Sunday, 31 May 2015

What is Purgatory

Hello again, last time we posted we talked about business partners, artists and starting things up. This time around we will be fleshing out a little bit about what Purgatory is all about.

Purgatory is going to be a world/game where everything is set in modern times.
It's a world where time has stopped.
After the war for Heaven, where Satan led the renegade angels against the throne, Satan was cast down, along with those that followed the dark path. The schism was great. Heaven itself was built on the foundations of Duty, a duty to guide mankind, to watch over us, protect us and prevent us from regression and devolution.
At the point where Chinese and Egyptian civilisations were expanding and growing into the cultural and distinct societies that history has taught us, the war for heaven was reaching a crescendo.
The usurper; Satan had been cast down. His followers crushed, broken and scattered across the many realms. During the closing stages, the greatest of God's champions, Michael smote Satan outside of the great keep and in doing so expelled Satan and his followers from Heaven.
The renegades, led by the Bale Star (Satan) were banished and cast down upon the Earth in righteous fury.
Herein lay Michaels mistake. For now, humans knew that they were truly not alone and as the greatest civilisations in history watched on in wonder and awe as destruction, evil and rancour descended from the skies in tidy of fury and humiliation.
These ancestors scoured the lands, attempting to track down these fallen comets to understand their meaning. Some of the greatest migrations of human settlements and some of the greatest conquests by human civilisations have been driven by this momentous event with warlords, kings, generals and rulers determined to be the first to truly communicate with the gods.
But the renegades had vanished.
Whilst evidence existed of their arrival, nothing other than the impact site could be found. Tracks leading in all directions confused the greatest hunters and diviners of their time, confounding kings and great leaders to a lifetime of nothingness.
The renegades had dissipated like smoke, as if into the very air we breathe itself for none could find any trace of their existence.
The renegades fled into the canyons, mountains, gorges and forests and there they dwell. Broken, cast aside and defeated they remained hidden from humanity, watching, learning and licking their wounds, waiting for their moment to take the ultimate revenge on God - The mass slaughter of his greatest creation, Mankind.
Time marched on and men forgot. Details, texts and writings of the coming of 'God' was consigned to history as a story, fairy tale or myth. Historians have studied and argued over these relics and 'holy texts' until the present day, so lost in their study they did not see the obvious signs and portents that would truly confirm the renegade angels existence and more importantly, the extent to which mankind was being manipulated.  
Every war, every act of desecration, of slaughter, debauchery and dictatorship has been the machinations of the renegades.
God saw mankind ripping itself apart in greed, lust, murder and war and could watch no more.
At this moment, God declared war on the renegades, war on earth and war on mankind. The clock would be reset, mankind would be saved and the renegades destroyed or brought to justice.
God loosed the angels of heaven but in doing so time slowed. Earth was not designed for angels and the arrival of so mightier a being tipped the balance of time out of place, what was undone and those that had died, perished and been consigned to history awoke and roused themselves from their eternal slumber. The doors to Valhalla were cast aside, the Petersrauld Gates smashed asunder as the legions of damned and worthy vomited forth, back into the material world for the long war to come.
Angels were truly revealed to mankind as they hunted the renegades and battle lines were drawn as humanity flocked to banners and made ready to stand by a side or stand alone.
The above is a very draft version of what were are looking to achieve. It sets the tone and in simplistic terms:
  • Earth is now a battlefield where angels and mighty beings do battle in the very streets, districts, towns and cities that surround us as we take a side. Who will you choose?
We wanted to bring a range of models to you, that not only had the age of cliché of demons vs. angels, but angels that could represent either side. Most importantly though we wanted to bring an element of us, of what we are as people to the game in an attempt to mix fantasy with modern.
We are aware of previous texts or ideas that place angels or god hidden in humanity, guiding us and making our decisions. It is important to point out that this is not that. Whilst yes, we refer to angels manipulating humanity, it is a precursor for God to rain down angels upon us to destroy earth as we know it and very much like he did with Noah, to cover the lands to start again.
For example, we are in the closing stages of bringing to you 'factions' that see groups of humans that can be fielded together or mixed with other factions to play a progressive skirmish game where humans are pretty much the goblins of the world, weak, useless and insignificant.
For those that read this BLOG not only will you understand about what it is we are looking to bring but more importantly a heads up as to the first factions that will be coming to you. The Soul Train and NWA. (Nuns with Attitude) But enough of that.
The game will be accompanied by a card system, the cards will be used to purchase upgrades for weapons or to grant models and character 'gifts from the gods' that can be used in game. We want people to progress with their 'crew' as they play more games and get better (or worse) as time goes along. There are some fantastic mechanics that we will be bringing to you that add that unique and often random element to the game that will tip the balance in a number of directions making each experience a different one.
More of this will follow in the coming months and weeks but instead, we have taken the time to go through some of the art we have released to explain, what, where or who they are.
In the coming days we will be doing a piece on each of the pieces of art that we have released to date, to give you an understanding of the thought process behind the who, where and what is going on in the picture.
This time around, we will start with where it all began. Heaven Fall.
Heaven Fall is the image of the 'comets' falling over the great pyramids of Egypt.
Why Egypt?
Well Purgatory, or the notion of it was first mentioned or referred to in the bible in the book of Ezekiel. More specifically chapter 26, verse 20 (some of you may have noticed this appears as our facebook page). When researching this, it became apparent most scholars point to this being around the 600 to 550 years BC. When understanding which civilisations were around then, two immediately stood out. The Egyptians and the Chinese Dynasties.
Egypt is a powerful reference point. Whilst to devaluate the Chinese civilisation, we decided that the Pyramids of Giza represented a much more well-known 'icon' to start our journey. That is why we chose it
What is going on exactly?
This is the moment that mankind was aware of other beings. The 'comets' are fallings angels streaking down through the clouds, cast down from Heaven. You will not that we made reference to the 'bale star' earlier, this is represented by the black 'comet' which is designed to be Satan. The black trail associates the comet with being impure.
The pyramids are a vision by us of what we though they may have looked like at the time. Rather than make the mistake of getting the timelines wrong and showing them as they are now, we asked our artist to picture them as they might have been.
You will see in the image that people are 'watching on' in the bottom left of the image and that in front of the pyramids themselves there are references to markets and a town very close by.
The sky was designed to be quite ominous, to reflect the circumstances and to draw attention to what was going on at the time.
What is going on with the pyramids?
It’s a question we have been asked and the answer is quite straight forward. The story above talks about realms, we don't want to limit our thoughts to just Earth and the cosmic, celestial style of the main pyramid it designed to allude to a greater power being wielded here. It's quite an important aspect of the drawing.
Why start there?
It's not what is going on now, we admit. However it was always our intention to provide people with a gaming experience that was rich with background and references. We are great admirers of Games Workshop in this regard as this storyline that they have created is often a greater pull than the models themselves. It can lead people to reposition, re paint or even design their own ideas based on a smallest fragment of text from just one piece of background.
We wanted to start with where it all kind of kicked off, so that if anything people knew why Angels were running around being the crap out of soul singers and nuns.....

Well we will leave you there. Watch out for more on other pieces of art and characters in the coming days.

Next up: Siren!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Partners in Crime

Welcome back, I hope you have had fairer times. It's been a tough last week, in fact, its been a tough few months. My partner (as in not business I might add) are getting married in 3 months, time flies, it seemed like only well, 9 months ago, that it was a year away... hmm... add to the mix, 2 losses in the family, one of which was my great grandma of 97 years (and 10 days) I am sure you will agree its been difficult.

However as with everything in life, there is usually a link and this brings me quite nicely on to my subject this evening. Business Partners.

When you set out on a crazy journey, often it becomes unfulfilled. In fact, I bet everyone of you reading this has had that moment in bed, just as you settle in and you get that 1 - 30 mins of quiet time as you drift (or slump) off to sleep, your brain says "oi mate, check this shit out" and you come up with the most scientific, life changing, cancer curing moment of absolute clarity where your idea will make millions or save thousands, it's brilliant, you scrutinise it and start dreaming of the possibilities... you dream of..... dreams. Then you wake up. It's 6am the next morning and if you will be beggared sideways you can't remember a thing of what this idea was.

So when I had my crazy plan, luckily for me it was during the day, I almost crashed but I didn't lose to the idea predator that is sleep. I wrote it down real sharp, I spoke to a couple of close friends and consigned it to memory, this little beauty was mine now!

You have read how I nearly went in with another company and how I found some artists so you have a handle on some context. When I spoke to my friend Mark, I outlined my idea to him. Ok, so we weren't in the same group any more, but creative ideas should always be shared. My intention would never be to go into direct competition so I floated the idea past him. He liked I, it was fresh and different, something not out there, a clear canvas so to speak to draw your own world. However n coming to a close he asked "who are you doing this with?", I immediately said that I'd considered asking some folk but initial enquiries were met with very little.

He suggested that I find someone to go in with, he suggested that actually having someone to just 'check' you with an idea, path or direction was incredibly important and I think he was right.

Ironically enough however, it came from what I believed was an unlikely source but actually when you think about it, it came from the best possible place it could.

My best mate.

Now, some of you might be sitting there now screaming "what, no, that's like working with the wife" or "what if you fall out?" maybe even "man that would be so cool, it would be so much fun, it would be jokes all day" but you'd get feck all done. That's for damn sure.

It came out of the blue as well. Literally.

"This project you are doing, what is it about, tell me about it, I wanna know what you are up to". That was pretty much what Aidan said to me.

Now, Aidan has not played a tabletop game in his life, short of monopoly, to which he thinks he is the grand pubar I might add. Instead he invests countless hours in computer games, almost OCD in his approach to ensure he secures achievements and unlocks everything. He is pretty synonymous with detail.

Actually this works, better than you can believe because, knowing each other well enough means that you cut to the chase, pretty darn quick. If an idea is just off you very quickly get "mate, that sounds dick" and you move on. It's a great way of preventing indecision and procrastination. When you don't get a decision from either immediately, there is a mutual understanding that actually it genuinely needs some thought.

So I laid out the concept. I wanted to combine a number of styles, I wanted a strong background, where IP or copyright was not going to hinder me but could instead give me a platform. I looked at the current miniature market and noticed that actually there were very few angels out there of a high quality. I was conscious however that I didn't just want Heaven vs Hell or Angel vs Daemon. It needed to be more, more complex, more depth, more width in absolute honesty. With it came the concept for St Peter, Death and the 4 'horse'men of the apocalypse.

I explained that I wanted Angels in modern day, I explained how we got there, how Angels fell during one of the greatest civilisations of our time. No more would man look to the sky and wonder, now he had seen the sky open up and vomit forth renegades with vengeance swiftly on its heels and actually man didn't like what came after because it would change how we existed forever.

I laid how I would bring a biblical spin into a plane where any human, no matter what period of time could be rallied to a banner and could fight for any side whatsoever. So in the context of a well known range, space marines could fight for an ork warboss, because that is just how it is. I mean, let's face it, pick a name, any name, would you like that model.... I mean what about Attila the Hun on a Harley, with a sawn off shortgun, doing a wheelie whilst swing a chain over his head, charging towards a renegade angel that needs the corpses of children to sustain itself?!?! Who's good? Who's bad, Who Cares..?!?! It's just frigging cool (well we hope you think so. because we do)

I wanted a range of high quality models that painters could enjoy with a rich history of background that could support a progressive gaming system that would offer a card spin (which we think is really neat) alongside fun and interactive play. It was my ambition to spin every single cliché and throw it against the wall and drag the best bits up and a make a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 2 things that should never go together, but by God do they work well.

Needless to say. He was in. And here we are.

In the next BLOG I will go into some greater detail about the characters and the thought process. Next week will see our first model sculpted so there will be a heavy slant on her and what se is all about. However it is our aim to bring a range of models to you, that are cool, innovative, unique, great for painters, fun for gamers and hopefully a taking point to bring friends, gamers and strangers together to enjoy our hobby.

In summary. I've found the ideal business partner. Any person that can sit, listen and contribute toward that kind of mess, when you are in a pretty grubby place as it is, is simply a no brainer.

We are making great strides, have taken some decisions and made some commitments that will see all of the revenue generated from this project reinvested for a significant period of time to get us to a place where we can provide you with a self, or crowd funded game to play on those lazy Sunday afternoons.

We hope you are enjoying this journey, we are and we are overflowing with enthusiasm and we hope you tag along for the ride.

Thank you for your time.

Next Up:

Who's who is Purgatory and what does Death want?!!?

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Artists, Artists everywhere....

When we left you last we said we would pick it up next time by talking about the artists.


So, after expelling forth from my brain the sum value of my imagination and having now spoken to a range of people about my idea. It was time to put pen to paper so to speak and start bringing the idea to life!

But where to start?

Where do you find high quality artists loitering with intent, ready to translate your nonsense it reality?

Deviant Art. That’s where.

I literally had no idea what I was doing, which is often the case but a good friend of mine Gareth had commissioned some stunning pieces of art over time from a member of their community. So off I went, into the wild world of Deviant Art. Actually I make it sound like a Mad Max film and whilst some of the art is certainly as unique, it’s truly a very good site. After navigating my way around it I eventually stumbled on a forum where you could commission people, or people were asking to be commissioned. Some for as little as a one dollar.

The one dollar thing appealed to me and actually when you think about it, as a person setting up a small business, it can be likened to the ‘dipping your toe in’ phrase that you often hear. So I gave my brief to the artist and waited. I waited quite a long time actually, a lot longer than I expected but when the art came through, the artist explained that he was still at school. Now that is an entrepreneur!

Now don’t get me wrong, the art was not of the quality to which you have seen, or will see, but then again it was only a dollar. So now I was enthused, thanking my artist, I wandered the halls of Deviant Art. Because people are asking for work, it makes it a very good place to find people that work in the style you are looking for. It gives you a good sense for their strong points, or in fact for where they have a clear enthusiasm for a given subject (females for example). It was here that my first frustrations crept in and if I am brutally honest, I almost walked a different path as a result.

Often in places you will see where people make the statement “no time wasters please”. Yet it was here that I found quite a few, people where I would commission them to hear nothing back, or where token amounts of money $5 or so, never really rematerialized. It became quite frustrating.

One evening, after browsing countless artists, I decided to follow one person’s thread in the looking for artists area. Watching this with interest it was quite clear that if you kept your advert near the top by ‘bumping’ you would receive quite a high level of response, most importantly from a range of artists. Satisfied, I decided to take the plunge.


Here is my original advert:



I'm looking for an artist or maybe a few to work with over the coming months. It will be a slow burn project which will allow for other work to be done.

The art will be to support a kickstarter campaign at some point in the future for a table top range of models and maybe a game.

The theme without giving too much away on here would be biblical with a heaven and hell theme.

The art itself would be pencil initially with a logo design being the primary goal.

If you are interested or intrigued enough, please PM me and we can go from there.




I got over 100 messages! Most of which came via the PM system built into the forum.

The art was a mass variety of styles. Some were very unique and some was instantly recognisable if you had played games such as World of Warcraft during your lifetime. I was quite simply overwhelmed and I truly didn’t know where to start. It think I can honestly say that I spent more than 5-6 full evenings looking at peoples profiles and deciding on what I liked.

The selection criteria came down to a number of things, they had art that I liked, i.e. more than one version. They had a style I liked or that they were cost effective. When you use that criteria you end up with a lot, but obviously a lot falls out of the bottom so to speak. I was quite careful at this point to ensure that I responded to each and every single response or enquiry that I had. As an artist myself I full well know the importance of laying yourself bare. If you put a piece of art out there and nobody comments or responds it is very hard to understand the impact it has had, positive or negative. You end up in the ‘unknown’ zone which just plays on your mind. Art at the end of the day is a form of entertainment, it is designed to please or provoke so with this in mind, I made an effort to respond to each person, not only with a ‘no thank you’ but also explaining why I was not looking to work with them.

Some of the artists had the quality I was looking for, however the style was off. Those people I made a conscious decision to show them a piece of art in the style that I wanted. It was my hope that this would give people some ‘closure’ and remain satisfied that people were responding to their work. This was appreciated as a high volume of people came back to me again and thanked me for the feedback.

I think the thing I find the most challenging however was the price. When you set up a business like this, it’s not like you are cutting down a tree and will get paid for it immediately. There is a huge design phase (unless you are a talented artist yourself) that you have to go through and the expenditure can very easily spiral out of control. In some examples, people were asking for $250 per piece of art, the quality was clearly good but however in my opinion (which of course is subjective) it was not an extra $200 good.

With the added consideration that I am getting married this year, I set myself an initial limit of £75-£100 per month, for 3 months to see what I could come up with. I spoke with the good lady indoors and chatted through what I wanted to achieve.

Having necessary approval from the bank manager (aka the wife to be) I started working my way through the handful of people I had whittled the process down to.

I had a clear goal in my mind, that I wanted to find at least one landscape artist. A person who could help me to bring a feel, style or tone to the background of my world. To recreate scenes, design places or create a series of anchors for what I was setting out to achieve. With anything like this in my experience, it’s the art that draws you to a model. Of course if someone thrusts a high quality model in front of you and you can tell the difference, that might be enough. But often you will see a character in a pose, or against a background and it’s that in which often captures your imagination.

The other artists were to be for character design, where I could have two artists with similar tastes or styles but different enough to offer a subtle difference in the selection process. What one person might take from a brief, another might come up with something completely different. The characters were so important, especially given the project. So I was very careful to balance the cost vs quality aspect of this I and I firmly believe to this day still that I was very lucky with each of the 3 artists that I now work with.

I think, that is enough for today and hopefully this will give you a really good insight in to how I/we went about the process of finding artists in the first place.


In our next update, I will talk about business partners and forming the company.

Friday, 15 May 2015

Madness realised...

It was sunny, I remember it being quite sunny at the time. Strange how you remember the little things, isn't it? I was traveling back through Ipswich Town Centre, it's not the nicest place in the world, which might explain why my mind was wandering off into dark and murky places.

In fact, it was on Bishops Hill, by the Loch Fyne restaurant that my brain, after 34 years of abuse, kicked into gear and game up with something of interest.

In that briefest of moments, Purgatory was reluctantly dragged into being.

I'd been working with some friends who I had known a long time on a project called Paranoid-Miniatures. It was a Cthulu based game with a  1920's theme that had a real spark. With the work of HP Lovecraft now in the free domain there was a huge ready built universe for these guys, amongst others to explore.

Initially I was hooked by the project, working with friends, particularly strong characters is both extremely exciting and challenging at the same time, however as time progressed I had a strong sense of feeling that the opportunity was not right for me, especially at that time.

Choosing to exit something like that is quite hard, relationships become strained and miscommunication can test the very boundaries and limits of friendship. It is hard on both parties but in hindsight and after a few strong coffees both parties are in a good place. Paranoid-Miniatures had a stand at Salute 2015 and it was a great success, their first model, the Sea Queen was positively received and I was there with Mark patrolling the floor with flyers in hand, doing our bit. The moral of the story here being, that it didn't matter in the end that we had gone separate ways in a business capacity, the friendship soaked it up and there we were helping to make this already exciting small business an even bigger success!

It's here that my path on Purgatory started. If you rewind to before the Bishops Hill moment of lucidity, I had been thinking on the things I had enjoyed as part of the Paranoid Group. The excitement of receiving art, designing ideas and bringing these things to life was something I had not experienced. It's not like a drug, because a drug is designed to de-stress you not the other way round.
But once you have experienced that moment when your thoughts are transformed onto paper, I'm sure there are very few that would turn back.

I had to do something myself.

My brain had clearly registered this and like a programme running in the background, it was obviously having a good old think about what it was that I could do by myself. Fast forward back to Bishops Hill and you are as up to date (albeit quite succinctly) as you can be.

At the time I felt like Neo in the Matrix, Morpheus had pressed the upload button and basically I was inundated with ideas, concepts, characters and approaches. It happened at a million miles and hour and I was just not ready. Not even slightly.

As quick as it began, it was over. My cerebrum was a smoking husk of singed meat. As I lifted my drooling head off the steering wheel (important note here, try and encourage thoughts to come out when stationary) it was like the film Limitless, where Bradley Cooper can just see limitless potential and opportunity. I was like Bradley, which is the closest comparison I am ever likely to have with that guy, unless he ever decides to play a part where his character is ridiculously annoying :)

So what was Purgatory?!

The idea was centred around Angels. It's as simple as that. As a painter I always thought model angels that I had seen where always a bit underwhelming. Whilst I play games and this will be a game, I am a painter and hobbyist first and foremost.

Don't get me wrong, there are some wonderful sculpts out there but most are at a much large scale, 54mm, 75mm etc, which leaves little room to use them in a gaming capacity.

So that was it, the brain said Angels. After that I started to dwell on the idea, first and foremost whilst there was a potential market for Angels, it was all a bit too simple. There needed to be something more, something that could act as a background anchor for what I was about to set out and do.

The brain had been jump started post melt down and ideas started to come together. Most importantly how I could integrate other ideas with this Angel and who would be the nemesis. The very basis of a story was coming together in my mind and my previous involvements with Warhammer Fantasy helped me to find some solid ground.

In the unlikeliest of sources, Games Workshop Orcs and Golblins, I found my answer. 'Grots' has always been the mocked and derided of fantasy models/characters. Small, weedy, runty creatures of low intelligence but with degree of cunning. Oddly enough, I immediately linked these to what my humans would be.

Now, for the sake of wanting to build an audience, please don't be offended by that, I'm not calling you a grot, neither am I questioning or challenging your pedigree or lineage. Instead, in my mind, I was already setting a balancing mechanism marker.

Angels, typically are quite powerful. They have big flaming swords, muscular in appearance, golden locks and can cure ailment at 20,000 paces with but a glance of their eyes. Making a range of models or even a game with a load of high power, elite beings would be far too challenging. They needed to be the pinnacle.

So humans had to have a big part to play and that is truly where Purgatory began. It began when I realised that the setting for my universe was going to be modern day Earth, but an Earth that knows categorically that Angels and Devils are not a deity or something you can summon into a glass bottle with a Ouija Board. These guys were here, on Earth doing their thing and we Humans, we were the chaff, the cattle but also the spoil.

If you are reading this, then you probably have seen the main banner of our Facebook page. This piece of art was not the first, but it represents a nice marker to end this first part of our story. The art I speak of is called "Heaven Fall" and it was created by the very talented Ania Kryczkowska. It is a colourful piece and it really gets you thinking. Ania got this in absolutely one hit using my appalling scribble and remains one of my favourite pieces of art to date. The statement being:

"It was at this point, as God banished his fallen children from the Heavens, that Man truly knew, that he was not alone and that everything would change from now until forever."

I hope you have enjoyed this and I will be bring more to you in the coming days and weeks.

Next Up: "How Artists Inspired Purgatory"