Once again, I owe you my sincere apologies for a long overdue update. My intention is to keep this post as a short round-up, as there are lots of changes afoot; some of which I will discuss here, others that I don’t yet wish to draw attention to. Best not to speak too soon, particularly as they involve such positive changes for our family.
A crazy summer of fun for the KPLangers Crew culminated with two unexpected, unrelated, but equally important emails. As I’ve already alluded to, I can’t discuss either of these two emails in their entirety yet, although I will keep you informed as developments progress.
The first email that arrived in my inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org, if you didn’t know) came from Mark Rapson, owner of Word Forge Games, and designer/creative lead for their Devil’s Run: Route 666 boardgame that successfully kickstarted back in May. I’d met Mark at Dragonmeet in 2014, and we’d had a chance to catch up again at the UK Games Expo this year, which was pretty much mid-kickstarter campaign for Mark; manic doesn’t quite cover it. It transpired that Mark had solid background concepts for the playable factions that form the basis for Devil’s Run; concepts that required fleshing out. Unexpectedly, he asked if I’d like to take on some of the writing for this. After re-reading the email to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me, I leapt at the chance.
I’ve already commented on a KPLangers facebook post in reference to this, but it’s definitely worth stating again: being given the creative freedom that was handed to me in order to write the two factions that were briefed to me is a rare thing. Although it was intense, involved a lot of time management, support from my patient and loving partner, and involved a lot of research, I loved every second.
First to fall to the mercy of my keyboard were the Justice faction. I’ll let my intro pitch set the scene here:
Judge, Jury and Executioner.
Mercy and pity are forfeit should one sin against the Litany of Justice.
The first dark months following the aftermath of the War were proclaimed as the End of Days, and the Justice rode forth to smite the wicked. Originating from the City of Angels, they raced free of the cleansing fires that were scouring the dead from the streets of L.A and swept across the west coast on a crusade of vengeance against the sinners that had brought the world to ruin. Now tenuously allied to the Law Haulage Co, the deadly warriors of this predominantly female gang ride full throttle or blast forth on fiery plumes to punish any transgression against the laws that govern their society; the revered constitution that is contained within the sacrosanct tome known as the Litany of Justice. Justice. Vengeance. One and the same…
I brainstormed with Mark throughout the whole process, submitted regular updates that were always accepted, and even managed two pieces of short fiction to support the background ‘fluff’. The difficulty here was very much the fact that I didn’t want to make them a group of men-hating victims who treat their male counterparts as little more than slaves. It was a hard balance to strike, but I hope I’ve done them justice (pun intended). The hard work was well rewarded, as Mark was not only impressed with the final submission, he also used it as a template for all future prose.
Next up, then, came the BritAttack. If I’m honest, I hadn’t been looking forward to these as much as I had the Justice. Who wouldn’t love writing about a post-apocalyptic gang that are predominantly female, worship a distorted version of a biblical archangel, and love nothing more than to punish transgressions as according to their Litany of Justice?
That said, I knuckled down and set to their creation with a grim determination, with the result that I would find it a difficult choice to choose my favourite of the two. Here is their intro pitch:
War. A short word, for all of the potency contained within it; three simple letters that, when combined, carry the power to topple nations and devastate continents. This one word has evolved over the millennia, as have the tools of its execution. Its full effects are far more substantial than the physical scars that remain on body and turf however, and arguably more devastating. Trauma to the mind and soul can often manifest through exceptional behaviour.
Whether by accident or design, the East Coast bore the brunt of the Russian counter-offensive as strategic installations, military establishments, and oil fields became prime targets for retaliatory strikes. Texas, proud home to the Houston Space Centre, numerous military camps, and acres of pumpjacks, became an instant atomic bonfire. Where there is a will, there is a way, or so the saying goes; the few survivors that managed to crawl from the tortured wastelands of the Texan oilfields now paid homage to a new Governor, though he in turn had returned to his roots…
Again, I undertook a fair amount of research, which even took me through old episodes of Jeeves and Wooster, to take the BritAttack from Austin, Texas, to the streets of San Francisco. I hope you enjoy the results of both factions once they’re finally released.
It would be remiss of me to neglect mentioning my writing companions that have accompanied me through the post-apocalyptic streets of San Francisco, as they have written some truly inspiring and outstanding fiction for the other factions. Look forward to the words of Tom Haswell, Paul Summerhayes, Ben Greenwood, Kraig Koranda, Richard Howkins, and the mighty Mark ‘The Boy’ Rapson himself!
Onto that second equally as mind-blowing email. As anyone who has followed my blog will know, I’ve been worked with Chris Birch and the Modiphius family a few times during the last year: attending conventions to run demo games for the 2d20 product line, providing artwork (via Toma of course!) for the Mutant Chronicles setting, and even writing an entire adventure. During all of this, I have never assumed that any work we (Red Scar) undertook for Modiphius would allude to more than the fact that we were producing work for them in a freelance capacity.
I must have done something right, as Chris honoured me with the opportunity to write for Modiphius in an official capacity. Again, I took the time to re-read the email; surely my eyes were deceiving me this time! Yet there it was, in black and white. Needless to say, I didn’t have to think for too long about the proposition, and it wasn’t long before I began work on my first project. Working on the 2d20 system, bringing other writer’s words to life within the rules, and working alongside other creative minds is extremely rewarding and fulfilling. Once again, I can only hope that I am doing justice to the campaigns that I am working on, and that you enjoy the fruits of our labour. Rest assured that when the first book sees print you will know all about it! In the meantime, here is some of the amazing artwork, produced by Toma, that has graced the interior of the Mishima sourcebook for the Mutant Chronicles RPG:
I have thanked him personally, but I would like to take the time here to do so again. I wouldn’t have even been considered for this opportunity if it hadn’t been for Nathan Dowdell’s endorsement. As Game Developer and guiding hand for the 2d20 rules system, it was a huge compliment to receive his recommendation for the opportunity. So a heartfelt and sincere thank you again Nathan!
I had intended this to be a short post, but it seems to have run away with itself. There will be more frequent updates as they are unveiled, all I can say is that I’m hugely anticipating some life-changing news, which I hope to share shortly.
Please also check out the Infinity RPG kickstarter, which has smashed through a huge number of stretch goals already; after all, you’ll be providing me with plenty to do if you decide to back it 😉