Feb 052014
 

When I was a young(er) man, I came across a movie with a title that resonated with me. That movie was Mutant Chronicles, and although my thoughts on that film are less than congratulatory, I actually watched it a couple of times because I really liked the post apocalyptic setting. I later found out from friends down at my local gaming society that it was based on game, and so tried to get hold of a copy. Sadly, it proved pretty damned hard to do, with a new copy being almost impossible to lay my hands on – at least in my part of the world – and the friends I knew with their own copies weren’t keen to part with them.

And so I gave up my quest and hadn’t thought about the game for years. Until a couple of days back, when I got a message from the lovely people who sent me a review copy of an Achtung! Cthulhu module a while back informing me that they were relaunching the game with tighter cinematic rules and were also working on bringing the whole setting in line with their new system. I can’t wait to take a look at this one, not least because of how long I’ve been waiting to get my hands on a copy, as the previous work this company has put out has been tremendous! For now though, I think I might just go and hunt down an old DVD.

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter has already funded so if you want to join in, it’s just about how much you want to get for your money and hitting some stretch goals. Head on over and check it out, but if you want a bit more information, the following comes direct from Modiphius.

 

The team that brought you Achtung! Cthulhu are unleashing the Dark Legion again with brand new content & cinematic rules. The Mutant Chronicles Kickstarter is a re-boot of the amazing 90′s techno-fantasy roleplaying game under license from Paradox Entertainment

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/modiphius/mutant-chronicles-3rd-ed-rpg

Modiphius have already funded the core book in gorgeous full colour hardcover, adding a Player’s Guide softback and are well on their way to a long series of stretch goals. Modiphius has re-designed the rules with a new d20 / roll under eight attribute based cinematic system, playtested with over 400 groups. They plan a re-write of the setting guides and supplements to include brand new material alongside the existing storyline. Supporters can expect the usual high quality production values seen in Modiphius’ Achtung! Cthulhu project.

Awesome new art will reveal never before seen parts of the Mutant Chronicles universe alongside the existing fantastic images by Paul Bonner, Peter Bergting and Paolo Parente. There will be huge campaigns, fantastic accessories and miniatures produced in conjunction with Prodos Games (who successfully re-launched the Warzone miniatures game) specifically for the roleplaying game. See below for more information on the world of Mutant Chronicles and new plans for the game.

Mutant Chronicles was one of the bigger names in gaming in the 1990′s with the Doom Trooper collectible card game translated in to 16 languages, three boardgames, two video games, the massive Warzone miniatures game and the Mutant Chronicles 1st and 2nd Edition roleplaying games with more recently a Hollywood movie, Fantasy Flight Games pre-painted miniature game and last year the reboot of Warzone by Prodos Games. The Mutant Chronicles story took you on this full throttle dieselpunk sci-fi ride through a solar system beset by corporate intrigue and the invasion of a terrible dark alien force. With technology failing due to the insidious effects of the Dark Symmetry humankind must fight back against the Dark Legion hordes whilst dealing with in-fighting and conspiracy from within.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/modiphius/mutant-chronicles-3rd-ed-rpg

Nov 182013
 

My way is not the right way for everyone. I understand this, and know that there probably isn’t a right way for everyone, but I’ve kept dozens of player diaries, and read even more that have been written by other gamers. Rather than tell you how they should be done, as I don’t think there is a correct way to do them, I’ll be offering a few things that you should be thinking about if you’re about to start keeping a record of your character’s activities, or are struggling to maintain one already in process.

Firstly, who are you writing it for? Is this something that the other players will be checking in one after every session? Is it for the GM’s eyes only, or maybe just for yourself? Are you putting it out there for the general public, to let people who have never even played the game or spent time with any of the characters involved. Firstly, lets assume that at the least, the other players in your group will be checking in on the diary.

This can present you with some problems if there’s a few things about your character that you’d rather others didn’t find out about. If this is the case, you have a couple of options open to you. You can indulge in some creative editing to keep these things your own dirty little secret, but you need to be careful about keeping the story flowing without giving anything away. If you’re playing in a game that indulges in secrets and conspiracies, you could play up to this. Write out your full character diary, including all the things you don’t want people to know, then redact the sensitive topics before sending it out to the world. Your other option is to write the diary in such a way that there’s would be no way that the players would have any access to it.

In my particular case I have written the diary from the point of view of my character as retired adventurer. This works for a couple of reasons, notably being that at the present time, the character cannot read or write. In case my GM is reading this, it has nothing to due with subtly implanting the suggestion in his mind that I’m going to survive whatever he throws in front of me so that I get the chance to retire and write my memoirs. This might explain why they are so long winded, as I also appear to be channeling the writing style of the late George MacDonald Fraser in his Flashman series of books. It has even occurred to me that they are quickly turning from a  player diary, into the first draft of a novel.

I think this comes down to another option; writing for yourself. True, other people do read them, and I’ve gotten so far positive feedback, but they’re not being written as a way for the other players to check up on for a quick summary of the last week’s adventures. I’m writing my diary because I like writing, and the stories we’re telling weekly are fantastic, and well worth taking the time to commit to page, or in this case screen. The odd thing is, although I am mainly writing for myself, I am sharing with them with a much wider audience by putting them on the blog. If you’re planning on doing something similar, prepare yourself for the challenge of writing about an imaginary world that the reader may never have encountered before.

I’m pretty lucky in this, as the game my character exists in, is in the middle of a successful Kickstarter campaign. Because of this, they have been sharing a lot of stuff about their game that I can link to for people wanting more information. I still need to be careful though, and make sure I take the time to include some details that are required to give the neophyte reader a chance of understanding what the heck is going on.

If you’re looking to create a record of events that’s just there to serve as reminder of the in game activities, then you could try something completely different, and move away from the first person narrative at all. Write from an outsider perspective – I have found that newspaper stories or other journalistic forms work pretty well – and you don’t need to worry about including anything personal, and by necessity your writing should be quick and punchy, without needing to go into too much detail.

More importantly though, set yourself a realistic time frame with your chosen method. My entries are massive, but I give myself plenty of time to write them. If you don’t have the spare time, then give yourself a reason to only write shorter summaries of the action. If your finding yourself getting stressed out about maintaining a schedule at your current expected word count, then you’re missing the point, and should probably reevaluate how your approaching your diary.

Nov 012013
 

I have spent the last couple of years genuinely annoyed that I haven’t had the funds to back all of the Kickstarter projects that I wanted to, But today I popped my project backing cherry. If you want to back this campaign, click through here right now, but if you’ve never heard of the game Orbis Terrarum, stick around and I’ll tell you why I’ve pledged some hard earned money so that real hard copies of the game will see the light of day.

**Full disclaimer** I am friends with the guys who have created this game, and they’ve been working on it for at least as long as I have known them off and on. This does not mean that I’m only supporting the game because we’re friends; I have played two full length campaigns within their world as they play tested the game at our weekly gaming society meetings, and I enjoyed every second of it.

As mentioned in a previous couple of posts, I am even playing the game every Tuesday night as of last week, and I’m loving the final revisions that they’ve made. I will be continuing to detail the adventures of character as the weeks progress, but for now lets get to why I love the game so much.

The style of the game, and how it comes to life through the setting was the first thing that grabbed me. As much as I like to play games of high heroic fantasy, with orcs and dragons and what have you, I much prefer a grittier edge to my fantasy worlds. For people who have followed the blog you’ll know that when it comes to fantasy literature my two current favourite writers are Scott Lynch and Joe Abercrombie. Both write about fantasy worlds that have a very human feel to them, with magic being both rare and misunderstood, and the biggest threats often much more human than supernatural. Wars across borders and political maneuvering take more of a central role than world ending beasts and necromantic legions.

The guys who created the game are also fans of this style, but have a much bigger influence on their style, and that’s the work of Fritz Leiber. It runs along similar lines and anyone familiar with his work is highly encouraged to look into this game so that you can enjoy seeing the influence he clearly had.

It’s not just setting though, it’s the system as well that keeps me going back for more. As much as I like a nice simple system, what I really adore is one that has internal consistency. I know it’s a strange thing and might not be what everyone looks for, but there is something marvelous about a game that has the same rules for character generation for player characters as it does for NPCs, so that everyone is on a level playing field, at least to begin with. Add to that the magic, combat and general skill tests all work along the same lines means that there is nothing extra to learn just because you want to use some Geomancy or wield the Heart’s Fire.

I could go on at length here about the various little things within all of the above that I love, but the guys have done a great job of explaining exactly what the game is about on their project page, so if you haven’t been there yet, head over now to read all about it in their own words and then back the hell out of it! At time of writing it has been running for just over 24 hours and is already over half way there. And since the game is already complete, with layout and artwork, anyone who backs it at least the digital level will get their pdf copy as soon as it funds.

Feb 262013
 

1845710This is a very basic review of a product brought to you by Modiphius. They’re kicking ass at Kickstarter right now, and with all the buzz, I thought I had better check them out and see what all the hoopla is about. All I have to go on so far are my first impressions of the Three Kings adventure supplement. I have the Call of Cthulhu version, although other versions are available. I promise I will furnish you all with a full and comprehensive review once I finish it, but due to a busy weekend and illness yesterday, I’m a day behind and don’t want to leave you all with nothing.

So here it is, based on a cursory flick through: man this book looks amazing! Everything about it makes me want to play this game, from the random scrawled notes popping up in unusual places, through the wonderful art, and onto some absolutely stunning maps. it seems like Modiphius will struggle to impress me any more than they already have done, and I’ll let you tomorrow if they manage it.

Until then, you really should go and check out the Kickstarter. Seriously, the buy in required for the basics is pretty damned low indeed, and with all the stretch goals getting nailed, putting a bit more up will get you some primo loot.

Nov 012012
 

I have a seen a lot Kickstarters recently, some that work, some that don’t, some that never had a chance to fail, some that staggered belief in their far reaching goals. This week though, the crowd funding platform went live this side of the pond, and a lot of gamers I know, myself included, are looking at it as a way of getting our ideas into other people’s hands. Come the end of NaGa DeMon I will hopefully have something ready to get play tested, and start thinking about doing some real formatting and art for it.

The ground is currently being tested by the great chaps at 6D6 who have launched their Kickstarter as soon as they were able to. I imagine a load of people will be keeping a very close eye on this to see how it goes for them. I wish I could do more than just watch from the sidelines, and if you have the cash, I advise you take a swing on this one. The offers they have are fantastic, with a whole bunch of stuff available for very little expenditure. And the six month offer is frankly inspired. Get on over there now, and check them out.

Now, I don’t usually do this kind of blog post, and please don’t get cross me with me. I am getting nothing for doing this apart from a nice warm feeling that one of my readers might put some money their way, and when they fund – and I get a real job – I will be able to find this awesome product in my FLGS. Just for the record, i would totally go for the Zombie pack…