Unseen library

Posted by  | Monday, March 7, 2011  at 12:10 AM  

Every year the Black Library goes to the trouble of arranging a special event for their illuminated readers. This gathering takes place in Nottingham at Warhammer World located on the premises of the Games Workshop headquarters here in the United Kingdom.

2 of the 350 tickets sold in advance of Black Library Live 2011 found their way into the hands of Eddy Morgan and I. Seeking inspiration in the hobby, we mere minstrels rocked up on the Saturday morning. The Black Library editorial team alongside a cast of published loremasters were ably supported by crew from Games Workshop and the Black Library. We had a tremendous day out! Here we'd like to recount something about it.

Ed trained down from Newcastle while I piloted my gull-winged vessel up from Poole in time for the start. We collected a free copy of Caledor each upon entrance making the ticket price a real bargain! Seminars and author signings had been brilliantly scheduled in such a way that we could duck into each of the mutually agreeable encounters and spare enough minutes for Ed to drain Bugman's barrel and nip out for a tab.

Before the first timed session began I was able to catch up with an old friend. Rich Packer was helping to man the author signings and pre-release sales area. Rich is a friendly face from his time working in the south around the couple of local stores around our home town. Ed snapped up the latest Night Lords novel from Aaron Dembski-Bowden plus more Gav Thorpe stuff, Path of the Warrior and a special limited edition novella The Bloody Handed. Meanwhile I neglected to notice the novella, going straight for the jugular with the 2nd Ulrika novel from Nathan Long and Broken Honour by Robert Earl.

Our first experience of Black Library Live was an intimate seminar with the editors; Lindsey Priestley, Christian Dunn and a new member from their team. The enthusiasm from both quarters was evident as quick-fire questions from the crowd were managed by the editorial staff. Christian was the lead vocal on the panel. Sat amongst us, two talented quills being published in upcoming Hammer & Bolter online releases were announced. We noticed a significant presence of creative writers expressing an interest in testing their mettle. Advice was cordially distributed that might help them avoid the many pitfalls surrounding submission guidelines.

The sun not yet over the yard arm, Edward sampled Bugman XXXXXX for the first time. Dwarf ale is a little weak for the tastes of the one they call 'Rock Lord'. As a result we tipped up 5 minutes late for the Time of Legends talk in Seminar Room 1. Being tardy meant we weren't allowed to join the seminar. Two jedi Vs a tough looking security lady. One mind-trick later and we were sat in the sparsely populated crowd. ToL has been a massive success for Black Library but Mr Abnett is top of the pops and his signing session diverted quite a number of die-hard delegates. Ed has avidly followed Gav Thorpe's Sundering series and also read the Nagash books whilst I have yet to turn the first leaf of these books (crowding my shelf). The release schedule grinds on with too many super new stories to distract us from our real world duties!

We learned a lot about the series in this historical seminar. There were bulletins revealing the next season of stories. Chris Wraight and Nick Kyme joined Gav Thorpe and Graham McNeill. Chris & Nick are collaborating on the War of the Beard series whilst Gav is tackling a retelling of the Vampire Wars. To my delight CL Werner will complete the line-up next season by narraing the Black Plague. Herr Wraight surprisingly delivered me the mic to pop my 2nd fan-boy question of the day and I also took the opportunity to congratulate Graham for the Gemmell award. My friends have read and recommended the Sigmar trilogy and his achieve is a great boon for Warhammer fiction.

After the session I bumped into Chris Wraight in the book sales area. Recognising him from the last seminar gave me the chance to praise his epic contribution to the Warhammer canon. Chris wrote two infectious stories for Heroes of the Empire, Sword of Justice and Sword of Vengeance. Detailing a sequence of events surrounding the coronation of a new elector count in Averland, Chris exposed famous characters Ludwig Schwartzhelm and Kurt Helborg respectively in both books. He is a really big fan of the Empire. I've read both books. They were not at all what I expected and I was massively entertained. Sword of Vengeance was the last novel I read before coming this event. It's fired my interest in Empire politics and increased my empathy with the nation. I will be getting the Luthor Huss story from the Heroes range the second it hits the shelves.

Graham McNeill regaling his lament at forgetting to bring his award trophy Snaga the Slayer, before Gav Thorpe and Stu Cresswell, both dressed as jawas in brown hoodies.

The Horus Heresy seminar was very entertaining. An all-star panel of authors including Dan Abnett was not something Eddy wanted to miss. I don't follow the series myself. However, the experience was more than insightful to an uneducated outlander. Ed has this smug grin on his face throughout the packed session.

Edward and I had the privilege of discussing Mordheim and Warhammer RPG with Andy Hoare during their signing session. We just turned up for a chat really and to say hello rather than collect wild signatures. Mordheim was also mentioned in passing by Nick Kyme in one of the seminars proving that city might be damned but it's not entirely forgotten! The Warhammer campaign Nemesis Crown was written by Andy Hoare. Andy thought the quality and the presentation of the Mordheim supplement for Nemesis Crown was very good. He's even picked it up to game with!

Andy previously expressed his support of the Border Town Burning supplement. I thanked him for his complimentary feedback on behalf of the originator Chris Templin and the wider community. We spoke briefly about the campaign objectives pioneered in BTB and how they should be further developed in an urban setting. When I confirmed this was indeed the intention for our next campaign adventure in Marienburg, Andy requested that he be kept apprised as it develops.

Andy Hoare (right) with Stu (left) enter into a staring contest.

Sandy Mitchell was surprised and amused when a copy of the old Marienburg roleplay book 'Dying of the Light' was thrust under his nose for signature. Sandy contributed the 3rd scenario, concerning a Fimir ambush in the Wasteland. Where as he claimed to believe his copy was the only one still in his exist, Rich confirmed he still has his copy of this classic resource. After distracting Sandy from his 'real work' we remembered that blogs look better with pictures and found a volunteer to capture this line-up for our rogues gallery.

From left to right: Sandy Mitchell (holding his profane tome), Andy Hoare, Stu, Eddy, Rich Packer

The last order of the day was another seminar, with Christian and Nick joined by Darius Hinks. The trio arrived to spill the beans on previously unconfirmed publishing plans. We couldn't miss this peek into the crystal ball! My well-mannered enthusiasm inspired me to cheer 'rowdily' at the announcement of 2 or 3 releases. The open forum permitted me to fire a couple of left-field questions concerning minority characters.

Unfortunately it doesn't sound like there will be a Sam Warble casebook sanctioned any time soon (boo!) but there is an understanding that intrigue is being promoted to compliment all the warmongering. Amidst the tide of military themed publications comes news that Zavant Konniger's 'incomplete' casebook is being reissued along with some previously excluded material.

The slick organisation of the days events coupled with the availability of quality literature in advance of the products planned release will encourage us to return to Warhammer World. I would recommend the live event to more friends who enjoy the stories and urge them to participate in the future.

Before departing we holed up for a bit in Bugman's. I managed to hook up with an old friend from my days spent playing on the tournament circuit of Magic the Gathering. Co-incidentally his wife is a published author and is acquainted to Graham McNeil through a writing group she's attended. Oh and there was also a bar brawl in Bugman's instigated by one very soused Norseman who sprouted claws and sharp fangs when a sozzled Sea Elf spilled his pint of Troll's Brew!

As it turns out, the Norse couldn't hold their liquor quite as well as the Elven revellers. Werekin's warband retired (routed) while Skarloc (aka Ed) and his troupe of Elves celebrated to the soundtrack of their minstrel's Litany of Deeds played as a victory song during Last Orders!

For another perspective on the event check out this blogger's event experience: myfavouritebooks.blogspot.com