Road to Armageddon is a Roleplaying Game of modern military adventure set against the background of a world spiralling down the abyss of nuclear devastation ... three mutually inimical power blocs, the Western Alliance, the Russo Japanese Entente and the Restored Caliphate have competed on the peripheries for years, but now the world situation has reached the point of no return.
It is not a matter if if a world war breaks out or not, but when ... and when it finally does, only fools in ivory tower Think Tanks (on all sides) think that it either won't go nuclear or, some of the more deluded, that their side might actually win in any meaningful sense.
Note to Interested Parties: A watermarked and secure but otherwise complete version of Book#1: Core Rules is available for download at RPGNow so you can get an idea of what RtA is like! Feel free to download and enjoy!
The Road to Armageddon project that is being Kickstarted here is the culmination of 25 years or work on the idea and the background ... yet is only part of the intended story arc ... even so, it consists of six full sized books, the three that form the Core Rules and three more that comprise the first full length Campaign.
Road to Armageddon: D10 System Core Rules
Road to Armageddon: Gear Book
Road to Armageddon: Modern Encounters
In the Beginning ...
Biafra #1 - Jungle Traveller
Biafra #2 - Short Days Ago
Biafra #3 - Let Them Laugh at Fate
That's all for the product descriptions ...
Nope, not really crazy ... but let's move on to the nitty-gritty.
What's Done is DONE ...
The first three books - the core of the game - are complete, laid out (including the cover artwork) and, unless stretch goals increase the art budget, are ready to go right now ... in PDF format. As soon as the campaign is complete all backers will get the PDFs they have paid for from this core group as they stand - the four month delay shown on the Core Book only Backer Levels is to allow for any additional art to be commissioned and come in if additional art stretch goals are achieved.
Backers will have a 30 day window to read through the rules to find and submit typographical errors for correction. There will also be an opportunity to make suggestions for clarifying and adding to the rules.
The Introductory Adventure is also complete at the 40 page level and ready to go right now. It will also be sent as a PDF to all Backers who have it included in their Backer Level ... however, if the stretch goal of increasing the page count to 64/80 pages is achieved, the final, expanded, version will be delayed, probably till next May.
The Biafran Campaign Books are mostly complete ... Books #1 and #2 are complete, unless stretch goals increase the art budget, and are ready to go right now ... in PDF format. Backers who have paid for this level will receive the PDFs as they stand as soon as the campaign is concluded. As with the Core Books, the four month delay is to allow for any additional artwork to be commissioned and come in, should enough stretch goals be achieved.
Book #3 is around 80% complete at the start of the campaign - and work proceeds apace. It will hopefully be complete well before the May deadline, considering its advanced state of writing ... and should be ready by the end of May at the latest.
There is a chance that there will be a fourth book in the Biafran Campaign set - which entirely depends on how the writing for the 3rd book goes. If there is, then this will be a freebie - if you paid for the three books, then you'll get it as well. If it does get written, it will likely be 64-80 pages and will wind up the entire campaign arc and will probably come out in PDF some time after May.
That's the PDFs.
What about the Print on Demand Rewards?
That's somewhat more difficult to pin down as there are several variables that can't be determined in advance.
The bottleneck is in the proofing process. Fulfilment will be through RPGNow/DrivethruRPG's POD printer, Lightning Source, and they are in the US while I am in Australia. Even budgeting for the speediest mail service possible (I have) the turn around between ordering a proof and actually getting it in my hot little hands is likely to be not much less than two weeks. And if the proof shows up problems that have to be fixed, then that adds to the delay.
By itself, it's not a huge problem and the whole process should be well and truly over before the deadlines given unless additional art stretch goals are achieved.
IF that occurs, then the proofing for the PoD version(s) can't begin until the artwork comes in ... and the amount of time that requires depends on how many art stretch goals are achieved.
Based on the experience I have had commissioning the Cover Art to date, three months should be enough for it to come in for the PDFs and an additional month should be enough for the Proofing as well.
All of the cover art (even for the hypothetical fourth Book of the Biafran Campaign) is either on hand (bought and paid for) or has been commissioned and is in the process of being completed (the very last piece commissioned, for Let Them Laugh at Fate, the third Book of the Biafran Campaign should be complete before the end of the Kickstarter Campaign) ... and the artists who have done these covers are some very talented ones indeed.
The following collage shows the front covers of the three Core Books ...
Core Rules: Aussie Soldier. Wearing Auscam uniform and carrying an Austeyr Rifle with underslung M203 Grenade Launcher .. sunset in the background -- Australians fought mainly in the Far East theater, including New Guinea, Indonesia and the Sino-Korean front against the Russo-Japanese.
Gear Book: Australian SAS in a heavily modified Long Wheelbase Land Rover - possibly in Afghanistan, North China or Korea fighting the Japanese, though some SAS were posted to the European Theater, mainly in the Balkans.
Modern Encounters: A NATO Base Camp at a crossroads somewhere in Germany, late in the war or even after The Exchange.
Jungle Traveller: Australian Soldiers in New Guinea or Indonesia? Generic Western Alliance soldiers anywhere jungle-like? Or soldiers belonging to the CIA backed Volunteer Regiment in the Biafran Civil War - could be any of them, but is, in fact, the latter.
Short Days Ago: Soldiers from the Volunteer Regiment with some local Biafran troops on a deep recon mission into northern Nigeria and/or Cameroon, mounted in a Technical (aka Hillbilly Armour or Gun Truck) ... a modified, militarised, Heavy Pickup, with Kevlar Armour inserts in the bodywork and a .50 cal M2HB machinegun mounted just behind the cab.
If you're interested in seeing more work by these excellent artists, you can check out their Websites ...
Vicente Sivera Catalá:
Alexandre Belmonte Oliveira:
One thing that needs some explanation before you read any further - the A$3000 (about US$2000-2100, depending on the Exchange Rate) for the minimum success simply covers money already paid out for artwork, the projected cost of B&W and Colour Hard & Softcover proofs and the cut that Kickstarter takes and a little cushion for exchange rate fluctuations (I get paid in Aussie Dollars, but the Artists I have to pay get paid in US$ ... and the Aussie Dollar is declining in value against the Greenback as I type this). If I am really lucky, and there are no proofing issues, I might come out a couple of hundred dollars in the black at best.
Other than that, it doesn't cover the amortised cost of the software needed for the whole process nor does it come even close to paying me for my time and effort in writing and laying out things.
Now, I'm not expecting to make a fortune out of the campaign, but any profit I do make will be part of the Stretch Goals ...
A$4250: At +$1250 the Introductory Adventure will be increased in page count to a minimum of 80 pages as a mini-campaign.
I will also create a Combination System & Gear Book from Books #1 and #2 to allow Backers to cut down on printing costs - offering a significant saving if they choose to get Hardcover PoD books. This may be offered with the option of either of the two Covers in PoD. Every Backer who has purchased at least the two Core Books in either PDF or PoD, depending on Reward level, will get these.
They would probably be available in May 2016.
A$5500: At +$2500 a fourth Campaign Book of at least 80 pages will be added to the three existing Biafran Campaign Books. This will be provided free of charge to all Backers who have paid for the three Campaign Books as either PDF or PoD or both, depending on Reward level. This would probably be available in the second half of 2016, probably the 3rd Quarter.
$6750: At +$3750 Book #1: Core Rules will get five purpose drawn full page B&W Line Drawings as Chapter Headers to replace the existing Royalty-Free and/or Photoshopped artwork.
$8000: At +$5000 Book #1: Core Rules will get five purpose drawn full colour, full page, Chapter Headers to replace the existing Royalty-Free and/or Photoshopped artwork.
$9250: At +$6250 Book #2: Gear Book will get five purpose drawn full page B&W Line Drawings as Chapter Headers to replace the existing Royalty-Free and/or Photoshopped artwork.
$10500: At +$7500 Book #2: Gear Book will also get five purpose drawn full colour, full page, Chapter Headers to replace the existing Royalty-Free and/or Photoshopped artwork.
$11750: At +$8750 Book #3: Modern Encounters will get five purpose drawn full page B&W Line Drawings as Chapter Headers to replace the existing Royalty-Free and/or Photoshopped artwork.
$13000: At +$10000 Book #3: Modern Encounters will also get three purpose drawn full colour, full page, Chapter Headers to replace the existing Royalty-Free and/or Photoshopped artwork.
$14250: At +$11250 I will also write up versions of the Background and Campaign for BTRC's EABA (probably V1, if it matters) and Pinnacle's Savage Worlds - which would consist of a Core Background/Equipment Book and the 3 (or 4) Campaign Books re-statted for the rules in question. These would be provided as PDFs or PoD as appropriate ... but they'd be available in late 2016 and mid 2017.
In the event that the campaign reaches $14250, amounts over that will buy more art, in roughly $1250-$2500 increments, for each of the Biafran Campaign Books (roughly 4-5 Chapter Headers in each) -- B&W at +$1250 and Colour at +$2500.
Suggestions for other Stretch Goals instead of/supplementing any of the ones above are welcomed and will be considered.
Just as a FYI, when the campaign is over, the PDFs of the Core Books and Campaign Books will be sold for US$20-24, depending on page count. The Print on Demand (probably not including PDFs) versions will be in the range US$30-34 before printing costs are included (add another $5 for a PDF as well). Just in case you don't think you're getting a good deal!
So, what comes next?
The original Road to Armageddon campaign was, well, quite different (and is still available at RPGNow) ...
... and in that the Modern Military aspect was not emphasised. It was merely a background for the real action ... in the 27th Millennium!
The campaign was based on the unexpected transition of a late WW3 Allied Task Force on its way to support a final offensive in Europe to a very different world of 25000 years in the future ... a post apocalyptic world resulting from something much much nastier than the war the TF came from ... a Science Fantasy campaign, in effect.
A campaign with 'magic' (mostly remnants of very advanced Technology - or something that may be Psionics) monsters ... and Nazis. Did I mention Nazis? Yep. All the way from WW2 courtesy of the same tech that dumped the Third World War types down in the future. Also a WW1 Zeppelin and crew, some WW2 US National Guardsmen, WW3 Russians and Japanese ... and more.
Road to Armageddon is merely the first installment of a much bigger project ...
Risks and challenges
Risks and Challenges. The most obvious one is that this is a one man project - so if I get hit by a bus then there are real problems. I have options in place so that, if worst comes to worst, you'll get the PDFs of the completed books (Core #1-3, Introductory Adventure, Biafra #1-2) without any additional art as I will have those ready to go by the end of the campaign.
Getting the PoD copies is more problematic, though I will make sure that appropriate files are ready to go off to the Printer before the end of the campaign - but these would be without additional art - and there may be a longer delay than allowed for as the person who'd be picking up the pieces is not particularly computer literate and would have to arrange for some assistance.
If some or all of any additional art has been contracted for, then it would probably be possible to include it - but with longer delays, as my replacement would have to contract someone who could do the layout (really just popping the art in the appropriate places) and then generate the PoD files and send them off to the Printer for proofing.
Hopefully I won't get hit by a bus!
There are two other possible bottlenecks - if the art Stretch Goals are fully achieved (I hope!) then my preferred artists (who I know do good work and are reliable) may not be able to do all of the pieces required in the time available - or may have issues that slow them down - I can partly account for this possibility by contracting out work to other artists, and I have some in mind, but I don't have experience with how speedy they are.
Obviously, art delays will potentially push back the release of the final PDF and PoD versions ... but you'll already have the basic PDFs that will be released as soon as the campaign is over, so it shouldn't be too annoying.
The final problem area is in the proofing process. PoD fulfilment is intended to be done through RPGNow/DriveThruRPG's print partner, Lightning Source ... who require PoD files in PDFX/1a format.
I have extensively proofed earlier versions of these books (and others in my PGD line) for playtest purposes through both Amazon's CreateSpace and Lulu who happily print (and do high quality work!) from ordinary Acrobat PDF files and have had no problems with them ... so I don't anticipate any problems with Lightning Source, but I simply don't know for sure.
At worst (I use Serif Pageplus for Page Layout, not InDesign or Quark or the hugely expensive professional programs) I may have to print through CreateSpace ... which would be ... problematic. Rather than sending everyone a code that would allow them to simply log in to RPGNow and pay only for the printing and shipping costs, CreateSpace doesn't allow for this, so I would have to collect money for printing and shipping from each Backer who paid for such and then individually order copies for them through CreateSpace ... a logistical nightmare, but doable with some delay.
I don't think the art or proofing will be problems, but I do have some plans in place for dealing with them if they prove to be.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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