All posts by Mark

2020 has been weird

When 2020 started life was crazy and then it just got weird. The bright side is it has allowed us at Heroic Journey Publ;ishing to finally get back to doing what we love and after a few false starts over the years we are back to designing new games and will be launching new content. We have a Deck building card game and a new Mecha project in the works as well as a NewMecha Live Stream about to happen as we launch a HeroicJourney Twitch channel.

Chris and I have been hard at work so check back and we will be announcing each of these things this week as well as introducing the cast of Mecha: A War of Houses our Dune Inspired Mecha series launching in October. Thank you to all the Mecha Fans who have been playing and been patient with us and I hope to bring new people on board for our Mecha Corps.

New Month and New Day

Its October 1st and this is going to be a new day here at Heroic Journey. We have been working hard the past month and are putting together some exciting things. First we are working on 3 new MECHA focused properties with MECHA: Paladins in preproduction right now. Hoping to secure an artist soon. Couple with two other setting schematics we are excited about the future of this product line.

Secondly we are looking for a part time intern, it is paid, to help with some content management. This could grow beyond the initial scope but if interested please email at for details.

We are also working on a few other possible ventures including podcasts, live streaming and an ongoing MECHA live stream for weekly episodes. These are ideas we are cooking up and thinking about.  However we cant do this without you the fans. So please follow us @HJPublishing on twitter or our new twitch channel (Excuse the mess we are still setting it up)

Speaking of which we will be looking for cast to put together a team to play MECHA during the weekly Episodes. More to come check us on twitter @HJPublishing or my other twitter @Notthat0bvious

Where have we been and where are we going

Ok so its been a while. I know those of you who have waited are wondering what happened? Well in short after a few failed attempts to produce new products we couldn’t maintain and needed to go dark. In different ways the last 3 years have been good and difficult. This is Mark talking and I cant speak for Chris but personally there were some trying times.

If people want to know I am happy to share but I would rather talk about the future. So here we are, we are back and after solidifying the I20 system used in Bounty Head Bebop, we have decided to embark on a very ambitious return. We are rebuilding the system to reflect some changes we want to make to allow for a more open and useful system. We love the fast paced nature of the Inverted 20 system.  The ability it has to be rules quick but maintaining crunch for those that enjoy that, we feel is a positive thing that needs to be rediscovered.

While much of the basics remain we are retooling how you advance in the game as well as adding on a better “Magic” system that we believe is friendlier to designers. We are also remaking the world. While we enjoy the influences the original game holds, we felt moving it from Far modern to a more near modern look and we will be sharing some of the reworked history bringing in much more cyberpunk feels to a game built around Bounty Hunting.

So stay tuned as we will be releasing more about the setting and mechanics over the next few months.

Erinbour updates

At this point, you’ve probably heard me talk about, Erinbour, Heroic Journey’s new massive fantasy setting. With this post, my hope is to lay out our plan and get you excited about what we believe will be a fun way to present the setting that also allows us to create the game we always wanted.

With that said, let’s look at Erinbour, the last free nation in a world that is rotting from within. The wild is encroaching and this nation holds the final light in the darkness.  Despite the rot, there’s also hope.  Many races have found a home here after being driven from their ancestral lands by the Otherkin.  These races, if they band together, can rally against decay and rebuild their world to its form glory.  Erinbour, then, is the story of exploring ones past to reclaim its future.

Our plan is to tell the story two ways simultaneously. 

First, we are planning a series of campaign books that follow a year-by-year explanation of each phase in the Erinbour myth cycle. This is similar in construction to the “Pendragon: Grand Campaign” in that it will allow GMs and players to interact with the world in a way that allows for their actions to mean something as well as include generational play.

All adventure and support material will be time stamped to fall within this structure. Much of this material will be self-contained, but each adventure will suggest ideas for how the PC’s actions can affect the structure of the narrative for the better or for ill. GMs can ignore this the metanarrative and run any and all adventures within Erinbour and make it their own fantasy setting.  That’s great, too.

Currently, our plan is to have Four Phases of narrative. Phase One is where we will begin. At the start of the Phase, Erinbour is still shuddering under the effects of the war against the Otherkin, though society has reached a level of social development roughly equal to World War I Europe, with magic-based technology somewhere between a standard fantasy campaign and a high-tech magic/steampunk world.

During Phase One, PCs will experience the exploration of the wilds of the “Lost Continent” as the nation of Erinbour discovers the Places of Power.  This will lead to the flames of an ancient war with the Ogres and Goblinkind which introduces us to Phase 2 and the return of the Lost King. Phase 3 will be more introspective as the quest to find the new god/goddess reborn will take center stage and, ultimately, lead to the reawakening of the Otherkin in Phase 4.

Each phase will consist of a Campaign Guide Book which outlines the year over year activities of important people and things happening and gives adventure seeds for things to do. In addition, we have planned several support books for cities and places of interest and several standalone adventures.

I know you are asking how we can support such a massive undertaking. Well we can’t without you. This is why we’ve decided to produce this setting and all ongoing support through Patreon. As long as we have a Patreon going, we will produce support for this setting.  The plan is to release to our patrons first and eventually release via Pay What You Want roughly two months later.

Even more exciting, we are planning on producing this using the 13th Age Archmage system and are in works of procuring the licenses to do that. We will be launching the Patreon as soon as we get the final authority to use the 13th age Archmage engine license.

Thoughts questions and feedback are always welcome. Do you like 13th Age?  What do you want to see from our massive fantasy world?

Mecha Core Print Error PG 140

OK so it came to my attention that there is a current print error on page 140 of Mecha: Core for this we apologize. The file corrupted and we are in the process of replacing it. For those who have purchased a print edition that want to know what it says…


esper training

The ADF high command is salivating over the chance to deploy large numbers of Intuitive Gunners into battle, but they just don’t have the pilots who are naturally psychically sensitive enough to pilot one. Thus, the creation of Project Farsight, a program which invites candidates who receive an 80 or greater on the Josef-Sanz Psychic Awareness Battery to join an elite unit.

Those that accept the invitation are taken to a weekend “resort.” There, they are fed memories of sandy beaches, too many drinks, and fun in the sun. In reality, they are held unconscious and subjected to repeated chemical treatments and psychological reconditioning which gives them the required 99 score on the Josef-Sanz and allows them to interface with an Intuitive.

Those who do not pass the conditioning die. The success rate is currently 60%, though ADF researchers believe this can be raised in the near future.

In game terms, for those who wish to follow the established canon of the setting, becoming an Esper is available to any ADF soldier should the Game Master allow it. (It can also be available to Separatist Guard soldiers with a bit of backstory or through a covert mission where the Separatists steal the technology.) Those wishing to break with the story points can determine when and how Espers become available.

It is up to the Game Master to determine how much game time the Esper conversion process takes. Some suggestions include having the process take place “off camera” in between episodes, it can be great inspiration for a Social scene, or it can even be the cause of the fight in an episode.

After the Esper conversion, the pilot may operate an Intuitive Gunner. Also, they must replace one of their Traits with a Trait that stemmed from their Esper conversion. Also, they replace one of their mecha and personal weapons with the weapon:

Psychic Howl (Psychic/3)


At some point in either story line, ADF scientists or Gwandanan mystics will find the secret of the energy coil. The energy coil is basically a multi-dimension entanglement device that siphons energy from the realm of the dead. Quite by accident, it will become


Again I am really sorry about this and it will be fixed really soon

Game Balance? Yes, No, and It Depends

I wanted to talk today about “Balance” in games. There is much debate on the need for balance in games and where and how to accomplish this. I will admit what follows is my own opinion on this but it comes with over 25 years of playing and designing games.

When I was young, I thought Balance was necessary to a game simply from a pure mechanics basis. If list A didn’t balance list B then neither list mattered and needed to be redone. I spent hours making sure that armor balanced weapons which in turn allowed for Magic to balance with martial abilities. It was an all consuming thing to find that pinnacle of game balance.

It was hard work; difficult and unyielding work to balance every piece in how a game works. Then I read something, I cant remember who wrote it originally but I know somewhere it was through Mick Bradley, of Harping Monkey Fame, that I came to this quote. (I paraphrase) “Don’t sacrifice awesome for fear of Game balance.” I was blown away as I deconstructed this thought.

This is when I started to shift focus. Game balance is important don’t get me wrong and mechanical balance can not get to far out of whack, but where your balance point, that’s what’s important. Now every type of game has different points of balance and for each GM and gaming group you have to find your own, that’s the simple truth, but I digress. We will get back to this in a moment.

Where was I, ah yes. The focus of balance. As I grew into understanding “Don’t sacrifice awesome for Game Balance.” I came to realize it was never about Balance but about mechanics. I started looking outward and realized that the game we play and the hobby we define ourselves by is one where the artists are the participants and the critiques at the same time. The art of Role Playing happens at one time in one place and with only the people participating with it and can never be duplicated again. We can argue later on podcasts and vidcasts and art later.

With this in mind I started to see how the group I was with determined Game balance on such a different level then pure mechanics. Mechanical game balance needs to happen but only in as much as playing the game needs some kind of rules. Outside those rules the group is the ultimate determination. As GM I found that balancing the game had more to do with Spotlight then pure Mechanical balance. We had a social contract, most often unspoken about sharing the cool and the awesome at our table.

This is where Design and balance start to fall apart. You have to be careful and not rely to heavily on one or the other, mechanical balance and social balance. Both of these are needed in some way. The game you are playing must have some internal consistency or the whole thing falls apart, and the group must agree on a balance of play that everyone has fun with. Otherwise the purpose of gaming falls apart.

When asked about game balance in games my answer has become, Yes, No and it depends. It is important but don’t let it kill the awesome, which you and your gaming group determine.

What is a RPG

Thanks to a certain RPG designers post I’ve caught on to a lot of angst once again in the community about what is an RPG. While I don’t agree with Mr. Wick on most of his points there is one I agree with. I wanted to put my thoughts out there simply because I can. Role Playing games by the strict definition of the words is a Game where you take on the Role by playing.

I know that seem like a cheap way to define it but I wanted to deconstruct that a bit. The one place I agree with John is that when playing an RPG the end result is some kind of story. The purpose of playing a role is to build some kind of before and after narrative even if that narrative is very game centric. This is why WoW can claim to be a RPG. There is a narrative, albeit, very linear and without any variation.

To claim someone has to play a role only they can play in real life or to truly act out is not the purpose of a RPG. There are really in my estimation 3 types of games. Two if you want to get technical. The first is a Game to tell a story. This would be your gun porn, charisma roll toting games that allow someone to play any role whether they have the skills or training to act out that role in real life. The “Game” portions allow us in our “make believe” to further the story without penalty of our own knowledge, or technical training background. Since by definition you the player are taking on a role this classifies as a Role Playing Game.

The second type of game we see is a Story to play a game. Many games that we consider Indie fall within this category, but also games like FATE can fill this niche. The purpose here is more focused on telling the story and give better benefits from the rules when a narrative is being met then actual statistics or rolls. The abilities of the Player to Role Play personal knowledge or ability tend to overshadow pure mechanical adjustments. Again you are taking on a role and telling a narrative. Thus it classifies as a Role Playing Game.

I did say there was a 3rd type and this type of game is more a hybrid of the two forms. There is a game portion that has mechanical influence but the Roles are allowed narrative control and an individuals personal knowledge, ability and creativity can in places overshadow a need for rolls or even can cancel the need for roles completely but allows for rolls in certain circumstances.

One last thought to assume someone has to personaly be charsmatic enough to play a high charisma character is flawed inherently. Simply by the fact that I as GM going into teh conversation knows there is an end goal of the Player trying to Convince me clouds the final decision.

In my humble conclusion by my definition of Role Playing Games any game that allows someone to play a role to tell a narrative whether by rolls or role playing can be and is the definition of a Role Playing Game. This is strictly speaking my opinion and while I feel I am right as in most things your miles may very but don’t judge me and I wont judge you.

Dwarves of Erinbour

I want to discuss the Dwarves for a moment. They are not native to Erinbour but instead were brought here by the Otherkin primarily by Azure. They came over as slaves, workers and fodder for Azure’s armies. It was their revolt against Azure that allowed Mai and her companions to overthrow Azure and the rest of the Otherkin.

The Dwarves live by a formal Caste System. One that was established long before they came to Erinbour. There are 6 Castes if you include the Castless. They are Farmers, Shielders, Miners, Forgers and Noble.

Farmers: This is the lowest caste. They are charged with maintaining food supply, dealing with the dead and anything relating to growing living things. Dwarves see themselves as elements fo the earth therefore above “living” things. This caste is respected for the importance it plays in keeping the clans fed and clean of disease.

Shielders: These are the protectors and warriors that defend the Clans from intruders and the darkthigns of the mines.  The Casts is the only cast that openly accepts members of other castes. Many a farmers son or daughter has upped their status by joining the ranks of the military.

Miners: This cast delves deep into the earth searching for the raw elements hidden beneath. The Miners are revered for their dedication and skill to find that which is hidden. The Mining Castes is also the religious center for the clans and the bring the word of their strange gods to the dwarven clans.

Forgers: These artisans are reveared for their skill to create from which the miners find. Weaponsmiths, armourers, jewelers and other craftsman. Blacksmiths and others enjoy a bit of reverence even from the Nobel Castes.

Nobles: These are the leaders of the clans. They make the decisions that lead the clans forward into time. They decide when they go to war and where. They are also tasked with protecting the Clans from internal and externalthreats.

Mecha Kaiju Kickstarter

MECHA: Kaiju

Project Scope:

Mecha Kaiju is a supplement to “Mecha” by Chris Perrin, the RPG about giant fighty robots. The book will give you all you need to create your own Kaiju or use one we made to add them to your current Mecha campaign. Play through the SRS (Setting Reference Schematic) we provide or enjoy Kaiju in anything from King of the Monsters to any creative Kaiju storyline you develop. The choice is yours to play as a Kaiju or as a Mecha pilot. Either way are you here to help or destroy humanity.

This project is to raise enough money to pay for the final bits of art and layout. As you can see the art is basically done we just need to make a final payment and pay the layout artist the funds to get the book done. We were origionally going to do a black and white version but would love to finish paying the needed amount to get the color versions of the art, plus a little extra to make a small print run of color softcovers beyond the backers to get them in some FLGS.

For those new to Mecha, it is a Role playing game where you take on the role of a mecha pilot. The game is played using a d6 dice pool roll under mechanic. The game rules are designed to help simulate the Mecha Anime that is out there. Less about the minutia of mecha construction like previous mecha games, Chris Perrin’s Mecha is designed to replicate the episode format of an Anime series.

We are planning to bill you a more direct shipping price specific to you and we are going to use BackerKit to do that. The different dollar amounts is an attempt to separate by region to better handle shipping.

From the ocean, a giant lizard attacks a power station, causing an environmental catastrophe.

A world government trades freedom for luxury and hides the truth about the existence of huge creatures known as kaiju.

People all around the world dream that Taoitora is coming, bringing pain and death to us all.

And somewhere, Order and Chaos continue their eternal struggle.

This is Mecha: Kaiju

Thank you for stopping by Mecha Kaiju.

Information on additional books We are offering several rewards of our previous books in the Mecha line. The books are the core rulebook, Chris Perrin’s Mecha, our two supplements, Combiners and Mercenaries. Combiners is our love letter to Voltron and all combining mecha genre. Mercenaries is a gritty SRS that adds more nuance to your mecha builds. Also available will be Mekayana , a mythic India meets mecha SRS and Reign of the Descendents our love letter to Invid Invasion written specifically at the request of Dan Repperger of Fear the Boot.

Stretch goals:

$2,500 – Kaju 52 – a book of our Kaiju of the Week offering.

$6,000 – Super Sentai – this is our next Mecha project. The book is written we just need art. Super Sentai take your Mecha pilot outside his mecha and gives them additional abilities.