Thursday, 3 August 2017

Gutier's Q&A at the Interplanetary 2017

I was fortunate enough this year to have Jan over at Infolux invite me to a Q&A session with Gutier “Interruptor” Lusquiños, Infinity's lore master. I believe Jan will be doing his own write-up, either for his blog or for Data Sphere, but he has given me permission to write and publish my own notes too.

We'll be talking about the Black Labs, mercenaries, the RPG, Outrage and even a bit of a game balance - so hopefully there will be some interesting titbits for everyone.

These comments shouldn't be taken as a transcript, instead I have edited and paraphrased both the questions and answers to be more easily readable as we did have a tendency to jump between topics or ramble back and forth on certain subjects!

The Questions

Q.  What does the Shasvastii language sound like? We know a few words like Naish and Sheskiin but we know nothing about the language as such.

A. The language has prominent, long 'S' and 'H' 'shounds', a bit like 'shh' or  hissing, with long, elongating vocals. It's meant to sound somewhat 'sneaky', in contrast to the Morat language just like the silhouettes of Shasvastii troops are sneaky compared to the Morat's bulkiness

Tohaa is similar as well, with elongated words, but Shasvastii added the 'shh' sound as their distinction.

Q. Where do SWAST Taskmasters recruit from?

A. SWAST belong to the Moderator corp, except that they are specialised law enforcement unit, particularly for controlling noisy or troublesome Morlocks.

They must also fight and contain the creations of the Black Labs when they get out of control, which includes various dangerous creatures, biological weapons and so on. The Black Labs are always researching biological weapons and you cannot ever really be ready for what the Black Labs might be create, so you need a big and bulky guy who can hopefully stop anything.

Q. With regards to the RPG, is there anything we could imagine for the Black Labs? Morphing creatures maybe?

A. Think something like Pupniks, Chimeras or other creatures. The Black Labs are an open field for everything and can create anything that a game master might come up with. It provides a lot of freedom for both the writers and the GMs.

Q. How are the Black Labs structured? Are they all individual scientists or are they larger science groups supported by companies?

A. You can find both types really. Smaller research teams are more in the mercenary line of work due to needing financial support so they work to create assets for mercenary companies or other customers. Others are much larger or even state (Tunguska) sponsored. Many times it's Tunguska that asks for the things that the Black Labs produce.

Uhahu, from the Outrage manga, was created by Baker Module which is one of the small Black Labs of Praxis. She was created with anti-aging genes as the Lab makes new bodies for very rich people so they can later implant their cubes in order to extend their lives. They are highly advanced bodies that are modified to age slowly and be exceptionally intelligent but are otherwise clones, or near enough, in order to reduce the possibility of rejection by the customer's cube.

Despite her child-like body, Uhahu's mind is that of an intelligent adult, as the rich buyers would accept nothing less, but in this case she was too smart and was able to escape the Lab.

In a future manga this idea might be expanded upon by having a story where she tries to find the person of whom she is a clone.

Q. Why are there not many female Knights in Military Orders? Will this be changed?

A. There is no ban on female Knights, but they are mainly male in the fluff. Certainly nothing is planned to change this in the next six months but CB are aware that they could release some female knights in the future.

This discrepancy is partially because box sets only contain two torsos and generally both are male as they are most common and this is the aesthetic effect they want for the army. This also serves to highlight how special Joan is as a female character.

Q. What is the solution for the Concilium Convention for the, eventual, O-12 army?

A. The convention is going to have to be ignored to make a workable army. The O-12 has been in development for a long time, well before N3, and Gutier has a rule to solve that issue though. They will have Chain Rifles and Shotguns, but there will be a rule to avoid the Conventions. It's not going to be a case of avoiding the law as such or hiding their activity - they will still be following the law and it will be a 'totally legal' army as it must be.

There might be tweaks to existing weapons to make them more legal, although exactly what this might be wasn't explained. It's all rather cryptic at the moment!

Q. Can we have profiles for Outrage characters?

A. Maybe. Start a petition! Considering what happens to some of the Outrage characters however (Spoiler: they dead) they need to be treated in a somewhat 'special way', especially as at least one of them doesn't even have a Cube.

Q. Could Dog Warriors have a cube?

A. Theoretically they could although they'd probably need to travel to Bakunin to have it done. Unfortunately there are technical issues with the physical cube and the transformation process, although this is something that the Nomads could probably overcome. It's not a very Ariadna thing to do though.

Q. Is there potential for Antipode characters in the RPG?

A. Antipodes are pretty unusual as far as RPG characters go as they would normally require a player to control three distinct characters - typically a main one and two secondary ones.

An alternative that was discussed with the RPG writers was a Praxis-enhanced Antipode that had a specialist cube implanted that could connect to Maya where it is linked to two AIs recreating the other two, lost Antipodes. This is more appropriate for a very special, unusual character though  - likely tied to Nomads rather than Ariadna - rather than a general approach to RP'ing Antipodes.

Frankly, that sounds amazing though and I know what I want to play when the game arrives!

Q. Are there any RPG issues currently with writing the background?

A. Early on, Modiphius used to send fully written chapters to Gutier for review but this wasted significant time if there were errors, especially if any needed changes cascaded through the entire document. They are working more closely now and are working on draft copies rather than finished chapters so the process is much faster

Q. From the game design point of view, how does Gutier start when designing a troop for Infinity?

A. The first stage is to check the army list and see what is currently missing. New units need to have different behaviours and play differently from the rest of the army -they must fill a hole of some kind. Once the profile starts being created then Gutier will start thinking of an appropriate background to go with it.

He tries to not to do the opposite as it isn't a good approach for the game. Sometimes you can have lots of crazy ideas from the background but it doesn't always work when translated to the game table. The troop might be too weird, complicated or powerful and so it's better to start with the numbers and then provide the story behind them.

Q. Is lot of time spent on game balance?

A. Yes. Game balance, translations and checking layout are the three most time consuming tasks for him. Gutier prefers working on the game background most of all though and it is the most fun part of the job.

Q. What unit has taken the most time to balance?

A. No particular units stand out, but the Fireteam rules in particular took a lot of time to get right and they tried a lot of ways of moving multiple miniatures around the table. The rule defined the Human Sphere expansion and a lot of time was spent on it.

Tohaa in general and triads in particular took quite a bit of time too although the basic concept was there from the beginning.

It also took time to reach the troop profiles we have now for Haramaki, Magisters and other linkable troops with Frenzy. They had to be cheap and playable, but not overpowered or weak. They also had to consider what the intention of the army was - i.e. very assault-y for Military Orders or JSA. They tried to avoid making another Swiss Army knife sectorial army so that there would be different ways to play with Infinity.

Q. Is there a preference for creating more specialised or generalised units, both in terms of equipment and specialists?

A. Both styles are needed. In the beginning there were not so many troops so you needed a core of troops that had to be able to do anything. As additional troops are released they can think of specialising more. Newer units had to be more specialised so that there would be a reason to take them over the older, generalist troops and so you have to choose carefully when creating army lists.

They try and stay away from overly optimised solutions where players can always play the same army list.

Q. Other than White Star (including the Druze), what other Merc companies might we see in the future?

A. Ikari Company are another group that are mentioned several times in the background, which is a Japanese based mercenary company and one of the favourites to be released. Unlike the Japanese Sectorial Army which is based on samurai and honour, whenever the Ikari Company appears they are doing evil things and are the bad guys, usually fighting against Nomads and White Star.

Beyhan Resources only really have the Kaplans and are not really a mercenary company in the same sense as they lack the numbers and variety of troops.

Q. Have we seen any Ikari Company units so far?

A. Not anything specific yet. They will have some Japanese and other mercenary troops and maybe some mercenary units, but not necessarily one specific to Ikari. It is Japanese troopers who make up the members of Ikari.

Q. Are there any recurring characters in the RPG that might be in Infinity in the future? Could the RPG feed into Infinity, rather than just the other way around?

A. It's quite unlikely, especially as Infinity has a lot of characters already and Gutier does not want to expand on this number too much more. Also, most of the RPG characters are not good to play in Infinity - a detective, for example, is not really effective on an Infinity battlefield.

Q. Are there too many named characters at the moment, especially mercenary snipers?

A. Gutier would prefer to focus on mercenary units rather than named characters, but sometimes things just happen in unexpected ways! They released Armand early on and then Knauf and Lunah in fairly quick succession to support their new products.

Outrage and Aristeia just happened to come at about the same time. None of the other Aristeia characters would fit in the game, or they already had profiles in game. CB wanted to do a crossover miniature and Lunah was the only one justifiable as a combat troop.

Knauf was just the obvious pick for the Outrage miniature as he is the cover character and is very combat oriented, unlike Emily or Uhahu.

Q.  Lasiqs are AVA 4 and so cannot form a full Core Fireteam, why is that?

A. Playtester feedback said that they would be too dangerous. In any case they are assassins and more inclined to act alone, so from a background point of view having them working together so closely in big groups is not really right.

Q. When will Max Skorpio get a profile?

A. "Max Skorpio doesn't deserve a profile." - Gutier, 2017

He would probably have a special rule called resurrection so everyone could just repeatedly shoot and kill him. He's a recurring joke rather than a recurring character in the background. He's just a regular bounty hunter, nothing special, but he brags so much that everyone thinks he's a good bounty hunter - but he's not!

Poor Max. :(

Q. Regarding Spitfires and Red Furies, why does the former cost more SWC?

A. The Red Fury is designed as a light machine gun which is why it costs less SWC. It's more of an anti-personnel weapon than the Spitfire.

The Red Fury was introduced to provide more variety, particularly as a weapon to give to new units. This is more exciting for players than just giving them another HMG or Spitfire and high burst is generally favoured over high damage.

Q. Will we ever see a Light Hyper-Rapid-Magnetic-Cannon?

A. This is something that has tried before, but at the time a tester had said there were too many new weapons. As more units are released the idea might be recovered and tried again.

The burst of 5 isn't a huge concern, although it will never end up in a link of course!

Q. Is there currently any consideration given to expanding the use of Command Tokens?

A. It's difficult to create more balanced rules for Command Tokens. In particular they don't like doing things with Command Tokens before a battle properly starts. Palanka provided a lot of ideas in early N3 for things that could happen before the game - boosting your troops or providing penalties to the other player but players don't really like the idea of a mini-game before the game.

Gutier is open to new ideas about Command Tokens as it ias quite hard to find something that works but doesn't slow the game down.

Q. Would Corvus Belli consider taking the rule from Limited Insertion where players cannot use Command Tokens to nullify two Regular orders and applying it to single combat group lists in regular tournaments?

A. Possibly as a (mid) season rule for an ITS season, but they don't want to force people into single combat group lists.

However, in the 1st edition of Infinity all play was basically done with a single combat group always, except Ariadna, and never more than 15 models. So they like the idea of people playing smaller lists but still don't want people to feel they have to play that way.

Q. Why does Andromeda get the Guard rule rather than having a G:Synch Antipode equivalent?

A. It gives the players and sculptors something new and interesting to work with. Steel Phalanx in particular already have synchronised remotes and she would be competing too much with Scylla and Drakios.

Also it'll make for a really cool model that people will want to buy even if the profile is not overly optimised.


  1. Great, as always. Still fill pity about outrage profiles :(

    1. Start petitioning, even Bostria has suggested that it's worth a try!

    2. Done ;)

  2. Is lot of time spent on game balance?
    That's a loaded question for sure :)

  3. I rather meant how much time is spent on balancing compared to other topics... but it was super hot&humid and I am a silly person :D