Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Delving Into Warzone and The Mutant Chronicles


Over the last few days I've found myself re-reading my old Warzone 1st edition rules and the Mutant Chronicles RPG sourcebooks that I picked up many moons ago and it got me to thinking about using it as the setting for a campaign initially using Planet 28 and eventually 1st edition Warzone and then Warzone Eternal once it gets released.

But why you ask? The setting and artwork that accompanies it is utterly brilliant! Warzone and Mutant Chronicles combines loads of brilliant concepts from corporate dystopia to cosmic horror, 80's action films to dieselpunk and despite having been around for the best part of 30 years now, it still holds together remarkably well.

Venusian Marshall

Set in our own solar system in a future where nation states have been replaced by five Megacorporations who have terraformed much of the system and abandoned the Earth as an irradiated wasteland, Mutant Chronicles has so many great scenario ideas and unique gaming options. Does the action take place in the dusty deserts of Mars, the steaming jungles of Venus, the subterranean caverns of Mercury or on some blasted rock out in the asteroid belt?

Imperial vs Bauhaus

Over the years Warzone has appeared and vanished several times but my favourite is still 1st edition as it really was groundbreaking and was at heart a fantastic skirmish system that brought the setting to life with small groups of soldiers with the odd hero or evil doer leading them fighting desperate battles for their corporate overlords.

It's been compared to 40k quite a few times with the Brotherhood, the spiritual leaders of humanity being somewhat similar to the Inquisition of the Warhammer setting and the Dark Legion being seen as just a chaos rip off but having re-read the source material, I found the Warzone stuff to be very much its own unique setting which differs from 40k in several important ways. Primarily Warzone is a setting which contains hope. Hope that humanity can unite to defeat the evil of the Dark Legion, hope that no matter how grim things may get it can improve and hope that the heroes can actually save the day rather than 40k's view of everybody being essentially doomed.

Vince Diamond, Hero of Cybertronic

Coupled with the setting itself being our own solar system which makes things a bit more relatable than the galaxy spanning madness of 40k, it is believable to see characters traversing the system fighting the good (or indeed bad) fight and the technology is much more grounded too, more so the fact that the unleashing of the Dark Legion saw thinking machines run amok and high tech stopping being reliable and showcasing the sheer determination of humanity and their unique will to carry on makes for a setting that I'm keen to explore further!

Looking online, it's been really heartening to see the fact that Warzone has survived in some form or another over the last 25 plus years and Res Nova, the newest company to acquire the rights are dedicated to bringing back the game to its roots with the classic aesthetic, forces and skirmish style game I love. 

Mitch Hunter and Co

The Mutant Chronicles RPG has proved to be a really rich source of inspiration and I'm slowly putting together my ideas which will hopefully see a group of Freelancers taking on a seemingly simple contract from some shady corporate suit before getting flung into a campaign which will see them crossing the solar system and mixing it up with pretty much everyone from the Megacorps to other freelancers, the Tribes of Earth and the sinister Dark Legion.

I need to crack on with some painting and rummage out what I can find of the remainder of my Warzone collection, which at this point looks to be very little but I figure I can use some proxies until I can get my hands on some new figures once Warzone Eternal launches. I'm hoping that I can get enough figures sorted out to build my team and begin the campaign at some point this autumn which gives me plenty of time to paint figures, build some scenery and really get to grips with the setting again but I highly recommend folks pick up a copy or at least a pdf of the 1st edition Warzone and Mutant Chronicles books as they're good reading materials and who knows, they may inspire you to have a bash!

In the meantime, I hope to keep putting together articles and as as we get closer to Res Nova launching the new edition I'm keen to share what news hits the net but until then, All the best!


  1. The setting feels like the co-operative/competitive relationship between the Corporations in the face of the Dark Legion and the Brotherhood would suit a Braunstein approach to scenario design.

    1. Thanks for the suggestion!

      The old RPG books have proved to be rich fodder for scenario ideas using a small number of figures and really diverse locations!

      I just snagged an old Warzone Nephrite on ebay for £2.50 to give me a big bad for the heroes to track down and shoot up!

  2. When you talk about Warzone, Chronopia, and Leviathan it always gets me fired up. They are games I never got, but the joy you have for them breathes the settings to life, in a way most blogs aspire to. It would be tough for me to make the jump from Gamesworkshop at this point, but with posts like these, the pull is strong. Cheers

    1. Thanks!

      I wish I could keep myself fired up with the assorted projects but sadly a combination of difficult to source figures and incomplete rulebooks have by and large kept me from really getting to grips with them but my current solution of using the settings I like but using the rather awesome Planet 28 rules has breathed new life into them!

      Hopefully I'll be able to use some of the retro Warzone and new Eternal stuff when I can but I've found the simplicity and almost infinite convertibility of Planet 28 and Brutal Quest to be a real boon!

      GW has got some utterly brilliant games and figures and I do plan on keeping using odds and ends from them for my assorted projects and it should be fairly easy to port Inquisitor Fisher and her party into the Mutant Chronicles setting with only minimal effort!

      I must admit I often gaze enviously at your blog with all the wonderful stuff, be it figures or terrain right out of a He-Man episode and soak up inspiration from it!

  3. Basically old GW ripped off everything from judge dredd, Heineken, Tolkien... they were such punks it all worked and acquired its own value.

    I say old as if Tau had nothing to do with Japanese mecha etc.

    But MC back at the day was to me really unique. It's been so that it kinda spawned VOID and after VOID came Infinity.

    I played warhammer 40k 2nd but everything I saw Warzone models on a, they captivated me.

    Also have had the books for ages and always wanted to sculpt my own forces but you know, that's an insane amount of time and effort.

    Matter or fact , weeks ago I got the collectible miniatures game from fantasy flight for 5€ in hopes to finally do sculpt a thing, as that setting always triggered my imagination.

    The game plays on a paper matt, needs no measuring nor scenery and came with custom dice (their color meaning how strong or precise will results be) and a whole deck of unit cards with stats, so at that price tag, was a no brainer proxy fodder.

    Glad to see some chronicles love around 😉

    1. I spotted your post the other day and I'm really looking forward to seeing how you get on with the project!

      I really need to grab the Mutant Chronicles game at some point to have a bash but got put off by the terrible plastic figures but if the game is good, I'm fairly sure I can proxy it!

    2. The game is almost free, like $5 (€5 for me) as it's OOP and no-one wants it.

      Considering it comes with double sided paper matt (folded like a poster, which is both crappy but....retro?), 8 custom dice, rules and cards / tokens for every unit in the game ( there's the unreleased fig official cards too, for free and fan made cards for mishima, cyber and imperial ) you have a game system that gives you:

      Idiot proof ruleset.
      Really Fast games.
      For once, fun army building.

      Won't argue whether or not it's balanced, specially with that kind of token related army building mechanism but for that price tag to get an alternate way of using your MC minis IMHO it's worth trying.

      Wife will die before playing warzone or something alike. But she played this. Think of it as the mutant chronicles heroscape😄

    3. I shall have to grab a copy if I can find it!

      Paper gaming mats are fine with me as I've been footling around with Battletech again!