Thursday, 28 January 2016

News - Mutant: Gen Lab Alpha Kickstarter Campaign is LIVE



Hi Mutants!

The Gen Lab Alpha Kickstarter is live - come and support the revolution!

(The pledges are in Swedish KR but all show the £ and equivalent underneath)

An all new stand alone book for the Mutant: Year Zero Roleplaying line. 

"In a remote mountain valley, mutant animals dwell under the watchful eyes of the mysterious Watchers. Kept prisoners for generations by electric wire and drones in the sky, never knowing who's next to be dragged off to deadly experiments in dark laboratories, the animal mutants have had enough. The time for resistance is now. The fight for freedom has come..." 

Mutant: Genlab Alpha is the first major expansion to Mutant: Year Zero, the award-winning pen&paper roleplaying game by Free League Publishing and Modiphius Entertainment. But Mutant: Genlab Alpha is no mere supplement - it stands on its own and can be played as a complete game in its own right.

Mutant: Genlab Alpha tells the story of the mutant animals, and introduces them into the dawnworld of Mutant: Year Zero. Some of the contents:

● New rules, PC roles, skills and powers for mutant animals. The expansion includes all the rules you need to play!
● A detailed description of Paradise Valley, the mountain valley where the animals are being held, including a beautiful full-color map.
● A description of the mysterious underground facility called the Labyrinth, where the Watchers dwell.
● The complete campaign Escape from Paradise, letting the characters lead the fight for freedom and uncover the mysteries of the Watchers.
● Unique strategic game mechanics for putting the players truly in charge of the Resistance, planning its operations.
● An overview of how the mutant animals can travel to the Zone if they manage to escape, and join the human mutants of Mutant: Year Zero.

Our goal is to release Mutant: Genlab Alpha by August this year. It will be a beautiful full-color book of 200 pages or more. The cover art is made by Ola Larsson, and the interior art by Reine Rosenberg, just like the Mutant: Year Zero core book. Genlab Alpha was released in Swedish in 2015, and the translation is already finished.


Sunday, 24 January 2016

Some more random rules notes

I've been clearing out my folders and I've found multiple random documents with unfinished ideas for rules.

This one was called the ODDS System - 'One Die Determines Success' - and was a favourite of mine until the design bloated the rules and it became a little dull. This document appears to be my first crack at the rules, which I later dropped in favour of the even more simple SKETCH system. ODDS became the title of the e-zine I edited for nine months a few years ago.

ODDS: One Die Determines Success


Numbers 2-6 between:


Hit points: STR + CON + 1D6


All skills get 1 point automatically. Add Intelligence and Charisma, this is the starting skill points to divide between:

1-Handed Weapon
2-Handed Weapon
Animal Lore
Hide and Sneak
Locks and traps
Lore of the Land
Ride Animal

No skill can be higher than 3 initially.

SKILL ROLL: Roll 1d6, must roll equal to or less than to succeed.

OPPOSED ROLLS: Roll 1d6, add skill/stat, highest roll wins. If same, roll again.

Friday, 22 January 2016

Modiphius Entertainment: Conan RPG news!


Robert E Howard's Conan Roleplaying Game: Adventures In An Age Undreamed Of

Hi everyone, firstly thanks for being part of this epic journey we're about to start. I don't think anyone has brought together such a legendary line up artists like this before. Jeff Shanks has done an incredible job of not only keeping Robert E Howard's Conan roleplaying game true to the mark, but he's helped us snare some of the biggest names in the industry who can see that we're going to make this one hell of a testament to REH. The crazy thing is we still have more big name artists to unveil!

This is the first of what will be a more regular series of updates now things are hotting up so I thought you'd like to see a sneak preview of something Tomas Giorello is working on:

I also wanted to to take this opportunity to give you the official launch date for the Conan roleplaying game Kickstarter: 

Tuesday 16th February 

Sorry it's not this week as planned. We've spent a year developing this game, but I took the decision to push the launch back for a number of reasons. Some of the big name artists needed more time to deliver their cover art to coincide with the Kickstarter, the video needed more time to get right, and the delay would also mean we could get the free Quickstart download ready for the launch of the Kickstarter to give you a proper flavour for the game. This includes six pre-generated characters, a scenario "To Race The Thunder" and a summary of the rules. 

We're not in a rush to release this game, it was always going to take as long as it took to do the project justice. So as we begin the final preparations please share this page with friends:  www.modiphius.com/conan and encourage them to sign up. We'll be sharing more previews between now and then. 

In the next update I will be detailing some of the books you can expect in the Kickstarter line-up, but in the meantime I'll leave you with Brom's awesome cover again...

Tread the jeweled thrones of the earth or die in towers of spider-haunted mystery. Crom cares not!
Sign up at www.modiphius.com/conan to find out more with previews of the Kickstarter, art and products being unveiled over the coming days.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

That annoying moment...

... when you find some rules you started working on, but you can't remember why you wrote them and what for. All I know is that the document is dated 8th November 2014 and was called 'SCAPE'.


MOVE (How many squares they can move per round)

Each ability score has 3 points, can be changed by lowering one score to increase another, max score 5 min 1.

Roll 1D6 + Ability score

Ability Target number is always 6
Ranged target number is always number of squares
Combat target number is opponents Combat score + 1D6

Each hit does 1 point of damage, reduced from STRENGTH score, reaching 0 means death.


Each class has a special skill that helps them with certain problems. Special skills are automatically at score 3.

SOLDIER - Breakdown
ROGUE – Trap mastery
PRIEST – Defeat undead
RANGER – Precision aim

Each character has 5 equipment slots – if they go over this then MOVEMENT, COMBAT and RANGED are reduced by 1 point for every extra item.

Characters can take:

SHIELD (gives +1 to defensive COMBAT rolls)
ARMOUR (first point of armour uses one slot every 1 point of armour over that reduces MOVEMENT, COMBAT and RANGED by one point and uses up a slot - gives +1 to defensive COMBAT rolls)

Monday, 11 January 2016

Book Review: The Pagan Night (The Hallowed War #1)

Written by Tim Akers
Published by Titan Books

'Ruling with an iron hand, the Church has eliminated the ancient pagan ways. Yet demonic gheists terrorize the land, hunted by the Inquisition, while age-old hatreds rage between the north and the south. Three heroes—Malcolm and Ian Blakeley and Gwendolyn Adair—must end the bloodshed before chaos is unleashed.'

I get a little nervous when starting to read a new epic fantasy novel; I have a whole world to learn about and understand, as well as new characters and plots to remember as the book unfolds. There are a lot of epic fantasy stories out there and this book from author Tim Akers is the first in a new series of novels, so any help to ease me into the story would have been nice.

There's an obligatory map to make sure you know where you are - which, as it happens, I simply didn't need as I didn't feel that geography played a huge part in the story - and another map that details the battle lines that have been formed for a conflict, which was a little annoying as that tells me that there's a huge fight on it's way, so there's a little of the mystery of what's to come a ruined straight away.

Along with the uninspiring cover, which is a fine piece of art but I feel lacks the atmosphere and imagery that's inside the book, things did not bode well.

However, the book got off to a pretty good start. A mysterious figure unleashes a powerful gheist, an old god that is no longer worshipped, that travels the land causing trouble - a neat idea, and handled really well in the book with men of the Church hunting them out, and the people knowing they're a threat and protecting themselves accordingly. It's as if there was a period of history where devils and demons were driven out by the Church, and not in a metaphorical sense, but physically and at great cost. This makes for an intriguing and somewhat colourful world, but also a relatable one.

On the back of these annoying old gods we have an age-old conflict between the south and the north; the south are a Church-fearing land, while the north seem to hold on to their pagan past. Tensions are brewing between the two lands and Malcolm Blakley of the north, a hero of a previous war that almost tore the land apart, and his son Ian are caught in the middle. In addition, a hunter named Gwen Adair joins the fray to try to save the day.

Now, this is all well and good - you've got your age-old conflicts, war brewing (which you know is pretty much guaranteed to boil over into conflict, thanks to that map in the front of the book) and characters with some depth all thrown into the mix. The relationship between Malcolm and his son is familiar but different; they're at loggerheads and not because Malcolm is some damn big hero who wants his son to follow him, but because Malcolm knows the horrors of war and Ian wants to make his mark, and throws himself into danger almost haphazardly. Its a great relationship between the grizzled war veteran who knows the truth, and the young warrior who knows the glory.

Then there's Gwen, who I really hoped to have a larger part in the story other than strong-willed lady with a bow, but I never really felt she was fleshed out very well and she feels a little wasted. Perhaps I'm selling her short, and perhaps her story gets more complicated as the Hallowed War unfolds. Perhaps, with all the gheists, raging Inquisitors, gory body horror and potential wars going on I simply lost sight of her character, but if she was a stronger character then I'm sure she would have stood out a little more.

Tim Akers has a great ear for dialogue and it sits well with his descriptive narrative. The conversations feel natural and the exposition - a pet hate of mine, although I'm well aware of it's necessity - is handled well. The descriptions are lengthy enough to be informative but short enough so that you don't feel like you're reading about every blade of grass in the field. This means that there's a lot going on and, in the first half of this fast-paced book especially, the large canvas that Tim has created has been given some broad strokes and the scene has been set for what promises to be an entertaining series of books.

My issues with the battle map and Gwen Adair aside, this is a good book and at no time was I bored or frustrated. I started each chapter eager to know what was coming and I look forward to the following volumes. The Pagan Night is an epic fantasy story with action, intrigue and a good story, and that's what you want in a fantasy novel of this type.


Thursday, 7 January 2016

Interview - Chris Birch of Modiphius Entertainment

I'm delighted to welcome back to Farsight Blogger Chris Birch of Modiphius Entertainment. The last time I spoke to Chris it was all about travelling Hyboria with Conan - now we're travelling to other worlds with John Carter!

Welcome back to Farsight Blogger, Chris. It seems like five minutes ago we were all getting excited about the Conan RPG, and now we've got John Carter to look forward to! How did you get hold of that exciting property?

Yes, and the Conan kickstarter launches this month (Jan 2016) which is very exciting! Well with John Carter I'd been chasing it for sometime but the rights were tied up with Disney. So as it happened they finally reverted and Rita my wife and business partner was working at the licensing show in the UK and happened to meet Jim Sullos from the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate. She showed me his card not knowing the relevance and I couldn't believe it!


Who have you gathered to work on this gem? Can you tell us anything about development?

Well we have the very talented Jack Norris helming the project who's a familiar name to fans of Green Ronin games, Jack's a massive fan like many of the others on the project and we'll be unveiling the team shortly which includes some familiar names from the Barsoom community.

The 2d20 system sounds like a great choice for fast-action adventures on Barsoom - can we expect many changes to the system; is there anything you've had to radically change to reflect travelling Mars?

We're actually doing the first '2d20 Lite' which strips it right down the chassis - a lighter than air re-interpretation that's perfect for the fast moving swashbuckling tales of adventure we know and love from the Barsoom books.

Are you going to be sticking to Burrough's creations, or are you going to be bringing your own creations into the mix?

We're very much sticking to canon - original Burrough's creations in the setting descriptions. The adventures will draw on that and delve deeper in to plots hinted at by Burroughs or story arcs that might have been. Our core team will ensure everything stays true to the vision of Barsoom.

What can we expect to see in the core rulebook? System and setting bare bones, or system and fully fledged Barsoom to run around in?

I want you to imagine a beautiful landscape book with gorgeous page-wide landscapes bringing Barsoom to life, whilst epic action scenes burst in from the page edges. We'll be dialling down the word-count per page to focus on giving everything more breathing space and making this a fantastic read as much as an easy to use RPG core book. It will include system and a solid introduction to life on Barsoom, epic images to explain what a thousand words could not, and plenty of plot seeds to get you going.

What else has Modiphius got planned for the John Carter RPG range?

There will be supplements expanding on the core book, plus some quite epic campaigns, including one in which you are John Carter and friends pursuing the major plots of the books.

You've also got the 'John Carter: Swords of Mars' miniatures game and the 'John Carter: Warlord of Mars' board game coming next year. What details can you share about these?

We're working on sculpts and will have some to show soon. The Miniatures game will have your heroes leaping between the decks of red martian navy ships, to the tops of crumbling towers or battling it out in the ancient ruins below. The system uses a version of 2d20 to let you seamless jump between the RPG and minis game. The boardgame will explore more intense conspiracies and battles in the cites and ruins of Barsoom, telling some wild tales of adventure - these will be part of a Kickstarter in the Summer. You can find out more by signing up at www.modiphius.com/john-carter

What else have you got on the go?

Well apart from the Conan kickstarter we have the forthcoming Kung Fu Panda boardgame in 2016 plus the Airfix Battles and Achtung! Cthulhu miniatures game coming out in April!

Cheers, Chris!

Monday, 4 January 2016


On the first Monday of every month, read a new hint or tip from Jonathan Hicks, as featured on www.rpg.net and available on Kindle as 'The Book of Roleplaying Hints, Tips and Ideas'.

Campaign going down the pan? Players not interested anymore? Running out of ideas? Games lost their sparkle? Here are some hints.

It happens. At some point or another, gaming groups, especially the more laid back ones, go through a phase when the game doesn’t interest them anymore because of something or another. This can be anything to being bored with the setting you’re in or a problem player messing up the sessions or a rather incompetent GM... There are a myriad of things that can stunt the progress of a group. Sometimes you may think it is easier to lay down your dice and forget the whole thing.

Tempting. But it’s a shame when there is a small element of the group who are really eager to play, a hyped up player or a creative GM. But then it’s hardly fair on the people who have lost interest to have to slog through another two hours. Well, no-ones forcing them to play. So how do you get life back in the game when the eager players want to burn their character sheets?

Difficult question, especially when the group has been together a very long time, and they’ve virtually tried everything. There are no definitive answers, each group have their own reasons for playing the games. But here are few ideas that may get you back on track, for a while at least.


The overseer of all games is, of course, the Gamesmaster. The God of the gaming world. It’s a bit of a pain, then, when the GM is a downright git who is playing the game for the following reasons...

1. He wants to ego trip on powerful NPCs he’s created.
2. He feels that he is contending with the players.
3. He wants everyone to think he is intelligent and has an imagination (there are people like that!).
4. He wants to NPC his own character and gives him the biggest rewards and best equipment.
5. He wants to show off his narrative skills, whereas he’s just a boring fart.

... and so on. Quick answer? Get rid of them. Don’t let them GM the game. Or at least explain what the problem is. Get them to change their attitude. If they don’t then just change the GM.

It may pay off to change GMs even if the current one isn’t a pain in the backside. It can make a refreshing change when the perspective of a gaming world is changed to the view of another GM. Such things can revitalise a dying campaign with fresh ideas and opinions.


Players who ruin gaming sessions can really put other gamers off, especially newcomers to the group. They bicker, they’re loud, they always want to be heard, they cheat... ooh, and they make you so mad! What destroys a gaming group faster than a terrible GM? A terrible player. Or worst of all, a couple of terrible players. Even one can ruin a decent night’s gaming, even in large groups. They just cannot be tolerated unless they take the game a bit more seriously, depending on just how seriously you take your games.

Players who generally are annoying usually won’t change their ways, and should be jettisoned as soon as possible. It can be a shame if they are there to be genuinely sociable, but they should respect the serious gamers wishes and stay away.


"Wait a second," says the third player to your right, "We killed a similar creature to that in a similar way when we were walking through a similar city... which was very similar to this one."

Oh, dear. Sounds like the gaming world is becoming a little bit boring. Players saved the world just once too often? Even pulling back the home planet from the brink of certain destruction can be boring after you’ve done it a few times. The players need new and more exciting challenges, not just ones where you find out where the bad guy is hiding and you go round and give him a damn good thrashing. It can be difficult for a GM, especially those who play frequently, to come up with new and interesting dangers or puzzles for the players to face. If the GM is resilient enough, she can get a good few months play out of a game, even years. But you’ve got to notice the signs when the group starts to get bored with the setting. It’s then that you change everything.

First, start with the location. Go from one part of the planet to a fresh climate, or even go to another planet, which is an absolute must in some roleplaying games. After kicking backside at that locale, change the characters. Get the players to create new characters at beginner’s stats, because there is nothing more challenging than playing a weak character after playing a more experienced one. If that starts to wane, chuck out the setting. Get a new campaign in, a new setting, a new part of the galaxy. Change the genre; go from playing a bunch of specforce operatives to bounty hunters. Play differently, do more investigation than fighting, get more story out of the game. Then go back to your original setting, and start again. Or even get another setting in.

Of course, continually changing settings can disorientate and confuse players, and put quite a hole in the old bank balance. Actually, I went for whole new settings I created myself, which cost me a hell of a lot of time... but its nice having a large selection of places to go. It just depends on how serious you are about the whole thing.


Make a note in your diary about when and where the game is taking place. It can be a really big pain in the nether regions when the group is set up and raring to play and one or two people are late. Waiting around twiddling thumbs and other manipulative limbs can really put a downer on the willingness to play, so make sure that everyone is punctual.

It is also a good idea to have a little privacy. Trying to scare the players with deep meaningful narrative about the stealth-suited killer cyborg in the engine room can all be for nought when someone else who lives in the house waltzes through the room blaring "alright, mates?" Make sure the night you play there will be no interruptions.

There will also be a rather nasty problem that players may have to deal with... scorn from non-players. Being called childish and having such remarks as "don’t you think you’re a bit old for that kind of thing?" can destroy player confidence. What is worse is when your accused of depraved and occultist practising. I’m not sure what that is supposed to mean, but it sounds as though it would make a great game. Players, mainly the newcomers to the hobby, will pack their bags pretty quickly when persons who don’t play the games start on them, and I guess we’ve seen and heard it all. But what the hell, its only a game, right?

Saying that, it is a good idea to avoid those people whose entire existence revolves about the hobby. I don’t label these people as sad; I label them as dead boring. What kept my group going for years was the fact that we were all good mates anyway, and we had plenty of interests outside the hobby. People who chatter on and on about games and characters and stats and gaming worlds and settings and charts and tables and conversion systems and character generation ideas and equipment... they need a good kick up the arse and directions to that great city called Life. They can bring the group down because, well, you can only take so much roleplaying.


Ideas are a bummer. Where do you get them? Well, there are plenty of places.

I’ve got quite a few games where the author has tried to explain to budding GM`s where they can get their ideas from. They usually say the media (such as television and radio) and do you know something? They’re absolutely right. I’ve got loads of inspiration and ideas from television, by watching the news and other information gathering programmes, taking the item of discussion and converting it to the game I was running. The political intrigue of other governments, the military actions of countries at war, the scandal of a public figure... all of these things can make good stories for your campaign, as long as you change some bits so that the players who saw the program don’t second guess you!

Of course, published adventures are great, but you’ll soon run out of them, no matter what setting you play. It’ll be up to the great pink mushy thing in your head when the printed games run out, and it’ll do overtime. You’ll run out of ideas after a while, but that’s the signal to change things, as detailed above.

I’m not going to say `in conclusion` because there is no conclusion. The ideas and information above may be a total waste of time to your group if you’ve already tried everything, and the games have still taken a dive. Situations like that are regretful, but maybe its time to ask yourself whether it is time that you gave it a rest. Maybe you should let the group go, round up the ones who are still eager and go and find new players. Who knows? All groups are destined to fade away as peoples attentions are pulled elsewhere, and today’s young, innovative, eager players are tomorrow's adults who remember gaming as one of their old pastimes.

Don’t cling desperately to the game and the players if the group if crumbling beyond redemption. Let it go, and then decide if you want to carry on with new players.