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Kings of War RPG @ Gen Con

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 2019

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!

Join the Kings of War RPG Action @ Gen Con!

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.

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Red Scar Development Blog 03

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.

Available Now!

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.

Options, Options

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 against!

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 Basilea.

Nightsalkers Terrorise
Nightstalkers Threaten the Very Fabric of Pannithor

Fantastic Reflections

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 handy.

Touching Base

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!

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Development Blog 02

Making TriCore Shine

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.

Keywords bring exciting dynamics.
Continue reading Development Blog 02
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Development Blog 01

Time to Forge Your Own Legend

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!

Stake your own claim on Pannithor

The Kings of War Saga

Mantic’s Kings 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 left behind.

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.

Characters and their traits are fundamental aspects of TriCore

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.

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Kings of War RPG Official Press Release

It’s Time to Seize Pannithor’s Crown in Kings of War the Roleplaying Game

A low fog had crept over the blood-soaked field, smothering both the dead and the cawing of the gathering crows. The cloying mist had turned the moans of the dying into an eerie dirge to Gnaeus Sallustis’s ears as he sat in quiet contemplation, counting the dead and remembering the faces of his fallen warriors. Nakir stirred and growled beneath him, his harness jangling as he shifted. The goblins had been annihilated, but the pyrrhic victory had once again carried a great cost. The dark forces of the world had rampaged forth from the Forest of Galahir too often recently. The towns and villages needed uniting. Forging a realm would require someone strong to triumph and earn the crown. It was time to find a new King or Queen of War.

Ultimate Collaboration

Red Scar Publishing is collaborating with Mantic Games to bring their popular fantasy setting to life with Kings of War the Roleplaying Game. Launching on Kickstarter in August 2019, players will begin as heroes and climb towards the true powers of their realm as they complete quests across a lush, rich world. Driven by Red Scar Publishing’s ENnie award-winning Creative Director, Marc Langworthy, the Kings of War RPG draws together Red Scar, Mantic, and Winged Hussar to delve deeper into the rich lore established by the Kings of War tabletop wargame and its siblings.

Mantic’s gaming vision is to create games that are accessible while remaining immersive and rewarding, and the Kings of War RPG is no different. The innovative TriCore ruleset is a lightweight system that gives the players scope to prove their heroism without being too complex or serving as a barrier to entry.  Using a Dicepool and Keyword mechanic, characters begin with a standard Dicepool and apply Keywords from their stats, skills and gear to gain extra dice. Players can select familiar character sets and races drawn from the wide range of good, neutral and evil races found throughout Pannithor.

Early playtesting has been very positive and the game has scored highly in development with both hardcore Kings of War fans and traditional D&D 5E players.