Kings of War: Halpi’s Rift Preview
22nd Sep 2020
Hello Kings of War fans! If you saw our blog yesterday, you’ll know that October is absolutely jam-packed to the rafters with awesome Kings of War content. All this week we’re celebrating these fantastic new releases with a series of preview blogs. Today it’s the turn of the new supplement: Halpi’s Rift. But what is Halpi’s Rift? Well, read on to find out more…
First of all, we need to travel to the distant past of 2019, before the world had gone mad. When planning Kings of War: Third Edition we knew that we wanted to follow up the initial launch with a global campaign – similar to Edge of the Abyss a few years ago. The idea was the campaign would push the living world of Kings of War along slightly, as well as offering some new ways to play.
When looking for the theme of the campaign, we liked the idea of magic becoming more powerful across Pannithor. After all, although magic plays a part in Kings of War, it’s not always at the forefront. We wanted there to be lots of crazy magical effects, new artefacts and different spellcasters to take advantage of the new tiers.
What’s more, although Kings of War is clearly a very popular tournament game, we wanted a more narrative expansion that would offer new scenarios that may be slightly wilder than the standard games. With this in mind, we talked with the rules committee and head honcho Matt James suggested taking the magic wheel from page 99 of the hardback rulebook and using that as the basis for different planes of existence in which armies could fight. We’ll come onto that in a moment.
Of course, the best laid schemes of Ratkin and men don’t always go to plan and COVID came to smash them up like a petulant orcling. This meant we couldn’t do the global campaign, but we still wanted to release the supplement to give players some different ways to play their game. Hopefully once things return to normal post-COVID, we will be using the book as the basis for an online campaign and we’ve been working with Tabletop Conflict on some very exciting stuff. Anyway, now you know the background, let’s take a look at what’s inside.
MOVING THE STORY ALONG
With Third Edition we’re keen to keep progressing the overall story of Pannithor. Characters will come and go. Locations will potentially be conquered. Nations will rise and fall. In Halpi’s Rift our old friend Dravak Dalken, the Abyssal Dwarf Ironcaster, is back to cause some serious trouble. After kicking the Free Dwarfs out of the Halpi Mountans, Dravak has discovered an ancient source of magic that runs across Pannithor, a little like ley lines. Keen to get his grubby gauntlets on the energy, he tunnels under the mountains and accidentally unleashes a torrent of magic that’s capable of splitting the real world into different planes of existence. This new story is told by Mark Latham, rules writer extraordinaire for The Walking Dead and top author.
Dravak’s actions also have an unexpected side effect. Unknown to almost everyone else that lives above ground in Pannithor, the gloomy tunnels and mines of Halpi have become the battleground for a fierce war between the Ratkin and goblins. Both have been fighting over the territory since the Free Dwarfs were forced out. This conflict is the inspiration for the new War in the Holds two-player set, which is released alongside Halpi’s Rift. What’s more, the supplement also includes some more background on the Ratkin, so you can learn all about the structure of Ratkin society, the mysterious Screech Song and who the Unshackled are.
NEW AND RETURNING MAGIC USERS
With all this magic running rampant in Pannithor, it’s caught the attention of a lot of magic users across the world. So, we’ve taken the opportunity to introduce new characters for armies that Mantic produces (that’s 15 now, if you’re counting). A few are returning favourites, like Banick Kholearm and Nomargarok, while others are completely new characters that may change the fate of Pannithor. You definitely want to keep an eye on Twitch Keenear, the new Ratkin Warlock from the War in the Holds set!
As well as introducing these key players through some brief background, they’ve also got rules in Halpi’s Rift too. Here’s a sneak peek at Twitch Keenear.
Of course, the real meat of Halpi’s Rift is the campaign setting! This adds loads of great variation into games, from magical terrain to monsters and mercenaries that can be hired by armies and even new spells to boost your wizards.
First up, let’s talk about those different magical planes. There are five different settings for your games: the Material Plane, the Abyssal Plane, the Empyrean Plane, the Ethereal Plane and the Astral Plane. You can either choose the plane that you and your opponent want to play on or leave it to fate. It’s likely that in the online campaign next year, we’ll specify a different plane each week.
Once you’ve chosen your plane, there are then unique elements to the location. These include:
- What scenario from the rulebook you should play
- Any special rules, e.g. The Eye of the Storm, which allows magic users to re-roll dice when within 12” of the centre of the board
- Unique spells that can be learned while playing in that location
- Unique magical artefacts that can used in that plane
- Monsters and mercenaries that can be hired by certain armies – e.g. a Shawowhulk that can be added to any Evil alligned faction
- Special terrain rules – e.g. The Darkwood, which gives extra cover to any units hidden inside, so the enemy is at an additional -1 to hit
- Magical Channelling Tables that must be rolled on at the start at each Round. This can be used to give special abilities to your own units (e.g. +1 Speed) or hinder the enemy (giving them the Frozen special rule)
As you can see, there’s plenty going on to give each plane a different feel. You can see one of the planes being played in this video starring fan favourite Steve Hildrew and the wonderful Matt James.
CLASH OF KINGS
What’s that? All this isn’t enough excitement already? Well, Halpi’s Rift will contain a mini Clash of Kings update too. Normally we end the year with a large supplement that adjusts the game and balances any of those units that are above or below the curve. These changes are based on the data from thousands of games played at tournaments.
Sadly, 2020 has decided to kick us in the teeth when it comes to tournaments BUT the rules committee has been able to look at data from the tournaments that were played online and offline. Although there won’t be as many changes as a typical Clash of Kings, there will be some important adjustments, e.g. some units are no longer irregular, some spells have been adjusted, while other units have been tweaked to ensure they’re more in line with the rest.
Hopefully this should all set us up very nicely for 2021, with a new campaign setting and rules adjustments for tournaments. What are you most excited about in Halpi’s Rift?