What do you do in this game?
This was the question that really took some time to figure out: What do characters do in curse the darkness? It's easy enough to create the setting, plunk some characters down and say "go," especially in a post-apocalyptic setting in which "explore the ruins" or "resource management" or "fight the mutants/looters/monsters from the shadows" are all viable options. But curse the darkness is a little different; the mechanics are based on simulating actions, they're based on resolving specific types of Challenges. I wanted the stories in the game to support and be supported by those mechanics. I wanted things to be tight.
Turns out tight isn't easy. You want focus, that requires attention. But at the end of the day, we did pretty well with it, I think.
So what do characters do in this game? That's largely up to the players. Let me tell you what I mean.
When a group sits down to play curse the darkness, they collectively answer five questions (this can be before or after making characters; personally I like to figure this out beforehand and let the scenario questions guide character creation). The five questions are:
- Where are we?
- What just happened?
- How are you following the rules?
- How are you breaking the rules?
- What is the goal?
Based on these questions, you've got your scenario. You now have a goal - the story ends when that goal is realized or abandoned entirely. Characters come and go in curse the darkness (but are never forgotten!), but the goal remains.
The scenario might be anything from a one-shot to a long, multiple-arc chronicle, depending on your group and how long you want it to run. The longer it runs, the more characters you're likely to see and the more Memory Points you'll wind up accruing from the unfortunate dead. But longer stories have more complex and interesting payoffs. You're probably not going to find and confront Him in a single session.
Some examples, then? I've run curse the darkness at multiple conventions, and I generally write the sessions up on the blog. Here are the links so you can jump right to actual play:
- The Capitol Ablaze, a game I ran at Con on the Cob last October.
- The Severed Bridge, a multi-session game I ran with my gaming group. (That's Part I, you may also want to look at Part II, and Part III.)
- The New Pope, a session I ran at MarCon last month.
- The Elder's Secret, another session from MarCon.
- The Dam, a session from UBCon, also last month.
I will be running curse the darkness at Origins Game Fair later this month, and I'll be around the DriveThruRPG booth some during the Con. So if you want play curse the darkness, I'll be happy to show you how it works.
As for the Kickstarter, as you can see, we're at $5400 even! Let's not slow this train down, folks. $600 more and you get ghosts, $1600 and you get an awesome fiction anthology. Beyond that? I've got some cool stuff in the works, but I don't want to talk about it until a) I've got some confirmation and b) a real sense that it could happen. So if you know someone that hasn't pledged and you think might enjoy the game, send 'em the link!
pledged of $5,000 goal
seconds to go
Apr 25, 2012 - Jun 6, 2012
Pledge $5 or more
Patron: You'll be listed in our Special Thanks section and get a shout-out on the website the day we're funded. (All subsequent funding levels get this as well.)Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $10 or more
Memento Mori: You get a 50-sheet Character Pad shipped to you! International buyers please add $5 for shipping.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $15 or more
Witness: You get a copy of the PDF of the finished product, and a 50-sheet Character Pad shipped to you. International buyers please add $5 for shipping.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $25 or more
Voice of Dissent: You get a copy of the PDF, and a physical copy of the book itself, as well as a 50-sheet Character Pad. International buyers please add $7 to cover shipping costs. Sorry, can't ship these through the Between!Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $35 or more
13 backers All gone!
Rabble-Rouser: You get the PDF, a copy of the book, 50-sheet Character Pad, and you get to compose a section of graffiti to go in the book. Graffiti subject to approval and cannot contain any copyrighted material.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $40 or more
Light the Way: You get a copy of the pdf of the game, and a print of the candle (you can view the artwork here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playattentiongames/curse-the-darkness-a-roleplaying-game/posts/223794). International buyers please add $5 for shipping. If you have already backed and want to add this print, just add $40 to your existing pledge (and don't sweat increasing the shipping for international buyers; it'll equal out at that point).Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $45 or more
Community Organizer (Retailers Only): Got a store and want to sell *curse the darkness*? Awesome! At this level you get 4 copies of the physical book and a poster for your store! If you want additional copies of the book, you can add them for $10 each. Shipping to the US is covered. International retailers, please contact me about shipping.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $45 or more
4 backers Limited (16 of 20 left)
Raised Fist: You get a copy of the PDF, a physical copy of the book, 50-sheet Character Pad and a deck of cards with custom *curse the darkness* backs. You pick which back you want: the Symbol or the Candle. International buyers please add $10 for shipping.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $55 or more
Safe Through Shadows: You get a copy of the pdf of the game, and a print of the Symbol (you can view the artwork here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playattentiongames/curse-the-darkness-a-roleplaying-game/posts/223794). International buyers please add $5 for shipping. If you have already backed and want to add this print, just add $55 to your existing pledge (and don't sweat increasing the shipping for international buyers; it'll equal out at that point).Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $55 or more
Resistance Fighter: You get the Kit. The Kit includes two copies of the game (one PDF, one physical), three decks of cards (two Candle and one Symbol), five laminated Player Mats, a laminated Condition Assignment sheet, a laminated Suit Assignment, a 50-sheet Character Pad, 20 Between Points, 20 Memory Points (each in a stamped muslin bag) and a pad of Scenario Creation sheets. Everything you need to play *curse the darkness*. International buyers please add $12 for shipping.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $65 or more
10 backers All gone!
Counted Amongst the Fallen: You get the pdf, the Kit, and you get to be (or name) an example character for the text of the book. Warning: Example characters tend to have a rough time of it.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $75 or more
11 backers All gone!
Epitaph: You get a Kit, and you get contribute a section of graffiti to the book, just like in the $35 reward level. Same rules, restrictions, and international shipping (for the Kit) apply.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $100 or more
Resistance Elite: You get the Kit, plus an official curse the darkness t-shirt (details and pictures forthcoming, but they're gonna look cool).Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $110 or more
Supplier to the Survivors (Retailers Only): If you own a store and you'd like to sell Kits (which, remember, probably won't be available after the Kickstarter ends), then you're in luck! With this level, you get two Kits, three copies of the book and the poster. If you want additional copies of the book, you can add them for $10 each. If you want additional Kits, you can add them for $35 each. Again, US shipping is covered, contact me for international shipping.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $125 or more
3 backers Limited (3 of 6 left)
Apocalypse Profiteer: You get a Kit, a t-shirt, and a full-page ad in the back of the curse the darkness book.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $150 or more
Resistance Planner: You get the Kit, a t-shirt and I'll write you a custom scenario (I'll be asking for a little input about where you'd like it set and so on).Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $500 or more
Navigator of the Between: You get the Kit and a t-shirt, but if you're within a driveable distance from Cleveland (or you can arrange to get here, or you can arrange to be at a con I'm attending), I'll hand-deliver it and run your scenario for your group.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $800 or more
Master of the Between: As above, but I'll cook you and your gaming group (up to six people) dinner as well. Just provide me a kitchen and the necessary equipment, any dietary restrictions, and I'll do the rest.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
Pledge $1,000 or more
Shaper of Worlds: You get a Kit and a t-shirt, and I will also write a setting for you using the *curse the darkness* system. We can include magic, tech and any other specifics you like, just as long as your proposed setting lends itself to what *curse the darkness* does well and is not based on anyone else's copyrighted material. I will also run you a scenario using your version of the setting (again, provided that we can arrange to be in the same place). Any settings thus produced will be published in pdf for all to enjoy!Estimated delivery: Sep 2012