What is Lotus Dimension?
Lotus Dimension is a tabletop role-playing game (RPG). You've probably heard of at least one very popular RPG called Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), in which players create their own characters with specialized skill sets, then work together using these characters to solve challenges, defeat monsters and villains, deploy magic, find treasure and more.
I've always admired D&D because it's rooted in storytelling, magic and adventure, and it requires creativity and collaboration. But I wanted to know: What would a game structured similarly to D&D be like if players had to solve all the challenges the game threw at them using nonviolent means?
What if a game drew on amazing sci-fi and fantasy storytelling while also incorporating principles of nonviolence inspired by peaceful protests, historical leaders and the tenets of peaceful philosophical practices?
And what if it offered players a way to visualize and role-play solutions to wildly imagined problems, responding to and replacing violence and weaponry with empathy and ingenuity?
Lotus Dimension is that game.
Okay, how do you play?
Lotus Dimension takes place in a slightly futuristic world in which portals have opened up leading from Earth to other realms. Players work together to explore these realms and achieve objectives in a scripted quest.
Each player creates his or her own character, choosing from a list of eccentric modern-day archetypes like hacker, mystic, parkour specialist, and more, then customizing their specialties. Player levels and stats are loosely designed around the noble eightfold path in Buddhism and the concept of karma.
One player acts as a guru guide, leading the other players through each quest. (The first quest, included in the Starter Set, is called "Liberation in the Zeppelins.") Players brainstorm together to solve problems, evade or defeat monsters or villains, overcome obstacles, deploy magic, obtain treasure and other rewards, free prisoners and find the way forward -- all while causing the least harm possible.
Which can be super tricky. How do you escape imprisonment or confront a threat without using swords or spells that cause harm? How do you defeat an opponent to overcome obstacles and win treasure if your strategy has to consider your opponent's desires, safety and well-being as well as those of yourself and your own team?
Through the challenges of each quest, players build their characters' inner strength, mindfulness and wisdom to advance to new levels.
But it's not all woo-woo conflict resolution stuff. This is an adventure game. You'll voyage into other dimensions filled with strange beings, mysterious landscapes, and magic. You'll rescue prisoners, neutralize armed opponents and less-than-friendly creatures, search for clues, and evade terrorist assassins. You'll creep along cliffs that fall to undiscovered depths in the mist below, and advance with invisible stealth on a heavily guarded fortress.
And to do all this, you'll have to think in new ways to come up with some pretty clever and unusual tactics and responses.
Who can play Lotus Dimension?
Anyone can play Lotus Dimension. You. Your friends. Your kids. Your parents. Your brother's kids who you never know what to buy for the holidays. Students. Teachers. Activists. Pacifists. Gamers. Game shops. Book clubs. Bookstores. Fans of Harry Potter, Tolkien, Star Wars, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things.
Basically, if you like storytelling, weird twists, and the freedom to guide the action and create new outcomes, Lotus Dimension is for you.
The game is simple to learn and changes with every play, based on players' choices. It's best for ages 12 to adult, due to non-graphic mentions of violence that set the context for some of the challenges players must face.
What will my pledge dollars do?
The Lotus Dimension Starter Set has already been completed, prototyped, and play-tested. It's ready to go into production.
Your support here on Kickstarter will do four things:
1) Get you one of the rad rewards listed. For example, a first-edition Lotus Dimension Starter Set, which has everything you need to start playing. We're also offering an Expansion Set of additional quests, custom quests starring you and your friends, stickers, postcards, original artwork, and more, so check out the Rewards list for details!
2) Pay fair wages to the independent, Brooklyn-based printer I've lined up to print a run of 500 Lotus Dimension Starter Sets, as well as to a handful of writers, artists and designers who will help to continue creating content and new features to make the game even more awesome.
3) Purchase booth space at select fairs and conferences to spread the word about Lotus Dimension.
4) Demonstrate an interest and demand for thoughtful, challenging gaming that embraces weirdness and adventure but goes beyond violent solutions to encourage creative problem solving.
As with any Kickstarter campaign, if we reach the funding goal we get the full amount pledged by our backers, and the project will go forward! Hooray!
But if we don't reach the funding goal, we get nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.
Every donation, no matter how big or small, helps us reach our goal to make Lotus Dimension a reality and the world a more peaceful, playful and awesome place!
Please pledge early and share this page!
Thanks to Jeffrey Paul Coleman, Michael Cosaboom, Jay Derderian, Andrew Duden, Rob Erickson, Harvest Henderson, Brandon Hodge, Ken Kosman, Nien Lam, Eric Mika, Ryan Mullen, Cindy Pineo, Richard Pineo, Ian Reeves, Jason Smith, and Mike Witherell for all their help with development and play testing.
And a big shout-out to Cary Buchanan and Justin King, who created the music in the video.
"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." -Albert Einstein
Risks and challenges
The work ahead is simply to print, assemble, and ship the Lotus Dimension Starter Sets. With a completed prototype in hand and quotes for all costs from end to end, I'm confident that if the funding goal is reached, reward fulfillment will be successful.
If we surpass the funding goal, we'll aim to take the game even further in terms of promotion and retail placement, and we could expand the rewards. I'll definitely keep project supporters updated on the status!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)