FRAG Update – Faction Five

FRAG is a tabletop game about mass battles in a universe inspired by 90s FPS games. This update concerns a new faction, development of lore, and a small piece on future plans.

The EDF Are Back
After a short time on the cutting room floor, the Earth Defence Force made it back into FRAG. Development was interesting in that a lot of unique ideas were tried but ultimately taken out. Psychic powers, robot ninjas, freeze rays, an Imperial Guard-esque order system, all things that were taken away. Despite some cyberpunk influences, the EDF remain an army of Poor Bloody Infantry.

This brings the current factions up to five:
 – The Lost Battalion, MIA space marines too angry to die or be corrupted. Doom with some other influences. Their units include marines, drones, power armoured cyborgs and the blood-crazed Slayers.
 – Hell. Represents the standard Doom enemy roster although the cybernetic upgrades and Hell magic lists enable some extra stuff.
 – The Sidhe. An agile faction inspired by Raven Software’s games. Warriors, wizards, giant stone golems, and weapons that summon flesh-eating ghosts.
The New Order. Evil humans from a universe where Germany, Italy, and Spain won the Second World War. A very varied army where squishy soldiers fight alongside mutants, cyborgs, and necromancers.
The EDF. The basic humans. Slower, squishier, and less flashy than the Lost Battalion or the New Order, they’re Earth’s soldiers and police with some commando and armoured support. They can take a lot of support equipment and their elite soldiers can receive cybernetic augmentation.

Lore & Game Origins
This game started off as a passion project to keep my mind off work. I added some little story details for each army as I wrote their lists, but these were not intended to be taken seriously. Recently though, I’ve found bits of the story lines coming together nicely.

There’s some lore developing as I add little blurbs to each unit profile, involving an oppressive Earth, rebel space colonies, the rise and fall of different ruling castes of Hell, and the possibility that the New Order aren’t really from a ‘Nazi victory’ alt-Earth…

If any proper lore gets written, it won’t be from the perspective of the marines, but probably some kind of Mulder & Scully duo that pick through everyone else’s mess. Just to highlight the absolute absurdity of a world of 90s FPS tropes.

Future Plans & Cut Content
I’d like to finish up the faction list with a sixth faction I’m currently calling SHAMAN. A robot / cyborg faction with a strong Quake 2 / System Shock 2 vibes, currently named after the evil AI mentioned in Doom Community Chest 4′s rather fantastic Interstellar Sickness / Shaman’s Device maps.

SHAMAN will feature cyborgs resembling SS2′s hybrids / Quake 2′s light troopers, backed up by walking tanks, and some units will have a self-revive mechanic similar to the old “We’ll Be Back” save from Warhammer 40k.

After the cyborg faction is done, the game will enter a new phase of balancing, tweaking and polish.

There are expansion plans, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Maybe work will kick my ass and everything will get put on hold. Maybe nobody else will care about this pet project and I’ll shelve it to try other interests. Maybe I’ll actually be able to play test and publish this thing and it’ll all  work out great. Who knows?

Expansion plans are: unique personalities, vehicle rules, enhanced army options / variant army lists, and an expansion for interior close quarter combat.

Currently, this is envisioned as three supplements: one book with personalities and new units, another with armoured vehicles and advanced rules (air strikes, teleportation, etc), and a third book much later with rules for interior combats / sci-fi dungeon crawls much closer to the source material (as opposed to the large scale open battles currently represented).

Variant lists including Hell cultists, demonic sorcerers, and rebel humans are being considered, plus new equipment and abilities like wacky missile launchers and tunneling enemies. There’s a huge Lovecraft inspired army list mostly finished but cut from the main rules because it became too bloated. I’m currently not sure if the “Children of the Old Ones” will have their own stream-lined list in an expansion or if they’ll be chopped up and split between the other lists.

Maybe it’ll depend on where the lore takes me.

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