• Willard Foxton-Todd

THE MAN WITH THE 20-SIDED BRAIN

Kieron Gillen is one of the most interesting game designers, comic book writers and journalists working today; he was good enough to speak to Willard Foxton-Todd about the whole breadth of his career, but especially the places where his writing has intersected with gaming.


A true storytelling polymath, he’s flipped successfully from creating the “New Games Journalism”(2) movement and founding gaming review website Rock, Paper, Shotgun, to writing the biggest characters in billion dollar franchises (including Darth Vader in Star Wars (3), the X-Men in the Marvel Universe and Marneus Calgar (4) in Warhammer 40,000), to creating critically-lauded creator-owned comics (DIE, The Wicked + the Divine) (5) and even roleplaying games, this year launching both an indie RPG based on the DIE universe, and one the year’s most off the wall games, Come Dice With Me, which recreates the experience of being a contestant on an anarchic Channel 4 cooking show.


Talking to him is fascinating - much like being in a meteor storm of deepest-cut pop culture references, regularly punctuated by asteroids of meaningful thought about games or the nature of storytelling today.


Just in case you’re the sort of person who’s reading this on a Twitter drive by, and don’t have much grounding in say, computer gaming, or comics, or tabletop gaming, or Channel 4 cooking shows, we’ve provided a series of wholly optional footnotes to guide you through the cascade of pop culture references. Think of them like the audio logs you find scattered around in a horror game as environmental storytelling… wholly optional yet fascinating, informative and maybe even chilling in parts?


Wyrd Science: You started off your career as games journalist, and were big in the New Games Journalism movement, which saw games journalism as the same as travel writing, describing how the experience of play felt – less playing, more like taking a holiday into a game.


Do your comics draw on that? Is your new Marneus Calgar comic like a holiday in Warhammer 40,000?


Kieron Gillen: It's a holiday. You know I hate to quote the Sex Pistols but it’s a holiday in somebody else's misery. I have an interest in the idea of the physicality of the fictions we visit. Which, you know, is not a very funny answer. But in those terms, I do try to say “Ok, what is it like to be there?”


So, when talking about City of Heroes (6) back in the day - what that really gave people who wrote superhero comics was an understanding of what it was like to fly, or to jump over a skyscraper, or run down a back alleyway and jump over a fence à la Daredevil. Games are really interested in that fake physical stuff, and they’re very, very good at that kind of thing.


The real answer is my fiction tends to break down those boundaries and has a sense of play. So rather than saying, “here's a place you can go to”, it's like, “there's a place, and I’ve planted you in that and we are going to explore the gaps.”


Will Wright (7) was once talking about games, and he said “you start playing a game when you pick it up off the shelf”. Which of course dates the comment, but you know, the idea that when you see the back of the game, you start thinking about what it'd be like to be in The Sims, or what would like to be in Deus Ex (8) or any of those games.


And that's very true with the fiction I tried to write. That's what fandom is - the idea that people try to live inside something in an extended sense. So I quite often try to write work which is bigger than the page.

City of Heroes, screenshot by Tom Francis (https://www.flickr.com/photos/pentadact/)

WS: You mentioned City of Heroes, which I was a huge fan of when it was around. So - you can pick from any sort of genre of game - which games mean the most to you?


KG: What games mean the most to me is tricky because - and here's the awful weird fact as somebody who actually coined the phrase “New Games Journalism” and was a quote unquote “major video games critic” - it makes me want to kill myself saying that sentence, but I was…


But I haven't played a AAA game since 2012... I mean, I've played some, but no more than say, four hours tops for each one. The exception might have been Diablo 3, which I played with my wife a lot. But I've probably done more programming of games since then.


However, historically speaking, Deus Ex meant the world to me (9). Thief (10) meant the world to me. They're kind of like my Velvet Underground, if I was Lester Bangs (11). Earlier my definitive teenage games - I was an Amiga kid, so stuff like Sensible Soccer, I don’t like football, but Sensible Soccer taught me to understand football.


Moving beyond computer games, you've got role-playing games, like Monsterhearts (12). So, in 2012 that's the last AAA computer game I played, and in 2013 I discovered Monsterhearts. And it's like my route to all the things in DIE, including writing the game system for it, was kind of born from my re-entry into indie RPG stuff.


I’m trying to think what RPGs I fell in love with as a teenager... Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play was my long campaign; The Enemy Within (13) was my definitive game there.


WS: So, zeroing in one one game you mentioned there - Thief - which you might not have thought about for a long time, I remember you wrote a wonderful piece - probably one of my favourite pieces of journalism ever actually - on the Shalebridge Cradle (14), the Orphanage level in Thief, and the profound effect it had on you. What other gaming moments had that kind of effect on you?


KG: The idea in that article was that instead of talking about games from the outside, you were talking about games as a thing that is experienced. And the thing about that article was, it was both all about mapping this one space and also about what's it like to be there and how we piece together narrative from moving through an environment.


For me, that was one of the things I think games did best back then, and probably still do best now, better than any other medium. If I stop in a novel, and describe every book on that bookshelf, then that that novel falls apart. Likewise if it's a movie you'd have to pause for ages. Whereas in some games, people are literally stopping and kind of just looking at every book spine and taking that all in.


Aside from that, I always wonder about moments in games where things break, and it hits you, and you wonder whether these games are maybe more profound than you think.


The one I always think about, the first one where I became aware of games creating emotion, was something a little bit more plaintive. It was a game called WHERE TIME STOOD STILL by Denton Designs, an isometric adventure game. Very genre based, sort of action adventure stuff.


The venerable Where Time Stood Still, oddly enough available now on Steam if you fancy playing it

The game was based around four people. So you had the big buff bloke, a lady who was competent but feisty, her useless fiancé, and an enormous, useless banker guy, and they sort of follow each other around the level. So I am playing and the fiancé got grabbed by a pterodactyl, and you chase across the landscape to find him and eventually you find where the pterodactyl dropped him, and he's dead.


So we get there and I take his stuff because, well you know the items are of use and then I started walking off. And the woman is just not going anywhere. I go back and try to make her move and she's still just standing there by the corpse of her fiancé.


Eventually she comes with me and now of course, that might have just been a pathfinding error, but at the same time, that's a sort of emotional moment. So I'm saying that's happened and is very real, and is now the reality for me. So there’s the idea that you can get a kind of lived experience in games, and that was one that was a very small but profound moment.


It's amazing how these funny glitches can make or break things and create moments that maybe the creators never thought of. It's a simple enough thing that they could have programmed it in so I can't be sure. But that was an idea actually that I put into the fear article that led to the Shalebridge Cradle being created; that games are often quite emotional.


Games are at their scariest when you don't know all the rules, because basically the question of reality itself becomes in question. In other words, I don't know if this is a simulation, I don't know what the rules are. We all feel at least nervous and anxious when we don't understand the boundaries of where we are and this is weirdly a lot like what I've been designing with the DIE RPG, some of the stuff I've been explicitly trying to put into it.


I'm a big fan of most recent indie RPGs, but DIE is a lot about the fetishization of the old stuff in D&D – so yeah, we're gonna play on the idea that the dungeon master is creepy, that the dice REALLY are magic, all the satanic panic stuff (15).


And most importantly, you not being sure how the world works. The gap is what I'm interested in, I think, because the gap is mystery.

Photo: Tom Medwell

WS: Obviously, as a reader of DIE, I can see you’re holding a large d20 as you’re saying this. And I'm obliged to ask whether that controls all time, space and the universe?


KG: I’m working on it. This actually is my fidget tool… but DIE is actually a roll down D20 like this one, a shit one, instead of like a properly distributed d20.


A roll down d20 is one you can cheat with, and that’s what the DIE *is*. So I keep it on the desk as well, so I can I do my math. So I can see, they're here [he points to a face on the dice] and what's the physicality of it.


WS: Oh I see. I never actually quite realised that the planet they’re transported to in DIE is actually a d20. I probably should have realised, but I never actually twigged that it was before...


KG: Yeah. It's like, on the covers we've got an exploded D20. We've got dice all the way down.


DIE art by Stephanie Hans

WS: So you mentioned earlier your teenage campaign was the Enemy Within campaign, the classic Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play mega-campaign. Are you one of the dozen people that *actually* finished it (16) and how did your experiences of teenage roleplaying feed into DIE, both the comic and the roleplaying game?


KG: Yes we went all the way through and just as everyone who's actually got that far says, Empire In Flames is a disappointment (17), but Power Behind the Throne (18) is a genuine classic.


What was interesting to me about that particular campaign was it felt like adolescence. It felt like we came in to it used to very D&D tropes, like we're gonna go and kill some monsters and take their stuff. And then by the time we got to Power Behind the Throne we're playing a political game, trying to get access to powerful people who don’t want to speak to us whilst solving a murder mystery.


So when we got to the end of the Enemy Within campaign, to Empire in Flames, it was disappointing – it was “Oh no, we've got to go down a dungeon again”. (19)


WS: And did that teenage campaign feed into those relationships between the characters in DIE?


KG: …Maybe? It taught me about the social group, partly how people get together and relate to each other, but only partially, because the social group I've created for DIE isn't real.


At the same time, the, the dynamics I see in players and their intentions is very much there. We probably played it for about two years, so being in a group that long the emotionality of that is one of the key things I drew on. I played a diplomat, a very talkative halfling, which isn't *quite* Ash, but it's interesting.


DIE art by Stephanie Hans

WS: Ash – the main character in DIE, they do describe themselves as a diplomat in in the comic.


KG: Really? Hmmm, I've always liked talking characters.


One creepy thing from DIE, I’ve thought a few of these things since - but there was somebody in that teenage Enemy Within game, whose name I don't remember, I've no idea why he played in the game with us. He was the year above us, I think. I just don't know. And I've asked a couple of people who were in the game and I'm still quite good friends with, and we've got no idea who they were.


We can't remember their name and it's just weird, and so we’re always like, oh, that guy's the lost soul. He's the person we lost in the fantasy world. And I know that's not true. (20)


WS: Well, it could be true. After speaking to you I feel like I could go downstairs and find a man with d20s for eyes soundlessly screaming at me. Sticking with DIE for a second, one of the things I find really interesting about it is the moment that it appeared in.


Stranger Things was about to happen, Critical Role was about turn into this massive phenomenon of stadium D&D, and alongside those you have DIE appearing as THE comic book about role playing games - did you feel like it was like a time when RPGs were going to break through and become more mainstream? Or was it just a happy coincidence?


KG: It definitely is a weirdly happy coincidence. I mean, a reminder you're part of the Zeitgeist.


I had the idea at San Diego 2016 (21). And then that Monday night I was having dinner with a writer friend and I said “I've got an idea for my new book. I'm really excited” and I tell him, and he says, “oh. Have you seen the new TV show? Stranger folks? I know what it's about, it starts with 1980s D&D” and I go, “Motherfucker”.


Then I watched Stranger Things thinking “Oh, is this just it?”


Now, obviously, DIE and Stranger Things are completely different, but I did tweak my pitch verbally to make sure they didn’t sound the same. The original idea of DIE actually set it in 1983-1985, because that's when that's when the D&D TV cartoon was on, so it was explicitly mapping whatever happens to the D&D kids. And of course 1983 is also Stranger Things!


So that was one reason I pushed it to the 90s, but pushing it all into the 90s also pushed it into that realm where they can be a bit different as well. I thought, so by 91 Cyberpunk (22) is out. I mean, realistically, 80 to 85, you could only really do D&D I suppose.


The 90s are still not as picked over as the 80s, and it makes it more personal. The DIE characters are my age – after WicDiv, I wanted to write people at least as old as I was.


I mean, the original DIE I wanted to write was something a bit purer, but I always tend to overload my ideas. I wanted character studies of the six people and how life had gone right and wrong, and comparing their teenage life to adult life with a fancy metaphor, that's very pure, elegant writing.


And then of course, I throw the entire history of the RPG in there, you know, I mean, all that kind of extra stuff was not part of the core DIE idea.


I was worried that someone else was going to do something similar first. Like, obviously, there's been quite a lot of RPG comics but no one had ever done a serious RPG comic. You know, the big “Hi, we're going to do a deconstructionary comic about why we play games anyway”.


And, that felt like the gap.


DIE art by Stephanie Hans

WS: So to talk about the RPG aspect, we both played role playing games in the 90s, and 2000s. What do you think the landscape of RPGs is like, now? Do you think it's better or worse?


KG: Better! Much better!


I've actually started doing some interviews with major RPG figures in the back of issues of DIE now. And my thesis is that the 2010s were the most interesting period in the RPG world since the initial decade of the 70s.


In almost everything it’s great. In the mainstream, there's a very good edition of D&D, Critical Role (23) has essentially invented stadium D&D, and after about 35 years there's been so many layers of demystification that people can just try the fucking thing. People are not scared of a dice in the way they were back then.


I know that the indie scene has led to games I could not even possibly have imagined as a teenager. But you also have a very healthy mainstream D&D scene, you've got other games that are older - people who make those games are still making those games and people still like them, AND you've got all the kind of weird underground stuff AND you've got the proliferation of LARP in different ways.


To me I think it's incredibly exciting right now. So, for example, I just wrote the COME DICE WITH ME RPG, this tongue in cheek gaming version of Come Dine with Me (24). That is a completely playable game that you can get out with your friends who like the TV show and just have fun and mock each other with. So, yeah, I mean, that's RPGs now.


WS: Something I find interesting is the ongoing professionalisation of tabletop gaming, the idea of “T-Sports” (25) and particularly in roleplaying, the rise of the professional GM. What do you think it’s like being a teenager now and having to compare your game to what’s being delivered by professionals with huge budgets on Youtube?


KG: I can only get what I’ve picked up from people. I'm aware there is a pressure in terms of the “problem” of something like Critical Role, or any of the big things where people are expected to have the exact same experience that Matt Mercer (26) brings to the table.


That's difficult, because it's something you learn. In some ways, it's better than the alternative. Because remember, when we were doing it, we learned ourselves, and fuck me, we were bad (27).


I mean the real RPG horror stories you hear are born from people not knowing what they’re doing. So at least by having a publicly available example of how to do it, it makes you realise “okay, this is at least gives me some guidelines of how it could work”.


A good example is, I was such a bad painter back in the day, I really was terrible. I'm still not great. But this was because the information I got was basically just all from Games Workshop, you know, the one issue of White Dwarf you had, but now it's like, ok, I'll Google how to do stuff, and then you get all the tutorials and that accessibility of knowledge applies to DMing too.


But it's definitely hard and I don't envy any teenagers having to deal with the pressure. I mean, obviously, gaming is just one of many pressures you've got to deal with being very online at that age. I can't imagine what it would do to my brain. Like, you know, that's really hard.


WS: Talking teenagers, you’ve written a lot of teen books - Young Avengers, The Wicked + the Divine - and I think one thing that’s really interesting with WicDiv is the trajectory of your career.


So although you had done other stuff before WicDiv, it was quite early in your career, and it is this incredible creator owned, sprawling, epic with deep themes. And now you're writing Marneus Calgar. So are you the Orson Welles (28) of comic books?


KG: Well, people say Orson Welles career went wrong when he did the Transformers movie. And I say the opposite. That was a suitable climax to a full-on career.


One of the great things about how I've been in comics is you can be a bit slutty. It’s not like I have to wrestle a novel, and only wrestle that novel for the entirety of x number of years. I can be like, “well this sounds a fun thing to do”.


With Marneus Calgar I just like the universe, and I reckoned I could have some fun with it and piece together something that I thought was fun and also explanatory - it’s “Okay, I like 40K, let me try to explain why like 40K.”

Marneus Calgar in action, art by Jacen Burrows, published by Marvel Comics

WS: I've seen you refer to Marneus Calgar in other interviews as the Batman: Year One for Warhammer 40,000, a jumping on point for the universe. As a 40k fan, what mistake do you think other people make when they are trying to hook people in?


KG: The tension in 40K is difficult. My take on 40k is I don’t wink at the camera, ever. But at the same time I still think it is pretty funny; the book is simultaneously bleak and hilarious.


I'm not gonna say it's like Catch 22 (29), but at the same time Catch 22 is the sort of thing you should be thinking about a little in terms of “Oh, this is utterly horrific. But also very funny.” It doesn’t have to be though. You can do a straight horror story about the Inquisition and ideally that can be not funny at all.


In my case with Marneus, what I want to do is make sure that the universe is terrible, but explicitly, so there is immediately the ironic distance to step back - a bit like looking at a heavy metal album cover.


This isn't meant to be a place that I want to be, but it is a place which I find expresses, in its contradictions, stuff that I've found entertaining. I think people quite often overstate the concept of satire in 40K. I mean, I think it's definitely satirical, but the same time I think that the most important note to strike is probably the horror of it.


The other thing about Warhammer is it’s big. It’s REALLY big, and so you can do fractal storytelling in the same way that you can with Star Wars.


Tegan O'Neill wrote an amazing piece about Star Wars (30), and one of the things she said about Star Wars is its fractal effect. When you watch the movies, it feels like it’s ever expanding.


So you walk into the bar, and then you have all these weird aliens and you think “Who the hell's that guy? I bet that guy's got a great story” and it doesn't matter that you don't know it.


That’s one of the things I tried to do in Star Wars, for every single thing I explain, I'll add more stuff. So it's never just “where did x character get their shoes from?” It's always something else new.


Photo: Tom Medwell

WS: Your passions in this area - especially for Warhammer really comes through. How did it feel when you knew the ink was dry on the contract and you knew you were going to be writing Marneus Calgar?


KG: I often talk about how the Wolverine moment – you know, the first time you earn money from writing “SNIKT” (31) or “BUDDA BUDDA BUDDA” with the Punisher - is fun. It’s great earning money for writing stuff about power fists. Honestly, across the five issues of Marneus Calgar, it could be subtitled “Marneus Calgar does horrible things with his power fists”.


That said, I do come to work for hire with my writer head on rather than my fan boy head on. With my adult brain on I ask “What do I love about 40k? And how do I explain that to people?”


One of my main teenage memories of Warhammer was the excitement when they introduced Tyranids and linked them to the Genestealers. I loved Space Hulk (32) the game, and that reveal where they told us that the Tyranids are connected to the Genestealers, I just remember thinking “Oh my god, and they're going to destroy the universe, shit, what's going to happen?” (33)


And that's why 40k is fantastic. There’s definitely stuff that is part of 40k, but it's also big enough that you can basically do what you want in it. It’s a rich enough fictional tapestry for you to make your own stories and justify sitting there for hours, painting all your little people.


FOOTNOTES


1. “Icosahedral” is the proper word for a 20-sided Polyhedral, a shape you’ll be most familiar with as the pivotal D&D dice, the d20


2. “New Games Journalism” came out of a late 1990s world where game journalism was really stodgy and everything was rendered in bland numbers like “78% Graphics, 43% Sound, 63% Gameplay”. Pushing back on this in magazines like EDGE, people like Gillen (who coined the term New Games Journalism) tried to make the journalism more about giving the reader a sense of what it was like to be in the game’s world.


3. Come on. You know who Darth Vader is.


4. Marneus Calgar is the leader of the Ultramarines, a blue coloured army of superhumans in Games Workshop’s dystopian Warhammer 40,000 universe. Once, while working in a Games Workshop a wee lad asked me for him by asking for “Monreece Cragler, he’s the King of the Space Marines”, and to be honest, that’s not a bad elevator pitch of who he is and his role in the Warhammer universe.


5. DIE is one of Kieron’s current comics, which takes the central premise of the 1980s D&D Cartoon – a group of teenage D&D players are pulled into a fantasy world and spend years trying to escape and explores how nightmarish that scenario would really be. The Wicked + the Divine was a long running, critically acclaimed, series Kieron created alongside longtime artistic foil Jamie McKelvie and covered themes of life, death, pop-culture and celebrity.


6. City of Heroes was a brilliant massive multiplayer online roleplaying game, where you could create any superhero you wanted, with a full suite of powers drawn from classic comic books. Perhaps better remembered for its superb character creation options rather than it’s gameplay, it was shut down in 2012, but the source code leaked online last year, so it can be tracked down and experienced with some persistence.


7. Will Wright is a veteran American video games designer and creator of the phenomenally successful life simulator The Sims.


8. Deus Ex is a remarkably (and I mean remarkably) prescient cyberpunk adventure game released twenty years ago. Among the things that crop up in the game are:


- Governments using crises (pandemics (!) and terrorism (and this was before 9/11)) to trample civil liberties

- The morality of the use of torture in interrogation

- Massive corporations having undue influence in politics and civic life

- Poor and unjust allocation of healthcare including vaccine allocation due to personal wealth

- Mass surveillance

- The risks of AI, including competing AIs and AIs replacing religion

- Militias in the US (though they're the good guys and lots of Latinos have joined)

- The rise of China and US fears of being overtaken by a Chinese hegemony


And all of this crops up sometimes through the main plot and sometimes through dialogue with random NPCs that you really have to go out of your way to explore. Has any other game been anywhere near this rich in the topics it's brought up and caused gamers to think about?


9. He’s got good taste, this Gillen chap. It’s worth saying as well as being incredible prescient, Deus Ex is also a cracking game.


10. The Thief series pretty much laid the template for all stealth based games made since. If you’ve ever thrown a rock to distract a guard, you’ve played something influenced by Thief. Kieron wrote a legendary article on Thief’s most famous level, the Shalebridge Cradle, a genuinely terrifying section where you have to explore a haunted orphanage. If you believe the game, anyone who learns too much about the orphanage carries a part of its darkness with them forever. Too late for you now.


11. Lester Bangs was a 1970s American music journalist, widely considered to be one of the finest critics of the time, who died after a gigantic binge on cough syrup.


12. Monsterhearts is a genuinely brilliant and remarkably deep roleplaying game about the romantic lives and struggles of teenage monsters in a high school. If you’ve ever wanted to roleplay Jennifer’s Body or Ginger Snaps, this is the game for you.


13. The Enemy Within is a genuinely epic, 7 book, 1000+ page roleplaying campaign, which Games Workshop released in the 1980s and Cubicle7 are currently re-publishing for their 4th edition of Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play.


14. You can read this article here, but beware, after reading it you will know things you cannot un-know.


15. Kieron is referencing a legendarily crazy US church campaign which branded D&D as genuinely satanic, likely to cause teen suicide and even claimed if you reached a high enough level, you could cast REAL magic.


You can have a look at some of the notorious material here.


16. The author has never finished it, but has started it 3 times. I’ve never been able to get past the bit with the nightmarish, mutant filled, Gormenghast inspired castle, at least partly because just prior to that you have the opportunity to become prosperous wool traders, and once someone is making hundreds of gold and has a comfortable life taking wool from town to town, it’s tough to convince them to pick up a sword again. This was never a problem for Aragorn, was it?


17. This is the final book of Enemy Within, which is great up to that point. Kieron is right about it being a disappointment, there’s a strong “Final season of Game of Thrones” vibe to the whole thing.


18. Power behind the throne is the mid-point of The Enemy Within. It’s *remarkably* mature and clever for a game released in the late 1980s, being best thought of as a sort of fantasy West Wing simulator, where you win by obtaining enough political influence to change a law (by bribery, blackmail, or plain old charm).


19. I mean, you are going down into a dungeon to retrieve Ghal Maraz, the actual hammer of the Empire in question’s patron-god Sigmar, but still, after all the wool trading, murder mystery and political intrigue it does come as a bit of a shock.


20. As he told this story Kieron looked genuinely haunted. If you are the mystery man, please come forward. Unless you’ve been possessed by some sort of nightmarish Jumanji-style d20, of course.


21. San Diego Comic Con, the largest annual comic and pop culture festival in the world.


22. First released in 1988 Cyberpunk was an RPG set in a dystopian, then, future reality and by the early 90s the game was on its second edition, set in the cursed year of 2020. Publishers R. Talsorian have just released a new, 4th, edition set in 2045 whilst video game publisher CD Projekt Red’s long awaited Cyberpunk 2077 has also just been released (and, depending on when this is published, perhaps recalled).


23. Critical Role is a frustratingly good web series, created by a group of voice actors filming their D&D sessions. It’s brilliantly performed and, if you’ve somehow managed to avoid it up until now, well worth a look.


24. A British competitive cooking show featuring 4 members of the public who take turns to host a dinner party which the others then score. It is compulsive viewing and often provides an incredible insight into the British class system and social dynamics. Highlights are available, and recommended viewing, on YouTube.


25. T-Sport – like an E-sport but for tabletop gaming. This is a thing people are desperately trying to make happen for games like Warhammer.


26. American voice actor for countless cartoons, anime and video games, Matt Mercer is also the GM and driving force behind Critical Role.


27. Maybe he was bad. I was playing with the sort of people who got deep into the reality of wool trading, not some faceless being erased from time by the dark magic of polyhedral dice.


28. Orson Welles famously started his career by directing and starring in Citizen Kane, widely regarded as the best film ever made, and ended his career acting as the voice of Unicron in 1986’s The Transformers: The Movie, and directing commercials for Hofmeister beer. It’s been argued that Welles lived his life in reverse.


29. Joseph Heller’s acclaimed 1961 satirical anti-war novel, what it lacks in wizards it more than makes up for in all other regards


30. It’s really, really good. It’s also 8,000 words long. But hey, you’ve read this far, so you aren’t doing *any* work this morning are you? Enjoy


31. “SNIKT” is famously the sound effect Wolverine’s adamantium claws make when unsheathed, bub.


32. Released in 1989 Games Workshop’s Space Hulk was a 2-player board game that set Terminator Armour clad Space Marines against Genestealers, an alien race of ‘not-quite-Xenomorphs’, on board an ancient ruined spaceship. It is generally agreed to be up there with the best things Games Workshop have ever released.


33. I *also* remember my jaw hitting the floor with this reveal in White Dwarf 131.

This article is drawn from a free-flowing conversation that has been edited for clarity, and perhaps unbelievably at this point, for length


DIE art by Stephanie Hans

Photography by Tom Medwell


Come Die With Me and the beta of the DIE RPG are both available at https://kierongillen.itch.io

The full version will be coming to Kickstarter in 2022, published by Rowan Rook & Decard


If you have a tolerance for puns you can keep up to date with all Kieron’s activities on Twitter at @kierongillen


The first three volumes of DIE are available right now, with the fourth and final out in November


This Feature originally appeared in Wyrd Science Vol.1, Issue 1

0 comments

Recent Posts

See All