The Damned beware
There is no escape from the City of the Damned
There is someone alwayz watching
He’s known as The Ryder Of The Damned
Never sleeps never rests
Ensuring that none escape
If they do….
He drags them back to endure their fate
Hiding in the shadows
Not making a sound
But when on the hunt
His horse will shake the ground
The Damned Beware
There is no escape
You shall serve your sentence
to endure your bloody fate
– poet Soul Writer
Mordheim, the City of the Damned, a place of great fear and paranoia. For me it has always been the black heart of the Old World which perfecly reflects the crippled and macabre realm of Warhammer.
When I got invited to Mordheim MMXIX back in 2018, an event organized by Alexander Winberg from Echoes of Imperium blog, and of which many of you have already heard of, I was really excited. After a long time I had the best of opportunities to return to the Old World and with a good excuse in my hands. Though I had never played a single game of Mordheim, I still had pretty good sentiment of the setting and what it was all about. After all, I had came back to the hobby through the original Warhammer Fantasy Battle.
Anyways, back to the Mordheim and the task I had in my hands. My initial plan was to just build a playable mercenary lootband of humble human henchmen for the campaign, but as many of you already know, in the end I went a bit over the top and built a whole gaming table – the Sleetheim…
The opportunity was shown to me when I felt like I had to help Alexander with his tremendous task of doing numerous gaming tables for the event (from which he survived with flying colours). From the very beginning I had a pretty clear idea of what I would want to do with the board. There are many great looking tables that are based inside the City of the Damned. I wanted to do something a bit different, a city wall separating the city and the world outside of it – the dead wood.
I did some sketches, found a solid executable plan and started making it real. I had to keep in mind that the thing would have to be somewhat transportable, so I decided to make the table from two 60x110cm foam boards (total dimensions being about 120x110x45cm). The buildings and the ruins inside the city would have to be detachable so that the layout of the city side could be worked out between the games.
The Dead Wood
The world outside of the wall was very fun part to work with. I had some experience from working with flora when I did a piece of board for our Thorn Moons Crusade campaign, in which I used some dead roots to make the organic parts for the terrain. So I used the same method when building the Dead Wood.
The carrying theme in our Mordheim MMXIX event was “what would Mordheim look 20 years after the disaster”. This made me think of our own world, namely the disaster that would leave it’s mark in the hirstory. I’m talking about Chernobyl nuclear accident that to me has much in common with the Mordheim setting. In the city of Pripyat, the nature has gained control of the territory and this was something I wanted to play with in Sleetheim board. In Sleetheim everyhing is more or less overgrown, mossy and very grim…
Ian Miller is an artist who really doesn’t need an introduction. To many (me included) he is one of the main creators of the grim and dark foundation of the Old World, which he helped to visualize with his bizarre looking trees, castles and creatures.
It goes without saying that I took lots of inspiration for the Sleetheim from Mr. Miller’s art. I wanted to emphasize the height of the city wall by building it much higher than those Citadel Mighty Fortess pieces would have rendered alone. So I poured through some old Warhammer rulebooks, saw Ian Miller’s drawings and bingo, that was something I knew I wanted to do.
I had some doubts about how the wall would effect in the playability of the gaming board, since it does split the table quite harshly. My fears were needless since it seemed to work rather well – especially in a siege style gaming which a bunch of us played during the Mordheim MMXIX happening.
At first I want to thank those donors who decided to help me with the ruins of the city: Sleet brother FPOA, @middenheimer, @aia75 and @tombarmby. Without you guys I would have died trying to build all the ruins inside the city in time!
I used both scratch built and Citadel kits to build the houses and ruins in the city side of the Sleetheim. Fortified Manor was especially good kit with it’s towers and many little bits that would help to make the scratch built ruins fit in.
Using scratch built ruins and some fine looking Citadel scenery can be tricky troublesome to make look good together. To help this work I decided to use very limited palette when painting the ruins: blue roofs on every building, greenish gray walls and stonework, green mossy effect on roofs an places it fitted and finally some weathering with pigment powders, gray dust and burnt timber.
In the end I managed to make a rather good looking gaming board along with a handful on miniatures for the event. Some of the minis did see action during the Mordheim MMXIX event and some were just on display. While taking photos of the board I couldn’t help but take some moody shots of the Averlanders, the Moot’s finest, the hired ogre and the lonely rider…
So there it is, wrapped up for now I’d say.
I never thought I’d get so deep in to Mordheim, actually so deep that it would haunt me in my nightmares for months while I was at it. But that it did, and damn those were wonderful times!