Thursday, 7 August 2014

Desperately Seeking Inspiration

The immersive background of the 41st millennium was always a massive part of what drew me to Inquisitor in the first place. For the first time since Rogue Trader's debut in the 80s were players encouraged to explore the setting with no barriers to what they wished to enact on the table. I think one of Warhammer 40,000's key selling points is its well-developed back story, but the main emphasis of a war game is lining up your toy soldiers and facing off against your opponent, not trying to understand the motivation of the ruling classes that have taken their world to war. According to one video game franchise war never changes, so to see a new facet of the 41st millennium, one has to get away from the battlefield.

Looking for inspiration in the strangest of places.

Inquisitor was the first game that showed us that the leaders of humanity were not united in defence of the Golden Throne and shadowy factions were at each others' throats. This revelation blew apart the preconceptions that most folk had about the Imperium, and really began to usher in the notion of hopelessness that prevails in the 41st millennium. The best thing about it was that we players were encouraged to get in amongst the Imperium's stinking guts and start adventuring.

Aliens! Archeotech! Adventure!

If there was a criticism of the Inquisitor rulebook, it was that it didn't have a wealth of background to put to use. When Black Industries (and then Fantasy Flight Games) produced Dark Heresy and its supplements, huge proportions of their releases were dedicated to the setting for the games, the Calixis Sector. At the time Inquisitor came out, Games Masters and players really had to rely on the rulebooks and codices from various editions of Warhammer 40,000, Necromunda, Battlefleet Gothic and Epic, or Black Library novels (at the time a much smaller range than currently), for inspiration for their games. It took a lot of imagination to describe the differing worlds of the Imperium that were hinted at in these books and start original campaigns. One thing I have been particularly impressed with from the 40k RPG range is the in-depth background that has been produced for the games. I imagine that I'm not the only one who laps up each release and pores through the descriptions of worlds, institutions and individuals within. With the wealth of information available, inspiration for new characters and campaigns is never far away. Inquisitor had very few specific sources of ideas created for it outside of Exterminatus Magazine and the Thorian Sourcebook, and even then, in comparison with FFG's releases it really was a paltry amount.

Inquisitor lacked the support of multiple sourcebooks.

I think the lack of inspirational material has had a lot to do with Inquisitor's shrinking player base. Official support is long dead and buried, which leaves the players with the responsibility for keeping things going. It's a big ask, as most of us have real life matters to attend to. The sad fact is that without our fellow players writing new background or building new models, there are no fresh ideas bouncing around between people. To that end I'm taking it upon myself to kickstart things again.

An encounter during the Antonine Amulets campaign day at Warhammer World.

A few years ago a few members of The Conclave got together to start recording written reports of their games. These initial forum posts were then used as a springboard to create the Carthax Sector as a setting to play host to these games, giving them a dedicated place in the grand scheme of things. The Carthax Sector Wiki followed on from that, and was given a two-fold purpose: to give potential players a guide to the game and to provide details of systems, worlds, institutions and individuals to involve their characters with. The wiki saw a large amount of new content over its first couple of years, but then became rather dormant like so much of the Inquisitor hobby. A couple of months ago, I decided that one way to get people interested again would be to get writing content for the wiki again and hope that it would start a chain-reaction of inspiration in Inquisitor. My aim is to get other players to write and upload content to the wiki, however irregularly. The way I see it, if one person does so, then others won't feel so conscious about contributing. I know some people will be worried about their writing skills not being up to scratch, or their ideas not being accepted by others, but the great thing about Inquisitor is that everything you have been told is a lie, so individuals can chose to use or ignore as much content as they please.

Will this approach work? Who knows. I am still going to have fun coming up with new worlds for others to explore regardless.

Amongst the newly created pages are the multiple worlds of the Colossus System, the mysterious Kalasa System, and a number of Inquisitorial orders and factions found in Carthaxian space. Hopefully reading those will whet a few appetites and spark some reciprocal creativity.

So what's next in my little crusade? More content for the wiki for one, and some sourcebooks. I have one piece I wrote for Dark Magenta when it was still up and running that never saw the light of day, so will be releasing it through the blog. I have dug out a huge bunch of notes on the Xanthite faction that I hope to turn into a functioning document over the next few months. If anyone has any suggestions for that project or any others, get in contact. Please like the Facebook page and follow me on twitter too!

The Carthaxian Inquisitor.

No comments:

Post a Comment