A few years ago we set out to build a new sci-fi universe, and with our first attempt we fell short.
But, we tried again, and because of lots of hard work and fantastic support from a passionate band of gamers, collectors and modelers, something exciting is really starting to happen.
The Warpath universe is growing and building into a very exciting place.
Bizarrely this massive universe, spanning many solar systems and numerous alien races began in earnest with a sports game!
When Dreadball came to Kickstarter it raised an incredible $728,925 from 2,539 backers and spawned a number of those alien races into being. Since then each of them has taken a life of their own. Many of those new aliens then made an appearance in the next installment – Deadzone. This time instead of a neodurium pitch the squads fought over a war-torn battlefield – fighting for resources or trying to carry out missions to wipe out the enemy threat (and more on this later).
Although Deadzone focused on just a single incident of a ‘Containment Protocol’ it hinted at a much bigger place – a human utopia with wealth and abundance at is centre, and an empire on a mission to conquer all, yet even then it was clear that there were more cracks than those at the centre cared to admit. That this dominant, all-powerful behemoth was not quiet as infallible as it seemed. That perhaps other forces were at work too – and battles were not just skirmishes on quarantined planets – but bloodshed and violence could breakout at any time – and on a significant scale!
If you want to see how diplomacy breaks out into all-out war please have a read of Christopher Verspeaks’ Ghosts of the Past…
The exit to the dropship irised open and Tui Hu led his triads out onto the planet’s surface. He took a moment to soak in the atmosphere, feel the thick soil beneath the cypher’s feet, the scent of life all around him.
Rain had fallen here recently and through the cypher’s eyes he saw drops still glistened on the vibrantly coloured leaves and flowers of the jungle plants near him. It was a beautiful world, but it was an Asterian world so that was only natural.
Then the construct’s sensors relayed another scent to him. It was life of a kind too, in its own twisted and perverted way. But to Tui Hu and every other Asterian it meant only one thing – death.
“The corruption of all things is near.” he said.
The other cyphers’ senses were all as sharp as Tui Hu’s and all had weapons raised and primed. It was this alertness that saved them as the Scourge revealed itself.
From the edge of the clearing in which the cyphers had deployed came a harsh, guttural roar, a sound that instantly put the cyphers on edge. This would be the first battle against the Scourge for many of them. Then they appeared, a rampaging, rolling host of horrors, running from between the trees, brandishing projectile and melee weapons, and screaming their hate at the Asterian troops as they came.
“Calm yourselves,” Tui Hu said, “We will hold this point as long as we must.” There was no way of knowing how long it would take the other dropships to arrive and deliver the full strength of the clade and the other cyphers did not answer with words but with action, moving into a combat formation immediately and opening fire.
Noh fields flared into life as their rifles sent pulses of energy into the advancing horde. Where the Noh energy hit flesh it vaporised their enemies, separating heads and limbs from bodies, leaving gaping holes in the torsos and cleansing this world of the taint the Scourge had put upon it.
The horde continued to move forwards nonetheless. Other armies might have broken under the weight of damage the Asterians could inflict at this range, but the Scourge were unlike any other army. Endless numbers and rage closed their ranks and the gap with the Asterians in moments.
Tui Hu threw his rifle to the ground and had less than a second to ignite his lightblade, driving it upwards to parry a blow from a Scourge soldier as it tried to decapitate him, then ducking low and reversing his movement to slice the thing in half across its belly.
All around him the other cyphers were meeting the Scourge in desperate hand to hand combat too, those with charge gloves using them at point blank range to blast holes in their opponents, scattering particles of organic matter across their armour.
Tui Hu felt his cypher’s distaste at this, the proximity of the Scourge, even as it was being destroyed, and he began to recite mantras of calming to it. Blind fury could not win this fight – he and his construct would need every scrap of unity they could muster to do that.
You can get the collection of stories from Mantic Digital – add the book to your account and you can download ebook and Kindle versions from your online library or access them in the Mantic Games app for iOS, Android and Amazon Fire.
And if you enjoyed that please go and get ‘Containment Protocol’ – a fantastic collection of short stories talking about a Deadzone on Nexus Psi and written from behind the eyes of each faction.
Thanks to the generosity of several thousand fans and backers the Warpath universe is taking shape.
This month sees the final season installment of Dreadball with the Season 6 teams coming to stores near you. Dreadball will be supported throughout next year with Organised Play in-stores and through clubs, a growing tournament scene, plus a brand new app that will give you your global and regional ranking, and finally a series of fun expansions to allow different types of playing conditions and other play variants.
Deadzone is coming back at Easter next year- and this time it’s going to be the quick, violent, intuitive game we wanted it to be. The fantastic scenery range is expanding with lots of detailed parts to make your battlefield more interesting and interactive. The rules have been streamlined to allow much faster play and bigger factions. We are making army building a far more exciting part of the game and a campaign system will keep you playing over and over. If you want to get into the play testing of this there will be some playtest rules going out in the next few weeks, so please make sure you are subscribed to the newsletter to get your copy. We think (hope) that both Dreadball and Deadzone will be great ways for new gamers and players to experience the Warpath universe, and collect and paint their first factions and teams.
However, because the universe is one (big) place those same models can form a unit (or two, and some allies!) in the battle game. Painting a faction means you are already some of the way there to a small force for the Firefight rules, and then add a few vehicles and another squad or two and epic battles are possible ;). Oh, and it works the other way too – a Warpath army will have heroes and units that you can make up and drop straight in as your Deadzone faction!
As a company Mantic decided to not just keep developing new ideas or act as a publisher for other games. We have decided to focus our efforts on two separate but interesting universes and build them over time to living and exciting places. We have gone away from KS simply hitting the biggest turnover to concentrate on investing in the places we are care about. Certainly we will do the odd game outside of these two places – probably when we have an IP to make a game that I think will bring new people into gaming with miniatures (and be great fun for us cynical old vets too 😉 but as can be seen from our first 10 Kickstarters 8 of them have been set in just the two worlds.
Yet none of this would have been possible without the fantastic support we have had on Kickstarter – and then just as importantly from local gaming stores and gamers around the world demoing and playing the games. Next year will be a stellar step forward for the Warpath universe, with the launch of a quick and playable skirmish game and a full tabletop wargame system (well two actually!).
If you want to get onboard at somewhere near the beginning then please jump onto the Kickstarter this weekend, or pick up the Deadzone beta rules in the next few weeks. We welcome you on our journey into uncharted space…