InterStellar Mercenary - The Role Playing Game
A gritty, low fantasy, tactical, team-based table-top RPG set on an alien world where you get to be the monster!
InterStellar Mercenary - The Role Playing Game
A gritty, low fantasy, tactical, team-based table-top RPG set on an alien world where you get to be the monster!
A gritty, tactical, team-based table-top RPG set on an alien world where you get to be the monster! You are an Interstellar Mercenary (I.S.M.), part of an elite team of hired killers and specialists in the service of the feudal Kisrian Empire. Ex-serial murderers, thieves, cyborgs, alien-hybrid creations, cyber-terrorists, disgraced royalty and cerebral warriors all have a place on the team, provided the Empire deems your ‘talents’ useful enough. To further complicate matters each mercenary has their own hidden agenda or motivation for joining the I.S.M. which may ultimately bring down the Empire you were enlisted to protect, or your fellow mercenaries.
With the realism and grittiness of Game of Thrones, unique world and creature design to rival Star Wars or Lord of the Rings and a focus on strategic decision making and tactical combat using an original combat simulation system: I.S.M. will suck you in and keep you coming back for more - if you survive.
We, along with a dedicated fan base, have been playing and developing I.S.M. for over 25 years. Because we are typically non-role players it has produced a completely original world and rule set focused on strategic combat and meaningful story telling. It is now finally time to unleash I.S.M. on the world!
Back this project if you are tired of:
- human(ish) characters and want to be the monster;
- unrealistic consequences/character traits/enemies; or
- clichéd RPG rules and story lines.
Or, if you want:
- a unique alien world to explore;
- there to be a real and meaningful difference between using the hilt or the blade; or
- your decisions to matter while always knowing death is on the doorstep.
Check out the website here: www.ismrpg.com (under construction)
Download Combat Simulation Quickstart Rules
Download Sample Character Sheets
20 Species to choose from:
Sample Draft Pages:
Want to see more: Download Sample Draft 26 pages
Facebook or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The I.S.M. Core Rule Book, a completely stand alone rules and world book with everything you need to play I.S.M. Almost 500 art filled pages containing:
- Unique alien world- creatures, cities, towns, empires, flora, history, religions
- Custom armor system - each piece has a realistic impact on combat
- Unlimited skill system
- Unrestricted character generation
- 12 pre-made mercenaries ready to play
- 20 original alien species (no elves or goblins here) each with unique character sheets
- Realistic and intuitive combat system - one dice roll per act or effect
- 100s of weapons that have multiple attacks
- Unarmed brawling, grappling and alien martial arts combat with 60+ moves
- I.S.M. Hit Endurance provides realistic damage and wound effects
- I.S.M. Cerebral Efflux - unlimited telepathy and telekinesis magic substitute
- Unlimited advancement, realistic training and experience generation
- Carefully balanced world with both medieval and advanced alien technology
- Almost 500 beautifully laid out, and tabbed for easy referencing, pages detailing a complete world and rules
Don’t want a new rule system? No problem, use it for the stories, weapons, world, places, characters, creatures and add them to your favorite Pathfinder or 5E settings and campaigns.
An icy fog with a dark and malevolent intelligence emanates from the base of an ancient temple, long hidden by a jungle inhabited by strange and alien species. Villagers report an oncoming war legion of snake like livorians, while diminutive se’arids have been seen holding their dark, cabalistic rituals at night. Drakmahn raiding parties scourge the borders of the Kisrian Empire, burning and pillaging unchecked, as strange lights seen in the night skies herald an even greater danger from above. You sling your bow, sharpen your sword, load a round in an alien gun you barely comprehend and step out from the castle gate into the world.
“Draw your weapon, so your corpse at least looks like it fought back” Dorkahn, the 14th mercenary.
Be warned, I.S.M. is not a game for those who want to say 'swing sword!' 30 times in a row. You cannot sit down, throw a few dice, hope for the best, expecting lady luck to shine down on you. I.S.M. is closer to a combat and reality simulator than a game, while chance plays a part, as it does in real life, success in I.S.M. is dependent on strategic decision making both in and out of combat. Should I use my war hammer to try and hinder the armor on his sword arm or take my dagger out and go for a joint?; do I take that split second to step left before I strike and put an enemy in between me and the archer and risk getting hit?; will I sweep the enemies legs and put him on the ground or go for a reverse round house to finish him off? These are the kinds of questions you'll ask yourself again and again - but don't take too long, or you'll miss the chance to make any decision at all.
Make no mistake though, I.S.M. is about fun. With life and death hanging in the balance, knowing each decision you make has a real and logical consequence will only suck you into the fascinating world of I.S.M. with characters and story lines that are rich in atmosphere, excitement, challenge and wonder. From the long-term satisfaction of successful campaigns lasting a dozen or more playing sessions, to the adrenaline rush of short action-packed missions spanning mere hours, I.S.M. has something to offer every role-player.
When choosing or designing your character you are not limited to generic humanoid character types. All I.S.M. species and animals are 100% unique, there are no dwarves, elves, orcs or trolls in sight. Instead, there are twenty unique and diverse playable species, each with its own history, culture, statistics, special traits and...character sheet! That's right; each species plays so differently it needs its own custom sheet. Randomness is kept out of character generation allowing your character to be developed in accordance with your imagination. There are no unrealistic and restrictive character classes and alignments. Each character’s species, history, physical traits, temperament and skill set can be determined completely by the player.
“You can trust me, if the price is right.” Crithor, the 8th mercenary.
There are no unnatural limits to natural progression, as in real life, and yet you will soon become well aware of your ever-present vulnerabilities. The species you play has such a great impact on the game that each species (and sometimes gender) has its own unique character sheet.
The logical, unobtrusive core rules offer extremely detailed and realistic game play, allowing you to visualize situations clearly, stimulating the imagination and aiding the strategic decision making of players. Play is not over complicated by unnecessary calculations or statistics. Each and every dice roll has a clear technical purpose representing a facet of real action, movement or combat, making play fast, intuitive and easy to learn. Over 25 years of game play, testing and refinement sets I.S.M. apart as an incredibly realistic and original role-playing game.
Once you leave the safety of a castle or town, you must rely on your wits and skills to survive and succeed. To aid you in this there is a vast array of medieval, martial art and alien equipment and weaponry at the players’ disposal, with each weapon capable of numerous types of attacks and defensive techniques. A basic sword alone has a variety of cuts, thrusts, pommel and hilt strikes (each causing different types and amounts of damage), grappling and parrying techniques. As with real weapons, each type of attack has a different effect on armor as well as your opponents flesh too. In addition, there are over fifty unarmed hand to hand moves and two unique alien martial art styles with their own specific techniques and abilities.
“Sometimes I want to hear their bones break, I like the cracking sounds.” Roth, the 2nd mercenary.
There are no artificial armor classes for defense, armor and shields; all act realistically. A shield requires a successful skill test to use, and different armor types provide varying levels of protection against differing attacks. Counter techniques and attacks, realistic weapon ranges and initiative modifiers all enhance combat realism and underscore the need for careful, strategic fighting. Too complex you say? Fear not, I.S.M. Combat Simulation features a rule system which is able to scale as the experience of the players and the GM increase, gradually adding new rules.
The I.S.M. Hit Endurance system introduces an array of realistic wounds and physical damage effects, dependent on the type and severity of attack. Broken limbs, cut tendons, internal bleeding, and blood loss all have specific and realistic effects on game play. For these reasons and many more, I.S.M. combat resolution provides a satisfying sense of realism, excitement and fun.
Another unique I.S.M. feature is Cerebral Efflux, which takes the place of conventional magic. Based entirely on telepathy and telekinesis, Cerebral Efflux is a powerful and versatile system limited only by the imagination of the players. This grounded system allows you to quickly manipulate matter, minds and flesh while still keeping cerebral warriors closely balanced with those that choose to rely solely on brawn.
I.S.M. is set primarily on a strange and dangerous planet named Reindon, a world in turmoil, torn between the rival ambitions of two feuding human empires, while the native species lay their own plans for dominance, retribution and power. And, over all of this, an alien invasion has dawned, the harbinger of darkness for all.
The central I.S.M. empires and species have complex hierarchies, social structures, laws, religions, cultures and legends. The world you will inhabit is as beautiful as it is deadly. Dry, searing deserts and plains, frozen forests and mountains, steaming jungles and wide, grassy prairies teem with alien life and color. Advanced alien artifacts are rare and are eagerly scavenged by all, jealously guarded on a planet with a predominately medieval technological level. But things are changing, as the technologically advanced and mysterious Sah’lees scouting parties plan the resumption of their planetary invasion from the safety of the cold void of space.
Unique creatures to harness and ride into battle, unlimited skill trees, advanced weapon proficiency system for weapon specialists, alien flora and fauna along with skills to utilize their various properties ... the list could go on. Stop wasting time, focus your mind, grab a weapon, free your imagination and ready yourself to enter the world of I.S.M.
You are an InterStellar Mercenary - so go have fun, discover, conquer the enemy, rise up to the challenge but be very, very careful...
Why Kickstarter? After 25 years of keeping I.S.M. to ourselves it is now time to share it with the world. The majority of the art and other work has been done and paid for so this campaign will allow us to give it a level of polish, provide some additional art and introduce it to the world.
Shipping and Fulfillment
The digital rewards will initially be managed and distributed by us and will likely be ready a month or so before the printed rewards. After the initial campaign all digital and printed rewards will be available through DriveThruRPG.
We wish we could have included the shipping costs in the reward levels, however it will depend on destination, shipping method, and how many rewards you’re getting. We will be charging for shipping through the pledge manager after the Kickstarter campaign ends based on the actual cost for shipping. As a guide use the below estimates.
The printed rewards will be fulfilled through DriveThruRPG. Please check out the following link for approximate shipping costs (hard cover up to 480 pages). As an example US - $6USD, Australia -$19USD and UK -$7USD. For more details on shipping please see:
Examples in AUD: Australia AU$ 26; Canada AU$ 23 ; France AU$ 20; Germany AU$ 14; Greece AU$ 14; Mexico AU$ 10; United Kingdom AU$ 9; United States AU$ 9.
The standees will be shipped through The Game Crafter separately to all other printed materials and will incur a separate shipping charge. Unfortunately there is no way to avoid this as DriveThruRPG do not offer standees. All postage and standees are at cost along with the postage for this reason. The Basic Standee Package posts for between $5-$10USD world wide and the Deluxe Standee package for about $9-$17USD world wide. For more details on shipping please see:
Please note: All art, samples and text are subject to change prior to the final printing.
I.S.M. The Core Rule Book (Print or PDF): Almost 500 art filled pages containing everything you need to play I.S.M. It contains chapters dedicated to I.S.M. Cerebral Efflux, I.S.M. Combat Simulation, skills, character creation and the I.S.M. world which are all tabbed and referenced for ease of use. This a Kickstarter-only limited run, beautifully illustrated in color and black and white by Julio Cesar Oliviera Rocha and David Hedmark. You will also receive all update rule editions via PDF in the future.
I.S.M. Short Action prelude adventure PDF 'The Watchtower'. This adventure give players the first taste of the brutal I.S.M. world as they travel to the borderlands to investigate reports of a Drakmahn outpost. The fully illustrated color PDF will be digitally distributed at the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign.
I.S.M. Games Master Screen (PDF): You will receive an 8 page I.S.M. full color Game Master’s Screen PDF. Perfect for inserting into Hammerdog Games four panel "The World’s Greatest Screen ™". The Game Master’s Screen PDF will be digitally distributed at the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign .Contains all the most referenced information for the GM as well as the entire species lineup for players.
I.S.M. Games Master Supplement Book (Print or PDF): Have all the most useful tables, lists, guides, maps, character sheets and quick starts in one location. This 100+ page supplement has an additional color painting by Julio Cesar Oliviera Rocha and keeps everything the GM needs at his/her fingertips. The PDF will be digitally distributed a short time before the print editions ship in late 2019.
I.S.M. Utenesia Map (PDF): Beautifully detailed map of the known world used for the first four I.S.M. campaigns. High resolution so you can print it as large is you need to.
I.S.M. Basic Standee Package: 120 perfectly laser cut wooden standees featuring all twenty playable species. All standees are full color back and front and accurately scaled to assist realistic battle geography.
I.S.M. Deluxe Standee Package: 232 perfectly laser cut wooden standees featuring all twenty playable species. Bigger battles, more variety, more players, small wars are also possible with this package.
As we intend on providing all the content to backers the stretch goals will be in the form of upgrading the art content and additional items which we can put additional funds into creating. More stretch goals (which will likely include additional missions with associated maps, characters and other content) will be added should the campaign really take off.
$6000AUD - CREATURE ART! If this level is reached we will order color art for the creatures of the I.S.M. world. These are the animals, both wild and domestic, that players will use and encounter whilst discovering the world.
$7000AUD - EXPANDED WORLD ART! At this level we will double the included art for the rest of the world chapter. It will include more maps, atmospheric location art, plants and character art - all in full color.
$8000AUD - TBA
$9000AUD - TBA
Risks and challenges
The writing is complete, the editing is 80% complete and the art and formatting is 90% complete (depending on stretch goals which will include more art). And when I say complete, I mean I have over 450 pages edited, formatted and ready to go, after a final proof read. The only risk is that as I’m completing the remainder of the formatting myself there may be a delay should something hold me up however I’ve been generous in my time frame so don’t anticipate any delays. If there is a delay a draft PDF version will go out to get everyone started.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)