Bolters & Chainswords…a TTRPG Project

Greetings, in this belated post I will be discussing a side project to my VAL KARTH TTRPG. I know I said in my last missive, that I wouldn’t…I was also mired in a pit of depression at the time of the posting. I am doing better now. That being said, this project is something that I am passionate about. VAL KARTH was initially supposed to be this project, yet it organically evolved into a TTRPG/Setting more inspired by Talislanta and Monte Cook Game’s Numenéra instead of the Punk, Metal, 2000AD & GW 1e Rogue Trader 40,000 inspired game that I initially envisioned.

Bolters & Chainswords is a game akin to Classic Traveller and the more Role Play aspects of 1e Rogue Trader 40,000 (minus the War Game focus). That said, it will not clone either game in a mechanical sense. It IS like Traveller and Classic Editions of D&D more about exploration, acquiring experience via various operations beyond the frontier of the Galactic Imperium. Wild Space is dangerous, home to hostile “alien” species and cultures.

From White Dwarf issue 93

One thing I love about 1e Rogue Trader is the fact that the WH40K universe was vastly different than what it would eventually evolve into. It is also something that Warhammer Fantasy RPG had, then lost as new editions emerged. One thing that was present within the #Oldhammer games that was lost to “progress” and frankly, not well explored within it was the conflict between Law and Chaos hinted at, at least in 1e WH Fantasy RPG. The Gods of Law were tossed into the rubbish bin, a long with Zoats and Jabberwocks.

This struggle, likely influenced by GW’s publishing of TSR’s games back in the day, was excised so WH Fantasy (and related games) would have their own flavour. Yet, doing this the WH settings lost something vital, at least in my opinion. It had been something that irked me throughout the decades, the untapped potential of the Law vs. Chaos conflict. Sigmar took that role, of which I personally wasn’t a fan. To me Sigmar was a National deity of the Empire, that and nothing more.

I do understand the discission, especially from a marketing/branding point of view; trying to become your own thing, when TSR and D&D were the industry leaders, as is WotC and D&D today, to the chagrin of many.

Where the BOSR game Warlock! is an awesome emulation of 1e Warhammer Fantasy RPG, I want Bolters & Chainswords to the tone and promise of 1e Rogue Trader 40,000 within a new system designed to emulate said tone. A system and setting that fully embraces the eternal struggle between Law and Chaos, as well as exploration rooted in both Traveller and Classic D&D.

From White Dwarf issue 93

Though Bolters & Chainswords in DEEPLY inspired by the late 80s, early 90s era GW WH games – those beautiful Punk and Metal infused games that inspired me my whole life, as well as 90s era 2000AD and my everlasting love of Extreme Metal, Hardcore Punk and Hip-Hop. It needs to be its own thing, not just a homage to #Oldhammer with the numbers ground off the chassis. The tone and vibe HAS to be there, yet I don’t want it to be an exact clone either.

Well, I have errands to run, so I’ll end this missive so I can get it published and shared. Please take care and be kind to each other. Fin.

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