How much of our past are you willing to change, to save the future? In this tabletop RPG, you will answer this question.
The Birth of an Idea
I have always been interested in time travel and how it affects stories. The ethical questions on whether or not you would change the past to make the future, hopefully, a little better is an interesting one examined in literature, films, and video games. So, what I wanted to do was to create a game where players could examine these issues or to ditch the larger questions and just tell stories about escaping dinosaurs or competing in Roman gladiator games.
Initially, when I worked on this game, it took on a vastly different appearance then what it is at this time. I was still running a rules heavy campaign and playing in a game and in both cases, the focus was clearly on going to places to beat things up. I wanted something more and started daydreaming about what the results of our heroes actions were and exploring the what-ifs in my head about how variables could change the end result.
Needless to say, things quickly got muddled.
But in that daydreaming I realized that the lure of making your life or the lives of your loved ones better was likely to be too big a draw for some. From here, and from table discussion with my offline gaming group, I came to develop this world and setting as well as the game mechanics that would drive exploring it.
The 6:10 System
This game uses a custom built system that I entitled, "6:10" because it uses ten-sided dice and revolves a lot around the number six. For instance, the maximum number of dice that can be rolled is 6d10, and the difficulty can only be set within a six number range.
These die rolls are affected primarily by choices made through character creation as well as developments that are made as a player's agent grows. Now, players are primarily the only ones making die rolls as The Historian (our term for gamemaster) will be focusing on telling an interesting story and creating engaging challenges.
Also, borrowing ideas from other games, success and failure, while determined by die rolls, is left to the player to decide. While a character is still fresh, they can change the narrative of a failure so that it was a success, but would have to take a negative quality to reflect the skin-of-their-teeth victory. Or, they can leave the results of failure, likely a plot twist of some sort, to The Historian.
To describe, your traits decrease the difficulty. Your skills and backgrounds increase your chances of succeeding by adding dice. Your skills and qualities allow rerolls or allow The Historian to force a reroll in the case of negative qualities.
The basic setting created for this game tells the story of a world that has gone greedy and paranoid. Science and technological developments have become zealously guarded and contained within their origin nations, which has caused a collapse of the world wide web as well as other international channels. In this world, inventors and innovators who are not working for commission squirrel away their innovations for private parties hidden as block parties or book club meetings.
When a seemingly innocent and ultimately beneficial development is not only censored but it's inventor captured, two women realize that the world has changed far too much. So they decide to play with quantum physics in order to travel to the past and make right what has gone wrong. After much difficulty they succeed, but at the cost of their friendship.
One woman, who has taken the name of The Prophet, had projected into the future and witnessed a version of the future where mankind prevails against calamity only by keeping to the linear time that history has created. The other, who is now called The Raven, has gone to the past and has context to prove that the past, however troubled, was far greater than the present she has to live in.
These two women have taken their research and fled to form two factions that are dedicated to making the future far greater by either preserving the past or changing it. To this end, they have exposed your player character and others like you to this discovery and enlisted you into one of their factions.
What You Are Funding
Now that you know the project background, you probably want to know what your donations will actually do? My basic goal of $500 is so that I can have a professional artist commission a full color cover as well as have professional editing services done so that you can have an awesome, clean, and sleek product to read and enjoy. After all, how often have we read books we really like that are bothered by punctuation errors or instances of page XX.
However, I would love to do more with this game than just those basics. I would love to commission up and coming artists, some from Deviantart or the Everquest II Antonia Bayle community and some local to Baltimore to create interior art. I would like to be able to have someone develop a fancy character sheet. I would like to have a layout director make the game's interior match the game's exterior. Heck! With enough funding, I would like to be able to write tie-in novels and short stories or commission the same from my growing writing staff.
But none of this will be possible if we do not meet the basic goal. Speaking of which...
What Will Happen Now
- We will have a full color release. I have received some offsite funding that will allow me to do that. I do not have a final word/page count quite yet, but this will be a nice goodly sized book.
- We will be creating supplements in the form of Headlines and Timelines as previously discussed. My team and I are working on research for the sample adventures as well for those requesting Beta Access, that will be later added to the first two Timelines.
- We will be creating short stories to add to the lore of the game as well, though this is a tertiary goal as the first two are keeping the team busy at the moment.
- $1000 - At this level, we will be able to hire a graphic designer from Createspace to give us a custom layout. We are prepared to work on this ourselves, but having a professional handle it will save us time and get this game in your hands quicker and with flair. Additionally, we may be able to create and start up a webspace for this and future games my team works on.
- $1250 - With a little bit more, we'll reach this level and will be able to afford marketing services such as posters featuring the cover art that will be featured in stores or sent out to donators or interested parties.
- $???? - At the moment, my team and I are considering what else we can do. We're stoked at what we've managed to accomplish so we're still figuring things out.
William Maldonado is a long time gamer, both tabletop and video game, who has always shown an interest in quirk and story. I am rarely enthused about looking at stats or figuring optimal math combinations for ultimate power and instead want to feel like my character(s) have accomplished something through the game. At present, I run a two tabletop games, have written novels and articles for Knights of the Dinner Table Magazine, and am really pumped about getting this thing done.
Daniel Peterson is a long time friend of William and a fellow narrative interested gamer. He has long been a fan of Rule of Cool preferring interesting to effective. He has helped write one of the fiction bumps for this book and has given William his blessing to list him as a contributor.
Laura Strunck is also a long time friend of William and is also a fan of Narrative in gaming. She has written a large portion of the fiction bumps and has been doing a lot of the research and brainstorming regarding how to make this product even better.
Elizabeth Hibbard is a long time friend of William. She has volunteered to help create the logos that represent the two factions of this game
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
I have set the goal for this project to be by the first two quarters of 2013, however, this is our first undertaking as game developers. The playtesting alone and revisions that come from that could add some time to that. However, we are creative hard working types with various experiences with publishing, writing, or art, so I doubt this will pose any problems beyond delays.
The main difficulties will likely come with the editing and commissioning process. Because while most of the artists that have been scoped do work well and fairly quickly, real life does have a habit of getting in the way. If there are delays, they will be communicated to every single donator.
One of the goals, with the at-present write-up is to have Paradox be something that is interesting without undermining player choices that are reflected on the sheets. So, there are three stages of paradox based on making the norms question linear time and being caught acting "out of character" for the role you project into (ala quantum leap).
Each stage comes with it's own penalty that ranges from mechanical to narrative with the former being short term things that come and go and the latter carrying the risk of character death (as the rarest result) and plot prompts that come about from complications. Such as, "You return to the present to find that disaster X is blamed on you. Now solve" or "Now that you returned, NPC X now feels this about you."
The system, at present, is built using D10's. A minimum of two dice are rolled against a difficulty that is determined by your rating in one of three attributes (the higher your rating in, say Brawn, reduces the difficulty of physical tasks). Your dice pool is increased by having training in or a background in a particular skill.
The average basic roll is 2d10 trying to get one of these to roll a 8 or higher which has a 51% of scoring one success at a minimum.
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