Tag Archives: Ostium Guides

The Albino Woods

I recently received this wonderful picture from Mark at HeresyOfUs (also posted on his blog alongside a selection of equally atmospheric images) and couldn’t resist the opportunity to show it to you all. It features the two Ostium Guides I made earlier in the year, wending their way through the depths of the Albino Woods during the recent Chapel game. Seeing models I created transposed into the landscape in which I imagined them brings the whole project to life and was simply too inspiring to let pass without comment.

When I create a model I’m not making a playing piece but a character, a denizen of the 41st Millennium, the Old World, the Mortal Realms or wherever. Each model should be a snapshot of a person or creature, living their life. I imagine the environment that would exist around them, the place they would live, the setting and situation that makes them who they are. Thus to actually see my Ostium Guides walking through the Albino Woods as though they had stepped straight out of the image I had imagined before I even started cobbling together bits, was a profoundly moving experience. This was the picture I had in my head before I began and now it comes full circle and not only do I get to see it with my eyes rather than just my mind, but I also get to show it to other people. Of course some of you will be nodding in agreement at this point and some will be scratching your heads and wondering about my sanity, although the latter is probably business as usual.

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For anyone out there who’s yet to take a look at HeresyOfUs I strongly recommend you head over there, particularly if you’re drawn to the gothic darkness of 40k.

As for those of you still wondering what’s become of Inquisitor Morix and the rest of my Chapel retinue fear not, work is still in progress. I know I’ve been saying that for a while but hopefully you’ll find it’s been worth the wait.

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Ostium Guides – Part 2

Animals have no choice beyond survival but man does have choice and he must use his unique gifts now to play the role for which he has truly evolved, as responsible custodian of the last wild places, not merely their exploiter. We can never escape the inherent responsibility our genius bestows upon us. We must learn to love and conserve what is inspiring and beautiful, not only what is economically profitable… To love in the universal sense is not the refuge-seeking philosophy of the romantic. It is the necessary ethic of our own survival.

-Mike Tomkies, Golden Eagle Years

Ostium Guides Convert Or Die (1)

The second Ostium Guide, husband to the first, is now completed. Let those who dare to brave the Chapel first follow in their footsteps through the haunted depths of the Albino Woods.

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Ostium Guides Convert Or Die (2)

Life in the forest may be harsh, for there are witches and revenants, strange beasts and wood ghasts all abroad. Rain and chill may sap a body of its strength, and what is left of a life reliant on physical prowess when that power is broken by time or sickness? Yet there is still culture to be found amongst the people of the forest, still music and laughter, still joy and the capturing of passion in art. Those who dwell beneath the stark white boughs do not do so as guttering candles, battling against the gale. Instead the forces that might snuff them breathe life and delight into them, energising brief lives spent far from the misery of Imperial toil and servitude in the great hives.

Ostium Guides Convert Or Die (4)

Ostium Guides Convert Or Die (3)

Just a week to go now before the disparate warbands brave the Chapel itself. For those not yet in the know (where have you been?!) the Chapel is a narrative driven game bringing together a plucky band of hobbyists and bloggers, all put together by Mark of HeresyOfUs. Sadly, real life being what it is, I won’t be able to make it but fear not, this isn’t the end of the road for Inquisitor Morix and his grim faced agents of the Ordo Mors. Mark has already hinted that the Chapel will call once more to those caught in its web and though Morix may have found himself diverted upon the road he knows that the path of his destiny leads straight into the archotech heart of that strangest of worlds. The will of the Imperium will not be denied.


In The Yellow Wood

To enter a wood is to pass into a different world in which we ourselves are transformed.

– Roger Deakin; Wildwood: A Journey through Trees

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For some of you The Chapel will need no introduction. For those new to it however The Chapel is the brainchild of Mark from Heresy Of Us and serves as the latest in what has become a growing – and extremely welcome – trend towards small-scale collaborative story-driven gaming events.

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As part of the collaborative process Mark called on the participants to design one of the Ostium Guides. For those, like me, who didn’t know Ostium refers to “an opening or entry point into a vessel or the cavity of the body”. The Ostium Guides are those who will aid the adventurers arriving on the Chapel to gain entry to the interior – for a price. They are described as capricious, boastful and bardic creatures which “fight with the skill of a dancer” and dwell within the Albino Wood on the Chapel’s outer skin. Now if that doesn’t make you think of wood elves I don’t know what will!

First off the mark of the Chapel’s participants was ImperialRebelOrk who designed a pair of unearthly, psychopomp-like figures. With the first Guides built my own creative juices clicked into action. The original brief called for a single Guide to lead your band across the surface but I found myself unable to shake off the desire to create a husband and wife team. I also wanted something more rooted in the mundane, something earthy and autumnal.

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Inspired by IRO I wanted to give my Guides long walking staffs, helping to connect them to these other, very different Guides, and to emphasis their druidic, roving nature as creatures of the xenotopic places, the byways, holloways, pilgrimage routes and hidden roads that criss-cross the skin of any world. The instrument played by the male Guide helps reflect their whimsical, musical nature and one can imagine their haunting music hanging amongst the pale trees as the walk the ghost-paths of their forest home. These are creatures attuned to the land, circulating like the air upon the planet’s surface, through the living bones of its mountains and the joyful currents of its rivers. They carry all they need upon their backs and in their hearts; a blanket to sleep under, a cloak to wrap themselves in against the rain, music and the joy of the winding road beneath their feet.

To avoid them looking too much like Wood Elves in space, with the accompanying connotations of Eldar Exodites, I used Tau heads with the slit noses carefully greenstuffed over. To me one of the key things with these characters was ensuring that they continued to look human, albeit abhuman, and that they fit into the 40k aesthetic. This latter point is harder than it first appears, 40k is defined by its towering hives and blasted wastelands and introducing creatures of the forest without them looking tacked on was challenging but I feel I got there in the end.

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As usual your feedback is welcome!