The Alexandrian

The Infinity roleplaying game will give you all the tools you need to create an exciting campaign set anywhere within the Human Sphere: Play as Hassassin Govads Infinity - Wilderness of Mirrorsseeking to recover the lost Cubes of their former brothers from the Equinox terrorists who stole them. Join the crew of the Go-Go Marlene! Show as location scouts. Journey into the depths of Acontecimento’s oceans in aquatic Apsara Lhosts. Hunt Shasvastii Speculo Killers through the shattered planetoids of Human Edge. Sign up for a PanOceanian mercenary company fighting Libertos rebels on Varuna, then steal a spaceship and become Haqqislamite privateers!

The default mode of play for the game, however, assumes that you are agents working for Bureau Noir, O-12’s Secret Service. Bureau Noir’s operative teams are flexibly liaised through the other O-12 Bureaus, which means that their duties can effectively take them anywhere in the Human Sphere.

Theoretically, Bureau Noir — like O-12 itself — is a neutral agency and its agents are impartial and unaligned. In reality, the Human Sphere is wracked with factions and every PC will belong to one of them. Their loyalties will be divided and their true agendas will be hidden.

We call this the Wilderness of Mirrors.


In addition to their primary mission objective, scenarios for the Infinity roleplaying game are designed with multiple faction goals. (For example, the primary mission objective might be to protect media tycoon Charles Angleton from threats made by the criminal AI Svengali. Yu Jing agents, however, have a faction goal to insert an eavesdropping virus onto Angleton’s comlog, and Nomad agents have a faction goal to retrieve intel on Angleton’s suspected collaboration with Svengali.)

When running an Infinity scenario, the GM needs to decide how many of these faction goals they’re going to use. Using a single faction goal for each mission (while perhaps rotating which team member has a faction goal for each mission), for example, will lightly spice the campaign with complications. On the other hand, if every PC receives a faction goal then the mission becomes laced with paranoia in a complicated loop of espionage and counter-intelligence.


The GM will also want to decide on the paranoia level for their campaign.

In Deep Cover campaigns, the faction loyalties of the PCs are concealed and their secret agendas for each mission are kept hidden.

In Diplomatic Immunity campaigns, the PCs know the faction loyalties of their compatriots, but everybody smiles at the polite fiction that they are all loyal, unbiased O-12 agents. (In a campaign like this, it is even possible that the faction agendas are openly known at the gaming table, even if the characters are not aware of them.)

In a Faction United campaign, all of the PCs belong to a single faction and they’re all working together to pursue both their primary mission objective and their faction goal. (This method also allows the GM to easily repurpose published scenarios for Infinity for campaigns that aren’t using the O-12 framing device. For example, if the PCs are working for Yănjīng, the Yu Jing Military Intelligence Service, the GM can simply use the Yu Jing faction goal as the scenario hook.)

Finally, in a Loyal Agents campaign the PCs have no faction goals and their only objective is the primary mission.


Setting the right subterfuge intensity and paranoia level for your group and your campaign may require a little bit of fine-tuning, but once you dial in the right values your players will feel the weight of the increased stakes in every action that they take, and the conflicting agendas will heighten the dramatic tension of every decision. The Wilderness of Mirrors will bring the broken alliances and fraught tensions of the Infinity universe to burning life at your gaming table!


As I’ve previously discussed at length, one of the most overlooked aspects in the design and play of traditional roleplaying games is the underlying game structures that we use in play. In adapting the incredibly rich universe of Infinity into a roleplaying game, there were two key things that I considered of vital importance:

First, to guarantee that Infinity didn’t simply become “yet another science fiction RPG”. There are a lot of SF roleplaying games on the shelves, but Infinity is too cool for people to just glaze over it as one option among many.

Second, to capture the high-stakes, faction-vs-faction tensions of the miniatures game in a context that made sense for an RPG. (I also recognized that current players of the miniatures game have already chosen “their” faction in the universe, and I wanted to make sure that a group of those existing Infinity players could come together to form a roleplaying group with everyone playing a character belonging to their faction of choice.)

Hopefully you can immediately see how the Wilderness of Mirrors helps us accomplish both of these goals. It emphasizes the inter-factional conflicts and maintains them as a persistent, underlying theme. The Bureau Noir structure makes it trivial for characters with diverse backgrounds and allegiances to come together. And the hidden faction goals add a unique spice that will make a game of Infinity feel very different from a generic science fiction game.

But the Wilderness of Mirrors won’t be the only place that you’ll see Infinity presenting strong game structures for you to build your campaigns around. For example, the Tactical Assault Gear sourcebook will be describing the mecha warsuits of the setting. The scenario structures required to support campaigns revolving around TAG pilots routinely jumping into their armored suits are fairly unique, and so we’ll be creating a game structure specifically to support those campaigns. We’ll be doing the same thing for Corsair space pirates and Hypercorp raiders and mercenaries plying their services on the War Market. (And I think things will get really interesting once you can start mixing and matching these scenario structures together.)

Infinity the Roleplaying Game

Infinity the Roleplaying Game

September 16th, 2015

Corvus Belli's Infinity the Roleplaying Game

Modiphius launched their Kickstarter for the Infinity Roleplaying Game, based on Corvus Belli’s incredible sci-fi skirmish miniature game.

Actually, what I should say is that we’ve launched our Kickstarter. I’ve been hired as the line developer for Infinity. I’m also the lead writer for the core rulebook, and I’ll also be personally developing a deluxe campaign supplement for the game that we’ll be unlocking through the stretch goals in the Kickstarter campaign. (Plus, with your support, a dozen other amazing supplements.) If you’re one of the many people who have wanted to see me use node-based scenario design to design a full-fledged, dynamic campaign… well, I’ve finally found a company who shares that vision.


In the twisted jungles of Paradiso, humanity fights for its survival. The fierce, alien warriors of the Combined Army have poured through the Acheron Gate, descending upon the emerald jungles of the newest colonial world in a seemingly unstoppable torrent. The bestial Morat pound the Paradiso Front, where brave men and women fight ceaselessly to maintain a desperate defensive line which the sly Shasvastii penetrate with devastating ease. In the star-swept skies above, the collected might of humanity’s armadas maintain a life-or-death blockade to cut off an endless horde of alien reinforcements. And if any of humanity’s fractious forces should falter, then all may be lost…

But beyond that terrifying holding action, the intrigues and adventures of the Human Sphere spin on. Space pirates cruise through the shattered planetoids of Human Edge. Scientist adventurers delve the oceans of Varuna. Merchant guilds scheme amidst the scourging sands of Bourak. From Yutang, the Emperor gazes forth from an uneasy throne. Titanic war machines stride across the icy plains of Svalarheima. Byzantine hypercorps struggle for dominance amidst the chrome towers of Neoterra.

For the last ten years, players have tested their mettle upon the battlefields of the Human Sphere in Corvus Belli’s hugely-popular Infinity skirmish game. Now you can expand your adventures, diving deep into the amazing, never-before-seen depths of the Infinity universe with the ultimate science fiction roleplaying game.

Play with the full dynamic 2d20 game system featuring: 

  • Cinematic action driven by the twin engines of Heat and Momentum
  • The triple battlefields of Warfare, Infowar, and Psywar
  • A multifaceted Zones system which brings the game world to life
  • All New Artwork of the Infinity universe commissioned by Modiphius and Corvus Belli
  • Find out more about the 2d20 System further down the page

Explore the definitive guide to the Infinity universe with: 

  • A complete Chronology of the Human Sphere detailing centuries of bloodshed
  • The culture, history, and intrigue of seven powerful factions
  • Gazetteers for all twelve planets of the Human Sphere, including beautiful, full-color maps

Leap into your character by: 

  • Forging your identity with an immersive Lifepath character creation system
  • Fighting for your faction with the fractious, innovative Wilderness of Mirrors scenario design system
  • Facing dozens of fearsome, ready-to-play adversaries who stand between you and your destiny!


Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking more about some of the really cool things we’re developing for Infinity (like the Wilderness of Mirrors scenario structure and the triple battlefields of Warfare, Infowar, and Psywar).

But for right now, I hope you’ll join us on Kickstarter and help us publish what I think is going to be a fantastic game. As I write this, we’ve already blown through three major stretch goals and we’re closing in on the Gamesmaster Guide.

Weird Discoveries is a collection of ten “Instant Adventures” for Numenera. The concept behind these instant adventures is basically what I talked about in Opening Your Gaming Table. I’ll let Monte Cook explain:Numenera: Weird Discoveries - Monte Cook

It’s Friday night. Your friends have gathered at your house. Someone asks, “What should we do tonight?” One person suggests watching a movie, but everyone else is in the mood for a game. You’ve got lots of board games, and that seems like the obvious solution, because they don’t take any more time to prepare than it takes to set up the board and the pieces.

Those of us who love roleplaying games have encountered this situation a thousand times. We’d love to suggest an RPG for the evening, but everyone knows you can’t just spontaneously play a roleplaying game, right? The game master has to prepare a scenario, the players need to create characters, and all this takes a lot of time and thought.

Cook’s solution to this problem is to create one-shot scenarios in a custom format that makes it possible for the GM to run a four hour session after quickly skimming 4-6 pages of information.

This basically boils down into three parts:

First, a two page description of the scenario’s background and initial hook.

Second, a two page spread that generally looks something like this

Weird Discoveries - Two Page Spread

and which contains the entire scenario. (This two page spread is the only thing you’ll need to look at while running the adventure.)

Third, an additional two pages of additional details that you can use to flesh out the scenario. (These pages are optional. If you don’t have time to read them, the evocative details they provide can easily be replaced by material improvised by the GM.)

The basic idea is that these scenarios give Numenera the same commitment profile as a board game: You pull out the rulebooks and dice. You quickly explain the rules. You hand out pregen characters to the players. And while they’re looking over their character sheets, you spend two or three minutes quickly reviewing a scenario.

Then you play for three or four hours and… that’s it. No prior prep commitment. No long-term commitment from the players. Just pick it up and play it.


First, there’s the weird decision to kick off this book of stand-alone one-shots with two linked scenarios where one is clearly the sequel of the other. (The first scenario is “gaining access to the pyramid” and the second is “exploring the pyramid”.) This isn’t the end of the world and if those had been given at the end of the book as a sort of variant on the form, it probably would have been fine. But one of these scenarios is actually used as the free promo for the book, and I actually held off buying it for awhile because it appeared that the book wasn’t actually delivering on its promise.

Another bit of wonkiness comes from the way that Cook tries to streamline the presentation of the scenarios through the use of Keys. Each Key is some essential element of the scenario which could potentially be found in several different locations within the scenario. Each key is given a symbol, which is then used to indicate the locations where that key can be found.

For example, in a mystery scenario a Key might be:

Evidence that Supect A is innocent.

And that Key might be indicated by a little blue triangle. Then you look at the two page spread and you might see an NPC marked with a blue triangle, and their description will include:

If Bob is the KEY, then if the PCs really grill him, he’ll eventually admit that he saw Suspect A on the opposite side of town at the time of the murder.

In general, you’ll see two or three different places in the scenario where that little blue triangle shows up. That basically mirrors the redundancy suggested by the Three Clue Rule and it makes a lot of sense. And highlighting those essential bits with a visual cue in the form of the Key symbol also makes sense, because it flags the importance of including that bit for the GM.

A couple things mess this up, however: First, the table that tells you what each symbol means ISN’T located on the two page spread. So the simple elegance of the two-page spread is marred because you keep flipping back to that essential information.

Second, the “if” nature of the Keys tends to make it much more difficult to run the scenarios cleanly. The intention seems to be that the GM should control the pacing of when these keys are triggered, but in practice trying to keep track of the locations where a particular key is available (and whether or not this might be the last opportunity for it) requires a totality of understanding for the scenario which stands in sharp contrast with the goal of being able to run it off-the-cuff. (For off-the-cuff stuff, I generally want to be able to focus on the content directly in front of my nose without having to think about distant portions of the scenario.)

In general, you can probably just ignore the “if” portion of the text and run most of the scenarios with the Keys present in all of their potential locations. There are a handful of scenarios, however, where you can’t do this. (For example, a “missing piece” of a machine which can be in several different locations and actually be completely different things.)

In any case, these scenarios would be better if the keys were simply hardcoded. And I’d recommend altering them in whatever manner necessary to make that true before running them.


The other thing that doesn’t quite work are, unfortunately, the two-page spreads themselves. These take two forms.

First, there are flowcharts which show how the PCs can move from one scene to another. (Go to the home of the murder suspect and find a clue that points to where the murder suspect is.) These mostly work fine, although there are a few scenarios with mysterious extra arrows that don’t actually represent any tangible information. (The intention with some of these seems to be “the PCs are done here and can now go follow a lead from another location”, but that’s ideographically confusing because the arrow implies that there is a lead here that should take you there.)

Second, and unfortunately more prevalent, are the spreads based around maps surrounded by blobs of text that have arrows pointing to various sections of the map.

The best of these are the dungeons, because they at least make sense. But they’re not very good dungeons. One keeps talking about how you can explore beyond the rooms shown on the map… except there are no exits from the rooms on the map. The other is composed of mostly empty rooms. And in both cases, most of the room descriptions don’t match the visual representation of the room that they’re pointing at.

This is because, as far as I can tell, the maps were drawn largely at random and then the various bits of content were “associated” with the maps by drawing arrows that just kind of point at whatever’s convenient. And this is even more apparent when you look at some of the other two-page spreads. For example, consider the spread we looked at before:

Weird Discoveries - Two Page Spread

That’s supposed to be the map of a city. Except it obviously is not. And one of the content bubbles is “three dead bodies lie here”… except the associated arrow points into the middle of a wall. Another content bubble is “monster that’s explicitly moving around in the ruins”, but it has an arrow pointing to a very specific (and obviously completely meaningless) location

Another common technique here is “rough sketch of a wilderness area that’s radically out of scale with random arrows pointing at it”.


Because the scenarios are really good.

They cover a wide variety of nifty ideas backed up with fantastic art that’s designed to be shown to your players as evocative handouts (instead of featuring imaginary PCs doing things).

And despite my quibbles with some of the shortcomings of the presentation, the basic concept of the two-page spread fundamentally works: The maps and arrows don’t make any sense, but the essential content is nonetheless packaged in a format that makes it easy to simply pick up the adventure and run it with no prep time at all.

For my personal use, I’ll be basically ignoring all of the maps and using the content bubbles as either random encounters or logical progressions of an investigation (depending on the exigencies of the scenario). And I’ll take the time to lock down the Keys in a more concrete fashion, but I’m not anticipating that taking any more than 5-10 minutes per scenario, which is not an undue burden.

Ultimately, with ten full adventures, this book is incredibly valuable and I’m going to be getting dozens of hours of play out of it.

The final reason why the book’s shortcomings ultimately don’t matter, however, is because the roleplaying industry desperately needs more books like this: The board game renaissance is palpably demonstrating the power of memetically viral games that can be picked up and played as part of an evening’s entertainment. Games like Mice & Mystics and Mansions of Madness clearly demonstrate that the only reason traditional roleplaying games can’t hop on that bandwagon is because we’ve systematically ghettoized ourselves as an industry and as a hobby by embracing long-term, dedicated play as the only form of play.

With Numenera as its flagship, Monte Cook Games is fighting to change that. And I’m more than happy to help them out. (Particularly since their game is so much damn fun.)

Style: 4
Substance: 4

Author: Monte Cook
Publisher: Monte Cook Games
Print Cost: $24.99
PDF Cost: $9.99
Page Count: 96
ISBN: 978-1939979339

Go to Part 1

Star Wars: Red Peace was originally designed to be the first part in a trilogy of generation-spanning scenarios: Red Peace was set during the waning days of the Clone Wars; the sequel would have been set during the Rebellion of the original trilogy; and the third scenario would have been set twenty years further in the future.

Unfortunately, my group’s experiment with Star Wars: Force and Destiny was not a success: My players did not like the game. (Nor did I.) And it also took about four times longer to accomplish anything in the system than we had anticipated. So we folded the mini-campaign before reaching the second or third scenarios.

As a result, those scenarios were never fully designed. But I’m going to share my original rough thoughts for these in case anyone might be interested.

Star Wars: Restless Sith

In Episode II: Restless Sith, twenty years have passed. The PCs have spent the intervening years studying the Red Holocron in the hopes that it would contain some clue to toppling Emperor Palpatine. They are currently hiding on the far side of the Galaxy, in a region of space outside of Imperial control, investigating information which they believe will lead them to an installation of the Jedi Empire that may contain a weapon they can use against Palpatine.

What they discover, orbiting a neutron star far beyond the common star lanes, is a Jedi Empire space station.

Star Wars: Restless Sith - Space Station

Investigating the station they would have discovered that it was a carbonite facility. They also would have inadvertently awoken the ancient caretakers of the facility: Strange droids made from some sort of malleable, silver-black metal. Bas relief glyphs run over their limbs and torso, concentrating on their faceless features. They glyph droids also exhibit a vicious pack intelligence — the more glyph droids present, the more intelligent they become.s

Avoiding or bypassing the glyph droids, the PCs reach the carbonite facility where the weapon of the Jedi Empire was stored.

Unfortunately, they’ve been tricked by the Red Holocron: What they end up thawing out is not a weapon. It’s a Sith Master named Darth Victus.

I intended to end this episode in a fight with Darth Victus onboard the Jedi Empire space station. But if Darth Victus were to escape, you could extend this section of the campaign by having the PCs deal with Darth Victus’ rapidly expanding base of power. (The Empire could also become involved if Emperor Palpatine were to become aware of the ill-timed challenge to his authority.)

Star Wars: Restless Sith - Darth Victus

Star Wars: Dawn of the Droid

To fully understand Dawn of the Droid, you’ll want to start by checking out my thoughts on what a sequel Star Wars trilogy would look like (circa 2006): Episodes VII, VIII, and IX.

Dawn of the Droid takes place 20 years after Restless Sith and the Original Trilogy: The Empire has been overthrown. The New Republic is ascendant. The PCs are now part of the New Jedi Order, founded by Luke Skywalker (who has been missing for a decade) and now run by his wife Mara Jade.

The PCs have been investigating some sort of case and the leads have taken them to Halon Prime, one of the major shipyards for the Republican navy. At Halon Prime they encounter morph droids for the first time: These droids appear to be formed from some sort of black mercury; they fluidly change shape and form. And raised glyphs race across their surface, identical to those they saw on the glyph droids twenty years earlier.

(It’s around here that they might realize that they opened a Pandora’s Box by reactivating those droids.)

The culmination of Halon Prime comes when they encounter a Droid Knight — a droid somehow capable of manipulating the Force — and a droid fleet attacks the shipyards. They duel and chase the Droid Knight through the burning remnants of the Republican fleet.

In the aftermath of the battle, the PCs hook up with Mara Jade and her daughter, who have come to Halon Prime to investigate what happened to the shipyard. (As Red Peace saw the PCs cross paths with known film continuity, the vibe here would be to make it feel like they were crossing over with the continuity of  film that doesn’t actually exist.)

If you wanted to push this scenario further, you could keep the PCs intimately involved in the emerging war and eventually have them follow the clues back to Pelori IV where the Droid Uprising had its start. You could also loop them into the grail quest for the Phoenix Holocron (the Jedi mirror of the Sith’s Red Holocron), which might mean crossing paths with Luke.

Review of Force and Destiny
Force and Destiny: System Cheat Sheet
FFG Star Wars: The Big Fix
Star Wars: Red Peace

Go to Part 1

Star Wars: Red Peace - Jedi Temple on Lothal

The Jedi Temple on Lothal appears in “Path of the Jedi”,  episode 8 of Star Wars: Rebels.

ENTERING THE TEMPLE: When two Jedi synchronize their focus to create a Force harmony, the large central spire corkscrews up to reveal an entrance to the temple. One of these entrances is shown on Star Wars: Rebels, leading to an area where padawans are taken for the Test of the Cave. In reality, there are multiple rotations available depending on the harmony you create.

STANDING ORDER 429: Commander Racto will call in additional clone trooper reinforcements from the Lothal garrison. But, per standing order 429, no clone trooper can directly enter property owned by the Jedi Order. Commander Racto and his men will remain stationed outside of the Temple.

(Technically, this is actually order 42.9 — the ninth section of Order 42. But the Army of the Republic tends to just elide over the decimals. The entirety of Order 42 regulates the relationship between the Army and the Jedi Order.)

MADAME MEREEL: Madame Mereel, the caretaker of the temple, will greet the PCs. Unfortunately, Mereel has been taken over by mind control bugs: At some point, they’ll crawl out of her clothes and over skin, penetrating into her eyes and nose and mouth. And then she’ll attack.

IG-100 DroidBefore that happens, however, she’ll offer to take them some place where they can relax and enjoy some refreshments in the “quiet peace” of the temple. (In reality, she’ll be leading them to the Cyst.) On the way there, she’ll try to learn everything she can about what brought the PCs to the temple, feign her concern about Separatist interest in the temple, and offer whatever assistance she can.

The PCs will probably figure out that something is wrong as they pass into the Cyst, and that’s also a good place for Mereel to reveal herself and ambush them with the assistance of two IG-100 droids. (If they can come up with some clever way to free her from the bugs, great. Otherwise, it’ll be a fight to the death with a Fallen Master.)


Star Wars: Red Peace - Madame Mereel

IG-100 DROIDS (x2)

Star Wars: Red Peace - IG-100


Like many Jedi Temples, the temple on Lothal has been built around a cyst of the dark side (with the temple actually serving to contain the corrosive influence of the cyst itself). Another example of a Dark Side cyst is the cave on Dagobah where Yoda tests Luke in Empire Strikes Back. Confronting the visions created by these cysts is actually part of the tests a Jedi apprentice must face before becoming a Jedi Master (as seen in Tartovsky’s animated Clone Wars mini-series).

The Red Holocron is being kept at the Heart of the Cyst. To get there, the PCs will need to navigate the cyst. This will take the form of navigating through four visions:

  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Hate
  • Suffering

These visions may take the form of dreams, premonitions, or even action sequences (like Luke dueling with Vader). However, each vision should be customized to the PCs. You can do this by either:

(A) Asking one of the players what the greatest Fear of their character is; then the next player what makes them most Angry in the universe; and so forth. (Crafting each vision based on their answer, so that the group collectively confronts the emotional baggage of the others.)

(B) Asking ALL of the players what their greatest Fear is and then crafting a vision which incorporates all of them. Including material that foreshadows the future events of your campaign would also be effective. (See Random GM Tips – Foreshadowing in RPGs for tips on doing this effectively.)


When the PCs reach the Heart of the Cyst, they’ll find the Red Holocron: Force Shades extend from the walls of the inner cyst, caressing the holocron in a shadowy dance. (The cyst is being used to reconstitute and energize the Red Holocron.)

When the PCs access the Red Holocron, the stored personality of Darth Sidious will manifest itself. With Machiavellian glee it will answer their questions and then, at a dramatically appropriate moment, the projection of Darth Sidious will reveal itself to be Emperor Palpatine.

MOMENT OF REVELATION: In that moment of revelation, there is a vergence in the Force. The actual Emperor Palpatine is simultaneously declaring the execution of Order 66. Force sensitive characters can immediately roll any non-committed Force dice they possess.

1 Force Point: They’ll see the recorded projection of Darth Sidious say the words, “Execute Order 66.” (But they will have no idea what that means.)

2 Force Points: They recognize that “Order 66″ was the reflection of some larger and darker truth. The disturbance of the Force wrought by Jedi being slaughtered is felt.

4 Force Points: They will also have a vision of Commander Racto receiving the Order and preparing to murder them.

Characters with the Foresee power have their Force point results count double.


Commander Racto and his clone troopers are, in fact, preparing to ambush and slaughter the PCs when they leave the temple. The PCs will either need to fight their way through their erstwhile allies or find a way to sneak out.

Either way, they’ll be escaping into a galaxy that is actively hunting and seeking to destroy them. (The next major incident they experience will probably be receiving the emergency signal from the Jedi Temple, followed shortly thereafter by General Kenobi’s warning that the emergency signal is a fake and that the Jedi should stay away from the temple.)

Star Wars: Red Peace - Commander Racto and the Clone Troopers

Go to the Sequels



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