Monday, 27 April 2015

Of Cults and Cultists...

My post the other day in which I mentioned Sid the Mast Beast seems to have garnered some interest.  It has also set my mind thinking about cultists in wargaming.

Before we start, I know some people are uncomfortable with playing with the occult (much as many others are uncomfortable with playing SS units).  If that's you're feeling, I respect that - you needn't read any further if it's going to bother you.

Also, I must admit to having no particular knowledge of this - these are just the thoughts that occur to me.  If anyone wants a study of horror tropes in gaming I'd recommend reading James Holloway's blogs The Gonzo History Project and Gonzo History: Gaming Edition.

Artezan? Coplestone?  Pulp Figures?

Most of the cultists we meet in gaming seem to be based on the Klu Klux Klan (or at least the comic version of the KKK we're used to from movies such as O Brother Where Art Thou?).  So we get comic hillbillies wearing pillow-cases and carrying tommy guns.  Is that simply because most pulp horror games are set in 1920s and '30s America?

Eureka Miniatures
Most of these games are loosely based on a Lovecraftian mythos - is this how he and his followers depict cultists?  Somehow I suspect the true type are more like those dark hooded figures, whose visages we never see (because they may not be quite human).

But as anyone who has ever seen The Wicker Man (before Nicholas Cage got involved) knows, the UK can provide cultists enough to scare the pants of anyone.  However, stripped of context, its cultists look a little silly...

...and Alester Crowley always looked much scarier in mufti...

But rather than the Occultists with their sham Orientalism, I'd prefer to go with some authentic British folk customs (OK, OK, we'll gloss over just how ancient some of these customs are!).  So we're back to Sid..

So, we have Morris Dancers and scary scarecrows from Woodbine Designs

What else is out there?


  1. Maybe not what you're after, but a friend of mine was trying to create a Scottish folk lore band for Donnybrook. I'll include a link below to the Steve Dean Forum where he wrote most of his ideas, including some suggestions to where he could find things to use

  2. Don't get me started on scarecrows! Rapier Mniatures do some nice ones, as do Crooked Dice.
    Blind Beggar Miniatures (Mason from the Lead Adventure Forum) also does some nice masked cultists.
    Oh, and Brigade Games' bushwackers could also be pressed into service.

    1. Yes, I thought of you when writing of scarecrows! And of Mason when writing of doing English cultists (I loved what he did with MOOSE!), but his sculpts don't do it for me.

  3. I went with the Artizan guys myself but I like where you are going with this! Those scarecrows are creepy!

  4. Reaper does a nice Voodoo Priest & Priestess. The wickerman ha long been a favorite. You could use a a warlord druid from their ancient Celts line.


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