Thursday, 24 September 2015

Episode 13: Conquest Campaign System Part 2, Unremembered Empire Redux

Lucky episode 13! This week we continue our discussion of the Conquest Campaign System by talking about some of the optional rules you can bolt onto the basic system we explained last time. Then in Book Club, we go back to the beginning and reappraise Unremembered Empire by Dan Abnett. Have your comments made us change our minds about the book? Tune in to find out!

Direct link (to download right-click and choose "Save Link As"):

The Age of Darkness Episode 13

0:00  Introduction

14:41  New Stuff

21:01  Conquest Campaign System Part2

1:12:44  Book Club: Unremembered Empire by Dan Abnett Redux 

2:06:30  Two-Week Hobby Challenge, Closing Song

Closing song is "Cenotaph" by Bolt Thrower (from "War Master")

The Age of Darkness Podcast can be contacted at



Skype Feedback: ageofdarknesspodcast (JP Mathieu)


  1. Hi Guys. I really enjoyed episode 13. I did write a long comment on it but the internet swallowed it.

    I'll try and summarise some of the things I wrote here:

    Firstly, thanks for the shout out.

    Secondly, I think it worked perfectly for your first review to have quite a firm view about various aspects of the book. I don't think you would have had half as much feedback/discussion otherwise.

    Thirdly, I kind of agree that the Alpha Legion operatives would have had no chance against a primarch. Out of universe this is just a 'rule of cool' scene. I get your other criticism with it. In-universe there is possibly an argument that Alpharius (or, more likely, Omegon) intentionally sent the operatives to attack Guilliman to get him to up his game or to make him aware of the AL tactic of assuming identities; this view, whilst wildly speculative, would go some way towards supporting the 'third-way' with the acuity paradox (i.e. that Omegon is pro-Emperor and Alpharius anti-Emperor).

    Fourthly, I just wanted to clarify something I said about Guilliman and The Lion. I don't mean to suggest that Guilliman shouldn't be more nuanced, but simply that I feel that The Lion that we are given in the books is the guy with ambition and therefore there isn't a need for Guilliman to fill the same role. Specifically, at the end of Fallen Angels when Perturabo says he will vouch for him and I read the bit at the end of Savage Weapons (or whichever story it was) where he thinks that Guilliman has eyes on the throne as being The Lion imposing his own thoughts and ambitions on to Guilliman. Otherwise, The Lion becomes less nuanced and is just the good guy looking out for his dad. That being said, I like the idea of there being more substance to Guilliman that the good guy; even my suggestion that it is a negative for him that he created Imperium Secundus rather than believing the Emperor might still be alive is like at a job interview that my worst attribute is that I try to hard or something. No one likes a loyalist staying loyal for the sake of it and vice versa for traitors.

    Next, the issue of only a primarch can kill a primarch was brought up. I'm not sure how true this is and how power levels are realised. Primarchs are usually as powerful or weak as they need to be. The traitor primarchs seem to have an edge with chaos boons, for example: would Fulgrim have survived Sharrowkyn's attack if he was a loyalist? Also, on the same note of only primarchs being able to kill primarch it is worth noting that Horus would have died in False Gods without the intervention of Chaos.

    Next, a commenter suggested that Curze should have thrown Vulkan into a star to kill him. In reply I would say that Curze wanted to break Vulkan rather than kill him.

    1. [Done as 2 posts due to word count going over limit]

      Next, I think it's interesting (and even necessary) to review Vulkan Lives and Unremembered Empire as a duology. Of similar interest, Nick Kyme's afterword to Deathfire suggests that Vulkan Lives, Deathfire and XXX are a trilogy.

      Next, I like the notion that Dan Abnett write superheroes in comics and that this translates to 40k. I am less convinced on your reasoning behind the inclusion of human characters in the astartes books. I think he has said that the inclusion of regular humans is to add perspective (i.e. what do superhumans look like to humans and how do they interact with regular humans); it also gives a relatable perspective.

      I'd like to add two further comments that are not directly related to this episode.

      I previously commented on how much I disliked Fear to Tread. I re-read this after listening to your review and I didn't find it half as bad as when I first read it on release. The Signus sector stuff, which I still dislike does not make up the majority of the book. the pre-Signus stuff was very cool and the humans vs chaos stuff was awesome.

      Finally, I mentioned something about wanting to see Lorgar die in the heresy and this was quite rightly shot down on the basis that he is still alive in 40k. As I understand it, no one sees Lorgar. He's locked away and others filter down his word. I think this gives sufficient scope for him being out of the picture. The reason why I want him out of the picture is because I think it would be really great for the narrative. Lorgar has the most pure reasons for turning against the Emperor (more than anyone else) and after he decided to not go to Calth he set himself on this pure path searching for truth. To see him ended by or because his generals have ambition and only self interest would be a great end to the first and only true heretic.

      Thanks for reading!

    2. Rob,

      I'm happy you don't mind us using your prior comment to organize our discussion on the feedback from Unremembered Empire, as I said on the show we found that it neatly and eloquently summarized most of the comments we've received since our first show.

      I totally understand what you mean with the "rule of cool" in the fight with the Headhunters, it is a fun and well paced action scene. I just don't believe the danger. Maybe you're right and there's something more there, it certainly would fit with the Alpha Legion.

      You're entirely right that Curze wanted to break Vulkan not kill him. You may also be correct that Horus may have died if not for the intervention of Chaos. At the end of the day though, as you note, the Primarchs are only as powerful as the story requires them to be!

      As for Fear to Tread I'm glad you liked it upon second reading! I felt the same way about Vulkan Lives which I really disliked the first time but now I really appreciate.

      Finally, on the subject of Lorgar, I do get what you mean about him dying in the Heresy (maybe at the hands of someone like Erebus) would be really interesting! There is something to be said though for his (supposed) fate, pretty much locking himself away to pray for 10,000 years. Maybe he's just sitting there though wondering what went wrong though, or screaming incessantly at the Gods for forsaking him. I guess we'll never know exactly what he's doing, or even if he's still alive.

      Thank you once again for the great comments, please keep them coming!


      P.S. I noticed I accidentally called you Richard in a prior response, please forgive me!

  2. Have you guys read Talon of Horus? its more like 32k. But it has LOTS of great tidbits.

    1. Not yet but it really needs to get done, I've heard nothing but good things! Out of curiosity do you think it would be relevant to talk about it in our Horus Heresy book club?