The Comm Guild Maelstrom's Edge

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Developing Stories for Maelstrom's Edge


Posted on Friday Aug 04, 2017 at 10:00AM in Fiction


One of the things we were most passionate about when we started working on Maelstrom’s Edge was making a new world. We love games where there are lots of stories and background material to get people excited about the context surrounding the game itself - where are the battles taking place, who is fighting and why is there a conflict between them?

As part of the initial universe design, our lead writers Stephen Gaskell and Tomas L. Martin wrote a number of short stories exploring different parts of the setting. These first insights into the Maelstrom’s Edge universe were released in our first short story collection, ‘Tales from the Edge: Emergence’. In addition, during the runup to the Kickstarter for the Maelstrom’s Edge game, we approached a number of other professional writers to provide their take on our world, including exploring new factions, planets and ideas. Now, a second anthology, ‘Tales from the Edge: Escalation’ has been released, containing a wealth of fantastic new short fiction from award-winning and bestselling authors such as Alastair Reynolds, Aliette de Bodard, Jeff Carlson and Jaine Fenn.



From the beginning we also knew we wanted to launch with a set of stories telling the backstory of our first set, the Battle for Zycanthus, and so following on from those initial short stories, Tomas and Stephen wrote the fiction that would become our first two novels, Faith and Sacrifice, set on the planet of Zycanthus. Zycanthus is a frontier planet a few light years from the Maelstrom’s Edge, halfway through terraforming by the Epirian Foundation and their robots. In the boxed game, there is a conflict between Foundation and the shadowy religious group known as the Karist Enclave, who wish to convert the people of Zycanthus to their beliefs about ascension in the presence of the Maelstrom. To set up the battles that people were going to be playing with their miniatures, our team of writers set out to tell the story of what happened on Zycanthus just before the events portrayed in the box set, when the Karist Enclave first revealed itself and the fighting began.

Initially, the task of telling this story was split into two – Stephen Gaskell wrote a series of stories set from the viewpoint of Zafah, one of the Karist missionaries who lands in secret on Zycanthus, whilst Tomas L. Martin wrote the opposing view of the Epirian Foundation, where a backwater Sheriff called Kyle Wynn uncovers the Enclave’s secret invasion. We wanted to publish the books ourselves to have the freedom of getting it to our players in whatever format worked best, but printing a book of that size is challenging and would have meant needing to charge more than we felt was appropriate, so we made the decision to split the story into two smaller novels, Maelstrom's Edge: Faith and Maelstrom's Edge: Sacrifice. You can find them in the Kindle store right now.

What follows is an excerpt from Chapter Five of the first book, Maelstrom's Edge: Faith, where a pair of Epirian lawmakers encounter the Karist Enclave, including a monstrous alien Angel, for the first time.

Kyle Wynn is an Epirian Sheriff keeping the peace in the small desert town of Venusai on the planet of Zycanthus. When he and his partner Randall get reports of terraforming robots disappearing in the desert, they head out to investigate. When they find a set of footprints and strange markings in the sand, they follow them, never expecting the dangers they are heading into...



Maelstrom's Edge: Faith, Excerpt from Chapter Five

Wynn and Randall tracked the footprints for several hours. They sent the drones a few klicks ahead of the prowler, set them crisscrossing the trail with infrared cameras. The evening had really started to set in now, and only the dull purple glow of the Maelstrom in the east gave any illumination. It cast cruel shadows in its sickly half-light.

“I hate that thing,” Randall said, staring up at the bruised sky. “Just staring down at us like that, so you never forget that it’s coming.”

Wynn wondered if the Maelstrom was all that was coming to Zycanthus. When he had been a prospector, he’d heard stories from worlds close to the Edge. Before their destruction, there had been reports of strange creatures attacking isolated outposts, shadowy coups, riots and public executions. These stories seemed to get more and more intense and confused as the Maelstrom got closer, ending in tales of destruction that Wynn had always written off as a product of the panic that set in as the planets fell apart.

Now he wasn’t so sure. The footprints continued to march across the sand for klicks, rarely breaking out of their steady pattern. Wynn thought he could spot at least five different tracks, but he also occasionally saw the imprint of something larger, but always indistinct, as if the thing making the impression was hardly touching the ground at all.

They were nearly at the location of the third terraforming drudge when the signal of one of the patrol drones winked out.

“Huh?” Randall tapped a monitor, on which the drone’s sensor feeds had been replaced by static. “Where did it go?”

Wynn said nothing. He was watching the other patrol drone’s feed. It was hovering above a ravine. In the rocks at the bottom, he could see five figures, clad in frost-white armour. Heavy carbines dangled from their shoulders, and canisters filled with purple energy were strung around their waists. They were the most dangerous looking people Wynn had ever seen on Zycanthus, and they were staring straight back at him.

“Randall,” he said, “We have company!”

Wynn flicked a switch and sent the video feed to Randall’s station. Hidden in a hollow, the group of armoured figures stood, checking heavy looking weapons. From the looks of it, they were military, but Wynn didn’t recognise their markings, two scythe like points either side of a circle, deep black against their white armour.

“Who the hell?” Randall said. “Those are not a bunch of kids. When exactly did we get invaded?”

“Apparently a few days ago,” Wynn murmured, studying the footage. The soldiers held themselves bolt upright, with the discipline of many years of training. Their armour was wickedly curved at the edges, and their helmets had only one eye, with a trio of small lenses where the other eye should have been. “They can see the probe,” Wynn said. “Why aren’t they shooting it down?”

Something flashed across the drone’s camera, blocking the view to the soldiers. Something big. Wynn took in a dark blue body, with a gaping maw above glassy, alien eyes. Below the tortured face, the structure faded away into an amorphous mass of tendrils. Wynn and Randall had one more look at its face before a lithe limb snaked out and snapped into the drone, and the video feed cut out.

“Call for backup,” Wynn said, staring at the screen. “Call for backup right fucking now."

“I’m trying!” Randall said. “There’s no satellite coverage out here, I can’t get a signal.”

“Well, keep trying!” Wynn said. He grimaced as he imagined what that creature would do to the prowler. The vehicle was tough, but it definitely hadn’t been designed to be alien-proof.

“What the fuck was that thing, Kyle?” Randall reached over and locked the prowler’s door. “What did they bring here?”

“I think they called them Angels,” Wynn said slowly, thinking back to the stories he’d heard out in the black. “I heard some spacers talk once about how they show up as the Maelstrom approaches. How the hell did it get here?”

“Sheriff,” Randall said. “How far away was that drone?”

Wynn looked up. In the gloom of the Maelstrom-tinged sky, he could see in the distance the raised silhouette of a pair of recessed cliffs, below which a ravine fell down to the dry riverbed.

“They’re less than a mile away,” Wynn said.

“Who are these people?” Randall said. “And what the hell do they want with us?”

Wynn killed the engine, and reached for his rifle.

“I don’t know,” he said, turning the headlamps and the lights of the cab off. “But I think if we don’t kill them, we’re not going to make it back to Venusai alive.”

“Wait,” Randall said. “Sheriff, what are you doing? Why aren’t we getting out of here?”

Wynn turned and pushed his deputy against his seat, his face close.

“You saw that thing, Randall. That Angel, or whatever you want to call it. Whatever it was, that thing was flying. Do you really think we’d get far?” Randall fell silent. Wynn reached over the seats and grabbed Randall’s shotgun and ammo pack, and shoved them into his deputy’s arms.

“The course they’ve taken,” Wynn told him. “It leads right back to Venusai.”

“What?” Randall’s eyes bulged wildly. Wynn had seen men taken by panic before during the hairier moments of prospecting new worlds. They couldn’t afford for that to happen today. Not if they wanted to get out of here alive.

“Now,” Wynn said as calmly as he could manage, “I don’t intend for that to happen. I intend to stop them before they can go home to Rania, Maggie and the rest of the town. So I’m going to get out of this truck as quietly as I can, move to a defendable position, and take them down. I can’t do it by myself, so I need you to calm down and move with me. Can you do that?” Randall thrashed about for a second, his eyes darting to every possible escape route. Then his body seemed to relax, and he nodded.

“Ok,” he said. “All right. I’m not going to let whoever they are get to Maggie.”

“Then let’s go before they get here,” Wynn said. He pulled his rifle onto his shoulder and cracked open the driver’s door of the prowler.”

“Sheriff, wait.”

Wynn’s heart sunk. If he couldn’t get Randall to overcome his fear, they’d be sitting ducks in the cab of the prowler. But to his surprise, his deputy wasn't cowering. He was clambering over the back seat into the control centre jabbing a finger at the controls. He passed Wynn a headset with a bud microphone curling down from its strap, and then put one on himself.

“We need all the help we can get,” Randall said. “I’m activating all the remaining drones. Even the unarmed ones can provide a distraction.”

“You can’t stay here,” Wynn insisted, pulling on the headset. “You saw what that thing did to the terraformers, we’d be carved apart.”

“I’ll stay long enough to get all the drones moving,” Randall said, stabbing at the control panel, “and then I’ll take the remote headset and move to higher ground. But it’ll take a few minutes to get them all activated, so you should get somewhere you have good line of sight, and I’ll join you later.”

Wynn hesitated for a moment, then nodded and clambered out of the cab. Randall’s plan was about the best they could hope for, and it would do neither of them any good to waste any more time.

He dropped the last few rungs of the ladder to the ground, and set off on a crouching run towards a series of escarpments leading up to a rocky bluff to the right of the prowler. As he left the vehicle he heard the whine of several drones starting up, and a couple sprung up from the rack and began buzzing about the sky, as he pulled himself up onto a prominent cluster of boulders. Wynn dropped to a prone position and unfolded the stock of his rifle, resting it against the edge of the rock, looking down at the prowler some twenty metres away. His rifle, an Ednotech maglock weapon, had been with him since his prospecting days, although he’d upgraded pretty much every component over the years. He cocked the rifle, pulled the butt in against his shoulder and settled his eye at the scope. Just like old times.

For several minutes, nothing happened, except the occasional flash of movement as a drone left the prowler’s rack. Wynn began to hope that maybe the intruders had not heard the prowler, had assumed the drones were on their own and carried on walking. But then he saw a flash of off-white armour plating at the foot of the valley and all thought of getting out without a fight vanished.

“I see them,” Wynn told Randall through the headset. "At the foot of the valley. Try and keep the drones hidden until I can get a shot off.”

“Gotcha,” Randall replied. “Three more to launch.”

Wynn tapped the microphone in reply, and settled into his position. He watched the soldiers advance, using the cover of the boulders that lined the valley, moving in pairs. There was no hope of Wynn getting all of them in one go, they were too well trained for that. His first shot had to work.

One of the soldiers peeled off the main group and crouched, aiming his weapon at the prowler. It was a larger gun than the others, with a belt that fed canisters of what looked like cybel energy into the magazine. Cybel energy, harvested from the cybel network that linked the stars, was incredibly potent and powered many of the ships and industries of the galaxy, but the stuff was so volatile that only the most foolhardy or brave would use it as a weapon.

The soldier barked a command at the other three and fired a round off. The ball of purple-white energy looped up in the air like a mortar shot, splashing into the ground with a sound like thunder. A crater exploded into being in the sand beside the prowler, rocking the vehicle and spraying it with debris but not harming it. With his range sighted, the soldier shifted position for another shot. He would not get another try. Wynn squeezed the trigger of his rifle, sending a bullet straight down the line of the valley. The shot splintered the soldier’s helmet just below the three lenses that covered the soldier’s eye, spraying most of his head onto the rock behind him. The soldier collapsed to the ground, lifeless.

The others span and aimed their carbines in Wynn’s direction, trying to work out where the shot had come from. Wynn reached forward slowly and capped the lens of his scope, hoping to stay hidden for just a bit longer.

“Ok,” he said quietly into the mic, “They know I’m here. Go crazy with the drones, and then get to cover.”

“You got it,” Randall said. A phalanx of patrol drones rose from the stones, pinging laser shots at the soldiers, sending them diving for cover. While they were distracted, Wynn risked another shot, but the soldier in his sights moved at the last moment and the bullet impacted harmlessly into the sand.

One of the drones found its mark, burning a dark hole in the back of one of the soldiers’ armour, sending him sprawling. The remaining intruders sprayed shots at the drones, sending two robots crashing to earth. Then the soldiers hunkered down out of sight and called out to someone behind them.

A tortured sound filled the air, like the squeal of metal on metal. The desert breeze carried the smell of ozone, reminding him of the workshop’s smell when Rania used her plasma cutter. Then the monster emerged from behind the shadow of the escarpment.

The creature was massive, as tall as the prowler. Its features were squid-like in some ways, and bat-like in others, but attempting to compare it to an animal could only vaguely approximate its strangeness. Its body was an elongated smooth surface, with a number of limbs stabbing out from it. Two of these furled back against its body, thin membranes hanging between them as wings. More indistinct limbs propelled the beast along the ground, while at least four more tendrils dangled in front of it, their tips armed with sharp spikes or pseudopods. It was a deep dark purple, almost but not quite black, that seemed to be eaten up by the Maelstrom-tinged shadows of the escarpment.

Behind the creature was a much smaller figure, a crooked, thin man in a hooded robe, carrying an awkwardly large satchel across his back. He had a large staff held in both hands, a large flask of purple cybel energy at its base. The man used the other end to stroke the skin of the creature, and prod it forward towards the prowler. The creature opened the maw at the centre of its body and screamed that tortured metallic sound, like two spaceships colliding.

“Skyfire,” Randall swore. “Are you seeing this thing, Kyle? Is that really there?”

“An Angel,” Wynn muttered. “It’s real all right. You better get out of there.”

“Are you kidding me?” Randall said. “Against that thing? I think I’d rather take my chances in the prowler. Let’s see how it likes a bit of the Foundation’s finest.”

Randall’s surviving drones rejoined their formation, hovering in one place to let the last few launch from the prowler. Then he sent the five robots flying at the new appearance, buzzing the creature with the lasers and light machine guns mounted on their wings and cupolas.

The Angel screeched and flinched at the impacts on its body. Through the rifle’s scope Wynn could see most of the bullets passing harmlessly through the creature’s body, the holes they made closing behind the slug’s passing like it hadn’t even been hit, as if the drones were firing through water. Then with a sudden movement, the Angel leapt forward, its wings unfolding and tendrils leaping out from its body, further than their original length appeared to allow, the creature’s flesh changing in mid-action. Within seconds the drones had been smashed to the floor, strewing mechanical parts across the sand.

“Well,” Randall said in a breathless voice, “Storms. That could have gone a bit better.”

###

I hope you enjoyed this excerpt from the first novel in the Maelstrom’s Edge universe. You can read more in Maelstrom's Edge: Faith by Tomas L. Martin and Stephen Gaskell - on Kindle now!

Conversion Spotlight - Kaddar Nova Mini-Diorama


Posted on Monday Jun 12, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Sometimes it's nice to take a break from putting together armies and just paint something for fun. There's nothing better than taking some plastic and doing something new and shiny with it for getting some creative juices going, and it's a great way to explore the rich background of the game.

When I first got my hands on the plastic Kaddar Nova kit, I had an image of him standing in some imposing fashion unleashing a minnow like a trained hunting bird. I built the bare bones of this little diorama some time ago, but only just found the time to get it finished off and painted.



This piece was assembled from 3 different kits. The balcony was assembled almost entirely from components from the Maelstrom's Edge terrain sprue, with a little plasticard to fill in around the sides. The balcony floor is cut from a garage door, with the windows filled in with the gratings from the support struts cut into a trapezoid shape. The railing is made from a ladder, with one side trimmed off. The trimmed off side served for the sides of the staircase, with the stairs themselves made from lengths of support strut glued in detail-side down.





The Kaddar Nova is largely stock, although there was some small alteration of the legs (narrowing the groin area to bring his legs closer together and bending out the right foot so that his toe-tip would touch the lower stair).





Likewise, the Minnows are assembled as normal, with the one launching off the Nova's hand losing his original tail and a new one made with a length of wire and some green stuff. The wire is glued into a small hole drilled in the Nova's forearm, which is covered up by the putty.



When painting something unusual, I like to try pushing my boundaries a little as a change from the repetitiveness of painting gaming forces. For this piece, I decided to go for a nice, bright, white armour, as I generally tend towards darker colour schemes. The trick with white, oddly enough, is to not make it white. Most white things aren't actually white to look at. Shadows add layers of grey, and reflections add other shades to the mix. (This goes for black, as well!) I wasn't about to try painting reflective armour this time around, but I did use Vallejo Light Grey blended into the white to shade the armour. The end result is possibly a little more grey than white, but I'm still pretty happy with how it turned out.





The Minnows were painted using a slight variation of the scheme I used for my winged Mature Angel a couple of weeks back. They were undercoated black, and then drybrushed with dark grey (Vallejo Heavy Charcoal, in this case) and then with purple (some old Citadel Warlock Purple and Tentacle Pink mixed together). This was then washed with some Army Painter Dark Tone to smooth out the drybrushing.



The balcony was painted using the weathered metal recipe shown in the article here, with the addition of some scratches, hazard stripes and yellow detail around the window/vents to break up the expanse of rusty metal a little.



The end result is a simple little scene that I think is nicely evocative of the Maelstrom's Edge setting. If you want to try something similar, you can pick up the components used here from the Maelstrom's Edge webstore. As always, feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Modeling Spotlight: Winged Angel


Posted on Monday May 29, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Nobody knows what the hell they’re even made of, never mind what they’re thinking.
- - Gladius Belaru, survivor of the Angel attack on Morningstar Station, Thusia system

The fully mature Angel is a truly terrifying creature to encounter in the flesh, and their otherworldly scream is a harbinger of nightmares across the Spiral Arm. Dwarfing even the tallest of humans, the Angel is a tapering mass of writhing tentacles, gelatinous membranes, and bristled claws, smelling of sulphur and ozone.

The plastic Mature Angel kit allows players to build angels in their combat form, which is one of the three common forms favoured by these bizarre creatures. While there is no particular need to model the angel's other forms, where would we be if we just went around assembling kits to spec? So this week, I'm building a Mature Angel in its flying form.



I started out with a length of wire glued into a hole drilled up into the bottom of the angel's torso. This was curved around to the front, with a spike cut from one of the angel's claws glued onto the other end.



Over the wire, I sculpted a tail from 'green stuff' putty, and added some tentacles down the side to make it a little more visually striking and to help represent the angel's fluid nature.



Wings can be sculpted over a similar wire armature, but to save a little time and effort here, I decided to purloin some from another model instead. The donor was a fire demon from Reaper's Bones range.



I cut the wings at the elbows, trimmed off the 'fingers' and glued the wings in place in the angel's arm sockets. A little more green stuff filled in the gaps.









Painting - I kept the colour-scheme fairly simple, as angels are basically just black. Visually, just going with plain black isn't very interesting, though, so I tried to represent the angel's internal cybel energy by adding some purple highlights wherever seemed appropriate. The eyes and mouth were similarly painted purple, but highlighted up closer to white, to help them to stand out.









'Family' shot, with some minnows for company:



If you would like to build your own hideous flying spectre of doom, you can pick up the Mature Angel kit from the Maelstrom's Edge webstore here. As always, feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

For other Maelstrom's Edge modeling articles, including tutorials and walkthroughs of a wide range of different building and miniature projects, check out the article roundup here.

Spotlight: Karist Tempest Elites


Posted on Monday Jan 30, 2017 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

Although nobody doubts a Karist Trooper’s battlefield effectiveness, a Tempest Elite is a far more intimidating sight. Veterans of many campaigns of enlightenment, entrusted with the Enclave’s heaviest man-portable weaponry and advanced armoured suits, each one is a genuine hero of the Karist cause, capable of single-handedly devastating the enemy with staggering levels of firepower from their Ravager Pulse Cannons and Coriolis Energy Launchers. Here, we have a play with the models for these formiddable warriors.




One of the first units designed for Maelstrom's Edge, Tempest Elites are a multi-part plastic kit, with each sprue building two troopers armed with either pulse cannon or energy launcher.


Tempest with pulse cannon.


Tempest with energy launcher.

The energy launcher doubles for both the Corialis Energy Launcher and the rather more deadly Hellstorm Energy Mortar, with the difference being down to the way the Cybel charge is fired.


Studio Models

The two models on the sprue have different leg poses and arm positions, and thanks to the versatility of plastic, can be easily modified if you want to alter poses or equipment.

For a break from the standard weapon grip, this model was altered using regular Karist Trooper arms to carry the weapon over the shoulder:



To fit onto the shoulder pad, the Tempest's hands were sliced off the weapon and a hollow cut into the back left of the weapons' frame. The trigger hand was attached onto the Trooper forearm, with the wrist trimmed at an angle so the top of the hand would sit flush against the bottom of the weapon.



The same process works for the pulse cannon.



For something a little more off-the-beaten-track, this Tetrarch was equipped with a Cybel Glaive from the Faction Expansion Sprue. This isn't an option allowed by the rules, but looks so very pretty!



The head and loincloth were taken from the Kaddar Nova sprue (which comes with extras, just perfect for this sort of converting!) and the pointing arm also comes from the Faction Expansion Sprue.

And for those situations where having a great, big gun isn't quite enough, why not have two?



Assembled using arms liberated from the Epirian Handler sprue, and a head from the Shadow Walker sprue.

He probably won't spend a lot of time on the table... but it had to be done.



Tempest Elites are a veritable storm of nastiness on the table, and are the backbone of many a Karist force. If you're feeling the lure of heavy firepower, you can pick up the Tempest Elite sprue from the Maelstrom's Edge online store, and as always feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page!

Angel Keeper Conversion Tutorial and Rules


Posted on Tuesday Nov 15, 2016 at 05:00PM in Models


- by Iain Wilson

I've previously shown off a couple of conversions built to represent Karist Angel Keepers - a HQ unit that is currently in development and intended to offer a different way of playing Karist forces, by giving them access to an army potentially made entirely (other than the Keeper, of course) out of Angels. The conversions garnered a fair amount of interest, so I thought I should put together a brief run-down on how to do it. Of course, nice conversions are all well and good, but you also need rules to use them. So as an extra bonus, I snuck into the rules development vault and purloined an early playtest version of the Angel Keeper's unit card, which you can download as a PDF here.




The PDF includes two cards: The Angel Keeper unit card, and a 'companion' card that includes new rules that apply to the Keeper. The rules on both of these cards are 'Playtest Rules', meaning that they're rules that are still being worked on, so you should ok it with your opponent before using the Angel Keeper in your games. Once the development process has been completed, the rules on the companion card will be rolled into the normal rulebooks and a final version of the unit card will be issued.

Obviously, the Keeper's force roster isn't yet as complete as it could be, because there are currently only the two angel kits - Minnows and the Mature Angel. Rest assured there will eventually be more unit options (and the associated model kits) to fill those other slots!


Building the Angel Keeper

My initial idea for the Angel Keeper included a sculpted mask and a flail lifted from a Games Workshop kit. He looked the part, but the sculpting required was going to be a turn-off for some players, so I worked up a second incarnation that used only MEdge parts, which looks like this:



To build this version yourself, you'll need the following parts:

  • A 25mm base
  • Kaddar Nova legs and crown
  • Shadow Walker Torso
  • Karist Trooper arms and shoulder pads
  • A bare head from the Kaddar Nova, Trooper or Expansion Sprue
  • Ripper Grenade Launcher, Cybel Glaive and grabby hand* from the Expansion sprue
*Yes, that's totally the official designation for it.



Assembly is mostly fairly straightforward: Build the legs as you normally would for the Kaddar Nova. You can create a slight visual break from the Nova by trimming off the bottom-most layer of the tabard, so it looks slightly less fancy than the Nova's if you like. Assemble and glue on the torso and the head.

One of the main identifiers for the Angel Keeper is the mask that they wear, which aids them in communicating with their angels. This mask covers the keeper's lower face, and is made by taking the Kaddar Nova crown and trimming away its peak, as below:



This is then glued in place with the former peak pointing downwards over the Keeper's nose and mouth. To give it a slightly better fit, slice off the Keeper's nose and if you're using a Kaddar Nova head (which is slightly more gaunt than the Trooper heads) it can help to make the mask a little more curved - hold it upright between your thumb and forefinger and give it a gentle squeeze to bend it very slightly, and then glue it in place.

There is a small hollow in the small of the Nova's back, which is normally filled with the Nova's giant backpack. For the Angel Keeper, it's a handy place to glue the Ripper Grenade Launcher, hanging in reach on the Keeper's back for when it is needed and nicely disguising the hollow. If you're modeling your Keeper with the grenade launcher in hand, you can instead glue a grenade there, like on my first-generation keeper below:



The Angel Keeper is armed with a Cybel Goad, which he uses to encourage the angels in his charge to do as they're told, and also to whallop nearby enemies when the need arises. I envisaged the goad as potentially taking various forms depending on the preferences of the individual keeper - So some may use a staff or prod, others a whip or lash of some kind, or something else entirely. This opens up all sorts of modeling possibilities, but I'll show a couple of relatively easy options that I've come up with so far.

The easiest version of the goad uses just the shaft of the Cybel Glaive. Chop the head off just below the energy unit, along the red line shown below:



I picture this goad having a small cybel cannister in the round part behind the spike, which distributes a tiny jolt off cybel energy along the spike when it comes in contact with something.

Alternatively, you can trim the bottom spike and the blades off the glaive, as below:



This one is more of a taser-style unit, still requiring contact to use and administering a small cybel charge directly to the target rather than along a blade or spike.



Option number three is a little more complicated, using the handle from a Cybel Blade (from the Expansion sprue), the spike from the bottom of a Cybel Glaive and a short piece of metal guitar string to make a whip, as below:



I have this one coiled up to hang on the Keeper's belt. The coiled guitar string is bound with a little fine copper wire to keep it together.

If you want your Keeper to have his grenade launcher in hand instead of his goad, the easiest option is to use the grenade launcher from the Trooper sprue instead of the Expansion sprue version, as it has the firing hand attached. For a single-handed grip, just slice or file off the support hand from the grenade launcher's stock. The pistol arm on the trooper sprue is nicely positioned out to the side for the grenade launcher - just cut off the pistol hand at the wrist, and glue the grenade launcher hand in its place.

For the Keeper below, I have also used Shadow Walker legs with an Expansion sprue loincloth, instead of the Nova legs. This is an easy way to give your Keeper a slightly more dynamic pose or to make him slightly less austentatious.



You can pick up the parts you need to build your own Angel Keeper from the Maelstrom's Edge online store (www.maelstromsedge.com - You'll need the Kaddar Nova, Shadow Walker, Karist Trooper and Faction Expansion Sprue, which will build you an Angel Keeper and because of all of the extras on the sprues will still leave enough spare parts to still build a Kaddar Nova, a Shadow Walker and a unit of Karist Troopers or Praetorians.

We would love to hear any feedback you have on the Angel Keeper's rules, and see how everyone is building their own keepers, so please share your creations, questions or comments on the Comm Guild Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MaelstromsEdge)!

Background Fiction - Commune Diffuser


Posted on Saturday Nov 05, 2016 at 05:00PM in Fiction


Na-cybel is the type of cybel energy discovered by the Enclave's founders during their escape from a Maelstrom-infected collapsing cybel tunnel, and later reproduced via their Commune reactors. The Fourteen survivors began to experiment with cybel energy, fascinated by the strange new form that had flooded their ship. Eventually they managed to recreate what they called na-cybel energy, a metastable form that seemed not to harm flesh in the same way. Whilst cybel energy had been used often in ship engines, few people directly exposed themselves to cybel energy because of the health risks. The Fourteen survivors decided that the benefits of na-cybel energy outweighed its dangers.

When a commune reactor is used to produce na-cybel, it mixes highly disrupted, almost Maelstrom-like energy with calm, refined cybel energy. At the interface between the two, a hybrid of cybel and Maelstrom energies forms, with the more placid, wispy qualities of cybel combined with the colouring of Maelstrom energy. Unlike either though, na-cybel does not annihilate with conventional energy and matter, instead sparking tiny purple and magenta lightning strikes that topically burn objects. It has been observed that na-cybel has powerful effects on the human nervous system, producing a sense of euphoria and sometimes visions. The Enclave use this as a religious experience and also as a means of controlling their population. The scarring that results from na-cybel exposure is superficial in general, but only to a point, as heavy users such as the Kaddar Nova will eventually be crippled and killed by the cumulative effects.

The na-cybel is only used as a narcotic. Karist weapons do not use or fire na-cybel, they fire refined cybel. The technology in the communes, enhanced with further understanding and insights by studying angels, can be militarized to control and channel natural cybel with peerless performance to all other human civilizations, surpassed and dwarfed only by the angels themselves. It is this deeper understanding, derived from the need to re-produce na-cybel, but re-purposed to weaponising natural cybel, that gives the Enclave their unique weaponry and abilities.

Friday Photo - An Evil Looking Kaddar Nova


Posted on Friday Nov 04, 2016 at 05:00PM in Models


We've shared a few of our red Karist forces now, but this is the first showing of the very evil looking Kaddar Nova. The withered, blackened flesh lends itself well to a commander who has spent decades exposing themselves to deadly volumes of na-cybel radiation, ready for their ascendance. The colour scheme on this model just makes every little detail of the plastics pop so nicely in our opinion!

Background Fiction - Metalloceramic Production


Posted on Saturday Oct 29, 2016 at 05:00PM in Fiction


The Karist Enclave are unable to take huge manufacturing facilities with them when they secret themselves away upon a remote world and capturing large facilities is immediately noticeable as well. As a result, more than any other faction, the Karists use complex refineries and nanoforges. A nanoforge is a molecular level assembly system, which allows almost all Karist equipment to be assembled at a near-molecular level. While organics remain too complex to replicate, armour, weaponry, furniture, electronics and extremely basic foodstuffs can all be produced from a wide array of input resources.

The most common output material is Metalloceramic - the material from which Karist plate armour, spacecraft and day to day tools are built from. As the name implies, the material mixes properties from input metals with the benefits of a ceramic, giving the best of both worlds in terms of conductivity, protection and strength.

Nanoforges are not exclusive to the Karist Enclave, but the energy requirements for operating them are immense, and only the Karists are content enough to sit on top of such large volumes of cybel energy. Most other groups in the galaxy appreciate that human power is a lot cheaper than cybel energy, so tend to vie away from such high levels of automated production for all but the most complex and critical equipment.

Spotlight: The Mature Angel


Posted on Monday Oct 24, 2016 at 05:00PM in The Karist Enclave


The Karist Angel was the final sculpt which we completed from the Battle for Zycanthus set. While the core of the model was completed quite early on, one of our first sculpts in fact, the limbs and details were quite a challenge to create. Here are some early pieces of concept art for the mature angel...

We wanted the Karist centrepiece model to be visually striking and much taller than anything else in the box set, which meant we had quite a lot of limitations with regards to sprue size and cost restrictions which stopped us from doing plastic wings. Each angel has three different morphing modes of which wings is just one option, so not getting wings in to the set was not a big issue for us. Trying to come up with some limbs that did not look comical and still showed the model capable of flowing and reforming took a lot of design iterations though.

Ultimately the mature Angel ended up as a fairly static pose for such a dynamic creature, with two alternate sets of claws that had little major difference between them, but with the benefit that the model is very easy to convert. Between the shapes being the easiest thing to sculpt (sausages of putty!), and the existing model being very easy to repose, we've seen a great range of conversions, and the model being so forgiving allows all manner of experimentation. Even boiling the plastic allows it to soften and be reposed in any shape without the obvious distortion you'd see from a model with sharp edges and lines.

The sprue is a sliding core sprue which makes such a large model have practically no visible seams, despite being completely made of plastic.

The legspan of the model is huge as well, and led to the creation of our huge bases. This was possible thanks to success in our kickstarter project allowing us to fund the tooling.

Community Spotlight: TP^DC Deputy Manager's Angel Minnow


Posted on Wednesday Oct 19, 2016 at 05:00PM in The Karist Enclave


Angel, Karist, Maelstrom

We've previously covered TP^DC Deputy Manager's excellent mature Angel, and this minnow complements it very well, with a similar basing scheme and colourscheme. The monochromatic base really helps draw the eye to the purple and pink in the minnow.

The Comm Guild's community spotlight focuses on sharing something from the Maelstrom's Edge community each week, if you have anything you'd like to get in to the queue, please get in touch with us via the Maelstrom's Edge website

Artwork: The First Karist


Posted on Tuesday Oct 18, 2016 at 05:00PM in Artwork


This piece of artwork is very important to us, as it was our first completed piece. It also served as the initial concept and reference for sculpting the Karist troopers. You'll spot a few small differences as we made the model in plastic, notably on the chestplate. This pose has popped up quite a few times in our conversions when we've played around with the sprue as tribute to this original piece of artwork which launched the rest of the range.

Friday Photo - The Big Red Beast


Posted on Friday Oct 14, 2016 at 05:00PM in Models


This striking Angel colourscheme is part of our red studio army by Lil'Legend Studios. The contrast makes it quite difficult to photograph effectively, but the sinister undertones can't be missed. Definitely not a creature you'd like to find tearing through the hull of your vehicle.

Forward Guidance - The Karist Angel Keeper


Posted on Sunday Oct 02, 2016 at 06:00PM in The Karist Enclave


Following up on our previous post about the Karist Keeper, we wanted to highlight a recent conversion by Iain, showing a Keeper that is even closer to the design aesthetic we are trying to accomplish:

This entire model was build by utilising spare parts from the Kaddar Nova sprue, Shadow Walker sprue, Karist Trooper sprue and Faction Expansion Sprue.

The official model is in active development at the moment, but as with all plastics, it is a very slow process!

New Book Available! Tales From The Edge: Emergence


Posted on Saturday Oct 01, 2016 at 07:00PM in Fiction


We are very proud to announce, that as previously teased, today sees the release of the first volume of the Tales From The Edge series. This series will cover all aspects of the Maelstrom's Edge universe, all factions, and fiction from a large number of perspectives and authors.

The first release - Emergence - includes stories by Tomas L. Martin, Stephen Gaskell and Andrew Everett. It will be digital exclusive on Amazon until February, when it will also get a print release alongside the second volume.

It is available right now on amazon (US / UK) for just $2.99 / £2.31, or you can get it and read it for free if you use Kindle Unlimited.

Go and check it out today, and please spread the word to your sci-fi fan friends if you enjoy it as word of mouth really helps us to thrive!

Spotlight: Karist Praetorians


Posted on Monday Sep 26, 2016 at 05:00PM in The Karist Enclave


- by Iain Wilson

The new Faction Expansion Sprue saw the addition of new units to the game for both the Karist and Epirian factions, with extra components to add to the original plastic kits. This seemed like a great chance to expore the versatility of these kits, by looking at different ways to build the new units.


We've already had a look at the Epirian Suppression Team, so this time around I'm having a play with the Karist Praetorians. These veteran warriors are immediately recognisable with their massive Cybel Glaives, or the smaller but deadly Cybel Blade.



The sprue comes with an open hand for holding the Cybel Glaive in a single-handed grip. For the other arm, you can use the arm with clenched fist from the Karist trooper sprue, or the pointing arm from the Expansion sprue, as in the studio images above and below.



With a little cutting and gluing, though, you can use the rifle support hand from the Epirian Contractor sprue on one of the Karist left arms to create a two-handed grip like this:

Karists, Maelstrom

The left hand will look slightly different to the right, as the Karists have a flat plate on the backs of their gloves which the Epirian hand will lack, but painted up like the other glove it won't be particularly noticable.

Both the Cybel Glaive and the Cyble Blade can be glued to the models' backs, to leave hands free for ranged weapons.



For Cybel Blade-equipped models, you can use the clenched fists which can be found on the Karist Trooper sprue or the Expansion Sprue to hold the sword, by cutting the hand grip off the sword and gluing to the top of the fist, and gluing the bottom of the hand grip to the bottom of the fist. You need to trim off a little of the grip to correspond to the part that would be in the model's hand, otherwise you wind up with a very long handle. You may find it sits better if you sand or file down the top of the fist a little to make sure you have a flat surface to glue the sword onto.



You can achieve some slightly more dynamic posing and make your Praetorians stand out a little more from regular Troopers by using Shadow Walker legs, as below:

Karists, Maelstrom

It's possible to equip a Praetorian with both a rifle (including a Ripper Grenade Launcher or Radwave Emitter) and a Cybel Blade. If you would like to avoid having to sling one of the weapons on the model's back, you can always combine them both into a single pole-arm:

Karists, Maelstrom

This was made by cutting away part of the fore-grip on the grenade launcher, trimming the handle off a Cybel Blade and gluing it in place. I then sliced off the back of the grenade launcher directly behind the drum magazine, and attached the shaft of a Cybel Glaive.

For an alternate take on the iconic Cybel Glaive, I tried going the other way and removing the shaft. The blades were attached to the model's forearms, and the power unit glued onto the model's back:

Karists, Maelstrom

There are plenty of other possibilities for personalising your units from this sprue, or for creating new unit options for your own home-brew rules, like this model armed with a Cybel Halberd, made by flipping the Glaive's blade upside down, and Energy Shield taken from a Kaddar Nova's backpack:

Karists, Maelstrom

...or this Angel Keeper, built from Kaddar Nova legs, a Shadow Walker torso, Karist Trooper arms and the shaft of a Cybel Glaive, with a mask made by trimming down a Kaddar Nova's crown.

Karists, Maelstrom

(We'll be looking at Angel Keepers in a little more depth, and sharing a tutorial for building your own, in an upcoming article very soon...)

And finally, if overkill is your thing, here's a Kaddar Nova who clearly favours getting in close and personal with his enemies:

Karists, Maelstrom

Karists, Maelstrom


Why not have a try and see what you can come up with yourself? You can pick up the Faction Expansion Sprue in a handy 3-pack in the Maelstrom's Edge Online Store here.

You'll also need the Karist Trooper Sprue (here) for the standard Praetorian builds, or the Shadow Walker (here) or Kaddar Nova (here) sprues for the more adventurous conversions.

Feel free to share your creations on the Comm Guild Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/MaelstromsEdge) - We would love to see what you do with your Praetorian units!