If you follow miniatures company Tomb Guardians, keep an eye on their new Kickstarter campaign for Queen of the Damned: Velrath’s Vampires. After tackling dwarves and monsters, Tomb Guardians is ready to add another fantasy race with new vampire miniatures. TechRaptor was able to get in touch with Tomb Guardians owner Cass Suwinski over email to discuss the development and lore of the new project.
We also spoke to one of the sculptors of the miniatures in Queen of the Damned: Velrath's Vampires, Patrick Keith, which you can find here.
TechRaptor: How did you end up starting Tomb Guardians?
Cass Suwinski: Tomb Guardians was started in June 2018. After my son and I went to Origins as we do every year, my son came home and told his mom how popular the game we run every year is, and how many people wanted to join. My wife the next day told me I should write the rules to our Dungeon crawl and adventure module. I thought about it and agreed to do just that.
Unfortunately, I didn't realize how much work it takes, and the depth of writing the rules. As the rules proceeded, my wife again asked me if we had miniatures to match the characters in the game, and I said no. She then said why don't you create your own miniatures; and I thought about it, and thought it was a great idea.
I then reached out to some of the people I knew in the field, and that led us to Jason Wiebe, Bobby Jackson, and Patrick Keith—of which we hired all three to create miniatures for our company. The first miniatures created was a set of 13 Dwarven heroes and 17 monsters. They were released in December of 2018 to a very positive reaction.
TechRaptor: Could you tell us more about the Kickstarter for Queen of the Damned: Velrath's Vampires and your involvement with the project?
Cass Suwinski: Queen of the Damned: Velrath's Vampires is a collection of twenty-one 28mm miniatures, of which there are 10 Vampires and 11 monster miniatures and accessory pieces.
There are 10 Vampire heroes—Queen, Mage, Cleric, Anti-Paladin, two Grave Spirits and four male slaves. The miniatures are cast in metal and come with a 5-year guarantee. If someone breaks the miniature, all they have to do is mail it to us and we will replace it, no questions asked.
The Vampires heroes is one of the eight factions within our world. Queen Velrath was created and sculpted after my wife. We used her wedding dress as the dress she wears. That was my thank you to my wife for her support and encouragement.
The backstory too—Queen Velrath was the wife of Telamir, the original leader of the Templars, and left the Kingdom of Rasa with him when he was expelled. She very much desired to learn the ways of attunement with the moon’s power, but she was forbidden from learning it because she was a woman. Angry at the snub, she started secretly exploring this herself, but instead of attuning with Wecarus, she found it much more beneficial to bask in the eerie darkened glow of Delaura. When Telamir discovered what she was up to, she was burned as a heretic, and dumped in a nearby swamp.
But fortunately for her, Delaura was full that evening, and with her strong attunement with it, she was reborn as the pinnacle of all undead beings, the vampire. Since that day, she has been enlarging her undead ranks, while punishing any Templars or male citizens of Rasa by enslaving them to do her bidding. Today her followers have strongholds in nearly every swamp in Elkarim, and they all hold a special hatred for the Templars.
TechRaptor: How did you assemble sculptors and other artists for Queen of the Damned?
Cass Suwinski: I try and use the best sculptors in the world—Jason Wiebe, Bobby Jackson, and Patrick Keith along with painter Mary Profitt. They do amazing work and keep my vision for the miniatures on key. I couldn't ask for anything better.
TechRaptor: What has it been like working with them?
Cass Suwinski: All our sculptors and painters are amazing, and very easy to work with. I’m very happy to have them as a part of our team.
TechRaptor: Could you describe your history with Kickstarter?
Cass Suwinski: Tomb Guardians had one other Kickstarter last year, and that was our first. We learned a lot from that Kickstarter; unfortunately, we cancelled the Kickstarter prior to its completion on December 5th, 2018. However, even though we cancelled the Kickstarter, we did get an investor, which allowed us to take pre-orders starting on December 7th, 2018. This was with the understanding that the miniatures would ship in late February/early March. We started shipping these orders two weeks ago and will finish those orders by the middle of March. Offering pre-orders was a huge success, and surpassed my expectations.
TechRaptor: Do you plan to attend Origins this year?
Cass Suwinski: Yes, we will be at Origins, demoing our game that we are releasing in the fall. This game is a RPG/dungeon crawl with an adventure module. A group of players select a party of heroes, and has to accomplish certain objectives within each level of the dungeon. We will be demoing this game all week. More details later on the game itself, but all the miniatures we are creating will be used in our game!
TechRaptor: Looking forward to learning more about the game in the future. Good luck with the Kickstarter, and thanks for taking the time to chat.