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Altais: Age of Ruin is a dystopian fantasy roleplaying game set on a world where the land has been ravaged by magic, where once noble kingdoms have fallen into tyranny and rebellion, and where the players can work to save the world or dance in the ashes.
It is the first book in the Rephaim War saga, a new series of games about humanity waging a war throughout the ages: from their early beginnings on primordial earth to their distant future on a faraway world.
We begin at the end of the story: humanity has fled their home to other worlds, built new civilizations and waged countless wars. Society has fallen and technology has been lost, but now on the distant world of Altais they try one last time to rebuild while the ancient enemy, the Rephaim, claim more territory every year. It is a desperate and dangerous time: The perfect time for heroes.
Altais is a game about a world that has descended into chaos, a dark backdrop against which heroes shine. It’s about the last sparks of honour fighting omnipresent corruption. It’s a game about rebellion and adventure in a world that desires neither. Because no matter how far the world falls into shadow, there will always be those determined to drag it back into the light.
Behind this backdrop there are other themes at work: It is a world set in our future, humanity has fled Earth, hunted across the stars to an alien world full of new dangers and discoveries. It’s about technology mistaken for magic, exploring other dimensions, and the damage that misunderstandings (political, cultural, and magical) can cause to the world.
This setting is something I've been working on in my spare time for over four years and with your help I'd like to turn it into a product that we can all enjoy.
The money from this Kickstarter goes towards funding development of the project and paying writers and artists to create an extensive, full colour RPG setting. I am partnering with DriveThruRPG.com to publish the book in both a digital .pdf format and as a hard cover physical book.
Here's a list what I have planned so far if we reach our base funding goal:
- The detailed history of the world of Altais, its colonization and the founding of the various kingdoms as well as their fall to ruin.
- Beautiful full colour art.
- Character creation rules for playing adventurers, scoundrels and rebels.
- Maps and descriptions detailing the world, major cities and landmarks as well as significant locations of interest within each of the major Kingdoms.
- A bestiary containing the plants and animals of Altais as well as other strange magical constructs, creatures from other realms and beings left over from past ages.
- This book grows as new stretch goals are reached!
Creature Cards (Exclusive): I also plan to produce a deck of cards featuring the artwork from all the creatures found in the bestiary on one side and some info about them on the other. Great for showing your players what the creatures look like without having to hold up a book while covering the creature's stats. The physical cards will only be available through this Kickstarter.
If we exceed our target I have a whole range of stretch goals lined up which will enable me to expand the setting, add more art and even produce supplement books to further detail each of the Kingdoms.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you will join me in making this project a reality.
Why back this project?
Funding from this kickstarter will enable me to hire additional writers and artists to finish development of the Altais setting, but it's about more than just making the game a reality, I also want to give backers the chance to test the game out and give feedback so that together we can make this an excellent product.
Altais uses a dice-based system to determine the outcome of challenges. Whenever the player wants to take an action that has a chance of failing (attacking in combat, leaping a pit, etc) a test is made combining the character's stats and some dice rolls to produce a semi-random result which the GM then uses as a guide for the story.
Altais uses a d10 system called Cascade: Players will never need more than 6d10 (and that's only for extremely high powered characters).
The player rolls a number of d10s (based on stats), chooses one die (usually the highest) and adds or subtracts any modifiers in an attempt to beat a target number. The cascading occurs when the player rolls a 10: they get to choose a second result and add that as well, if that's also a 10 then they keep adding more results until they add one that isn't a 10.
When you create a character in Atlais you begin by choosing a concept, name, and physical description. Then you assign various statistics to represent what your character can and can't do. These include choosing a Background, Attributes, Skills and Talents.
Backgrounds: Backgrounds represent special traits that set a character apart based on their heritage or past history. Sometimes characters are born with them, sometimes they are the result of a lifetime of study and training. A character can only have one Background, and these usually cannot be gained during play, either you spent 20 years learning an obscure fighting technique, or you didn’t.
Attributes: A character's attributes define their innate capabilities, these include Strength, Agility, Mind, Charisma and Focus. Attributes increase very slowly but often contribute to a board range of tasks. For example a character's Strength represents their general physical fitness and aids their ability to move heavy obstacles, adds to their damage in combat and determines how many injuries they can take before dying.
Skills: All characters have a number of skills that indicate what they have learned during their life. There are a lot of different skills and they include things like the weapon the character is proficient in, how good they are at running, climbing or convincing someone to do what they say, and how much they know about the creatures they encounter or the history of the kingdoms.
Talents: While Attributes measure a character's broad abilities and Skills represent their knowledge and training, Talents represent specialization: specific techniques and maneuvers that give them an edge. These could include disarming an opponent, or making a feint or counter attack. Perhaps most importantly Talents also include magical ability.
Like in many RPGs, characters also earn experience points (XP) and advance as the game progresses.
Beyond the world of Altais there are five other realms, each with their own unique properties, each a source of one of the fields that makes up our universe: electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces, gravity, mass and so on. Magic occurs when the Veil between these realms is weakened enough for energy and matter to pass from one realm into the other.
For example the Blaze is the source of all heat and light, and reacts explosively on contact with our universe. This makes it a powerful weapon for those looking for damaging spells.
Some realms aren't about the energy within but rather the properties of the realm itself; time within the Wild flows significantly faster and allows spell-casters to speed objects up by exposing them to that time stream.
The Wild is about more than a simple haste spell however, travelers once used the Wild as a safe means of travel (it was pretty empty) but over time they have accidentally left seeds and other bits of our universe behind. Exposed to the fast flow of time for thousands of years they have grown into a verdant wilderness full of mega-flora and strange creatures that occasionally escape into our universe.
It's not a matter of arcane invocations, spell components or gestures, but rather an innate potential that all can learn to harness with enough training.
By partnering with DriveThruRPG.com we have no upfront publishing costs, this means that 100% of the money raised by this project goes towards funding development and fulfilling rewards:
- Finish writing the core book.
- Pay for additional art.
- Pay for graphic design and layout of the book.
- Hire an editor.
- Fulfill rewards.
- Pay kickstarter, paypal and other fees.
Risks and challenges
I am not new to the idea of working to a schedule, dealing with production delays and funding projects correctly. I have worked on 9 published computer games and have been writing in my spare time for over 15 years.
The biggest hurdle to indie development of a product like this is publishing, and with DriveThruRPG.com we have this problem solved.
If there were production delays this would be unfortunate but would not harm the final product as funding is being used to pay for completed work only.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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