Just when you thought that Warhammer Third Edition was dead in the water, propped up with casual reprints from the Lost and the Damned and the monthly releases from Marauder Miniatures, White Dwarf published a completely out of the blue article of background. Not just a one page wonder either, but a deep analysis of the dark, underground world of the Skaven, from the pens of Rick 'Mr Wargiming' Priestley and Jes 'Mr Miniatures' Goodwin.
Now we know that there were many such articles written in the Design Studio in the late 1980s and many of you may recall Graeme Davis' story about his background article about trolls. Sadly, for reasons he alludes too in his interview, few of this material saw print in relationship to Warhammer Third Edition, though I suspect it was ransacked for armybooks and further articles later on in Warhammer's history.
So what do we have here then? Well its an article that gives a great overview to the skavan circa 1989. What really struck me was how little the background has changed to this day. everything we know and love about the ratmen is present in this article, even the iconic Screaming Bell and Council of the Thirteen! There are a couple of really interesting snippets of information within though, that are probably worth a little discussion and you fill find those at the bottom of the article.
|The model bottom left appears again in an 'Eavy Metal article. The third time at least if I recall correctly. That makes him probably the most republished model in WD until the creation of the Citadel plastic giant in 2006!|
So what did you spot that was different? Well, for me two things stand out. The first is the way that Cathay is described. In this article it is described as an 'abandoned city', so its seems that both the country and its capital shared the same name, similar to Rome and Romans I suppose. Now I am no expert at all, but I am pretty sure that I have never read anything else about there being an abandoned city called Cathay in the Warhammer background, have you?
Now this little fact is fascinating for a nerd like me. Why was Cathay abandoned? Was the idea ever fleshed out back then? It implies in the article above that the Skaven simply took over the city of Cathay after it was abandoned but it doesn't seem to me that they were the cause.
The second interesting thing that article brings up is mention of the Black Ark, which sounds all very Indiana Jones and the Search for the Lost Ark style, only with rats instead of Nazis and a chunk of warpstone rather than the writings of Moses.
Interesting points. What do you think?