the greatest Ork Empire; 

Ullanor by Neil Roberts

Here we are, born to be kings

We're the princes of the universe

Here we belong

Fighting to survive

In a world with the darkest powers, hey!


And here we are

We're the princes of the universe

Here we belong, fighting for survival

We've come to be

The rulers of your world


I am immortal, I have inside me

Blood of kings (yeah, yeah)

I have no rival, no man can be my equal

Take me to the future of your world


Born to be kings

Princes of the universe

Fighting and free

Got your world in my hand

I'm here for your love

And I'll make my stand

We were born to be

Princes of the universe


No man could understand

My power is in my own hand

(Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh

People talk about you

People say you've had your day)

I'm a man that will go far

Find the moon and reach for the stars

With my sword and head held high

Got to pass the test first time, yeah

I know that people talk about me

I hear it every day

But I can prove them wrong

'Cause I'm right first time


Themes; exalted personal destiny, an ascended warrior class, dark powers, survival, personal immortality, singular power, personal perfection and glory 

Key Lines; In a world with the darkest powers,”, “I have no rival, no man can be my equal”, “I know that people talk about me, I hear it every day, But I can prove them wrong, 'Cause I'm right first time” 



The Triumph at Ullanor;


The Triumph by Nicolás R. Giacondino

I've paid my dues

Time after time

I've done my sentence

But committed no crime

And bad mistakes

I've made a few


I've had my share of sand kicked in my face

But I've come through (And I mean to go on and on, and on, and on)


We are the champions, my friends

And we'll keep on fighting till the end

We are the champions

We are the champions

No time for losers

'Cause we are the champions

Of the world


I've taken my bows

And my curtain calls

You brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it

I thank you all

But it's been no bed of roses

No pleasure cruise


I consider it a challenge before the whole human race

And I ain't gonna lose (And I mean to go on and on, and on, and on)


Themes; regrets, shame, eternal life, human supremacy, invincibility



The Crusade Goes Too Far;


And you're rushing headlong

You've got a new goal

And you're rushing headlong

Out of control

And you think you're so strong

But there ain't no stopping

And there's nothing you can do about it

Nothing you can do, no

There's nothing you can do about it

No, there's nothing you can, nothing you can

Nothing you can do about it


Meets a white-hot lady

(Hoop diddy, diddy, hoop diddy do)

Soon the fire starts raging

Gets you more than half crazy

(Hoop diddy, diddy, hoop diddy do)

Ooh, now they start freaking

Everywhere you turn

You can't start walking

'Cause your feet got burned

It ain't no time to figure wrong from right

Because reason's out of the window

Better hold on tight


Themes; success leading to uncontrollable acceleration, the paradox of reason 

Key Lines; Meets a white-hot lady” may be a reference to Erda or the Selinar Gene Cults. “Because reason's out of the window, Better hold on tight” may be a reference to an Empire ostensibly based on pure reason but in effect based on magic and deception while denying the same.



The Horus Heresy


The Emperors considers the terrible cost of his dream;


by fc04 I think

Guilt stains on my pillow

Blood on my terraces

Torsos in my closet

Shadows from my past


Sleeping is my leisure

Waking up in a minefield

Dream is just a pleasure dome

Love is a roulette wheel


Success is my breathing space

I brought it on myself

I will price it

I will cash it

I can take it or leave it

Loneliness is my hiding place

Breastfeeding myself

What more can I say

I have swallowed the bitter pill

I can taste it, I can taste it


Life is real, life is real

Life is real


Themes; hidden personal regrets, isolation, secrecy, shame 



Horus Betrays the Emperor;


(Ah!) You suck my blood like a leech

You break the law and you breach

Screw my brain till it hurts

You've taken all my money and you want more

Misguided old mule

With your pigheaded rules

With your narrow-minded cronies

Who are fools of the first division


Death on two legs

You're tearing me apart

Death on two legs

You never had a heart of your own

Killjoy, bad guy

Big talking small fry

You're just an old barrow boy

Have you found a new toy to replace me?

Can you face me?

But now you can kiss my ass goodbye

Feel good? Are you satisfied?

Do you feel like suicide? (I think you should)

Is your conscience all right?

Does it plague you at night?

Do you feel good? (Feel good!)


Like a big business tycoon

You're just a hot air balloon

So no one gives you a damn

You're just an overgrown schoolboy

Let me tan your hide

Dog with disease

You're the king of the sleaze

Put your money where your mouth is

Mr. Know-All, was the fin on your back part of the deal?




Death on two legs

Tearing me apart

Death on two legs

You never had a heart (You never did)

Of your own (Right from the start)

Insane, should be put inside

You're a sewer rat decaying in a cesspool of pride

Should be made unemployed

Make yourself null and void

Make me feel good (I feel good!)


Themes; This is the only song not from the Emperors point of view but it was so distinct and expressive I left it in. 


The Emperor Considers Horus' Betrayal; 

It started off so well

They said we made a perfect pair

I clothed myself in your glory and your love

How I loved you, how I cried

The years of care and loyalty

Were nothing but a sham, it seems

The years belie, we lived a lie

I love you 'til I die


Save me, save me, save me!

I can't face this life alone

Save me, save me, save me!

I'm naked and I'm far from home


The slate will soon be clean

I’ll erase the memories

To start again with somebody new

Was it all wasted, all that love?

I hang my head and I advertise

A soul for sale or rent

I have no heart, I'm cold inside

I have no real intent


Themes; friendship and love, betrayal, isolation, terror of powerlessness, personal emptiness, (the last two very characteristic of cluster B personality disorders. 

Key Lines; I’ll erase the memories, To start again with somebody new”  


The Siege of Terra Begins;


The Siege of Terra  - Misha Savier

Here we stand or here we fall

History won't care at all

Make the bed, light the light, yeah

Lady Mercy won't be home tonight, yeah


(You don't waste no time at all)

Don't hear the bell, but you answer the call

(It comes to you, as to us all)

Yeah, we're just waiting

For the hammer to fall, yeah


Oh, every night and every day

A little piece of you is falling away

But lift your face, the Western Way

Build your muscles

As your body decays, yeah


(Tow your line and play their game)

Yeah, let the anaesthetic cover it all

('Till one day they call your name)

You know it's time for the hammer to fall, yeah


Rich or poor or famous

For your truth is all the same

Yeah, baby (Oh no, oh no)

Oh, lock your door but rain is pouring

Through your window pane (Oh no)

Baby, baby, now your struggle is all in vain


For he who grew up tall and proud

In the shadow of the mushroom cloud

Convinced our voices can't be heard

We just wanna scream it louder

And louder and louder


(What the hell we fighting for?)

Oh, just surrender and it won't hurt at all

(Just got time to say your prayers)

Eh, while you're waiting

For the hammer to, hammer to fall


Themes; look, this one is pretty obvious. 

Key Lines; “For he who grew up tall and proud, In the shadow of the mushroom cloud”, clearly a reference to the devastation of Earth and surviving Old Night. 



The Emperor is placed on the Golden Throne


Empty spaces, what are we living for?

Abandoned places, I guess we know the score,

Does anybody know what we are looking for?

Another hero, another mindless crime

Behind the curtain, in the pantomime

Hold the line

Does anybody want to take it anymore?


The show must go on

The show must go on, yeah

Inside my heart is breaking

My makeup may be flaking

But my smile, still, stays on


Whatever happens, I'll leave it all to chance

Another hеartache, another failed romancе,

Does anybody know what we are living for?

I guess I'm learning

I must be warmer now

I'll soon be turning (turning), round the corner now

Outside the dawn is breaking

But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free


My soul is painted like the wings of butterflies

Fairy tales of yesterday, grow but never die

I can fly, my friends


The show must go on (oh, yeah)

The show must go on (yeah, yeah)

I'll face it with a grin

I'm never giving in

On with the show

The show must go on (on, on)

The show must go on (on, on)

I'll top the bill

I'll overkill

I have to find the will to carry on


Themes; burning, a complete loss of faith and sense of desolation, shame in his own perceived heroism, the presentation of a gilded front, (his ‘smile’ does indeed stay), fatalism, the transmutation of the soul, resolution to continue. 

Key Lines; “Behind the curtain, in the pantomime, Hold the line, Does anybody want to take it anymore?”, “I must be warmer now, I'll soon be turning (turning), round the corner now, Outside the dawn is breaking, But inside in the dark I'm aching to be free”



The Dark Millenia Begin




The Emperors final sane thoughts


I'm just the pieces of the man I used to be

Too many bitter tears are raining down on me

I'm far away from home, and I've been facing this alone

For much too long

Oh, I feel like no one ever told the truth to me

About growing up and what a struggle it would be

In my tangled state of mind, I've been looking back to find

Where I went wrong


Too much love will kill you

If you can't make up your mind

Torn between the lover

And the love you leave behind

You're headed for disaster

'Cause you never read the signs

Too much love will kill you every time


I'm just the shadow of the man I used to be

And it seems like there's no way out of this for me

I used to bring you sunshine

Now all I ever do is bring you down

Mmm, how would it be if you were standin' in my shoes?

Can't you see that it's impossible to choose?

No, there's no making sense of it

Every way I go, I'm bound to lose

Oh-oh, yeah


Too much love will kill you

Just as sure as none at all

It will drain the power that's in you

Make you plead and scream and crawl

And the pain will make you crazy

You're the victim of your crime

Too much love will kill you every time


Yes, too much love will kill you

It will make your life a lie

Yes, too much love will kill you

And you won't understand why

You'd give your life, you'd sell your soul

But here it comes again

Too much love will kill you!


In the end

In the end


Themes; personal decay, personal isolation, regret, fatalistic despair, agonising personal pain, shame



The Emperors faces the Age of Darkness;


Just look at all those hungry mouths we have to feed

Take a look at all the suffering we breed

So many lonely faces scattered all around

Searching for what they need


Is this the world we created?

What did we do it for?

Is this the world we invaded

Against the law?

So it seems in the end

Is this what we're all living for today?

The world that we created


You know that everyday a helpless child is born

Who needs some loving care inside a happy home

Somewhere a wealthy man is sitting on his throne

Waiting for life to go by

Oh, oh-oh


Is this the world we created?

We made it on our own

Is this the world we devastated

Right to the bone?

If there's a God in the sky, looking down

What can He think of what we've done

To the world that He created?


Themes; regret for personal crimes and violence, shame, an awareness of universal human suffering.


Key Lines;Somewhere a wealthy man is sitting on his throne”, “Is this the world we devastated

Right to the bone?”




Over the Millenia His Mental State Fragments;

The Emperors Tarot by Ruoyuart


When the outside temperature rises

And the meaning is oh, so clear

One thousand and one yellow daffodils

Begin to dance in front of you, oh dear

Are they trying to tell you something?

You're missing that one final screw

You're simply not in the pink, my dear

To be honest, you haven't got a clue


I'm going slightly mad

I'm going slightly mad

It finally happened, happened

It finally happened, oh-woah

It finally happened, I'm slightly mad

Oh dear, hahaha


I'm one card short of a full deck

I'm not quite the shilling

One wave short of a shipwreck

I'm not at my usual top billing

I'm coming down with a fever

I'm really out to sea

This kettle is boiling over

I think I'm a banana tree

Oh, dear


I'm knitting with only one needle

Unravelling fast, it's true

I'm driving only three wheels these days

But my dear, how about you?



I'm going slightly mad

I'm going slightly mad

It finally happened

It finally happened, oh yes

It finally happened, I'm slightly mad

Just very slightly mad


Themes; burning, madness, isolation disassociation of the self


Key Lines; “When the outside temperature rises”, “This kettle is boiling over”



The Star Child Awakens;



While the sun hangs in the sky

And the desert has sand

While the waves crash in the sea

And meet the land

While there's a wind and the stars

And the rainbow

'Till the mountains crumble into the plain


Oh yes, we'll keep on trying

Tread that fine line

Oh, we'll keep on trying, yeah

Just passing our time

Ooh, ooh!


While we live according to race

Color or creed

While we rule by blind madness

And pure greed

Our lives dictated by tradition

Superstition, false religion

Through the eons, and on and on


Oh yes, we'll keep on trying

We'll tread that fine line

Oh, we'll keep on trying

'Till the end of time

'Till the end of time!


Through the sorrow

All through our splendor

Don't take offense at my innuendo


If there's a God, or any kind

Of justice under the sky

If there's a point, if there's a reason

To live or die

If there's an answer to the questions

We feel bound to ask

Show yourself, destroy our fears

Release your mask


(We'll just keep on trying)

We'll just keep on trying

'Till the end of time

'Till the end of time

'Till the end of time!


Themes; eternal cycles, resolution, a golden path, human universality, decaying empire, religious faith


 Key Lines; “While we rule by blind madness, And pure greed, Our lives dictated by tradition, Superstition, false religion, Through the eons, and on and on”





This is the real big question! I have broken down my response into five sections; Highlander, Zoroastrianism, the 80’s, Queen and the personality and history of Freddie. 



 This is probably the most simple and singular element, and the easiest to describe. 

A lot of the themes of immortality and conflict, and many of the extremely on-the-nose songs come from Highlander, a story about Scottish sword-slinging immortals and their pride and sorrows. 

This has elements of the cultural feedback described below in that 

Highlander was big in the 80s and very possibly influenced the Emperors general vibe. The people building 40k definitely watched this movie!  It also feeds into and draws from the general ambient personality of the 1980’s a somewhat hypermasculine, operatic and narcissistic decade. 

There is also a question of matching or sympathetic vibes with Queen choosing to do the music for this relatively minor Sci-Fi film. Why did they say yes? Did the personality and background of Freddy mesh well with this story of violence, eternity, incredible powers, romance and deep isolation? 



I am pretty convinced that the Zoroastrianism Freddie Mercury was raised in left its distant mark in the mood, lyrics and subjects of Queen, specifically;


·        Themes of Light vs Dark

·        Great cycles of time

·        Spiritual mega-conflicts

·        Immortality, ‘the (Parsi?) blood of kings’

·        Human universality

·        An unknowable redeeming god; “Show yourself, destroy our fears, Release your mask”.


Zoraster created maybe the first huge universalising human philosophy, this lead into the Abrahamic faiths and gave them their own dualistic light vs dark eternal conflict motif over huge swathes of time. The Horus Heresy is basically Paradise Lost, part of the Christan Expanded Universe (semi-canon), so is it a huge surprise that the mood and feel, the deep essential conflicts of Zoraster, should show up again and again in very distantly descended media and stories? 


The 80s Generally 

Nuclear Armageddon! The threat of immanent doom hangs over the west! Everyone is worried about the nukes. They go missing in films, explode in banned documentaries, a disturbing and half-real sense of apocalyptic immanence hangs over the land 

Testosterone! Maggie and Regan are in the house. Advertising regulations for kids have been massively relaxed leading to a booming loop of hypermasculine boys cartoons and plastic injection figures. Bravestar, MASK, Conan has a kind of mind-child in He-Man, Rambo, the troubled and violent Vietnam war veteran, had an animated kids show, so did Robocop. 

Operatic Quasi-Camp Quasi-Satire. Was Robocop a satire? Kind of yes but also kind of no. Or both. The sheen of irony has not yet fallen across the face of culture and its fine to valorise and simultaneously mock ideas of glorious hyperviolence. This is an age of cocaine, excess and economic boom. 

A very testosterone fuelled decade, - a lot of the references for 40k are still ones from the 80s 


Little is minor in Queen 

Queen did have jokes and a sheen and thread of irony in much of what they did but over-focusing on this would be a mistake as it was always a counterpoint to a gigantic, bombastic all-out style in subject, mood and content. Nothing is really small in Queen, emotions are epic, times are eternal, or vast cycles, places are distant or impossible, people are either consuming intimates or vast human universals. Everything has to be the biggest thing for Freddie to sing about. 

Queen were also a merging of the Nerdy, Bombastic, Masculine, performed masculinity and camp, they were, in a way, a Warhammer band, perhaps more than any other, even the ones who intended to be. 



The Personality of Freddy Mercury 

An intensely vulnerable narcissist who believes they have a magical talent and that they are better than everyone else and who actually turns out to be yes, actually genuinely insanely hyper-competent at what they do and actually better than everyone else. 

Isolation. The narcissist is ever-alone, the megastar even more so. 

How many Queen songs express the consuming and conflicting emotions of insane, even deranged self-belief and deep personal vulnerability? Of splendid and even glorious isolation and a consuming loneliness? 

Add to this a semi-secret life behind the scenes, the ‘invisible man’, then finally the disturbing synchronicity of AIDS and personal bodily decay while still alive, a horrifying loss of glory and personal control. Consuming regret for failed chances or former wrongs. 

We might say that Freddie lived out almost the perfected Narcissists Life. It wasn’t perfect for him, but it was perfect for History and for the grand ritual it represented. The King must always die in the end. 



This is my synthesis for this strange synchronicity. Early exposure to the themes, conflicts and emotions of the most primal Manichean Universal human faith by a young boy who will nurture an incredible talent, who will eventually escape his culture and literally remake himself as a new man while hiding a terrible secret. 

This man rising through the psychic storm of the 1980s and proving his personal greatness, absorbing, reflecting and intensifying the pulsing muscular mood of that doom-troubled decade.

That very decade and its emotions feeding into a very different group of nerdy men than those gathered around him in Queen, but producing fertile soil and a seed, sparked into life by Highlander; the causal node of the whole thing, a noospheric meta-neuron soaking in and distilling the drives, tragedies and emotions of the age and the band and linking them with the Star Child of the foetal Warhammer 40,000 universe. 

Then a great flowering of synchronic growth, with the pride glory, isolation, sadness and greatness of a dead Megastar meeting the vibrating echo of the only fictional character who could possibly carry such a staggeringly potent charge of impossible emotions; a literal God Emperor! 

The God-Emperor of Mankind is the psychic mind-child of Freddie Mercury!