Warhammer: A Horror Story

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]

Gather Around, My Friends

As we approach all hallows eve, I have a cautionary tale of death, destruction, and a tape measure.

Take heed my intrepid reader, this story could save your life. 

Our tale begins little more than a fortnight ago. Via text delivered through the ether of 5G, I was cordially invited to our fearless leader Tyson’s well-fortified bunker, nestled in the shadowy wilderness of Northern New England. This meeting was to serve as a “light-hearted” introduction to something called, “Warhammer”. I happily accepted and a few days later, as the sun dipped below the horizon, I traveled up from the depths of Massachusetts to explore this seemingly harmless game, played on a table the size of a drawbridge.

We started our evening consuming smoked meats and spirits at a local tavern. The mood was light though the sky grew progressively darker, almost as if it were a herald of impending doom. Tyson was infamous within this establishment. The kindly barkeep was careful to see to his every need, and the needs of myself, his hapless companion. We ate, drank, sang songs of victory, and listened on as locals told legends of thunderous explosions in the nearby forest and scores of ravaged bodies turning up in the local river with imprints of D6 burned into their foreheads. I listened with rapt attention while Tyson began to shift nervously in his chair. 

After about an hour, an old woman in the back of the tavern gingerly rose from her weathered chair. She lifted her frail arm and leveled her bony index finger in our direction. Though wearing eye-patches over each eye, it felt as though she was looking into our souls. 

“You!” She hissed through wrinkled lips and blackened teeth. 

The room grew quiet. Patrons turned and looked in our direction. Sensing a disturbing change in the crowd’s mood, we quickly paid and left. Tyson’s car roared to life with an alarming eruption of fire and inky black smoke. He stomped on the gas pedal and the SUV responded abruptly with tires squealing. We narrowly escaped a gathering swarm of villagers holding torches and pitchforks.

When we returned to the safety of Tyson’s underground lair, hidden safely within an active volcano, we opened a bottle of brown liquid with a distinct maple odor. Kera appeared from the darkness holding two mugs that looked suspiciously like human skulls. 

“Surely, they are just clever facsimiles.” I thought to myself.  

We filled our vessels and drank to our narrow escape from the tavern. Kera and I engaged in conversation while Tyson produced boxes and boxes of equipment needed for this so-called “game”. He constructed a tower in the center of the table and handed me beautifully appointed figures that I would take command of. I was excited for this adventure; little did I know the carnage that laid ahead. 

The game started calmly enough. I learned that my squads had massive amounts of fire power. I had some shooty guys, a tank thing, two dude who were virtually invincible, some kind of Hulk-Buster, and a bag of roughly 4,000 die. Using a solid, “Leroy Jenkins” strategy, I began my attack. Almost immediately, I had to roll for violence; like 35 times. First, I rolled to hit. Okay, got it. That makes sense. Then I rolled for damage. This is also something I am familiar with from many other games I have played. Then Tyson started rolling. Apparently, in Warhammer, much like real war, the other side rolls to determine if it’s okay to hit them. This made me unreasonably angry. 

I knew that I was not being cheated. While I was taking more losses than Russia in Ukraine, there were no shenanigans. In fact, Tyson carefully and patiently explained to me what the rules were. He was extremely thorough when noting the reasons that my band of brothers would have to die while he furiously leafed through the pages of thick, dusty books like an old-timey wizard.
Artist’s depiction of Tyson during our game.
Image source
Things quickly progressed into a rout of horrifically epic proportions. The icy hands of fear had a vice-like grip on my heart. For a brief time, I took cover behind some plastic shipping containers as Tyson maliciously rolled his attacks, 400 die at a time clutched in his massive, bear-like fists. 
The match took ages to play out. I felt as though I was engaged in some kind of Cyberpunk re-imagining of “War and Peace”, or more accurately, Tyson was the war and I was in pieces. In fact, even my own squad betrayed me. One of my “Jet-Pack Zoomy Guys” (I’m not good with names) threw himself off the table, rather than face the malevolent hail-storm of die and shame.  

Then, just like that, the game ended. As I surveyed the battlefield, I came to realize the error of my ways. Much like many overconfident armies, I came into unfamiliar territory with a ragtag, untested group of scrappy mercenaries and was pummeled worse than Napoleon in Moscow circa 1812 by a passionate and well-prepared Army of professional skull-crushers. Furthermore, I had underestimated my opponent. I naively assumed our friendship would grant me some level of safety but I quickly discovered that in battle, there are no friends. If I learned anything from Warhammer and the horrors of my destruction on that dark September night, it’s that “Only the dead know the end of war.” 

Touché, Tyson. 

We will meet again. 
“The dead”


C.W. “Sarge” Kennedy is a weird, portly war veteran living in southeastern Massachusetts. He has some kind of degree from an accredited university but you wouldn’t know it by looking at his gaping maw as he tries to operate simple technological devices. Room temperature IQ aside, Sarge is a cohost of The Citizen’s Guide to the Supernormal podcast, collaborator on the YouTube Channel Sarge the Destroyer, obnoxious Tweeter known as @bastardprophet, and part-time Instagram train-wreck. If you like short stories with questionable grammar, you can buy two of them at Amazon. He has no other valuable qualities according to people who know him.

Sarge’s contributions