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Lancer RPG creator releases wargame more metal than Warhammer 40k

Tom Bloom, author of the hit webcomic Kill Six Billion Demons and mech TTRPG Lancer, has created a new, heavy metal wargame, set in hell.

Magnagothica Maleghast is like high-energy goth Warhammer 40k - illustration of a Goregrinder by Tom Bloom, a combination of human, motorbike, and massive wrist-mounded swords

If you’ve got a Warhammer 40k collection but fancy a wargame with even more heavy metal, goth, and punk influence, check out Magnagothica: Maleghast. Indie designer Tom Bloom – best known for his epic webcomic Kill Six Billion Demons and the mech RPG Lancer – released the game via Itch.io on October 31.

We don’t say this lightly, but the setting for Maleghast is even more goth than Warhammer 40k’s Imperium of Man. The game takes place in “Anzenmezzeron, the City of One Billion Corpses” where “death is broken. What dies in the black city never truly dies. It may be cut apart, scathed into a million pieces, thrown to the wind, burned, salted… but it will still return.” The whole place is also “sliding slowly into hell”.

Imagine high-energy goth Warhammer - Magnagothica Maleghast illustrations by Tom Bloom, portraits of strange people and demons

That’s a deliciously over-the-top concept, and a perfect set-up for a horror wargame. Maleghast is a “a two to four player skirmish war-game designed for virtual tabletop” featuring “tactical necromancer action” – it’s available from Bloom’s itch.io page. It uses a square grid, with a regular chess board being suitable for most scenarios. Indie gamers may see a certain resemblance to Brawl Arcane, but Maleghast is much less minimalist.

Imagine high-energy goth Warhammer - Magnagothica Maleghast splash page for House Goregrinder, with an illustration of a man machine hybrid with steam hammers for hands

Players each control a group of fighters called a Black Mass, consisting of a Necromancer and around five minions. There are six Houses your Mass might be aligned with, ranging from the holy Abhorrers, to the Private Military Company C.A.R.C.A.S.S. Not only does the book feature loads of evocative art, Bloom has included a soundtrack for each faction, with some utter bangers.

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Writing on Twitter, Bloom says “I’ve been [in] a weird fugue state. Most of this game was illustrated and laid out in the last 11 days. I did all of it myself (all game design, layout, writing, and art). I really hope you enjoy this, it has been an insane project and some of the most work I’ve done on anything.”

Imagine high-energy goth Warhammer - Magnagothica Maleghast stat blocks

We haven’t tested the game out yet, but we love Kill Six Billion Demons and metal music, so it’s elbowed its way into our to-play pile. If you want some metal music recommendations, check out the brutal playlist Wargamer’s Mollie Russell composed to accompany a Pathfinder expansion set on the Plane of Metal. If you’re into gnarly, necromantic, or heavy metal wargames, look into our The Doomed review, or our articles on Necropolis28 and Demonship.