In April, Fantasy Flight Games announced Only War, a standalone Warhammer 40,000 roleplaying game in which players take on the roles of soldiers in the Imperial Guard, the galaxy-spanning armies of the God-Emperor. Today, we return to a series of previews examining the Only War play experience.
In our last preview, we read the insights of Andrew Fischer, Only War’s lead designer. Andrew shared his thoughts on the Imperial Guard, and the challenge of designing a game focused on this particular role in the Imperium. Today, we turn our attention to the game’s setting: The Spinward Front. Contributing writer Andy Hoare took time to offer his input on this war-ravaged front.
The Spinward Front is a region that will be both new and familiar to players of Dark Heresy. The warzone that forms the central setting for Only War is located just off of the Calixis Sector map players and game masters will know and love, taking as its basis the worlds on the edge of the Periphery Sub-Sector and expanding out into the inter-sector void beyond. Not one of these worlds is untouched by war, each claimed by one of the three major belligerents laying waste to the region.
The first of these combatants is of course the Imperium. Ordinarily, the worlds of the Emperor are able to draw upon numberless hosts, committing regiment after regiment to the relentless meat grinder of war. All is not well in the Spinward Front however, for the wars of the distant Jericho Reach take priority and draw ever more resources through the Jericho-Maw Warp Gate. The Imperium’s efforts are focused on the world of Kulth, but they extend for many light years along the inter-sector Warp routes to form the hellish warzones of the Spinward Front.
The second of the combatants are the Orks of Grimtoof Git-slaver. This barbarous greenskin horde has smashed into the outlying worlds just beyond the Periphery and is on the verge of entering the dreaded second stage of any Ork migration. Having unleashed unprecedented slaughter, Warlord Genghiz Git-slaver now seeks to consolidate his power. He has enslaved countless millions of humans and is laying the foundations of a new Ork stellar empire, right on the borders of the Calixis Sector.
The third of the major combatants are the forces of the Severan Dominate. The Dominate is headed by the bitter and twisted Severus the Thirteenth, a man whose line earned glory during the Angevin Crusade but whose rewards were overshadowed by the rise of Saint Drusus. Severus’ line has nurtured this hatred for generations, the invasion of Waaagh! Grimtoof affording him the long-waited excuse to secede from the Imperium and claim his birthright once and for all.
It is into this cauldron of bloodshed and betrayal that the men and women of the Imperial Guard are pitched. At first, player characters may care little for the intrigues of their superiors, fighting merely to stay alive against a warzone intent upon killing them in a myriad of unpleasant ways. Should they survive their first tour of duty however, the players will soon enough discover that the Spinward Front provides a wealth of opportunities to make war upon the foes of Mankind, or to die horribly in the attempt!
Thanks, Andy! Check back for more in the coming weeks, and look for Only War on store shelves later this quarter.