Privateer Press: Lock & Load Staff Panel Review

Privateer Press spilled the beans on the upcoming year at Lock & Load!  There is SO MUCH to look at!

On Friday night, Privateer Press held their Staff Panel as a part of the Lock & Load game fest with some interesting news about upcoming products from the Level 7, Warmachine, and Iron Kingdoms RPG lines.

The panel started off with a discussion of Level 7: Invasion, the third product from the Level 7 intellectual property. 
Where Escape was a semi-cooperative survival horror game and Omega Protocol was a team-based tactical shoot-em-up, Invasion is a world map-based strategic game where coalitions of countries work to thwart an alien invasion of a race referred to as “the hydra”. 
The game sounds like a large-volume component game, reminding me of Fantasy Flight’s many world domination games, suggesting a potentially high price point compared to the other Level 7 offerings, but this is merely speculation.
The next announcement concerning Level 7 was about Privateer Press’s first foray into published fiction in the setting through Skull Island Expeditions, their digital fiction delivery arm. The first novel in the setting acts as a prequel to Omega Protocol and Invasion. It is entitled The Judas Protocol and will be written by Nathan Meyer, dealing specifically with how the hydra find the ginn on Earth. The implication here is that if the novel does well enough in sales that we will see future books in the setting as well.

For those living overseas, particularly in western Europe, Privateer Press also announced a partnership with SmogCon, a London-based convention that will take place in February of 2015. For the first time, Privateer Press will have a staff presence on another continent for a gaming convention. Early discussion eluded to “Lock & Load”-like events including a P3 Painting Competition, Iron Gauntlet, and more with additional details coming out within the next several weeks.

For Warmachine, the next anthology book was revealed, entitled Warmachine: Reckoning. Discussion of the book’s fictional nature details a climax of sorts to the current story arc that began back in 2010 with the release of MkII, making Reckoning sound somewhat like the modern equivalent of Warmachine: Legends from back in 2008. Reckoning will release in 2015 and will feature new warcasters, warjacks, and character warjacks and units. 
The new character ‘jacks are said to harken back to the unique warjacks released back during Apotheosis like the Thunderhead and Deathjack. That last thing we were left with in this very brief preview is that, according to Will Schick, “dragons will rise in 2015”, an ominous announcement indeed for war-torn Western Immoren.
The panel continued with a brief 30 second trailer for Warmachine: Tactics and the announcement that the closed beta will be launching within the next 2-to-3 weeks for those that pledged the appropriate level back when Tactics was on Kickstarter. 
For those that did not pledge high enough to get into the closed beta, Matt Wilson was happy to report that there will be a way to pay into it when the beta begins if you really can’t wait to dive into the game. 
The final portion of the presentation, arguably where most of the “meat” was, focused on the next book for the Iron Kingdoms Roleplaying Game: Monsternomicon. For those unfamiliar with this tome from the original version of the IKRPG, it is effectively a Monster Manual for the IKRPG. 
Every monster will feature a 2-page spread and will come with a wealth of information beyond simple stats, including details on where these creatures can be found, how they act, what their interests are, etc. 
The Dracodile was one the more interesting creatures discussed, being the first huge-based model to be introduced into the IKRPG perhaps acting as a potential teaser for Blindwater Congregation players in Hordes of what is to come for them. 
There was a lot of great art shown as well from familiar critters like the argus, anura, or feralgeist to more esoteric things like the scylla flock or whatever-the-hell that creepy worm-thing is.
The other interesting thing discussed was the use of templates for monster creation. These act as modifications to simple monster stat blocks that allow you to easily customize your party’s foes to meet both the demands of the campaign as well as their relative skill level. Examples of this ranged from simple bonuses to make monsters stronger or tougher to more complex ones like adding Gun Mage spells and an ARC stat to the Pistol Wraith template to create an enemy with more utility. 
One of the best-looking applications of templates comes from dragonspawn, which have three base stat levels based on base size that are then fleshed out with spawn gifts like Prowl, Reach, increased STR, Pathfinder, increased SPD, etc. There are also progenitor traits for dragonspawn which will change their nature based on the dragon that they are spawned from. Blighterghast, for example, grants all his spawn either the Seether ranged attack, which is a RAT 6, SPR 8, POW 12 attack that applies corrosion, or the Hellshroud ability, which reduces nearby enemy ARM by 2 while also applying corrosion.

The emphasis here seems to largely be on the concept of customization, which as someone who has run several IKRPG campaigns, is pretty exciting to me. I’m highly looking forward to the new Monsternomicon. 
Overall, not the most exciting of panels in recent memory, particularly for Warmachine players who I have mostly found were left wanting, but the new content for IKRPG has me comfortably sated. I can’t wait to get my hands on that book…

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