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100th Post – Pandora Announcement

So you may have noticed the change in site layout these last few days. I wanted to do something to commemorate the 100th blog post, and I actually ended up doing a lot of things. The site has a new template with custom color scheme (inspired by the Maliwan brand) and I am working on a retrospective piece that follows some of my exploits in the hobby dating back to 1998 (thanks to Desmond for the idea on the Facebook page!).

And One More Thing…

That still leaves one more thing to announce.

As you may know from reading the site, I am a huge Borderlands fan. The video games are some of my favorites from recent years; I rank them right up there with Mass Effect in terms of fun factor, depth and imagination. Having a totally badass aesthetic doesn’t hurt either, as the game is equal parts Mad Max, Firefly and 40k all wrapped up in a cel-shaded, almost pen and ink style all its own. The games take place on Pandora, and they follow the adventures of the Vault Hunters through all of the exotic environments, hilarious side quests and the overarching story about their pursuit of the legendary Eridian Vaults.

The cast of characters from the first game. From left to right: Roland, Lilith, Mordecai and Brick.

The cast of characters from the first game. From left to right: Roland, Lilith, Mordecai and Brick.

From the intro cinematic to the original Borderlands game:

Pandora… This is our home. But make no mistake – this is not a planet of peace and love. They say it’s a wasteland, that it’s dangerous, that only a fool would search for something of value here. Then perhaps I am a fool. But do not be fooled by what Pandora appears to be. There was a legend… Many people tell it. The legend of the Vault. My father would always go on about the Vault; even with his dying breath. Advanced alien technology. Infinite wealth. Fame. Power. Women. So you can understand why some little kiddos who hear the stories grow up to become Vault Hunters.

Inspired by a number of things, not the least of which being my background playing a ton of Mordheim when I first got into the hobby, I have embarked upon a bit of a crazy quest — creating a tabletop version of Borderlands! Taking a somewhat literal page from the Necromunda book, I have decided to call it simply “Pandora”.

At the moment, the project is moving ahead at a pretty ridiculous pace. In the last couple of weeks, I have drafted a few documents, the primary file amounting to 40+ pages of rules in a somewhat official looking format. The rulebook parallels the Necromunda and Mordheim living rulebooks that are still available for free in PDF format from the GW website.

Right now I have the rules on the turn sequence, movement, special actions, ranged attacks and close combat, weapons and equipment, and rosters for starting the various warbands all written out. Much like the video games, the item generation rules are more than a little intense. Each of the eight manufacturer corporations have their own set of modifiers for the weapons they make, and then the guns themselves come in varying rarity levels (better stats the more rare they become) and with random attachments. It takes a little extra time between games to set this up, but the results add a lot of flavor.

Rare double-barreled Torgue shotgun with explosive rounds, a scope and combat blade? You bet. Epic Dahl SMG with an adjustable stock, laser sight and extended magazine? Yes please! Only the most basic weapons are likely to ever be duplicated in your games; the Rare and Epic varieties will likely take a unique form.

Most of what remains has to do with the campaign sections, including how characters gain experience and suffer injuries, generating wealth, and the missions. With a bit of luck I can play a few test games this weekend, tweak some of the rules and costs associated with various character types and gear, and then really move on to the campaign sections in earnest. The rules will then be expanded with more fluff, diagrams and painted miniatures as I get the chance to make them!

Preview 1

Preview 1 – Showing the first few pages of the rules.

Preview 2

Preview 2 – Showing some of the combat mechanics sections.

Preview 3

Preview 3 – Here are some of the item generation tables, complete with samples rendered by the game.

I would be pretty thrilled to have a fully playable version of the game available in PDF by September 1. Like the living rulebooks on the GW website, this would then be updated periodically as new rules are added, or FAQ/Errata type fixes are applied. I hope this announcement was worth the wait these last few days!

Disclaimer notice: This project in no way is meant to challenge the copyright status or trademarks associated with Borderlands, Necromunda, Mordheim or any other reference materials. The game is intended for private use only, and not financial or commercial gains of any kind. Virtually all of the art and screenshots are copyright Gearbox Software, LLC.

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3 comments on “100th Post – Pandora Announcement

  1. Seems pretty nice so far. 🙂 It’s good to see people share great ideas. Especially now that smaller squad based games are becoming more popular.

  2. looks sweet so far! finish it!

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