Wednesday, 22 April 2009

By the Authority of the God-Emperor...

In my last two posts I covered the origins of the Inquisitor 2.0 project and how I came to realize the extent of what was needed in the new rule-set.  So it's probably about time I introduced myself, set out my credentials and also let you into the Vision (can you hear that capital "V"?) for what Inquisitor 2.0 should ultimately be.

I like to describe myself as a "veteran", because "prematurely middle-aged" is too much of a mouthful.  But I'm a pretty typical English guy in my 30s, with a wife, two kids and no proper job.  So in that respect I fit really closely with the "game designer" archetype.  My improper jobs include author (Planetkill, The Willows Magazine (now defunct) and Afterburn SF), occasional artist and full-time miniature painter.  But before I did that, I served for seven years in the British Army and took a degree in Oriental Studies at Pembroke College, Oxford.

I have a recurring nightmare that I'm recalled to the Army and have to cut off my pony-tail.

But, more importantly, I've developed a strong background in game design, focused on the Inquisitor game.  My first major effort was the Secrets & Lies campaign, followed by articles for Fanatic magazine that included the Architecture of Hate campaign for Games Workshop (soon to be re-released on the new Specialist Games website) and others.  I was also a founder of (and still am the Features Editor of) Dark Magenta magazine where you can also find the Dark Fortress campaign.

Offline, I also founded the York Garrison wargaming club (and you can read my blog of the club's saga here) and the Inquisitor Grand Tournament (which really needs its own website...).  I play Warhammer 40,000, Warhammer Fantasy Battle, Battlefleet Gothic, Dark Heresy and am keen to have a few games of Legends of the Old West.  But there's only so many hours in a day.  My latest campaign event is New Secrets/Old Lies, a development of the Secrets & Lies system that will run-out at York Garrison's Ten4Ten day on Sat 23rd May 2009.

So, that's me.  I hope I've illustrated my geek credentials in sufficient depth.  Let's now cease with the navel-gazing and move on to the more-important message: the Vision.  This is what Inquisitor 2.0 is going to be when it's all done: not one book, but four.  Each book will exist as a separate PDF because you will want to bind them separately and refer to them at different times.

The Core Rules will be your constant companion at the tabletop.  Meticulously indexed and cross-referenced, rules should be easy to track and easy to understand with copious examples and illustrations.  The rules themselves will be broken into "basic" rules and "advanced" rules.  These divisions aren't a judgement on the players or GM, but rather a natural separate between the rules without which you cannot play the game (basic rules) and the rules you may or may not wish to include to add depth and detail to a game (advanced rules).  The main text of the Core Rules will incorporate all of the basic rules.  The advanced rules, then, will be separated off into sidebars on the outside edge of each page, next to the basic rules to which they adjunct.

For example, the rules for Risky Actions are advanced rules (you can play a game quite happily without them), so they are sidebarred next to the basic rules for Actions (you can't play the game without them).

The GM will be able to dip in and out of Advanced rules as and when he feels like it.

The second book, then, will be the Armoury.  There shouldn't be any need to refer to the Armoury in the course of a game because the rules for everything a character is using should be written on the character sheet or the player should know the rules for his own equipment without having to look it up.  But this is the book you will pore over when planning a campaign or designing a character.  Exactly how much armour does he have?  What does it weigh?  How will that affect his Actions?  Weapons in the armour are almost infinitely customizable and I'm certain that players will spend hours fine-tuning their main characters' equipment.  There's no "magic bullet" solution to give the perfect weapon.  Every upgrade has its price.  But there are certainly a few Easter eggs in the Armoury: combinations that deliver remarkable performance in the right circumstances.  Hunting these down should become a popular passtime.

The third book is the one you'll have by your bed or take into the toilet.  You'll be spilling your lunch on it or reading it when you should be doing something else.  This is the Dark Millennium.  The Warhammer 40,000 universe is constantly evolving.  Dark Heresy has pushed the boundaries further even that the original Inquisitor did.  And the 5th edition of Warhammer 40,000 has thrown lots of new ideas and inspiration onto the fire.  The Black Library is constantly pouring out new plots and with Rogue Trader on the horizon from Fantasy Flight Games it seems unlikely that this will stop any time soon.

The original Inquisitor was ground-breaking and Inquisitor 2.0 needs to be no less so in this respect.  So there'll be loads of new background, short fiction, wisdom and reports to wade through and dissect.  And, if I'm lucky, we may even be able to roll it out with a bag-load of brand new artwork.

Finally, there's the book that will sit by your modelling station or painting desk: the Hobby book.  The Inquisitor hobby is a close cousin of the rest of the 40k hobby, but is fundamentally a magpie activity.  Players of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 are spoilt for choice when it comes to miniatures, conversions and terrain.  The Inquisitor range from Games Workshop is much smaller.  But the realms of possibility need to be opened up to those who think that a small range means reduced options.  So the Hobby section will not only look at the basic techniques of perparing and painting a model.  It will also have a detailed section on converting models and sculpting new parts, plus a long section on how to plunder the 28mm ranges from Games Workshop for exciting variations.  It will also feature photographs of dozens of models and collections from across the community.

That is the Vision.  I hope you can see, now, that it merits the capital "V".

Next time, I will start talking about the Core Rules: what was wrong, what's changing and why.

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