Aetherianica, a flexible open ended TTRPG that can emulate a variety of play styles and is as easy or complex as you want it to be!
What is it?
Aetherianica is a table top pencil and paper role playing game. A table top pencil and paper role playing game is like a board game that has a referee (Game Master) that describes situations and the players (PCs) describe what their imaginary characters do to overcome or work through the obstacles that are placed in front of them. The rules give them chances to do things successfully and describe their chances. Random chances are determined by rolling various sided dice (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, %100). Pretty much anything can be tried by the players and adjudicated by the GM.
Why do we need another Table Top RPG?
The main reason is that the big companies have such a small staff and are constantly run ragged by the corporate mentality. Thus they produce inferior games. They produce halfway decent games, but easy to spot game breaking errors are found almost immediately on release by people who frequent their own forums. Aetherianica is going to be different. We are going to produce a well tested game that will be expanded and voted on by the fans. Changes and updates will be voted on at the website and anyone will be able to find errors and problems long before the rules go to print. We will use open source like methods to improve and streamline the game. Licensing is also an issue with the big companies. They have strict licenses that discourage others from making derivative works and don't allow the use of their logo. With Aetherianica we plan on having a simple approval process where the rules (crunch) are immutable by 3rd party products, but they will be allowed to work within the rules to create new and interesting species, enemies, items, equipment, weapons, armor, materials, spells, attacks, etc...etc... basically everything in the game can be customized as long as they calculate out within a predefined limit. Also third parties will be able to make their own products based on Aetherianica and use the official Aetherianica logo after the material is reviewed to make sure it complies with our guidelines. Anyone can use the 'Compatible with Aetherianica' logo without going through the approval process.
What kind of time frame are we talking about?
We are looking at around 1-2 years to complete the project. We plan on taking advice and looking at what players want out of an RPG. We will create a website that will allow players to suggest ideas and then vote on them to be included in the game. We will give out rewards (not tied to kickstarter) to players that point out flaws or problems with an implementation. These rewards will probably be free copies of the PDF version of one of our products. These systems will be available early on in the project.
What kind of problems will you solve that plague traditional TTRPGs?
Traditional RPGs have problems such as "linear fighters and quadratic wizards". Which just means at early levels fighter type characters and wizard type characters are equal but as they level up and progress fighters have much fewer options than wizards. Other problems include "The dumb fighter complex". Where due to non-combat skills being tied to the class (i.e. fighter/wizard) fighters couldn't be good at skills that were not physically based. We will unlink the out of combat game from the combat game, which will allow for endless variety in character creation.
What is the basic design?
The basic design will include the choices of a species, career, lifestyle, items, and equipment. The species determines what physical traits each character gets as well as what natural affinities they will have. The Career is like what career they are pursuing (i.e. some games use fighter, rogue, wizard, cleric as classes). Lifestyle will the culture they belong to. Items will determine their possessions. Equipment will determine what weapons and armor they use.
There will be three levels of complexity for play:
- Simple - Just pick a Species, Career, Lifestyle, and equipment package and play.
- Medium - Pick a Species some traits from the Species, Career and some features from that Career, LIfestyle and some memories from that Lifestyle, pick items and equipment.
- Complex -Create a Species from lists and charts, create a Career from lists and charts, create a Lifestyle from lists and charts, create items and equipment from lists and charts.
How will you deal with some of the more broken aspects of current RPGs?
We will examine them and fix them using the ideas and input from the fan base and the players. One example is complex rigid subsystems for everything.
An example would be entering a building and retrieving some papers. In a some systems you would be forced to roll to see if you could sneak in or overpower the guards and then roll to see if you can find the papers, then rolling to sneak/overpower the guards to get out.
In Aetherianica you will choose whether to use a skill to get past the guards or if your wizard wants to cast a spell that will teleport you in or make everyone invisible, or whether you dig under the wall or bribe the guards. This will allow for outside the box thinking and role playing opportunities as well as generally more fun. It will be based on abstracted design. We tell you how hard it is to have an in game effect happen and you determine how it happens and why. For instance there is a disoriented condition. It causes a decrease to certain abilities when used. Now the player and GM determine what causes disorientation, was it the character tripping the giant, flipping the ooze, etc...etc... but there is a specific difficulty to achieve it.
What will you do with the kickstarter money?
We will use the money to hire people to help create the rules, design the artwork, publish the books, and set up and run the website.
What will you do with the profits/extra donations?
We will create online/offline software tools to assist people in preparing for the game and creating characters, visuals, maps, adventure modules, virtual tables, and other helpful software, that the big companies have not been able or are unwilling to create for their customers. Imagine using your iPhone/Android device to pull up your character sheet tap a skill/ability and see a description of what it does as well as the ability to roll the dice involved with it to determine success. Then you click on the dice button and some artistic 3D dice appear on the screen and roll when you shake the device. Then the result shows up on all the other players screens (if its a public roll) or just on the Game Masters screen (if its a private roll). Imagine the game master doing the same with monsters attacks and having the attacks results automatically applied to the targeted PCs character sheets on their screens. Imagine a tablet/laptop replacing the expensive miniatures that were used in the past. Imagine moving your character and blasting a fireball at an enemy in hi-def 3D on a cool looking 3D map. Imagine a full 3D rendering of the characters entering the kings chamber and the guards rushing up to stop them. That's what we are talking about. When we say 'tools'.
How will you fix the licensing issues that big companies face?
We will limit the license to not altering or bypassing the core rules. Other than that players can publish their own adventures, Species, Careers, Lifestyles, etc..etc... pretty much anything they want. They will also be free to create their own software as long as it follows specific guidelines like using specific APIs to access the games data from the game website (which may require a small monthly fee for players or proof of purchase of rule and expansion books). There will be two licenses. The first is open to everyone and they can put a special logo on their product that says "Compatible with Aetherianica". The second requires that the Aetherianica crew review the supplement and that it follow the same quality guidelines that Aetherianica follow. This license will allow them to put the official "Aetherianica" logo on their product and market it as an official product. All products will be able to be sold on the Aetherianica website for a small royalty (probably not more than 5% or $5 whichever is lower).
Who can get involved?
After we get the funding we will look into hiring big names from the RPG industry to try to create a great game for everyone, but will likely go with anyone that shows talent (such as those found on the Wizards of the Coast character optimization forum). If you want to get involved contact email@example.com with your ideas.
What will make this RPG different than others?
We plan on taking off the limits of what players can do with their characters. Why limit fighters to be strong brutes that are dumb? Why not have a fighter that instead of using brute force uses their mind to overcome opponents through planning and strategy. How about a fighter that makes witty comments that throw their enemies off balance and allow them to win. What about a wizard that can use their physical strength to produce spell like effects (dragon ball z anyone?)? The combinations are limitless and allow the players to make the character concept they want without sacrificing mechanical viability.
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The risks involve
Entering a saturated market, but through profitability from non-product means (website advertising, and other company sources) this product will be successful regardless of profitability.
The open nature and inability to patent properly game mechanics could make this a risky venture. The upside is no one will be able to copy the mechanics without a lot of fans pointing it out and it will inevitably cause those that copy the mechanics to lose favor with their own customers. Also because of the semi-free nature of the product (open source like) it will be difficult to compete by stealing mechanics because the core product will be free.
There are very few downsides to a project like this. We already have our publisher for print on demand and PDFs. We have our website http://www.kelandlokgames.com we have a Virtual Table Top in development. As well as a play test of the rules already out.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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