Saturday, June 29, 2024

Vastarian Contest Winners

The wait is finally over, roughly three months since submissions were due, we are ready to reveal which of the Vastarian Cults created for our contest are the winners! It was a difficult decision to say the least, with over 30 entries (see Entries 1, 2, 3, 4), each an amazing creative expression, pushing the Vastarian setting, and Warhammer 40k as a whole, forward in new directions! Below are our selected favorite cults along with some honorable mentions!

First Place: Jean-François (trexcowboy_): The Aeris Sanctus
We were instantly enthralled by the Aeris Sanctus Imperial Cult, one that celebrates the simple act of breathing and believes that the struggle to respire, even in oxygen low environments, emparts a spiritual connection to the Emperor. Jean-François took this intriguing idea and explored it, creating their customs and how they adorn themselves. All of these ideas were then encapsulated beautifully in a trio of miniatures, making this our favorite Vastarian Cult.

Second Place: James Holloway (monstermangonzo): The Throne of Righteousness

In a universe that is defined by grim and dark horrors, the Sodality of the Righteous Throne of the Blessed Prophet Saint Morovius, is relatable in how human it is. As a small wealthy sect with little in the way of onerous or barbaric practices to prove their faith in the God-Emperor, it serves as an appealing place for noble families to gain prestige and influence. The psychic awakening on Vastarian threw the delicate balance of secular and religious practices into chaos, making its members have a crisis of faith, no longer protected by their wealth and influence. We love how this entry seems to mirror realities we see in real life, where organizations lose sight of their original intentions as they gain influence and wealth. We also really like the Oldhammer look and feel of the warband, making us want to scour our collection of miniatures for Rogue Trader models that would fit within the sect.

Third Place: Shane Brockway (7he_Blindman): The Cult of the Marrow King

If the Sodality of the Righteous Throne of the Blessed Prophet Saint Morovius charmed us with its human qualities, Shane Brockway’s Cult of the Marrow King goes in the opposite direction, fully embracing the grim dark underpinnings of the 40k setting. Rather than seeing the Emperor as a hale and strong paragon, a radiant God-King to banish all darkness, they claim to see the Emperor as He truly is, a moldering skeleton radiating psychic might and haloed on gold. And the best way to venerate Him is to strip back the flesh and expose glorious bone! The Cult of the Marrow King dials every aspect of the 40k setting to the extreme, with their leader even being the one of the setting’s iconic servo skulls.

Fourth Place: Eli Parsons (redwetskeleton): Blessed Saint Abdubel of the Crippled Penitents Procession

Games Workshop takes any chance it gets to tell you its Warhammer 40k setting is the darkest and most brutal one imaginable, but this rarely translates to the models they make and display. Instead we see colorful and clean Space Marines with gigantic pristine firearms. With his cult, Blessed Saint Abdubel of the Crippled Penitents Procession, Eli Parsons actually shows us the dark and twisted place the 41st millennium is supposed to be. Twisted and flayed flesh, barbed wire and iron nails, frenzied and bloodied. His creation is the epitome of a crazed and fanatical cult, captured with incredible detail and care, using proper scale to incredible effect.

Honorable mentions

As mentioned earlier, it was incredibly difficult narrowing down our favorite entries to only four. Therefore, we wanted to include a few honorable mentions, to pick out a few more standout creations.

Matthew Farmer (ierthling): Flamma Undarum - The Cult of The Flame That Burns Beneath the Waves

The planet of Vastarian is covered in oceans and vast cathedrals, some of which have been slowly overtaken by the oceans, submerged and eventually forgotten. With the Cult of The Flame That Burns Beneath the Waves, Matthew Farmer created a group of devoted brethren that dive into the sunken ruins of Vastarian, looking for artifacts and remnants of a bygone age. The opening of the Cicatrix Maledictum saw a change come over the brethren, their skin taking a sickly bluish hue. Some people even whisper that they no longer need diving gear to breathe underwater… We love the idea of stoic explorers in Standard Diving Dress descending into the cold depths of the ocean, looking for reliquaries and other devotional items. The nod to H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shadow over Innsmouth” is appreciated, as well. 

Stefan Darlan Boris (FPOA): The Cult of the Hollow Thorne

Vastarian was born from a desire to continue to expand the Church of the Red Athenæum which we created for Iron Sleet’s Pilgrym Inq28 event. To our delight, one of the other participants in the Pilgrym, Stefan Darlan Boris (FPOA), also continued to expand his Pilgrym creation for the Vastarian setting! The cult he created venerates the Emperor and His forthcoming transformation into the Green Man. As written in the Grimoire Crataegus, the Cult of the Hollow Thorne was born near the Halo Stars millennia ago. They believe that the Emperor will be reborn into the Green Man from the hollow of a Hollow Thorne, and therefore carry around shrines holding twisted and thorny trees.

From Throne to Thorne…

The Green Man Cometh…

Moritz Schuessler (herr.sobek) Child of Vastarian

One of the most unique entries into the contest wasn’t a cult at all, but instead two Inquisitors embroiled in a conflict surrounding a powerful newly emerged psyker from the Cathedral World of Vastarian. This psyker, the “Child of Vastarian,” and associated characters were created by Moritz Schuessler. This entry did an amazing job connecting Vastarian to the shadowy world of the Inquisition, told from the perspectives of two rival Inquisitors from different Ordos. The stories are reminiscent of Dan Abnett’s Eisenhorn novels, reminding us how engaging the 40k setting can be!

Tyler G (tylerisalrightatpainting): The Cult of Undying Love

The 40k setting is filled with humorously dark maxims such as “Hope is the first step on the road to disappointment.” Tyler from tylerisalrightatpainting took one of these, ‘only in death does duty end,’ and took it to a ridiculous extreme. The Cult of Undying Love recognizes that the Emperor will never die and feels that to worship Him they must follow suit, and the moment a member passes away they have committed an unforgivable blasphemy and are now a heretic to revile. This extreme perfectly captures how absurd the 40k setting can be and often is, making it a wonderful addition to the world of Vastarian!


We want to congratulate all of the winners, and thank everyone who has taken an interest in the Vastarian setting and spent the time to help expand it. All of your excitement reminds us why we love the Warhammer 40k hobby and the devoted inq28 fanbase.

- Adam, Eric, and Greg Wier

1 comment:

  1. Really great stuff - unfortunately I didn't finish my entry in time but I will still get it done and posted to Instagram in due course. I really like the second place entry, personally it is my favourite.

    You are all to be congratulated anyway for creating this setting which has given rise to all this creativity.