Kings of War the Roleplaying Game is live on Kickstarter! Pledge now to help us fund an RPG set within the epic fantasy world behind the extremely popular Kings of War miniatures game.
The Kickstarter will fund the production of a printed edition of Kings of War the Roleplaying Game. This full-colour hardcover rulebook of approximately 320 pages will not only provide new content for Pannithor, but will also feature the TriCore ruleset; a lightweight ruleset designed to empower both GMs and players alike with the ability to use the system to keep the game focused on both the characters and narrative.
The core book takes a look at the factions from a new perspective and offers several ways to create characters from amongst your favourite. It also offers a comprehensive timeline and full crossover comparability for Dungeon Saga, Vanguard and Kings of War. Backers who pledge for a print copy will now also receive an exclusive cover only available during the Kickstarter campaign.
But that’s not all! Thanks to our friends over at Mantic, we’re adding a digital copy of the Kings of War: Vanguard rulebook to each Gift of the Elohi pledge. PLUS the Dungeon Overlord pledge will now provide a 15% discount code for the Mantic webstore once the project funds for extra savings all round!
Thank you all so much for your feedback on the quickstart, which has allowed us to tighten the rules and add more high-quality art to the book. Please do spread the word about this project to your readers and followers. The campaign is live now, and can be reached here:
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:
Mantic’s Ronnie Renton also hopped on camera to introduce the kickstarter and talk about just how excited the crew are that Pannithor is finally getting it’s own roleplaying game.
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.
Back to Basics
In the previous blog post, we introduced the TriCore system and the straightforward mechanic for success; roll your dicepool and equal or exceed the Target Number (TN) of 7. We mentioned there are a couple of caveats to this in that a 6 on a die fails forward by granting a success but generating Payback, while a 1 simply generates Payback. We’ll come back to Payback later. For Red Scar development blog 02, let’s focus on building the dicepool and adding character.
Almost every dicepool begins with 3d10 (it could be less, but character creation options are a whole different subject). With their 3d10 assembled, players then assign any positive or negative Keywords they’re able to drawn on through stats, trades, and gear, and from any statuses that are affecting their character. External effects aside, a character can normally only apply one Keyword from a stat, one from a trade, and one from a piece of gear. But what exactly is a Keyword?
Personality is a Key(word) Concept
Keywords have been around in some form or other since TriCore’s very inception. Despite originally being called Defining Features, an overhaul between games at this year’s Franticon allowed them to truly flourish. Put simply, a Keyword is a term that defines an effect or character feature that can be applied to a dicepool in a positive or negative manner. Keywords are presented in the text as +[Keyword Name] or -[Keyword Name]. If a Keyword has a + before it, add 1d10 to your dicepool. If your Keyword has a – before it, subtract 1d10 from your dicepool. Because they relate directly to a character’s features, Keywords can then be used as inspiration for truly roleplaying your character. Taking a deeper look at stats, trades, and gear will provide a better example.
A character’s stats are expressed simply as Body, Mind, and Social. Nine ranks are present on the character sheet for each stat. The first three ranks of each stat are coloured red to represent the core dicepool. The remaining 6 are left blank for character creation. Each rank purchased in a stat beyond the three core ranks allows a player to choose a Keyword associated with that stat. Trades work in a similar manner to stats. There are six ranks to each trade (though they don’t have the initial three red ranks). Choosing a rank in a trade allows the player to select a Keyword related to that trade. Let’s break down Obtess, the Salamander featured in last week’s art.
Here we can see that Obtess has 3d10 in each stat and +Keywords in Nimble Reactions, Celebrity Appeal, and Infectious Spirit. The character gains 1d10 to their dicepool anytime their character can apply one of those Keywords. Normally, only one Keyword can be applied at a time from any stat, trade, or item.
Obtess has a bit of panache mixed with opportunities for profiteering. Each time a trade Keyword can be employed also adds 1d10, though only 1 trade Keyword can be used at any time. If Obtess’s player chooses to swiftly manoeuvre some coin into their pouch during a gambling session, they could employ Nimble Reactions (1d10) and Sleight of Hand (1d10) for a total of 5d10. Should the gambling session be slightly rowdier and Obtess is leading the celebrations, they might also be able to use Carouse to gain 1d10. If the player chooses to employ Carouse, this replaces the use of Sleight of Hand (only 1 Keyword from stats, trades, and gear each roll remember).
Note what happened there. If you can justify using your Keyword in a situation other than the obvious, go for it! Strength Surge to intimidate, Celebrity Appeal to distract while using Sleight of Hand, any type of trade a non-player character could connect to boost a social test, etc.
We’re refining Keywords to ensure they’re not language intensive, but choosing one is pretty simple. Keywords are further broken down behind each stat into a simple feature. Body encompasses a character’s strength, dexterity, and constitution. Mind captures intelligence, wisdom, and insight. Social incorporates charisma, forcefulness, and physicality. Each of those features will then have associated Keywords that can be purchased. These are then brought into play when they’re applicable to a situation. Want to be strong or athletic? Choose Strength Surge or Acrobatic Control as a Keyword. Prefer to be intelligent or wise? Choose Cold Logic or Secular Knowledge. For charisma or good looks, choose Honeyed Words or Celebrity Appeal. Add 1d10 to every roll that you’re able to apply your Keyword.
Select a rank in a trade and you also gain a Keyword. Trades are the professions and skills that a character has spent time learning and gaining expertise with. Each trade is also attached to a stat. Take Athletics (Body) if you want to delve into physical training and choose a Keyword from options such as Acrobatics, Climbing, or Swimming. Or teach yourself some Lore (Mind) in areas such as Engineering, History or Language. Maybe you prefer to sway those you interact with through Persuade (Social) in the form of Diplomacy, Intimidate, Manipulate. If you can apply your trade Keyword to a roll, add 1d10. Apply the stat Keyword and Trade Keyword and gain 2d10. (5d10 total).
Vocations with Benefits
If your character isn’t trained in a trade, then simply roll on the associated stat. Be careful, though, as this is where a prominent negative Keyword can come into play: Incompetency.
When a player selects a rank in a trade, their character gains a broad knowledge of the trade and a focussed area of expertise defined by a Keyword. Make a roll in an area covered by a trade that you have zero ranks for and you gain the -Incompetency Keyword. This probably means you’ll be rolling 2d10 (3d10 base and the -Incompetency). If you make a roll covered by a trade you have a rank in but can’t reasonably apply a Keyword, you can happily ignore the -Incompetency Keyword (just roll 3d10). Roll on a trade that you can apply the Keyword for and you can apply the Keyword as normal and gain 1d10 to the dicepool (3d10 plus the Keyword for the trade means 4d10).
Select items of gear might also have Defining Features, such as Thieves tools with Breaking & Entering, or a rapier with Finesse. Again, if you can draw on the Keyword, you add 1d10 to the dicepool. This means that most dicepools will be able to reach 6d10 in the right situations.
We say most, because teamwork allows a character to add one of their Keywords to another character’s task. If a character has a suitable Keyword from any area, they can choose one and support the roll. The player making the roll then adds an additional 1d10 to their dicepool, which can take the dicepool above 6d10. In most situations, more than one player can assist a roll too.
Keyword Driven Character
With Keywords connected to the features of a stat, related trade, or feature of an item of equipment, a player can truly build their character using terms that capture how they envision them. Which takes us back to Keywords being related to a character’s personality and background. Using evocative Keywords provides a player with a springboard to use when roleplaying their character. You can always work with your GM to create new Keywords too! Here’s Obtess’s background so you can see how those stats and trades relate:
Obtess, Salamander Corsair
Raised in obscurity by a selfish clutch mother who wanted just one hatchling to call her own, Obtess overcompensates and now makes every effort to stand out from the crowd. Their early years consisted of hiding in the shadows of the lazy flames cast by the volcanic birthing pits, stealing whatever scraps could be lifted from the cookfires of the clutch guardians. Perhaps because of this sheltered upbringing, the protective and elemental nature of the Reptilians runs deep in Obtess. Alongside this, however, runs a desire to flare brightly. Obtess’s formative years were filled with tales of the revered history of Kthorlaq and the celebrity of Firebrand, which, when mixed with a desire to step from the shadows, has led to a burning desire to carve a legend greater than both.
Not long after joining a crew, Obtess realised that the life of a corsair would hardly provide the opportunities to grow the legend they so readily craved. Something much more drastic would be called for. Something like defeating the queen of the damned. Obtess took a circuitous route from The Three Kings, which led to a meeting with Kiri’el during a stopover in Infant Maw. The two have become fast friends, with Obtess’s enthusiasm and zest providing ample fuel to Kiri’el’s enthusiasm and passion.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our deep delve into Keywords. Tune in for the next development blog where we’ll be taking a walk in Ishan’s sabatons to explore Payback.
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.
It’s Time to Seize Pannithor’s Crown in Kings of War the Roleplaying Game
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.
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&D5E players.