Gore Vidal and Orson Welles Play Warhammer

GORE: The unfed mind devours itself. With a successful casting roll of six — ah, there — my Grey Seer unleashes Vermintide, and a horde of voracious Skaven roll across the field of battle, caring not for what they eat, so long as there is eating to be had.

ORSON: Always the vulgarian, never the esthete. If that remark was directed at me, I can only say that I hope someday to see you become an individual. No man who is afraid of dinner can ever amount to more than a mere representative of type.


ORSON [darkly, after a successfully-cast Arcane Bolt from Vidal’s Chaos Sorcerer Lord]: Gore indeed.


ORSON: I have only had one real enemy in life that I know about, and that is John Houseman. Everything begins and ends with the hostility behind that ministerial benevolence. [Rolling unsuccessfully for charge on The Great Unclean One] Now I have two: John Houseman and the Great Horned Rat.


ORSON [impatiently]: Anybody can hold an objective with a pair of Giant Cave Squigs and a Bad Moon Rising, just as anybody can make a movie with a pair of scissors and a two-inch lens. A long-playing full shot, that’s something only a man and a director can do. You’ve got to measure for movement from the center of the base, Gore, not from any damn point on the model closest to hand. Anchor the movement to something real. That’s the difference between a battle and a couple of grown men waving figurines about.


GORE: As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests. That’s five VPs to me for defeating the Poxbringer, Herald of Nurgle—

ORSON: Don’t be ridiculous. Sloppity Bilepiper still controls the objective. The Victory Points are mine.

GORE: According to the Victory Objectives, yes. But with the Clash of Titans auxiliary roll, I gain five points for killing a hero or monster.

ORSON: A hysterical and illiterate claim. Poxbringer is neither a monster nor a hero.

GORE: A named character, with specific abilities wielded at the start of hero phase, and a wizard to boot, not a hero? You’d better check your warscroll, Orson.

ORSON: Impossible — meaningless — get me a jury and show me how you can claim a herald can simultaneously inhabit the category of hero. Does the Herald in Othello follow his announcement of the general’s wedding-feast by taking over the action of the play? Is it Othello, The Herald of Venice?

GORE: It’s in the list of keywords. Your attachment to sentiment is getting in the way of your talents, just as it did on The Other Side of the Wind. See, right there: Chaos, Daemon, Plaguebearer, Nurgle, Hero, Poxbringer, Herald of Nurgle. Five points.

ORSON: I’m right about Othello, and I’m right about life. I’m right in every meaningful interpretation of the term. Spiritually, morally, meta-morally, and so on.

GORE: Five points, Orson.

ORSON: You’ve misread the Auxiliary Objectives as badly as you’ve misread Apuleius. It’s five points for killing an enemy general with a Hero or Monster, and my Rotigus hasn’t a scratch on him.


ORSON [Meditatively]: The reason Maggotkin of Nurgle are the only completely good thing about Warhammer — the only moral choice for anyone wishing to play the Great Game — they are the only faction possessed of a sense of humor. I mean humor, in the truest sense of the word. The Gloomspite Gitz are merely ludicrous, the Skaven beneath contempt, the Hedonites of Slaanesh terrified of pleasure and desperate to mask their terror with overindulgence, but those who follow Nurgle find real satisfaction, carry real weight, find the mark between comedy and tragedy and tread to its full depths. Their faults are small, but their goodness is like bread, like wine, like newly-turned soil. They are farmer-kings, and any battle that does not result in their ultimate victory is a disaster. They are life itself. “Banish fat Nurgle, and banish life itself.” They do not know disgrace. Unlike every other deployment in service of the Chaos gods, they are not murderers. They are only as moral, or immoral, as May. Nurgle is generous, capacious, nurturing, unafraid of either death or life — most men are afraid of life, Gore, you chief among them, you quake in terror at the prospect of being forced to reckon with it — and unafraid of the belly, the gut, where resolve and shit and reality are ever-brewn by flesh. Never fear the flesh, Vidal, and you’ll learn true vitality. Not merely Disgusting Resilience — though I’ll thank you to remove those wound-counts from the score, as I’ve rolled 5+ for my Putrid Blightkings and negated all wounds — but vitality, appetite, the pleasure that comes from satisfying an honest desire, like smelling roast pork on a hot day. Falstaff knew it. Eisenstein knew it, but only in pieces. And the sons of Nurgle know it. And I know it. No rolls for Battleshock while the Glottkin holds the field, Gore my boy.