All Hail the StateEmpire…

Just released in the Modiphius store is the YuJing sourcebook for the Infinity RPG. I wrote the Yutang chapter in this book, which is all about the home planet of the YuJingese StateEmpire, and the seat of Imperial power. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope that any prospective players or GMs that read it, have just as much fun with the material, as I did.

As always, every book released for an RPG is usually the work of a large team of people, from writers to artists, from editors to layout artists, and everyone else. They are a big undertaking, and the end product is the culmination of many combined efforts. I am very proud to have been a part of the team that put this together, and if you get it, I hope you love it as much as we have done!

Yu Jing. The StateEmpire. Governed by the Party and policed by the Emperor, the balance of the two makes this powerful G5 nation greater than the sum of its parts. Late as they were to the great space race that led to humanity proliferating amongst the stars, the people of Yu Jing have worked doubly hard to ensure they step beyond the long shadow of their nearest rival and rise to eclipse it. 

Viewed all too often with misunderstanding and mistrust from without, the Yu Jingese view themselves as a powerhouse nation that has the best interests of its citizens at heart. Wholly committed to spiritual and economic betterment so that they might serve as a beacon for the entire Human Sphere, the StateEmpire strives hard to be at the forefront of every arena it enters into. On the battllef eld, innovative servopowered armour designs are providing the StateEmpire Army with a superior advantage, while cutting-edge technology such as the Sù-Jiàn Immediate Action Unit is changing the face of Remote-led warfare. 

Not all is as harmonious as the Party’s propaganda would lead you to believe, however. Citizens slip through the cracks of society, instead turning to crime to boost their status. The fractured ninja clans, who of course do not exist, now fight a shadowy war for dominance in the wake of the Uprising. And the Emperor of Great Japan has torn his citizens free of an oppressive regime that treated his people as second-rate at best. 

Offering never-before-seen insights on the Jade Empire, this sourcebook will take you far beyond the Yu Jing’s veil of mystery. 

  • Details on the two key planets that have become the foundation of the StateEmpire: Shentang and Yutang.
  • Focused Lifepaths that allow players to immerse themselves in the diversity and duality of the StateEmpire, including Imperial Agents, Ninjas, and Those Without Name.
  • Additional armour, equipment, and adversaries specifi c to Yu Jing, including the deadly Neokatana, the ground-breaking Sù-Jiàn Immediate Action Unit, and stats for several unique adversaries.
  • Various discourses on the far-reaching effects of the hard-fought Uprising that led to the recent secession of Great Japan, plus several Lifepaths that provide an opportunity to play an agent of Emperor Hiroshi’s will.

You can get the YuJing sourcebook as a physical book, and as a PDF. You can also find it on DriveThruRPG.

Tempus Fugit…

Time has flown! last I checked it was the start of July, and I had just released The Hoppy Pops. A whirlwind has rushed by and suddenly it appears to be the start of August! I was remiss with my blog updates in July, many apologies, but life seems to have gotten in the way!

So what have I been doing this last month? Well, freelance writing has kept me rather busy. I have had the pleasure of working on the upcoming Legends of Middle-Earth (probably being renamed Tales from Middle-Earth), for Cubicle 7. As well as getting through a number of pieces for the Infinity: The Role Playing Game, for Modiphius. Lastly, I managed to start a few odds and ends for Devil’s Run, for Red Scar Gaming. It’s been quite a mix: a pinch of classic epic fantasy, a dash of post-human science fiction, and a smidgen of down-and-dirty post-apocalypse.

I have also been getting my next micro-RPG ready, it’s called Owlbear Omelette, and sets you (the players), on a mad dungeon quest to secure an Owlbear Egg for omelette-making purposes. Is it just a drunk dare? Is it to strike a blow to the entrenched hierarchy? Is it just for kicks? You decide! In preparation I made a couple of illustrations for the cover, and have been mulling over which to use.

Option one…
Option two…

Not what anyone would call fine art, but will have to do…

Owlbear Omelette shoud be up and available within the next week or so for those of you who support my Patreon page (and with juicy extras), for everyone else, it will be available a week after that in all the usual places (namely DriveThruRPG and Itch.io).

This month my goals are to finish off the next micro-RPG, and round out some of the freelance work I have still on the docket. I need to get back to design work on Ashmerl, my full-sized fantasy RPG. I also have some fiction I need to get out of my system, for better or for worse, and I’m sure I’ll be distracted by something else along the way. Last but not least, I need to make sure I get more than one blog post out there in August, July was… well, best not said!

Until the next post, happy gaming!

PanOceania…

Bright heights and laser lights, busy days and pulsing nights…

-L-Ease, Maya Star

The PanOceania source book for the Infinity RPG has been released! I wrote the opening chapter and the background to the planet Acontecimento in this book, and as always it is a pleasure to see it after it’s gone into layout and accompanied by art. The team at Modiphius do a fantastic job, and I am very proud to have had a small part to play in the creation of this book. The art work throughout is excellent, and there is plenty of stuff in there for die hard fans of the setting, and for those who want more, more, MORE for their game sessions!

I have had an absolute blast exploring the science fiction worlds created by Corvus Belli. In PanOceania I really hope that game masters and players alike find a mix of enjoyable background material, as well as plenty of ideas and seeds for adventure and mayhem!

PanOceania. The Hyperpower. Life at the top of the G5 nations ensures a certain amount of privilege and power. It also brings its fair share of enemies. Born from an intercontinental alliance on Old Earth that pioneered the race to the stars, PanOceania has led the transhuman revolution without ever once looking back. 

Stewards of no less than three entire star systems and numerous colonies on several other worlds, the Hyperpower is also the largest proponent of ALEPH, the benevolent AI that oversees many of the functions that allow the vast PanOceanian empire to operate. Overseen by ALEPH, their policies set by lobbies, and their faith guided by the Church, most PanOceanians soak up glamorous holovids depicting the herculean might of the latest cutting-edge TAGs or the glorious charge of power-armoured Knights and bask in the sanctity of their technological superiority. 

Scratch beneath the surface of the neon and chrome, however, and all is not as harmonious as the Mayacasts would have you believe. On the ocean planet of Varuna, Libertos fight ever more violently to free themselves from a subversive occupation, whilst all across PanOceania’s territories, dispossessed Ateks struggle for recognition from an interstellar institution that refuses to acknowledge their existence. With new gear and fresh insights on the mightiest of Hyperpowers, this sourcebook will take you deep beneath the sparkling surface of PanOceania’s dazzling exterior.  

  • Details on the three key star systems that are home to the PanOceanian empire: Acontecimento, Neoterra, and Varuna.
  • Focused Lifepaths that allow players to immerse themselves in the diverse aspects of the Hyperpower, including Croc Men, Hexas Agents, and Knights.
  • Additional armour, equipment, and adversaries specific to PanOceania, including the innovative sensarecorder tech, the mighty Seraph TAGs, and stats for several unique adversaries.
  • A treatise on the Helots and their culture, plus several Lifepaths that provide an opportunity to play a member of this enigmatic amphibious race!

PanOceania is available in the Modiphius webstore here!

Haqqislam…

So nice to see some of the books I’ve worked on getting released into the wild. The latest of these is the Haqqislam source book for the Infinity RPG. I know I’ve written it before, but it really is amazing to see all the work of so many talented people coming together into a final product. The Haqqislam source book looks fantastic, and I’m very proud to have been a part of the team that contributed to its creation.

I love the cover art work, but the book is also choc full of great information, background, rules and art.

I worked on the Bourak chapter, and had a lot of fun exploring the planetary home of the Haqqislamite empire. The Bourak chapter is only one part of the book however, many other writers contributed to make this a wonderful source book for the Infinity RPG.

The Haqqislamite movement found traction in a world riven by political turmoil and economic crises. Its greatest messenger, Farhad Khadivar, advocated a new ideology that wove together the many complex threads of the old into a New Islam. This philosophical and theological revision of long-standing interpretations, which shed intolerance and oppressive dogma in favour of humanism and a concept known as the Search for Knowledge, laid the foundations for a golden age of reforms and advancements that propelled a nation across the stars.

Since finding a home on Bourak, Haqqislam has experienced a rebirth of artistic and scientific pursuance that is the envy of their rivals. Gardeners refine terraforming techniques that have reshaped an arid world, doctors perform miracles with pioneering surgery, and biochemists cultivate new synthetic wonders with Silk. Though often considered one of the smallest of the G5 nations, Haqqislam remains unrivalled in several arenas.

A Silk monopoly and extensive trade routes have spawned a nation of traders that often draw the envy and ire of competitors, though the Sword of Allah stands ever ready to smite the enemies of the Word. With new insights into the New Islam and its proponents, this sourcebook will take you further into the Search for Knowledge than ever before!

  • Details on Bourak and its diverse regions — Al Medinat, Funduq, Iran Zhat Al Amat, Gabqar, Norouz, and Alamut.
  • Focused Lifepaths that allow players to tread the Search for Knowledge, including Akbar Doctors, Khawarij, and new Hassassin careers.
  • Additional armour, equipment, and adversaries specifi c to Haqqislam, including the famed Akrep TAGs of the Maghariba Guard, and stats for the enigmatic Husam Yasbir.
  • New rules and campaign guidance for plundering the space lanes as a corsair in the employ of Haqqislam.

The Cost of Greed

It’s very exciting to see a project you have worked on getting closer to release, to see the amazing art work, maps and layout all making the thing pop. The latest update for the Infinity Role Playing Game Kickstarter dropped the other day, and along with it came a PDF for backers, of a campaign I wrote: The Cost of Greed.

Cover art by Francisco Rio

The blurb…

A chance discovery on Paradiso leads to the uncovering of a VoodooTech smuggling ring, with the clues pointing to an intelligence agency or corporation. Follow the rabbit hole, follow the money, and the trail of breadcrumbs may soon provide clues to a plot that could put the entire Human Sphere at risk.

The Cost of Greed is a mini-campaign of five non-linear adventures that provide the characters with a chance to meet, work alongside, and challenge the key characters from Corvus Belli’s Dire Foes Mission Packs 1 to 5.


• First Domino: Follow the trail of a smuggling ring trafficking
VoodooTech from Paradiso to the crowded streets
of Yinquan. Will the tight-lipped Yănjīng be involved,
or perhaps the shady MagnaObra corporation?


• Ice and Fire: Seeking clues to the architect and purpose
of the smuggling ring, the characters will need to brave
the icy cold of Svarlarheima to find the answers they seek.


• Quantronic Noise: A hacking cell operating from
an enclave on Bakunin are a key factor to the operation.
Their ability to manipulate the characters’ patinas,
however, may flip the Wilderness of Mirrors on its head,
creating enemies of both civilians and friends.


• Hot Sands: Chasing an executive for intel she’s
hiding will lead the characters into a fight to survive
on the Silk Route, but her enemies could prove more
overwhelming than expected.


• The Black Box: With the very war on Paradiso under
threat and the safety of the Human Sphere at stake,
infiltrating the operational centre of the cabal
responsible could turn disaster into victory.

Key to these adventures was providing scope for the players to meet and interact with well-known characters from the Infinity universe. The missions in The Cost of Greed begin in parallel with the Dire Foes Mission Pack 1, and then spiral from there, drawing in the main characters from Mission Packs 1-5. I hope those GMs and players who manage to play through this campaign find a little of something for everyone. Each adventure aims to allow different player character’s to shine, and hopefully offer some interesting challenges along the way!

I’ve written this before: it’s one thing to see the words on a computer screen, and it’s entirely another to see everything come together in layout, with art, style, maps and so on, in place. It reminds you that something like this is a team endeavor, a fact that is easy to forget when you’re knocking away at the keyboard in the privacy of your own home. Scrolling through the PDF I am reminded how talented the pool of people at Modiphius is, and I for one am greatly impressed (though naturally, I’m biased)!

The Cost of Greed PDF is currently available to backers of the Kickstarter, but it won’t be long before the files are off to the printers, and then the book, as a physical item, will see the light of day.

The PDF will soon be available to purchase from the Modiphius online store, followed in due course by the physical book.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this campaign, and I hope anyone who reads or plays it gets as much fun from it as I did!

Goodbye and Hello

2018 has come and gone, and as the dust of the year passing settles, it is time to look back and examine what I set out to achieve, and how I fared against that target. It is also time to take pause, and think about the things to come, the things I would like to accomplish by the end of the year ahead.

At the start of the year I set out a number of goals I wished to achieve on my other blog, Castle by Moonlight. There I wrote down a number of somewhat lofty goals – to keep up the freelance work, to blog twice a month, at least, and to draft a novel. Hmm… Let’s start with the negatives, and hopefully end on a better note.

I completely failed at my goal of writing a novel. I have outlines for two novels, wrote a novella, and a couple of short stories, but I did not make tangible progress on a novel. Why? It is partly due to vacillation. Not picking a story idea and running with it. It is partly due to prioritising freelance work, and not making time for my own fiction. It is partly due to procrastination, not using the time I did have effectively. All of these are things I need to change for the coming year, because yes, writing a novel is going to feature in my goals for the coming year. I’m like a moth to a flame… as they say.

My blogging goal was to write at least two blog posts a month, and then I went and starting this blog, splitting my attention between Castle by Moonlight and here. It did not go well. Sure I wrote 18 posts on Castle by Moonlight (petering out in July), and 19 posts here. Sure, combined that is well more than two posts a month. But I haven’t felt settled. I’m not sure still whether to maintain both blogs, abandon this one, or that one, and focus on the one remaining. I get more readers on Castle by Moonlight, but I also wanted to start a blog that was less gaming orientated and more the beginnings of a vaunted ‘Writer’s Website’ (capitals required). I’m not sure what to do on this front, perhaps me posting this here is a subconscious clue I should pay heed to, but I’ve never been much good at introspection.

Freelancing. This fared better in 2018, and I submitted somewhere around 135,000 words all told, pretty much all for the Infinity RPG from Modiphius. This included a campaign of five adventures, and various contributions to about seven books. How it will fare in 2019 is anyone’s guess, the list of books to be written for the Infinity RPG is nearing completion. I have work (I hope), for Red Scar that I am looking forward to immensely, but as for more, who can say.

Unforeseen projects… Somewhere around November last year I was wanting to role play some more, I was between projects, nothing to playtest for Infinity, and the prospect of work for other companies upcoming, but unsecured. I didn’t want to start a new campaign (though I have plenty of unplayed games on my shelf), in case work did pop up that required testing… what to do? Ahh, the obvious answer: write your own setting and role playing game!

Well, I didn’t see it coming, but around mid-November last year, in whatever fit of madness took me, I started to write my own RPG. I have a number of complete and semi-complete games sitting on the shelf, but this is a project that draws on the experiences of the last five to ten years working in and around the games industry, and particularly the last three to four in the role playing sphere.

Within a short space of time I hammered out about seven or eight dice systems (I have finally settled on one, though further testing may change this), and developed a setting I rather like. I wrote the system, some setting notes, and the character creation system, and have managed a test session with my local group. I am thrilled with how it is coming together, and there are some aspects of character creation that tie to world building that I am particularly proud of. How this will develop, or where it will go, is something I haven’t decided as yet, but it is in development, and I look forward to developing it further.

Well, that is the introspective stuff done, the goodbye to 2018. I think I’ll save my look forward, the probing prognostication regarding the coming year, till the next post. I hope you don’t mind, gentle reader, but you will have to wait with baited breath…