Pannithor has a turbulent history wracked by war and conflict. From the arrival of the Celestians, to the seemingly endless war between the Shining Ones and their twisted reflections, this is a world that has rarely known peace.
For the first time ever, Kings of War the Roleplaying Game allows you to explore Pannithor like never before. The setting for Kings of War explodes into life like never befroe thanks to the TriCore mechanics.
Follow the link above or the small ‘K’ in the top left corner of the video below to join in:
Auguries have been cast, the stars have aligned, and prophecies have come to fruition. Thanks to the mighty powers of the Shining Ones, the Kings of War RPG will be @ Gen Con!
What is Gen Con?
Gen Con is the premier tabletop gaming event in the world. Over 60,000 people will be making their way to the Indiana Convention Center, Indianapolis, from the 1st to the 4th of August. With all manner of games and gaming experiences available, Kings of War the Roleplaying Game now joins the list of those you can try for free!
How Do I Join the Kings of War RPG?
Simply head to the Gen Con website. Click on the Find Events tab on the left of the page. Search for the Kings of War RPG session using one of these three codes:
RPG19165543 – Friday 8am Session
RPG19165543 – Friday 1pm Session
RPG19165527 – Saturday 8am Session
Hurry, though, because places are extremely limited!
Mantic Open Evening
Mantic will also be hosting an Open Evening. There’s plenty on offer there too, including more demo games of the Kings of War the Roleplaying Game. A ticket for this event snags a whole host of goodies, so make sure to book in soon!
Join Pannithor’s mightiest heroes and start forging your own legend with Kings of War the Roleplaying Game this coming weekend.
We’re taking a departure from the rules development side of the blog for Red Scar Development 03. Mark Barber of ‘Steps to Deliverance‘ fame has joined the team and written a guest blog to introduce the plans that are afoot!
Development Blog 03: Beyond Deliverance
Fantasy RPGs have stood the test of time for several decades now, with a reported spike in popularity in recent years. Following news that Mantic’s Kings of War setting will soon be a world open for exploration and adventure in this format, fans of the game across the globe have already been showing their excitement with a steady stream of social media comments. However, I’m even more excited than them because I’ve somehow wangled my way into an opportunity to write for it!
So, what am I doing, where do I begin, and what’s the process?
My task in all of this is to write a campaign aimed at a party of good or neutral aligned player characters (PCs) which will link a number of adventures and span an extended period of time within the game. After chatting through a few options with the fine minds at Red Scar, we decided to come up with a campaign which will thread in and around the events occurring in the Kings of War novel ‘Steps to Deliverance’. Doing so will give the players an opportunity to have an indirect involvement with some of the key events in the novel and allow them to interact with some of the established characters.
With that in mind, the first step I’m undertaking is the planning of a rough story arc for the players (and that’s currently Top Secret!), which includes the setting for the campaign itself. Given that the novel is set in the rural northeast of Basilea, that is the obvious place to start. Fortunately, there is a good amount of reference material to draw from in the core rulebooks for both Kings of War and Vanguard, plus some contained in previous sourcebooks. The map of Basilea lays out the basic geography, so, with Mantic kindly approving the plans and schemes I wrote in ‘Steps to Deliverance’, the next step is to delve a bit deeper into the area of the world the players will find themselves in during the course of the campaign.
The Shining Bulwark
The Hegemony of Basilea is a rather unique
place. Whereas the Kingdoms of Men are classed as ‘neutral’ in their alignment,
the Basileans are most definitely ‘good’. This is backed up with the history of
Basilea; a faction who are literally the chosen people of the Shinning Ones —
the good deities of Pannithor. We also know that Basilea is a nation of great
wealth, power and security. So, in a nation favoured by the gods themselves
with securely defended borders, is there really any opportunity for adventure?
The answer is yes! Very much so.
Starting with the most obvious threat, the
Abyss itself — the figurative and literal gateway to hell — is northeast of
Basilea, and not by that far, marking this part of the noble country as the
closest to the Abyss and therefore the most under threat from attack. The
mountainous terrain in the area makes it difficult to build an extensive wall
of defenses, so there are always gaps that Abyssal or orc warbands can exploit
to cross the border. Though this doesn’t mean that the spawn of the Abyss or
hulking orcs will be found wandering the streets of Basilean towns, it does
mean that they are well-placed to cause havoc and mayhem; the sort of calamity
a group of heroes would be required to stop. The Abyssals have a long reach,
however. Anybody familiar with Vanguard will know they can and do make use of
arcane portals to travel great distances, so it is possible for the Abyssal
threat to appear in the very heart of Basilea in smaller numbers.
If Abyssals and orcs aren’t your thing, the
opening Kings of War novel revealed that the foothills and mountains of the
region known as Tarkis are also home to networks of subterranean barrows and
burials sites, many filled with treasures from ancient civilizations. But the
trouble with the dead is they don’t always stay that way. This region of
Basilea has a history of troublesome undead roused from their slumber by greedy
adventurers. And then there are the Nightstalkers who murderously haunt the
isolated farmsteads, manor houses, and mines of rural Basilea. In short,
there’s plenty for the up-and-coming adventurer to warm up their sword arm
Now, all of that is useable information for
anybody who wants to plan a Kings of War or Vanguard campaign involving
Basileans and their host of enemies. So what makes an RPG different? In RPGs,
there’s a lot more to the game than just fighting. To dig deeper into that element,
I needed to scratch my head a bit more about what day-to-day life is like in
Lending from history, there are certain
themes running through the societies of both classical and medieval Western
Europe and, judging on the aesthetics of the Basilean military, that seemed a
pretty good place to start. Whilst the Hegemon retains overall control as the
head of state and the head of the church combined, there is also a
democratically elected Duma who theoretically represents the people’s will. So,
even with a democracy of sorts in place there is a dictator-like figure at the
top, and this fits in rather nicely with a caste system built on social status being
heavily influenced by birth.
Does this matter in an RPG? Absolutely!
Players may have envisaged an anarchic society where physical strength and
martial aptitude allow their character to say and do as they feel — and other
campaigns may very well delve into this type of setting — but that isn’t going
to happen in Basilea. In a secure state with a strict class system, the law is
the law. Even in a situation where it is enacted by corrupt individuals, the
PCs will have to be clever in how they conduct themselves socially. In other words,
if you are thinking of creating a powerhouse barbarian character armed only
with a greatsword and a mullet, think twice before committing! In this setting,
those social and intelligence-based trades and Keywords will really come in
To sum up, we’re in the early planning of this part of the Kings of War RPG, but right now we’re looking at players roaming the very frontiers of a civilized and affluent nation, fighting the good fight against a host of evil adversaries as well as being caught up in the politics and power struggles of a society on the very fringe of the Hegemon’s authority. Success will depend on skill in combat, the aptitude to survive the harsh environment, and the social skills to exploit situations as they present themselves in the fickle local politics of the area. But, it is early days! We are always open to suggestions, ideas, and comments, so if there is anything you really want to see in this campaign or, indeed, any other, please contact Red Scar.
We hope you enjoyed Development Blog 03. We’ll keep you informed on progress!
Nighstalkers, Basileans, Salamanders, Abyssal Dwarfs… every race on Pannithor oozes their own character. While some may be staples familiar to most fantasy settings, Mantic have given all of them unique twists and exciting visuals that bend or break tradition to offer something vibrant and unique. So how best to represent that in a tabletop roleplaying game? Welcome to Red Scar development blog 02: Keywords.
Like the unstoppable Steel Behemoths of the dwarfs, Kings of War the Roleplaying Game is shaping into a mighty juggernaut and gathering ground-shaking momentum. Gather your band and steel your resolve, for Pannithor is in need of mighty heroes to help shape its destiny. Welcome to the very first Red Scar development blog!
The Kings of War Saga
Mantic’sKings of War sprang into existence almost a decade ago as a ruleset designed to allow mighty fantasy armies of 28mm miniatures clash across epic battlefields. The setting behind the rules has expanded in the years since thanks to multiple supplements to the rules, the fast-paced Vanguard skirmish game, the popular Dungeon Saga board game, an expanded miniatures range, new novels, and even a global campaign that reshaped part of the world. No matter which medium the fans have used to romp across Pannithor, there has always been a thirst for more knowledge and new ways to explore its dangers. What better way to do so than on a personal scale with your own heroic (or villainous) crew?
Enter the Roleplaying Game
Tabletop roleplaying games (RPGs) allow groups of people to come together and weave their own narratives as they take on the persona of the characters from the setting they’re exploring. Often requiring little more than dice, a pencil, and a character sheet, a tabletop RPG provides a framework for the players to escape into an alternate reality where they can delve into dungeons, pilot sleek spaceships, solve deadly mysteries, and more.
In Kings of War the Roleplaying Game, we’re working to offer you epic narratives that shape living legends out of characters who are already heroes. Whether you’d like to claim your own crown from a fallen enemy, take your seat at the apex of a dusty necropolis, or become the shadowy master pulling the strings from behind the throne, never has there been a better time to take control of your destiny and become your own King or Queen of War!
Fuelling the Behemoth
The system behind Kings of War the Roleplaying Game
is our very own TriCore ruleset, a lightweight system that uses
flavourful mechanics to both drive the narrative and encourage character
development. As our in-house sysem, TriCore has now been around for a few years
itself. Much like Pannithor, though, it’s been through its own reforging
process during that time. We’ve now spent a good part of the year touring
various conventions for playtesting and feedback, and have also gathered a
tight crew of early playtesters in that time. We’re close to throwing open the
doors on Kings of War the Roleplaying Game and the TriCore system
behind it, but we’ll be using a series of blog posts to introduce some core
mechanics and design concepts of the system before we do so.
The TriCore Concept
When we originally
sat down to conceive TriCore, we approached the design with a view to tapping
into the specific strengths that could be employed by a character. We defined
these as a character’s reliance on one of three core features: innate ability,
trained skill, and gear. Though it’s not a hard and fast rule of the system,
theming areas of mechanics to multiples of three followed naturally on from the
three opening features. There’s also a historical and mythical association to
the power of three, which is impressive inspiration to draw upon. A slightly
cheesy naming synergy was introduced at this point based around a triplet of
words beginning with the same letter — abilities, skills, and gear became
Talents, Trades, and Trappings, for instance — but that’s now thankfully been
Initially, each core feature would provide a specific way
for the player to interact with the dice they rolled and we specifically chose
to ringfence each feature. This meant that a character who drew on their innate
ability to achieve their goals would have a very unique way to manipulate their
dice, which was completely different to how someone who had trained their
skills would accomplish a task. The Keyword system discussed in the next blog is
a direct evolution of this early concept.
Internal playtesting proved positive, so we took the system
to select groups and attended a few conventions. Which is where one of our
other critical design focusses raised its head: accessibility. The system
worked, but it became fairly obvious that the players didn’t necessarily
understand the mechanics during the introductory sessions we were running.
Everyone had fun, but we gathered that not everyone understood the combination
of dice they were rolling, including any factors affecting the dice and their
character’s abilities to offset those factors.
Putting the Tri into TriCore
The core mechanic for TriCore initially drew on the three
core features mentioned earlier, this resulted in players rolling three dice, with
each die representing one of those features. Each die would begin as a d10 but
would then be downgraded or upgraded depending on any influences to the roll,
such as environmental factors that could affect the outcome, or the character’s
own traits. This central aspect of the triplet of dice still remains to a
degree, but the initial system of downranking dice proved to be a tricky
barrier to entry.
In the streamlined system, players still begin with a core
dicepool of 3d10, but the dicepool itself now shrinks or grows in relation to
any Keywords that the character applies. A single positive Keyword —
denominated as a +Keyword — can be applied from a stat, a skill, and an item of
gear. This means that a dicepool can often reach 6d10, sometimes higher if teamwork
or other positive factors are involved. Each task that requires a roll is then
made against a standard Target Number (TN) of 7, with every die that equals or
exceeds the TN equating to a success.
At its core (pun totally intended), TriCore is as simple as that. Of course, there are a couple of peripherals involved to rolling, such as a 6 failing forward by granting a success but also generating Payback, and 1s also generating Payback, but we’ll introduce those Abyssal nuggets alongside Keywords in the next development blog.