Wrath & Glory Designer Diary – September 2017

Our other Designer Diary for September is from Ross Watson for Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Wrath & Glory. If you are on our mailing list, you have seen this already. If you would like to be on our mailing list, head to the sign-up form here. We promise no more than 1 or 2 emails per month, but also the mailing list will be the first place we will post many pieces of news going forward.

Here’s what Ross had to say:

Wrath & Glory Designer Diary 1: Archetypes

For me, designing Wrath & Glory is at once both a path I’ve traveled down before and breaking new ground. On the one hand, I’m very familiar with the grim darkness of the far future, having worked on many games placed in that setting. In addition to that, I’ve done a lot of design work in roleplaying games over the years…but on the other hand, that design work was never quite like what I’m attempting to do with Wrath & Glory.

This game is a brand-new approach to Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay, and that means it has all the challenges and advantages of building an entirely new system of game mechanics to help drive the experience. A big part of that involves a complex balancing act, designing depth while trying to avoid over-complication, embracing simplicity while trying to add meaningful choices, and many other choices along the way. One of the most important things about designing for Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay, however, is steady as a rock:

The game must feel like Warhammer 40,000.

There are many ways to approach that goal, but one of the first that came to mind when I set out to work on Wrath & Glory is the idea of archetypes. The 41st Millennium is home to many iconic character types: Commissars, Space Marines, Tech-Priests, Psykers, Sisters of Battle, and Inquisitors, just to name a handful. The idea of these archetypes goes beyond just the bare definition of their role in the galaxy. Indeed, these archetypes are powerful, living examples of the main themes of the setting itself.

And that is what makes them perfect player characters.

The idea of an archetype and what that means in a roleplaying game has had many iterations, from the “Smuggler” in West End Games D6 Star Wars to the “Street Samurai” of many editions of Shadowrun. Sometimes, an archetype is simply a name attached to a specific build of character options. Other times, an archetype has its own particular identity expressed in the mechanics of the game, often through a special ability or mechanical effect that is unique to them.

For Wrath & Glory, I knew that I wanted the archetypes to trend closer to the latter than the former on the spectrum. There’s something great about being able to express what an archetype represents within the game system, something that can meaningfully add to a player’s experience in the game. I like to believe that these things can, in many cases, lead a player to greater immersion in the game, in the setting. I think this also leads to greater verisimilitude.

So what does all this discussion mean for Wrath & Glory? I wanted to give people who are fans of the game and the setting a glimpse into my design philosophy. Know no fear…not all my designer diaries are going to be so introspective! We will be discussing more concrete details about the game in the future, including looks at artwork, specific mechanics, and other parts of this project. Thank you for reading, and rest assured I am hard at work refining the construction of the Wrath & Glory RPG!

-Ross Watson, Product Line Manager

6 thoughts on “Wrath & Glory Designer Diary – September 2017”

  1. Vermbraunt says:

    Looking good.

    I like that you are taking the more open shadowrun style character creation. I am definitely keen to play this on my youtube channel when it comes out.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. GaggikClaw says:

    I want to play an Eldar ! I know it’s probably not a priority, but there is so much more to this world than the empire of man ! Previous editions of the game didn’t give us that option. I hope this will change at some point. Really eager to see Ulysse’s takes on this world in all cases !

  3. DarkJackel says:

    So what factions will you have the options of playing? The Imperium sounds like a given but what about some of the others such as Eldar/Dark Eldar, Tau or Chaos in addition?

    1. Eric Simon says:

      Details will be forthcoming on what other options will be available specifically. For now, all we can say is that we intend to cover a broad range.

  4. Damian Henderson says:

    – For the Space Marines, will there be distinct (i.e. Mechanical) differences between different Chapters? Can you feel the difference between an UltraMarines Devastator and a Black Templar Assault Marine?

    – What is the base mechanics of the game? A d6 die pool? Are there any games in the market similar to it? Just need to know how many (and what type) of dice to get. 🙂

    – Is there any backward-compatibility from the old FFG games and/or the Warhammer 40K 8th edition. I have the old library and hate for it to go to waste 🙁

    – Is there going to be mass combat rules?

    1. Eric Simon says:

      For the things we can comment on, your best bet would be to read through our preview pamphlet, available here:

      Unfortunately, there is no backward-compatibility with the FFG games. The setting is in the 8th Edition Dark Imperium timeline, so there is story compatibility, but the mechanics will necessarily be different. (However, you could, for instance, probably expect to be able to use your current miniatures.)

      As far as buying dice goes, you may want to wait for more information…

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