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f a q
Part 1 - General Information
What is The Unbound?
What is Multiformat Roleplaying?
What systems will be used?
What if I'm not a roleplaying/LARPer/wargamer?
What is the setting like?
When will the game start?

Part 2 - Roleplaying
I played Sincity and/or the World of Cynn, will I enjoy The Unbound?
How will the roleplay element of the game work?
How do the cycles work?
What about the live action sessions?
What will I miss out on if I don't take part in one roleplaying aspect?
Will the live action games be costumed?
How will the roleplaying sessions tie in with the wargame?

Part 3 - Wargaming
What format will the wargaming take?
Will the battles be fair?
What if I want to take part but don't have a Warhammer 40K army?
What armies will be represented in the game?
How extensively will you use Battlefleet Gothic?
What about the Epic rules?
Are there any plans to use Planetary Empires?

 

Part 1 - General Information

What is The Unbound?
The Unbound is a multiformat gaming experience set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe created by Games Workshop. The game is designed in a way which should allow different gamers with interests in different styles of gaming to have an effect on the overall narrative, creating a collaborative storytelling experience based on strategy, manipulation, and conquest.

What is Multiformat Roleplaying?
Not all styles of gaming appeal to every gamer – some people enjoy tabletop roleplaying, but don’t like live action roleplaying. Others enjoy wargaming, but aren’t interested in playing a character in a group. The intention of The Unbound is to provide a collaborative gaming environment using multiple styles of gaming in an opt-in/opt-out manner.

At its core, the main element of the game will be based around group play, with teams (or Crews as they will be referred in the system) taking a number of strategic moves per cycle which will culminate in a tabletop roleplaying session to resolve social encounters and small scale conflicts.

Every few cycles (2-3 months) all roleplaying teams will be invited to an optional live action event at which greater political machinations can be undertaken and deals can be struck. The global plot will likely be progressed at these events, with the repercussions of actions at the game rolling forward in to future tabletop cycles.

Additionally large scale conflicts created by strategic actions in the cycles will be resolved through the use of wargaming systems to create a sense of epic exploration and conquest.

What systems will be used?
The general tabletop gaming will be governed by the Rogue Trader RPG created by Fantasy Flight Games, along with supplemental material from both Dark Heresy and Death Watch.

Wargaming will be done primarily using the current Warhammer 40K ruleset with some encounters using the optional Apocalypse and Planetstrike rules expansions. Ship conflict will be handled using the roleplaying rules for smaller scale encounters or Battlefleet Gothic for larger encounters.

What if I’m not a roleplayer/LARPer/wargamer?
That doesn’t matter; the format of the game is intended to create an environment where no one is disadvantaged by not being part of a particular aspect of the game. Everyone’s actions will have an effect on the overall narrative.

Teams and players who are not interested in wargaming will have the option to select a “champion” from amoung those who aren’t interested in the roleplaying to undertake their large scale conflict actions.

Roleplayers who don’t want to LARP will still be able to take part in the regular cycles which is where the meat of the game takes place. Exclusive LARPers will still get their social/political fix while the tabletop players run the week to week strategy.

What is the setting like?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Warhammer 40K setting, it’s basically sci-fi with low technology. In the setting, Mankind has reached the stars and colonised most of the galaxy, but following a period known as the Dark Age of Technology, they lost the secrets to most of their technology. Starships will have steam-engines working alongside their plasma reactors to power their systems and halls will be lit by candlelight.

The visual style of the setting would be best described as Victorian gothic. Ships look like giant cathedrals, buildings are topped with gargoyles and technology is crude and obvious.

When will the game start?
Currently the plan is to start the game in early 2011. Before that happens there will be an invite-only proof of concept game. People registered on the Facebook group will likely be selected for this test event.

 

Part 2 - Roleplaying

I played Sincity and/or the World of Cynn, will I enjoy The Unbound?
It’s hard to say, Sci Fi is certainly different from anything that was presented in Sincity or the World of Cynn. With that being said, the setting being used for The Unbound is not typical high-tech Sci Fi, but rather a low-tech almost Steampunk setting.

In any case, several of the elements which made the previous game settings a success will be incorporated into The Unbound, particularly the social/political nature of the game. We can’t make any promises as to whether the setting will appeal to everyone, but the nature of the plan itself is to produce an experience which will appeal to most people on some level.

How will the Roleplay element of the game work?
One of the key elements we will be incorporating in to the game is team based play. At the start of the game, and when new players join, people will be encouraged to form teams of 2-8 players. Each team represents a crew of a single Rogue Trader ship. The setting of the game calls for groups of Rogue Traders to travel in to a new region of space (known as an expanse) explore the worlds, create opportunities, rediscover lost colonies and even make war on those that would inhibit Mankind’s progress.

When a new crew is started, the players will work together to design their Rogue Trader Dynasty, starting with their ship. One player in the crew will need to be selected as the Rogue Trader him or herself; others will play key members of the crew such as the seneschal, navigator, etc.

How do the Cycles work?
Each cycle is effectively a game turn, taking approximately a month of real time to resolve. Each cycle the crew selects a number of actions in order to complete Endeavours – missions to do things such as find habitable worlds, create trading opportunities and defeat hostile alien races. Several actions will necessitate a smaller roleplaying session to resolve social or skill conflicts. These sessions may be either tabletop or live action depending on the wishes of the players in the team.

Not every cycle will create a roleplaying session for every crew, though we’ll do our best to create plenty of activity for all of the players. The Unbound will feature a number of GMs, not just one like the World of Cynn, so this should help to create plenty of roleplaying opportunities.

What about the live action sessions?
In order to capitalise on the success of the Sincity format, every two to three cycles, a reason will be created to bring as many crews as possible together in one place (likely the Fort at the entrance to the expanse) where important wide-reaching matters can be resolved. Additionally, these games will generate grand endeavours, advanced missions that can be undertaken in future cycles. The live actions game will likely provide the majority of the political aspect of the game, without much focus on conflict.

What will I miss out on if I don’t take part in one roleplaying aspect?
Players who are only interested in the LARP games will find that they become major movers-and-shakers in the political sphere of the game. However they will need to rely on making arrangements with regular crews to carry out actions for them during the cycles in order to increase their own wealth and power base.

Players who want to roleplay through the cycles but aren’t interested in the live action aspect of the game will find that they are playing in a strategic environment where they face adventure and danger from game to game, but they may feel like their strings are being pulled by “higher powers”.

We are hoping that the design will allow all players to feel they are part of the narrative, no matter how much or how little of the game they choose to take part in.

Will the live action games be costumed?
Indeed, it’s one of the aspects that a lot of people said they liked about Sincity and World of Cynn. The general theme is a little more open though. As stated above, the setting is a mix of Victorian gothic and Steampunk, so either of those work. Additionally, any character may come from a world with a different type of fashion that they hang on to. Some worlds in the setting are regarded as “feudal worlds” and have a style similar to medieval Europe. Players should feel free to create their own style for their character.

How will the roleplaying sessions tie in with the wargame?
Rogue Traders are given access to incredible resources, including command of entire armies and fleets they can use to make war on the enemies of Mankind as they strive to explore the expanse. Of course the Rogue Traders rarely go in to battle themselves, it is more their style to send their forces to act on their behalf.

As part of the strategic cycles, your crew may send military forces to carry out an objective, and this may bring them in to conflict with opposing forces. When this happens, wargaming players (which may also be roleplaying players) get together under the governance of our GMs and fight out the battle between armies on a tabletop with the results carrying forward into the narrative.

Clever planning on the part of the players may give their forces the advantage in these battles, and likewise poor decisions could leave their forces facing an insurmountable foe. Some players may even allow the wargamers to use their character on the battlefield. PCs used in the wargame will be a potent force, though it will carry the risk of death to the character.

 

Part 3 - Wargaming

What format will the wargaming take?
What we are not going for is 2,000 point force meets 2,000 point force on an open battlefield and fight until one side has won, a victory point total is reached, or a certain number of turns have transpired. The Unbound intends for the wargaming to be a methodology of progressing the narrative in an unusually way, not simply as a means for a tournament.

The individual wargames will be set up based upon the circumstances the have caused the conflict. If a Rogue Trader crew sends an Imperial Guard detachment to drive a hostile alien race off a planet, the game will be set up appropriately (potentially using the Planetstrike rules). Objectives, battlefields, even the points allotment will be determined by the context of the battle in the scope of the campaign.

Will the battles be fair?
This is a hard one. As stated above, the set up of the battles will be heavily dependent upon the circumstances in the campaign that have led up to them. Particularly good planning on the part of the Rogue Traders may lead to a battle that favours the Imperial forces (potentially in terms of points available or reinforcements). Conversely, particularly poor planning could lead to quite the opposite effect.

The important thing we will be trying to focus on is that the wargames themselves are a means to create an exciting and dynamic narrative. We hope that players of this aspect will find the different natures of the battles, along with their attached storyline, an interesting aspect which keeps them coming back.

What if I want to take part but don’t have a Warhammer 40K army?
This is fine, we will be able to provide some basic miniatures for the Imperial forces (Space Marines & Imperial Guard). Additionally we do have access to so armies that will represent the antagonists of the campaign. Players that want to take part in this aspect of the game but don’t have the miniatures will be able to use our supply.

What armies will be represented in the game?
At the time of creating this faq, we plan to have some representation by all armies except for Tau & Necrons, which simply aren’t active in the region of the galaxy in which the game will be set. This may change as the game goes through further developments.

How extensively will you use Battlefleet Gothic?
The rules in the Rogue Trader RPG setting provide a pretty robust yet simple system for starship combat, at least on a smaller scale. If actions in the game necessitate larger fleet to fleet based conflicts, we may make use of the Battlefleet Gothic rules set. Once again, the GMs will be able to provide miniatures or counters to represent both sides of the conflict.

What about the Epic rules?
At this point there are no plans to use the Epic rules. This is because it is unlikely the conflicts will reach the scale which necessitates Epic. There won’t be the ability for either side to field Titans unless things dramatically change, and larger conflicts can likely be handled using the Apocalypse rules. That’s not to say that Epic will never make an appearance, we’ll just see how things go for now.

Are there any plans to use Planetary Empires?
Once again, it’s very unlikely. Planetary Empires is intended to cover multiple engagements on a single planet, where as The Unbound is looking at a much larger set of encounters – and entire galactic sector. We’ll probably use a single major battle using Planetstrike to determine the results of a planetary invasion, rather than running a whole Planetary Empires campaign.