About this project
ANKUR-kingdom of the gods is a new sci-fi, table top role playing game. It immerses players in a setting based loosely on ancient Sumerian mythology, and the alien astronaut theory. Inspiration was taken from authors like; Maurice Chatelain, H.P. Lovecraft, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, and Zacharia Sitchin. Ankur is being developed by: Chris Miller Games (CMG™).
Chris Miller is an Independent game designer from Atlanta, GA. Chris has been a table-top role-player, and Larper since the early 1980’s. He was a former guest liaison for Dragon-Con from 1998-2003. In addition to being an avid gamer, Chris is a historian, martial artist, paranormal investigator, and ordained minister with an honorary Doctorate in Metaphysics. He enjoys using his extensive practical knowledge to help create realistic game mechanics. In 2014, Chris quit his career as an Optician, to create “Chris Miller Games” (CMG™), and design his first table-top RPG: ANKUR - kingdom of the gods.
The game focuses on two worlds; Nibiru (the collective name of the planet Nibir and its 4 moons) and Ki (Earth). They are forever linked by ancient cataclysmic events that shaped both worlds. Nibir, a wandering planetoid originally from the "Bow star" Sirius, entered our system and collided with Ki nearly 4 billion years ago. This event created the asteroid belt, and gave Ki it's current axial tilt and rate of spin. Due to this mingling, Ki was left with two moons and assumed its current orbit around the sun (Nuru-Zal). Nibir was sent hurtling into the void along a 3,600 year elliptical orbit around both suns of this binary "Zalar" system; Nuru-Zal & Etu-Zal. Yes, like most star systems, our sun also has a counterpart called Etu-Zal. It is a brown dwarf about 539 AU from Nuru-Zal and is virtually invisible from Ki (Earth). Both worlds developed life sustaining properties but every 3,600 years they would once again come near one another; causing planetary upsets.
Approximately 1 million years ago, Nibir's planetary core started to slow its rate of spin and Nibir's magnetic field began to wane. It's thick atmosphere began to disperse, giving the planet the appearance of having fiery wings. The once active volcanism and geothermal activity which sustained life on the planet began to calm. It was discovered that Manna (mono-atomic gold powder), if dispersed into the upper atmosphere, could generate the magnetic field necessary and insulate the planet.
The beings of Nibiru (known as Nibru-ene) found gold very plentiful on Ki, and established several mining colonies for its extraction and conversion into Manna. The Nibru-ene workers began to notice changes while on Ki. Differences between the torsion fields of the two planets, generated by each planet's magnetic core, caused Nibru-ene workers who spent long periods of time on Ki to experience shortened life spans. This combined with the back-breaking work of gold extraction, caused the workers of Nibiru to revolt. It was decided to genetically create a species of slaves to do the labor using primitive hominids existing on Ki. Thus the Lu-ki (Earth-men) were born!
30,000 years ago, Ki's second and smallest moon, drifted out of orbit causing cataclysmic floods worldwide. The presence of two moons had kept the sea level around the equator over 400 feet higher than today. Once the gravitational force of the second moon was lost, a tsunami of of biblical proportions washed over the entire planet. It was known as the Great flood or the Deluge. Though much was destroyed, the Lords of Nibiru have since rebuilt great cities on Ki and have once again resumed mining operations. As for the original slaves, few survived the flood. However, though Lu-ki life cycles are short, they breed quickly. In the five thousand years since the flood, mankind has become plentiful once more.
The Nibru-ene created beings of great variety in order to accommodate different tasks. There are five player character species and many more non-playable NPC species to discover. ANKUR is a world where Yeti porters and pygmy nomads walk the streets among Neanderthal soldiers and cone-headed scribes. ANKUR is a melting pot of species and ideas. The "gods" of antiquity are real and lead the populace from their fortress-like Ziggurats. Prehistoric animals, remnants of the time before the great flood, still roam the countryside.
Seen everywhere in the ANKUR game world is the duality of life. Stark contrasts exist between the primitive and the high tech. Warriors clad in animal skins sit astride pre-historic creatures, while carrying ray guns. Scribes may use an abacus to tally market sales and then broadcast the results via wireless radio. Air travel, though expensive, is common and incorporate a strange and wonderful variety of Vimanas to shuttle people and cargo from city to city. A system of "wire-less energy" is transmitted by pyramids located in all major cities. Any electronic device, including airships, will function within their radius. This obviously increases the desirability and power of the city-states that control them.
Religion & the Spirit world:
The characters of ANKUR have a deeper understanding of meta-physics than we do today. They view the paranormal as observable aspects of reality. Though the creators of the Lu-ki are referred to as "gods", they are not divine. In fact, there is no "magic" in ANKUR. Aliens and even human kind, may have psionic abilities and use highly advanced technology that to primitive peoples are seen as magic, but everything has a logical, worldly explanation. The characters of ANKUR may be required to produce gold for the "gods", or tithe to them, some may even show appreciation in the form of offerings, but there is no organized religion as we know it today. Most are aware, through psionic and technological observations, of a "spirit world".
It is generally believed this realm of light is a dimension that exists simultaneously yet ethereally with this one. It surrounds our universe and is in contact with every point in time and space at once. All "souls" originate from there and return there in death. In this realm exists only light, and in this light is stored the sum of all knowledge; past, present, and future. When you are asleep, in a meditative trance or near death, your brain waves change to a frequency very near that of the ethereal world and the veil becomes thin. Psionicists attain their "powers" by tapping into this collective hive mind of souls.
The beings of Nibiru believe that if there is a "god" (known to them only as the great spirit), it is this collective consciousness. In a sense, they believe that god "IS" the universe and we are all physical manifestations of that universe created in an attempt to understand itself. Pretty deep stuff, but whatever your character chooses to believe, psionic powers, ghosts and other forms of dangerous intelligent entities do exist in the ANKUR game world. In fact, its even possible upon character death to continue playing as a ghost, zombie or vampire!
D12: Ankur uses a twelve-sided die for conflict resolution rather than a twenty-sided die. A "D12" is rolled to attack or defend during combat as well as to determine any skill success.
APN: This stands for "Action-Potential-Number". Any time you want to attack or make a skill check, add the appropriate Aptitude score to your skill circle number; the result is your "APN". In order to make a successful attack or skill roll, the object is to roll your D12 and score equal to or lower than your APN. A roll of a 1 is always a success (but not a crit) and a roll of 12 is always a "critical failure". In order to score a "critical success", you must roll your exact APN. Virtually all forms of conflict resolution involve an APN or Action Potential Number.
Stats and their range: In ANKUR ability stats are referred to as "Aptitudes". There are 8 Aptitudes in ANKUR that exemplify a character's innate abilities (5 physical & 3 mental). The 8 Aptitudes are: Brawn, Agility, Perception, Toughness, Speed, Intellect, Influence, and Spirit. In the ANKUR game world, all Aptitude scores range from 1 to 5 (1 = Below Average, 2 = Average, 3 = Above average, 4 = Heroic, 5 = Divine) . Some characters have minimum or maximum Aptitude requirements. Any character may spend experience points to increase Aptitude scores, but no player character may possess an Aptitude higher than 5. Some creatures and non-player characters however, may have Aptitudes above 5.
Morality:In the game world of ANKUR™, there are three categories of moral/ethical behavior that helps to define their character’s ethos: Neutral, Righteous, and Wicked. Each player must choose one morality category that best fits their character concept. In addition to being a moral compass for role-play, each morality type has it’s own special ability unique to characters of that morality.
Karma points: For every action, there is an equal, but opposite reaction. Karma represents cause, and effect. Its the Yin, and Yang. It is the metaphysical manifestation of the belief that "what goes around comes around". Each player will be given a number of karma points equal to their Spirit Aptitude score at the start of each game session. These points can be cashed in during game play in exchange for a positive change in action outcome. Karma points can be used in several ways:
1 karma point:re-roll any one failed action, or to reduce incoming damage by 1 wound per Karma point applied.
2 karma points: one automatic action success.
3 karma points: one automatic critical success.
However, there are two sides to every coin; and so, there are repercussions to using karma points to tip the balance. Every time a karma point is used by a PC, it is then given to the GM, and thereafter, becomes a "bad karma" point that can be invoked by the GM at any time to cause: re-rolls, auto failures, and critical failures of successful PC actions.
Levels: ANKUR doesn't use the concept of "Class Levels", it does however incorporate "Skill Levels" called "Circles". There are 9 possible circles of ability a character can aspire to attain in each skill. All starting character skills start at 1st circle ability. Attaining the 9th circle of ability in any skill indicates skill mastery. Skill circles are advanced by spending experience points. The cost of increasing a skill by one circle is determined by the character's Intellect Aptitude score; the more Intellect you are, the faster you learn. Each circle of ability adds to the character's chances of success with that skill.
Skills: In ANKUR, you learn by doing and improve by doing often. Skills increase in circles of ability with experience. A character's starting EXP determines the number of starting skill points, while Intelligence determines the cost of skills. Skills come in two variety: Complex skills and Simple skills. Complex skills are more expensive to learn, may have pre-requisites, and can only be learned by members of the same caste. Simple skills are less expensive and easy to learn. Any simple skill can also be learned by means of Trial & Error. It costs double the training cost, but if you try something enough times you will become proficient in it.
Experience: This is a very important part of game design that I never felt was handled well in most games. We've all been witness to a party of adventurers spending an entire day in the woods killing wild boar in order to improve their non-combat skills, or the character who's only reason for entering a town is to engage in "Hobo killing" so they can level up and get that new mount. Never mind the unmitigated slaughter, but the rewards for that slaughter haven't traditionally made sense! Why should killing things make you a better blacksmith? or make a mount or familiar suddenly appear? In an attempt to create some semblance of reality and fairness in game play, I've decided there should be three different kinds of experience in the ANKUR rpg: Martial, Scholastic, and Spiritual. Experience points will be given out according to the nature of each encounter. If you kill a bunch of people, you can only spend the experience points earned on advancing martial skills or physical Aptitudes. A scribe who gains experience through combat, can not use that experience to further their reading/writing skills etc. Irhandi gain "spiritual" experience through use of their psionic abilities, but other characters can gain spiritual experience points by having a near death experience (0 HP) or by successfully using Spirit based skills and saves.
Toughness: ALL objects (living or inanimate) have a toughness threshold number which determines the object’s ability to cause and/or resist damage. This toughness threshold must be beat in order to damage the object. Damage need not come merely from physical attacks, but encompasses any form of degradation; including exposure to elements, and the passage of time etc. The toughness of inanimate objects is determined by several factors: material hardness, thickness or weight of material, and quality of construction (see crafting for details). The toughness of living creatures is equal to their Toughness Aptitude. Toughness comparisons are used to determine the fate of endangered objects/characters. The Toughness numbers of an attack/damaging effect are compared to the armor and/or physical Toughness of the defending target. In a basic Toughness comparison between any two objects, the object with the highest Toughness number wins. The lower of the two Toughness scores is subtracted from the higher, and the difference determines the amount of damage suffered by the loser. Inflicted wounds are subtracted from a character’s Toughness Aptitude. If your Toughness Aptitude ever reaches zero, you are mortally wounded.
Wounds: For every 5 points of attacking Toughness above the defending Toughness, the defender/defending object suffers 1 wound.
There are five player character species available to choose from in the ANKUR role-playing game: Adamu (humans), Enkidu (Yeti), Gurmah (Neanderthals), Balu (pygmys), and Mahdi (Cone-heads). All of these species are indigenous to "Ki" (the name for Earth in the ANKUR game world). Collectively these species are all referred to as "Lu-ki" (Earth-men) or "Lu-lu" (man-men), the later being a derogatory term denoting their creation by other beings. Some 400,000 years in the past, an Alien species from the planet "Nibir" in the far reaches of the solar system, came to Ki to exploit its resources.
The "Nibru-ene" (the people of Nibir and its moons) genetically altered the existing hominids of Ki to create several species of workers, which were used to mine gold for the production of priceless Manna. Various breeds of Lu-ki were created with specific tasks or environments in mind. In the beginning these primitive beings hardly resembled their masters. Along with this ever growing population of free labor grew discontent among the Nibru-ene working class, who were forced to work in ever harsher conditions for ever decreasing pay in order to compete with the productivity of the slave population.
To make matters worse, the virtually immortal Nibru-ene, began to live shorter lifespans while on Ki. Worker strikes followed by civil war created a need for more intelligent and more dexterous slaves to replace the disgruntled Nibru-ene workforce. As these Aliens mixed higher and higher percentages of their own genes with that of the Lu-ki, not only did the Lu-ki begin to look more like their masters, but the new species of Lu-ki acquired something unexpected; a sense of free will. Many of the Nibru-ene resented the decision to create these creatures in their own image and to grant them knowledge once held sacred; calling them abominations.
It was thus decided by Anu, Emperor of the Zal system, that the Lu-ki were to do ALL manual labor on Ki, but were forever banned from traveling to Nibir. The various Guilds of Nibir would no longer have competition from the Lu-ki slaves on their home world, and only Nibru-ene volunteers would be stationed on Ki with short rotations. In the thousands of years to follow, the Lu-ki progressed from simple laborers to ever more important duties; house servants, body guards, soldiers, scribes, mechanics and even psionicists. At present, nearly the entire workforce of Ki is made up of Lu-ki species, though they are still governed by their god-like creators; the Nibru-ene, who also became known as "Dingir" or the Divine and mighty people.
Ankur uses a Caste system in lieu of "Classes", though in game terms they function the same. There are seven character Castes to choose from: Garradum (Soldier), Dubsar (Scribe), Lagaru (Healer), Barbaru (Scout), Shidim (Engineer), Naru (Entertainer), and Irhandi (Psionicist). ANKUR's "Classes" do not have levels. Realistically, most societies of antiquity used a caste system, so it made sense to us it in the ANKUR game world. A character's caste is more than just their profession, its their social standing within the game world, a fraternity of peers and the foundation of their morals and beliefs. All characters are taken from their parents at age 7 or 8 by a scribal official or village elder known as a "Sheshgal" or "Selector", and handed over to the selected caste guild house for life path training. This is known as "Zusik", the "plucking time". Before departure, the child undergoes a ritual of aptitude tests and symbolism called "Ngir-kur-dab"; meaning: "to take the unfamiliar path".
Once at their destined guild, they spend the next ten years apprenticing in their trade. More than just a profession, the character's caste becomes a way of life, forming lasting impressions both physically and mentally. Caste guilds focus on comradeship and loyalty to the guild, the city-state and patron deity. In many cases generations of family members serve in the same caste, carrying on family traditions and honor. "The caste makes the man". Rather than having minimum aptitude requirements for character classes, each caste gives aptitude modifiers based on the caste's primary functions. Characters train their entire lives to perform a specific skills set and are molded by their activities. They become suited to their tasks. Soldiers tend to be stronger, Scribes tend to become more intelligent etc.
ANKUR doesn't use class-based "Levels", rather, a character's skills are measured in levels called skill circles. There are nine circles of ability one can attain in a skill. Each circle increases the probability of success. There are no "multi-class" options in ANKUR, but any character may learn any simple skill (inter or outer caste related) by a specific set of trial & error rules. Changing castes altogether is almost unimaginable due to the high emphasis placed on loyalty, but can be done if a player desires a change. In this case, all previous caste skills will be reduced in ability by half. "If you don't use it, you lose it". The first circle of ability in all new caste skills will cost double experience points to purchase, but thereafter, costs return to normal. This simulates a period of unfamiliarity while trying to grasp new concepts.
Each caste receives a +1 bonus to a caste appropriate Aptitude. Players are given two choices of Aptitudes to pick from. Each Aptitude option exemplifies a different aspect of the same caste. This is a one-time bonus chosen at character creation and is not available to characters who change castes.
If you want to increase your pledge and add-on rewards simply go to "manage pledge" and increase the amount. Also send me a message detailing what you want.
6 Game World maps in PDF format = $6
Set of six poster-sized maps of game world = $30
Official Ankur T-shirt in sizes Small - 5XL = $20
ACTIVATED - Character sheet pdf for all backers
ACTIVATED - 4 one-sheet Adventures for all GM and VIP pledgers
Risks and challenges
This is admittedly my first kickstarter project. If you check my profile, you'll see that I've only supported one other project in the past. It was Larry Elmore's art compilation book, and that was only because he was going to do some work on this game. I'm also doing everything alone. I'm the designer, writer, editor, marketer etc. But to help put your mind and wallet at ease, let me tell you that I have dedicated my life to this project and will not/cannot quit at this point. The core rules book is all but finished, but it needs to be professionally edited, formatted with Adobe Indesign and sent to a publisher. I have already contacted companies regarding the various tangible rewards offered, and received samples and price quotes. I also researched shipping weights and costs for each pledge package and feel they are as accurate as they can be. I feel confident my products will be delivered on time and meet expected standards, but of course any number of issues may arise. If/when they do, they will be handled to the best of my ability.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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