Holy crap. Read this novella, because it is awesome.

As many of you know, I recently wrote a novella for Privateer Press called Instruments of War, set in the universe of the Warmachine/Hordes universe. It was pretty good, and I had a lot of fun writing it.

While I was writing IoW I mentioned to Privateer Press that there were some other really good authors that I was friends with, who I also played Warmachine with. So I introduced them. One of these authors was Dan Wells, who many of you know from his I Am Not A Serial Killer series and Partials.

So Dan, who is known for writing thrillers about sociopaths and psychopaths and murderers was asked to write a novel about a famous character called the Butcher. Appropriate. 🙂


The thing is, I got to read the rough draft of this novella, and I’ll be honest, it totally blew me away. Honestly I think this is one of the best stories I’ve ever read. Not game fiction, any fiction. Dan took a character that could have been one dimensional, Mr. Ax to the Face, Psycho Kill Machine, and made him real, amazing, interesting, tragic, and still utterly freaking murder nuts.

For those of you not familiar with the Warmachine universe, this is a really good one to jump in with. It is set in a place that’s not too weird (compared to the torture/pain/murder world I got to write with the Skorne). Think of it as magic steampunk Imperial Russia and you’ve got Khador.

Trust me on this one. This story rocks.

The Drowning Empire, Episode 24: From Finery to Ruin
Sunday Afternoon Painting WiP

11 thoughts on “Holy crap. Read this novella, because it is awesome.”

  1. Orsus is actually a more complex character than many think. The same with Karchev. When you make your living cutting people in half with an ace it is hard for others to see their inner soul.

  2. I’ve been a fan of the Butcher since I picked up Prime MKI a couple of months before Escalation dropped way back when. I don’t think I’ve gone more than about three games in a row since then without using him. This is an insta-buy for me. I’ve been checking back every now and then to see when this released. I checked last night and it was still “coming soon.” Looks like I’m going to toss $5 SIE’s direction today.

  3. For any of those who haven’t read the “I Am Not a Serial Killer” books, I highly recommend them.

    The background:
    A young boy one day discovers news accounts of serial killers. He is curious and learns how to identify them. He realizes that he has all the same traits as a serial killer.

    The title of the book “I am not a serial killer” ISN’T him protesting innocence. It’s what he tells himself every day when he looks in the mirror.

    He’s basically a good kid that has no conscience and it scares him. He very fervently does NOT want to be a serial killer.

    And the family business is a mortuary.

    I already bought “The Butcher of Khardov”, even though I hate Kindle reading.

  4. One day, a while ago…

    “Hey, how about we become book publishers?”
    “With what? I don’t have any money, you don’t have any, and neither one of us know any authors.”
    “There’s gotta be a way”

    “Let’s make a table top game get the best authors playing, and they’ll write books about it for us! They’ll all be ebooks, so we don’t have to print or do anything. We won’t even have to learn writing.”

    “That is the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. How do we create a whole new game?”

    “Easy, just take our favorite, and throw out all the stupid crap. We don’t even have to figure that part out, just look for the complainers on the web. First we only read criticisms from people intelligent enough to write english properly, then make the fixes. By the time the crap is gone, the game will be too different to call it a rip off, if it’s even recognizable at all. I’ll call it ‘standing on the shoulders of giants.’ ”

    “I’ll call it standing on my toes in a cesspool, but OK”

    *googles:* 40K ‘stupid because’ ‘they should’

  5. Honestly, the Butcher is is what turned me off of Khador. I love the Jacks, the models… and then I read the fluff after picking up some (as in a lot of) models.


    Any Empire that keeps that monster about deserves to lose and lose hard. Never mind that they’re digging up and using the old eldrich (read: soul-eating and corrupting) weapons of the guys who raped the continent for a few centuries prior. I keep hoping they’ll lose hard to Cygnar, splinter up, and and Vlad will get his own country… but I’m not holding my breath. Most games like this have very miniscule changes, when change actually happens, but nothing major comes out of it. The Butcher is here to stay.

    I did, however, learn my lesson: read the fluff before buying a faction in any game. So I’m not putting in the money to buy another faction (I can’t really justify the cost as I’m saving up for a motorcycle.) So now I have a bunch of Khador models gathering dust. A monument to my own mental inflexibility to play a horrific faction pretending to be “fighting for the motherland.” Maybe I don’t have enough imagination or something. I’m sure somebody will tell me so. *shrug*

    Honestly, I really don’t care why someone becomes a murderous beast. It’s nice that Mr. Wells gets to write a book humanizing the guy and I hope he makes a crap-ton of money for it. I hope he then gets to write a story about how the Butcher is killed in a very terrible and drawn out manner. I’ll buy that one. Especially if a certain Ms. Kratikoff is the one doing the drawing and quartering. That would be fantastic. Justice is awesome in my book.

    I’m not holding my breath. Unless the Empire changes, I can’t in good conscience play as the faction I’ve sunk my money into. These types of games don’t really change so I don’t think I’ll be playing any time soon, if at all again.

    I will admit that The Crone is pretty cool though. Maybe if she kills the Butcher…

    1. Meh. I don’t like to play as “the bad guy” in games either. It took a lot of mental effort to play the Legion thread on Fallout: New Vegas.

      So, you’re not alone. Maybe you could trade models with someone else who wants to switch factions?

    2. Kresh, you should read this then. Yes, he’s a giant, killer ax murderer, and it goes into exactly why the empress uses him. I thought Dan did a kick ass job, but that’s because he’s made his career writing from the PoV of sociopaths.

      And really? You’re surprised that a fantasy empire based on RUSSIA?! would resort to using violent nutballs and unpredictable super weapons to get what they want? 😀

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