Archive for the ‘Modiphius’ Category


Running Infinity

As expected, this section opens with a Game Mastering 101 section to help new GMs ease into the role. It’s a good entry, but a part of me worries that after having to go through all the other dense rules in the game, I hope that new GMs learn to flip to this chapter first and get their expectations set properly before they get a chance to be scared off by how thick the book is.

It covers a quick summary of the usual good to know bits of GMing, before finally giving a structure to the game. The tips on agenda, filling out the frame with details and cutting a scene are genuinely helpful, and are worth reading even if this isn’t your first rodeo as a GM. I know I have problems with ending up with empty scenes that don’t push an agenda, so seeing this addressed is great.

The book then goes into how to use the rules properly, from setting difficulties to managing Momentum and of course, running Action Scenes. Finally, it finishes with a few new rules on how to create scenarios incorporating the Wilderness of Mirrors.


The adversaries chapter contains all the rules that are necessary to manage the opponents that the players will be mowing down. Adversaries are categorized as Troopers, Elites and Nemeses, with each category representing a degree of capability and danger to the player characters.

Troopers are your regular mob that only roll 1d20 on tests and have their stress values halved. Also they go down after suffering one Wound or Metanoia before being eliminated, or one Breach before their systems fail.

Elites are much tougher, and suffer two Wounds or Metanoia before being eliminated and two Breaches before their network is shut down.

A Nemesis is a very dangerous opponent who has the full range of skills and abilities that calculate stress and harm as players do.

There’s also some rules on generating Fireteams, as most of the enemies you’ll run into will be operating in an organized fashion as opposed to being just a single guy with a gun (though in those moments, it might be best to pray it’s not a Nemesis)

The chapter finishes with a large selection of adversaries ranging from criminals to aliens, so you’ll not run out of things to throw at your players anytime soon. Kickstarter backers also get in here as special NPCs with full writeups. I especially fond the combat medic in a purple dinosaur lhost body to be incredibly inspired and will likely feature that character in my own Infinity campaigns.


Reading the corebook for Infinity is a bit of a challenge, but like most challenges the payoff is worth it. I dove into the RPG with the slimmest of ideas of what it was. That it was based off a tabletop miniatures skirmish game, and that it featured anime-ish aesthetics. The Philippines was mentioned as being part of the dominant Hyperpower in the setting.  That was it.

But like in my experience in reading through the Star Trek Adventures RPG  by Modiphius, Infinity is one of those worlds that really pay off to sit down and read. The Setting is a lot to chew through, but the scope of the game expands the game from being merely one where you have paramilitary forces shooting guns at each other to other conflicts and battlegrounds beyond that of Warfare. The Psyops and Inforwar sections in particular were a favorite of mine.

The layout and artwork is great, with probably the only design piece that made me questioning it a bit being that one girl in a miniskirt rappelling down a rope while firing a pistol in the cover. Aside from that, everything is pretty much awesome.

The writing can be a bit dense, but the design sensibilities behind it are rock solid. I wish there was a better way to get ideas across without the use of terms like “intransigience” but I suppose that was deliberate to convey the high-tech nature of the setting.

Overall, Infinity is a win.It hits all the major buttons for a sci-fi universe, and the system is robust enough to run pretty much anything you’d want. GMs can zoom in or out, having players participate in grandiose schemes that decide the fate of entire worlds, or focus on the everyday struggles of a pack of criminals trying to make do. It’s all possible, and no matter what you’d like to try, there’s likely a solid backbone of hypertech material to make it work.

If you liked Infinity, you can grab the PDF from DriveThruRPG for only $24.99!



What’s a future setting without gear? I used to joke that if a game didn’t have a giant inventory of guns, augments and gadgets, it’s not a legit sci-fi game… well, it turns out that Infinity is as legit as it gets.

There’s a lot of things to consider here, but what struck me at first was the amount of detail put into counting money in this game. I’m not entirely sure why this was a focus in the game, as it doesn’t quite fit in the spy-fi impression I got prior, but eventually it made sense to me once I considered that there is enough room for non-paramilitary take on the Infinity setting… like a high tech version of Black Lagoon. (Note to self: pitch that idea to the home gaming group soon!)


Just add cybernetics and voila! Instant Submondo campaign!

Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Acquisitions runs the reader through a few key concepts of the in-game economy. Player characters have their ability to acquire items governed by several factors:

  • Earnings represent a character’s normal regular income and the character’s ability to absorb the cost of a purchase or expense.
  • Cashflow represents the character’s short-term resources and the amount of money that the character has at any given time. This is a maximum of 5 + Earnings + their Lifestyle Expertise. This decreases as purchases are made but refreshes to full at the start of each game session.
  • Assets are extra cash, valuable items, trade goods and favors. They’re often earned as payment for freelance jobs. They don’t normally increase a character’s long-term Earnings, but can be used to boost funds when buying something big. Characters begin play with Assets equal to their Personality rating, plus any bonus Assets from the Lifepath.
  • Shortfalls occur when a character overspends, harming their credit score and impeding their ability to make further acquisitions or asset management tests.

Goods and services are also governed by several ratings:

  • Restriction is a rating from 0 to 5 that represent how rare the purchase is. Higher values denote higher restrictions on the purchase.
  • Cost is how big an impact a purchase has on a character’s finances. Costs are usually represented by a static value plus one or more [CD]… kind of like damage. To your wallet.
  • Tariffs are additional charges that could apply to the acquisition. The cost of the item is followed by a marker (T1, T2 or T3) which is a static add-on to the cost of each effect rolled.
  • Maintenance only applies to purchases with routine additional payments, such as rent, a loan repayment,  or expenses attributed to maintenance or repairs. If a purchase’s Maintenance is higher than a character’s Earnings, it reduces the character’s Cashflow by one for each point the Maintenance exceeds the Earnings score.

Making a Purchase

A character looking to buy something must make a Lifestyle skill test to find a willing seller, with a base difficulty determined by the item’s Restriction. Failure means that the character is unable to find someone willing or able to sell the item. On a success, Momentum can be spent to increase the character’s Effective Earnings for that purchase by one per point of Momentum.

Before the test is made a character may also spend Assets to add a d20 to their Aquisitions test. However, if the test fails, then the Assets are lost and are considered wasted money or favors in order to try to find a seller.

If the item is available, then roll for the item’s cost and tack on any Tariffs that apply for each Effect rolled. The Character’s Earnings score is then subtracted to this amount to determine the Total Cost.

Once the Total Cost is determined then the character can choose whether or not to make a purchase. The Total Cost of the item is subtracted from their Cashflow. Purchases that would reduce Cashflow to below zero cannot be completed though a character might be able to tap their Assets to generate additional Cashflow to make the purchase push through.

If the character loses 5 or more Cashflow in a single acquisition or has a Cashflow of 0 when the purchase is completed, then the character suffers a Shortfall. If both of these take place, then the character suffers 2 Shortfalls instead.

Money Management

Spending isn’t the only thing to consider, there’s also making money back outside of just quest rewards.

  • Recovering Cashflow – is a simple enough process, it recovers fully at the end of each new game session.
  • Asset Management – A character can spend an Asset and make a D0 Lifestyle test. Each Momentum spent on this test can be used to restore two Cashflow or remove one Shortfall. The difficulty of this test increases by one step for each Shortfall that the character is currently suffering from.
  • Selling Items – The sale of items is a reverse of the purchase process as outlined above. An Aquisition Test is made to find a buyer, the Total Cost is calculated and Tariffs are used to reduce the item’s sale cost to pay local authorities. For each point of Total Cost remaining, restore one Cashflow up to the character’s normal Maximum. If the character would regain five or more Cashflow, or is restored to full Cashflow, the character can remove one Shortfall or gain one Asset. Characters may not gain more than 2 Assets from any given sale.


As mentioned before, the Gear rules cover a LOT of categories. Just as a quick summary, we’re looking at: Ammunition, Armor, Augmentations, Contagions, Explosive Devices, Geists, Hacking Devices, Lhosts, Remotes, Resources, Tools, Weapons and Other Items.

Items are rated by Size, which also determines how cumbersome the items is when brought to bear. These are represented by tags such as One-Handed, Unbalanced, Mounted or Massive.

Items also have a Structure rating that shows how much physical damage it can take before it takes a Fault. Enough Faults will destroy an object.

Itemss also have Qualities, which are features that are in common with each other and often have sub-rules that apply to them. These range from simple ones like:

This item is implanted, bioengineered, or xenografted into the user’s body and nervous system. Augs usually cannot be removed without invasive surgery or mutilation.

to specific ones that apply to Weapons or Armor like:

This attack is a stream of flame, deadly liquid, gas, or some other substance that can be swept back and forth across an area to affect a group and overcome cover. Torrent weapons cannot affect targets further away than their optimal range, but they ignore all Cover Soak. A Torrent weapon is otherwise treated as an Area attack.

This section in the book is huge, and given the sheer number of weapon and item qualities, I imagine this is one of the sections that will see the most use.

Lifestyle and Services

To round off the chapters, there’s a discussion of the various Lifestyle purchases and Services that can be rented by denizens of the Infinity setting. A part of me is particularly amused at how the Lifestyle skill gets so much play, as you usually don’t get to see that much attention paid to such in other games.

It’s been a long time since I have ever been amused by a game’s gear chapter, but Infinity has certainly been breaking my expectations left and right. A part of me is relieved to see that there’s more to the setting’s civilian lifestyle than lho sticks and amasec.

Next up, we’ll look at the GameMastery chapter, and wrap up this series with a review and some closing thoughts on Infinity.

If you’d like to read along, you can grab the PDF from DriveThruRPG for only $24.99!

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 10.44.56 AM.png

To say that the setting chapters take on the lion’s share of the page count is an understatement, with the entire part detailing The Human Sphere weighing in at a whopping 188 pages.

Rather than try to break each one into detail, I’ll be going over them in broad strokes and give my general impression.

Life in the Human Sphere

The first chapter on the setting gives a baseline of the human experience (at least in most of the Humans Sphere). The daily life of an average inhabitant in the Human Sphere is constantly connected and awash in Quantronic Augmented Reality displays that make our obsession with cellphones and social media look primitive.

While the status quo will be different in some of the factions like Ariadna and the Nomads, majority of the others live in what would generally be considered to be a lavish existence compared to the present day.

Other cultural notes involve details on entertainment, travel and communications.

G-5 and other Factions

The next chapters detail the various Factions: Ariadna, Haqquislam, Nomads, PanOceania, Yu Jing, ALEPH, Corporations, Mercenaries, 0-12 and Submondo.

Each of the faction chapters goes into a ton of detail, starting with the history of the faction, and their respective command structures / chain of authority. There’s also a bit of discussion on their respective philosophies, before breaking into a discussion of their army composition including any special forces.

At the end of each of the chapters is a quick discussion of the Wilderness of Mirrors, ideas and suggestions for the kinds of loyalties that the player characters can hail from as they work for the specific Faction Agendas presented in the adventures.


These chapters detail various planets belonging to one faction or another. Each one is lovingly detailed with a section on the geography, flora and fauna, demographics, economy, species that live there, the various continents on the planets and even a discussion of orbital assets like space stations.


This chapter details the Combined Army led by the enigmatic Evolved Intelligence, as well as the Tohaa civilization. Admittedly, I found the writeups of these to be very interesting as they went into a lot of nuances of both civilizations that live up to the spy-fi feel of Infinity as a whole.

Needless to say, there’s a ton more to each of the factions than their simple writeup summaries can provide, and the book serves as an excellent reference fot those who really want to know the details.

Infinity’s setting is a mature one, in the sense that the creators have had years to refine and build and reinforce all the details of each of the factions, and it shows in the book. As a one-stop reference for the setting as a whole, the Infinity RPG corebook does the job wonderfully.

I’ll admit to being a newbie to the setting before, but the level of detail in the book expands the possibilities of the games I’m running beyond simple para-military operations to other stories of espionage and cyberpunk themes.

While some games are content to simply sketch out a few broad strokes and leave it at that, I’m glad that Infinity went whole hog and painted every inch of their setting with color and flavor with the same attention to detail that you see in their figures.

If you’d like to read along, you can grab the PDF from DriveThruRPG for only $24.99!


Rounding off the Action Scene rules for Infinity are the basic rules governing vehicles. Right off the bat, the rulebook takes the time to explain that these are due for a more advanced take later on, with a Sourcebook covering TAG power armor further down the line.

Vehicle Types

This is pretty self-explanatory, but mechanically, Infinity categorizes vehicles along the following: Enclosed, Exposed, Ground, Hands, Hover, Rugged, Single-Seat, Walker, Watercraft, Wheeled.

Vehicles can fall into multiple categories, hence why TAGs are: Enclosed, Ground, Hands, Single-Seat, Walker. Meanwhile a Motorcycle would have: Exposed, Ground, Wheeled.

Vehicle Profile

Stat-wise a Vehicle has several scores and values: Speed, Scale, Brawn, Armor, Bio-Technological Shield (BTS), Firewall and Impact. Most of these are self explanatory, but BTS requires a little bit more detail: essentially it’s a persistent soak vs. Biotech, Nanotech, Radiation attacks.

Vehicle Roles

Characters inside vehicles are categorized as passengers, while those taking an active role in the operation of of a Vehicle are called crew. For the corebook, the two roles discussed are the pilot, who make the rolls to maneuver the vehicle, and the gunners, who care those who are in charge of manning the weapons.

Vehicle Zones

Vehicles pretty much use the same zones for Warfare, but depending on what kind of Terrain it is, it might affect certain vehicles differently. Large vehicles might find constrained spaces to be difficult to navigate while smaller ones will have less of a problem.

Overall, vehicle rules are mainly an extension of the Warfare rules. I’m certain that this is one of those chapters that will greatly benefit from the addition of further detail in the future with expansion, but for the sake of the corebook, there’s enough here to run high speed chases and adding the occasional vehicle into a firefight.

Next up, we’ll be taking a quick overview of what to expect in the next (gigantic) section of the book, which goes into the details of Infinity’s setting.

If you’d like to read along, you can grab the PDF from DriveThruRPG for only $24.99!


Infinity isn’t just about the guns and tech, if anything, the most thorough of the types of conflict given attention in the game falls to Psywar.

Much in the sense of “social combat” in many modern systems today, Infinity’s take on psywar covers all aspects of social interaction as long as it is meant to change someone’s mind. From board rooms to back alleys, and advertising campaigns to scoring a first date, the psywar conflict system can be used.

Take note that the operational word here is “can”. Not every interaction needs to be funneled through the psywar system.

The essential core of Psywar consists of Metanoia— literally, to affect the changing of someone’s mind. Doing this requires:

  • Gaining either direct or indirect access to your target.
  • Making Psywar attacks in order to create Metanoia, then using the Metanoia Effects to change the target’s beliefs, emotions, reasoning, or actions.

Basic Interactions

Given that there’s no need for a full psyops system in every engagement, Infinity has a few basic interactions outlined that can resort to a simple one roll. These cover persuasion, negotiation and intimidation attempts.

The One Metanoia Conversation

A separate “middle ground” version makes a social encounter into a race to be the first to deal Metanoia on the opponent. It’s gamier than the basic interaction but isn’t a full blown psyop.

Social Zones

Similar to the Infowar section, Psywar also has zones.

Social Zones are a bit different in that they’re more measures of scale. There are four broad types of social zones:

  • Person – Each NPC is treated as it’s own Social Zone.
  • Group – Groups are a network of people who share something in common, but individually count as their own Social Zone. These can be pretty much anything from a hobby club to a secret society. A group is mechanically represented by their Social Zone Effects.
  • Location – Locations, like groups, form a dyadic link between people who frequent that space. What makes locations notable is the fact that they can be accessed via other non-social means like stealth or hacking.
  • Event – A time-bound and perhaps reoccurring event also can serve as a dyadic link. This can be a worship service, or some other sort of occasion that can be exploited by someone looking to enact psyops on a target joins these events.

Access is the key factor in all of these zones. In order to move between two social zones, a character must first gain access to the dyadic link which connects them. This means either being at the right place, the right time, or knowing the right people to make the connection.

Human Terrain Mapping

The first step to Psywar is to figure out the social network surrounding the target. This often begins with figuring out the closest Contact Point to engage. This is usually calculated as a base of 4 modified by the difference in Social Status between the target and the psywarrior.

They can then make an Average difficulty Analysis or Lifestyle test to find the Contact point. Momentum can be then spent to reduce the number of zones on a 1:1 basis to a minimum of 1. Momentum can also be spent to discover alternative Contact Points.

At this stage, the psywarrior can also identify as much of the target’s Social Network, mapping out the various social zones surrounding the intended target, and helping them figure out the ideal approach.

Social Zone Effects

Social Zone Effects model the zone’s social relationships and attitudes with the rest of the social network. These include emotional ties, codes of conduct, community standards, traditional customs, legal obligations and the like.

Examples given in the book include Insular zones that are hostile or suspicious to outsiders, or zones that exhibit a Loyalty or Enmity to a person or cause.

Psywar Actions

Psywar actions are less numerous than those in Warfare but that’s because a lot of the actions taken are skill checks that depend on the approach being taken. That said there are a few actions that are specific to it, such as Bolstering allies to grant Morale Soak to allies, Disengaging from a social encounter, or Rallying people around themselves.

Psywar Techniques

Since you don’t really have equipment or weapons for Psywar, you have techniques instead. These are different tools or approaches that can be used to overcome a target’s Resolve. These include Deception, Intimidation, Negotiation, spreading Rumors or even Seduction.

Metanoia Effects

Psywar inflicts its own particular brand of interesting effects upon successfully inflicting Metanoia upon a target. These range from Making or Breaking a Social Connection, Forcing someone to take a particular action, Forge Friendships, Gain information or Influence Beliefs.

Psywar is complex because of its scope, but also perhaps because of the vocabulary. Concepts like Metanoia, Dyadic Links and Intransigence needed to be brought up early ahead of time, to make them much more easier to understand. They had sidebars for Metanoia, but Dyadic Links and Intransigence had me looking up Google as English isn’t my first language, and I suspect that these terms aren’t exactly commonplace.

That said I loved what they tried to do with it. From my read through it feels like a solid attempt to build a scalable social combat mechanic that has enough moving parts for those who want it, while still having a variant that can be applied by people who don’t.

If you’d like to read along, you can grab the PDF from DriveThruRPG for only $24.99!