Voidheart Symphony: Looking for writers!

Hey folks!

First, the big news: I’ve just uploaded a new version of Voidheart Symphony. Version 0.3 tightens the system by which rebels gain and lose points in covenants, as well as giving incentives to raid the castle to improve your mundane life. It also makes the wound system simpler, removing harm so that every blow moves the fiction along. Go check it out!

Secondly, I’m looking for more people to write for the book. It’s a game about resistance to structural oppression and prejudice, so it really deserves more than one person’s perspective on the book. If you’re interested, here’s the details:

How to Apply

I’m looking to hire writers to provide pieces in three general categories (see below). If any of those categories appeal to you, send an email to jay@ufopress.co.uk with the subject line ‘Voidheart Writing – [your name]’ and your pitch(es). You’re welcome to send in as many pitches as you like, and I’d appreciate also knowing any prior writing credits you have, if any. Application deadline is October 20th.

I don’t believe in asking for spec work, and I don’t want to privilege people who have the money and free time to write extensively without being paid – to that end, I’d ask that you please keep each individual pitch to 75 words or below.

If you have a pitch for writing that doesn’t fit any of these three categories, feel free to include it! Just make it clear in your pitch email that it’s a separate thing.


Each piece of work will pay at a rate of £0.10/word, to an agreed-upon word count. Half of the money will be paid upon receipt of first draft, half upon receipt of the final draft.

Work Categories

We’re looking for write-ups of three things:


A friendly NPC for the players to make contact with, work with, and bring into their revolution. About 300 words. Covered in the book PDF – p. 68-91. Important details to cover:

  • An arcanum.
  • Description of the character and their life.
  • Ideas for how they can help the rebellion.
  • How the castle can cause trouble for them. 

Here’s an example.


The antagonists that the rebels will be fighting against. About 500 words. Covered in the book PDF – p. 98-100. Important details to cover:

  • Mundane role: The position of power they’re in, and how they’re actively making the world worse.
  • Drive: Their core motivation and impulse – why they accepted the castle’s power to begin with.
  • Plan: What they’ll do if they’re able to fully channel the castle’s power.
  • Tier: How important they are in the castle’s hierarchy, and how they’ve used its power to gain and empower minions in the waking world.
  • Reveal: How they can become involved in the rebel’s lives.
  • Shard aesthetics: What their shard of the castle looks like. Its halls, its minions, its treasures.
  • Qualities: What they can do in a fight. I’m happy to collaborate on this with you – the basic requirement is three clear ideas of strengths they can bring to bear.

Here’s an example.


A place a play group might set their game. Preferably, a city you’re based in or have lived in – or a fictional city drawing on those elements. About 1000 words. Important details to cover:

  • What’s beautiful in this city? What makes it worth fighting for?
  • What are some of its neighbourhoods? Cool places for the rebels to live, work, visit.
  • How do the castle’s vassals move in this city? What are some ways Vassals might channel the castle to cause misery and enrich themselves, at each tier of vassal?

Voidheart Symphony hits Kickstarter October 16th!

​Hey folks! Just a quick note to let you know that Voidheart Symphony will be crowdfunding in three weeks – launching on Kickstarter on the 16th of October and running until the 15th of November. The campaign will help us fund more art, an expanded book, a tarot deck of covenant cards, and a physical print run of the book – I’m very excited to see what we’ll be able to put together with your help.

A picture of the draft Voidheart Kickstarter page

I’m planning on offering the following rewards:

  • Digital version of the book and all stretch goals.
  • A hardcover, full-colour print book.
  • A deck of tarot-sized cards, one for each of the Covenants.
  • Opportunities to put your own custom content in the game: example contacts for the covenants, vassals for rebels to confront, and and more!

The itch.io page will get a final pre-kickstarter update before the game launches – I’m planning on including major revisions to the investigation moves, an example Vassal and their castle shard, and fill out more of the guidance for the Architect.

I’m also looking into hiring more writers to flesh out the game’s breadth of viewpoints. This is a game about ​building communities and pushing back against oppressive power structures, and I’d say it deserves more than a single white British middle class lady’s perspective. Keep an eye out on the UFO Press twitter​/facebook​/website ​to hear more in the next few weeks!

Thanks so much for your support so far! I’d love to here any feedback you have on the game, either sent in to jay@ufopress.co.uk or on our Discord​. I want this book to have a big healthy list of playtesters at the front – send in your own play reports to get your name in the book.

Oh, and you’re listening to The League Presents: Voidheart Symphony​, right?  I’m about to put up a new episode today that’s our first complete delve, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where it goes.

– Jay

Awards Season: Legacy nominated for Best Art, Best Rules, and Game of the Year!

With GenCon fast approaching – and with it, the public release of Legacy: The Engine of Life and Free From the Yoke – we’re entering Tabletop RPG Award Season. This year, we’re delighted to say that Legacy is up for multiple awards!

The Ennies

The Ennies are the biggest award in tabletop RPGs, and we’ve been nominated by the panel of judges for Best Art, Interior and Best Rules. Thanks so much to Tithi Luadthong and Oli Jeffrey for their work building the look of the game, and Jay and Douglas are very happy to see their work on the rules recognised.

The winners will be announced on August 2nd, but before then the general public must vote which nominee they want to win. Please lend us your aid when voting begins!

Indie Groundbreaker Awards

Secondly, the Indie Game Developer Network hosts their own awards – the Indie Groundbreakers. The nominations (announced today) have Legacy in the running for Game of the Year, alongside luminaries like Dialect, Good Society, Familiars of Terra and Night Forest! We’ll see how we do on July 31st.

This is the first time our games have been up for such prestigious awards – we’re excited just to be nominated, and wish the best to all the other products in our categories. It’s going to be an exciting GenCon.

Legacy comes home to Brazil!

Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2e wouldn’t exist without its Brazilian co-author, Douglas Santana Mota. As we’ve been looking for non-English translations of the book, we realised that it was only right that a Brazilian version of the book was our top priority! To that end, we’ve partnered with Rocky Peak in Brazil to crowdfund and release a Portuguese version of Legacy.

No photo description available.

Check out their Facebook page for more details as they build up to their crowdfunding campaign!

72 Hours left on Mysthea!

The Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands kickstarter has just over 72 hours left! We’re almost 200% funded, so each £15 PDF backer is getting:

  • The 240+ page PDF.
  • Print-and-play handouts and location cards.
  • Solo play module.
  • A map of the city.
  • Rules for revolution and espionage.

You can pledge for £35 to get all of the above plus a hardback book and an art postcard, but if you go up to £70 or above you also get:

  • An exclusive deluxe edition bound in faux leather and with a slipcase.
  • A dry-erase map board.
  • An A3 art print of your choosing.

Suffice to say, I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved here. But besides the amount of nicely-produced stuff, I think these are some of the nicest rules we’ve put together. Follow along and I’ll tell you about one thing in particular: our relationship mechanics.

Covenants and Bonds

PC-PC bonds are a natural source of drama, but they weren’t really showcased in Legacy or its expansions. For Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands we wanted a strong emotional core for the Hero layer to contrast the impersonal House layer, so built on Rhapsody of Blood’s covenants system.

Each player has a Covenant with two other players, defined together: you pick a word from your class, they pick one from theirs, and those make the covenant’s core. So, if you pick Prison from your sheet and your friend picks Cult, maybe you found religion together behind bars?

Your covenant has a Strength rating, from 0 to 3. You can do a few tricks with it: sub it in for a stat when the bond is relevant, for example, or prophesy what’ll happen if a character or community acts in line with its core (with your covenant mate providing caveats)

But the biggest thing is Aid. When you help your Covenant, you give them a dice to roll with theirs as per advantage (roll 3d6, keep highest 2), sharing the consequences if their roll fails. Nice and simple, right? But then you look to see where your dice fell in the set.

Did I say we’ve almost unlocked custom dice?

If it’s highest, you made the difference! You say how, and boost the strength of the covenant. If it’s the lowest, you messed up. They say how, exactly, and you Test the Covenant. This is the final relationship move for today.

This one’s simple, triggered whenever one of you strains the relationship. The hurt party rolls +covenant strength; on a miss the covenant is weakened,  but on a 7+ they remember some past moment that reminds them how important you are to them. On a 10+, it improves!

So, the effect of this: if you want to keep your relationships strong, you’ll throw yourself into supporting your friend’s actions. It might go well, but even if it goes bad it’s likely to show the group why you mean so much to each other. And strong bonds can shape the future.

Oh, and – the only way to unlock the highest tiers of Qoam magic is to have multiple characters Aiding someone as they Wield their crystal focus. In this setting magical potency comes from deep friendship and common goals, not research or intelligence, and I think that’s neat.

So – that’s one reason to be excited about Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands. Check out the Kickstarter page here, or pick up the current rules package.

Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands is now live!

Montara was shattered by war. Once the jewel of the Borderlands, it now bears the scars of occupation. Will you lead it into a bright new future, or only enrich yourselves?

Mockup of the book of Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands
We’re aiming to produce a beautiful hardcover book – 200+ pages at 8.5″x11″

Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands is a game of politics, adventure and discovery in a geomantic fantasy world.

A jagged, obsidian creature bound up in golden chains heralds the arrival of the Kitrean Empire.
Fight the forces of the Kitrean Empire, and repair the scars of their occupation.

You’ll play a faction working in this city to repair its wounds and pursue your patron’s agenda. But you’ll also play a hero living in this city, getting entangled in its intrigue, culture and violence.

The holiest site of the Ancient Guild of Lusma.
What forces will your House call upon to change the world?

If you’re intruigued by the Mysthea Universe, it’s your chance to experience this world in detail and make your own mark on it.

If you’re a roleplaying game fan, it’s a system custom-designed to tell a decade-spanning story of divided loyalties and post-war rebuilding in a beautiful fantasy world, building on what we’ve learned from Legacy: Life Among the Ruins.

The Deluxe edition of the book.
And, of course, there’s a Deluxe Edition if you’re feeling fancy!

Check out the Kickstarter now!

Guilds of Mysthea

It’s 11 days until we open up the #MystheaRPG kickstarter! Last week, I talked about the different heroes you might play in this game. This week, I’ll talk about the factions those heroes might come from.

While I’m talking about these, Legacy 2e fans might spot some changes. First, we’ve streamlined: every Guild has a core move that they must take, and offers their Hero one of two character moves. This ensures your Guild always does what they say on the tin.

Second, we’ve expanded the political system, while removing the bean-counting of Treaty. Now there’s four states: Influence, Alliance, Dominion and Conflict. Each Guild has ways of getting Influence, and ways to twist the knife in wartime.

You decide how much you’re in thrall to your parent guild back home, gaining more bonuses as you accept more of their control. If you want self-determination, you’ll lose those bonuses one by one, until the scales tip and you’re in charge.

But enough about politics! Time for Guilds. First up we have Lusma, the Guild of Faith. In a world as weird and screwed-up as Mysthea, why not worship the source of the cataclysm? All the better if that faith lets you protect others.

Next there’s Kaetur, Guild of Soldiers. The Guilds were given power as the conquerer-King Ahatis grew bored of governing, and Kaetur share his verve for battle. They’re intimidating, brutal, and well-equipped, but vulnerable to politics.

Magista is the Guild of Scholars, and the source of the Qoam technology that revitalised Mysthean civilisation in the wake of the cataclysm. They’re obsessive, eccentric and even blasphemous, but their creations are miraculous.

If Kaetur provides security and Magista provides technology, Varorin provides bureacracy. The Guild of Merchants keep the Kingdom’s economy moving, while their artisans, musicians and artists provide the upper classes with beauty.

The last of these Guilds is Volarees, Guild of Nobles. The first true Guild, Volarees formed to maintain the status and fame of the noble houses of Ilvash. These days, they draw on that fame for power, but must take care not to overreach.

So that’s the ancient Guilds of Ilvash. But remember: our story is in the borderlands, far from their shining city. Next time I’ll tell you about the Houses who make their home here, who may not be happy to welcome the Guild’s venture…

Heroes of Mysthea

Hey folks,

There’s three weeks to go until the Mysthea Kickstarter launches! Today, I thought I’d give you a tour of the Heroes: the main characters of your story in Mysthea: Legends of the Borderlands.

About Heroes

Your Hero is your main avatar, and your tool to push the city’s fate in the direction you wish. They’re partly defined by their Guild, and partly their own creature. A Varorin warrior and a Varorin bard both bear the mark of the Guild of Merchants, but one might use their training to find only the greatest weaponry while the other might use their trade as a storyteller to learn interesting rumours. As your hero gains experience, they’ll move between different roles in the Guild. If they survive long enough they may become a Champion, more powerful than any Guild.

Your Hero enters play with strong ties to the other characters. These covenants will bring you together even when your guilds are feuding, and let you achieve heroic deeds and strange Qoam workings together. Each covenant is themed around a particular core: Childhood, Travel, Army, Disaster, etc. When the core of one of your covenants is relevant, you can draw on them for strength. When you betray that bond, you weaken or lose it. A hero with no covenants left is pitiful, unable to take on new roles in their Guild. On the other hand, a hero with strong covenants is tied firmly to that relationship and can predict how others will be affected by their covenant core.

Finally, Heroes can die, or retire, or move on to greater things back in the Kingdom’s heartland. The game is built to let characters leave a final mark on the narrative, triggering a powerful Death Move. Once you’ve fallen, other Heroes may build a memorial to you, and those who pay respects there may use one of your abilities – even years after your death. You’ll make a new character, of course, and can use their different perspective to explore a whole new side of your Guild.

Hero Options

We’re providing nine different Hero types in the book – though you’ll have the chance to put your own ideas forward during the Kickstarter. Here are your options:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mysthea: Legends of the Borderlands launches on Kickstarter March 12th!

Shattered City - the Guild of Lusma

We have a big announcement at UFO Press! On March the 12th, we’re bringing Mysthea: Legends of the Borderlands to Kickstarter, with Douglas Santana Mota at the helm. In our adaptation of Legacy to Tabula Games’ setting, you’ll lead your own Guilds and Heroes, explore a unique geomantic fantasy world, and rebuild a city over generations.

Mysthea: Legends from the Borderlands promo image

Why should you be excited?

We’ve adapted Legacy to a number of different settings over the years. What’s cool about this one? Well…

Rebuild your city over months and years

Each campaign of Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands starts with your Guilds sent as a joint venture to a city recently devastated by the war between your Kingdom and the Empire. As a group, you’ll decide which regions were ruined by the war, which were claimed by local factions, where your Guild can find solace, and where dangers lurk.

As you play, you’ll rebuild the ruined neighbourhoods, forge uneasy alliances with the Empire’s remnants, and shore up defences against the arcane storms and monsters that ravage the lands. Through grand Guild Wonders and character-driven Quests you’ll change the city, and the city will change you. And once generations have passed as your metropolis is thriving, how will you deal with your parent guilds back home? Will you present the city gift-wrapped for their pleasure? Withdraw and declare your independence? Or use the city’s resources to steal their might and authority for your own?

We’ve rewrote Legacy’s political systems from the ground up to support this goal. Think of something like Dragon Age II, except that you are guiding the actions of the mages or Templars as well as the hero of Kirkwall!

A world bejewelled with arcana…

With Legends From the Borderlands, we’re inviting players to dive deep into a world still reeling from a meteoric impact that shrouded the world in endless storms and studded the landscape with shards of crystal. Rising above the endless storms are islands and continents, buoyed by shifting tides of gravity: this is the land of Mysthea.

The planet of Icaion has seen better days.

As you might be able to guess, crystals are a big thing in this setting. The strange shards of crystal dotting the landscape – named Qoam – react strangely to gravity, energy and most importantly thought. Each resident of Mysthea has the ability to exert telekinetic control over Qoam, though individuals vary in the strength they can exert and the kinds of crystal the best resonate with. The subtle arts of Qoam manipulation are core to your society – Qoam crystals line warrior’s armour, and resonators communicate across great distances. Qoam prosthetics enable amputees to walk with the power of their will, and labourers build structures by exerting their collective will on blocks of crystal-studded stone. The most delicate artisans can even spark life in the crystal, creating servants made of stone and gleaming Qoam facets.

Finally, there’s the inhabitants of this world. None of them have escaped unchanged by the great crystal’s impact. The humanoid folk that make up the bulk of its population have changed the least, growing grey-skinned and pale under the gloom of the endless mists. The automata are rare, often labouring under cryptic ethical codes put in place by long-dead civilisations. And then there’s the monsters, who cannot control Qoam and instead struggle to avoid frenzies when bombarded with its unrefined energy. These ‘monsters’ greatly value cities, where the controlled Qoam allows them coexist peacefully with others.

Negotiations at the market.

We’re very excited by the prospects of this setting. There’s a lot to explore here, and Tabula Games have given us a lot of support in bringing it to your tables.

…with beautiful art

The world of Mysthea was brought to vivid life by artist Travis Anderson. With this game, we’re using his art to full effect to make a beautiful book. We’ll be bringing our normal flair for visual design and layout, with an eye still to legibility and ease of reference in play. Check out these example spreads (layout and text still WIP, subject to changes):

And that’s not all; we’ll also be producing a kickstarter-exclusive deluxe version of the book, presented in a printed slipcase with its own cover.

Mockup of the Deluxe edition of the book.

Mockup of the Deluxe edition of the book.

Taking inspiration from board gaming

Legacy has always had a bit of a board game flavour to it – the exchange of surpluses and needs, the Family layer over everything, and the many mechanical widgets. In Mysthea: Legends From the Borderlands, we’re taking inspiration from board games to streamline that. Guild Actions are rationed, to guide the balance of character time and downtime. Play aids are being designed to easily track resources and political ties. A battle map won’t track the precise position of each party in an engagement, but instead help you remember who’s in a position to strike and who’s in danger. Most excitingly, we’re taking cues from the solo play movement in board games to build rules for a single player and no GM, drawing inspiration from Ironsworn but putting our own spin on things.

Socially conscious RPG development

This one’s less flashy: we’ve committed to paying everyone on this project a living wage. With the game dealing with the scars left by war and the rebuilding that happens afterwards, sensitivity consultants will be on board from the start, not a stretch goal afterthought. Finally, we want to keep real-life conflicts in mind. To that end, 50% of the extra funds generated by people upgrading to the deluxe edition of the game will go to NGOs working in refugee support worldwide: Medecins Sans Frontieres, Refugees International, charity: water, and Child Empowerment International.


Choir of Souls brings new explorers to Rhapsody of Blood!

I’m sure you’ll agree Rhapsody of Blood provides excellent castle-crawling action, but the 5 explorer playbooks can get stale over the ages. Thankfully, Maria Rivera came to our rescue with this new book. In Choir of Souls, you’ll find seven new playbooks to use in your game.

Will you…

  • …lead from the front as the Captain?
  • …strike from the shadows as the Assassin?
  • ….be the party’s Mascot as an animal given sentience?
  • Or try out the Joker, the Knight, the Medic, or the Professor?

Pick up the book from our store for $4.99 today!