In a world of dark fantasy and perilous adventure, the forces of evil have triumphed. Those who remain uncorrupted by wickedness must rely upon monsters to fight against the darkness. Witches have ruled the land since the last battles of conquest, but their Grand Coven has been sundered, leaving behind remnants of a once-mighty army. The remnants of the horde include captured citizens of the conquered nations that fought as the Witches’ shock troops.
These are the Accursed—the Witchmarks burned into their flesh and souls transformed these men and women into monstrous forms. Now, unable to return to their former lives, the Accursed wander the land, giving aid to those in need in an attempt to atone for past sins. Some have joined the Order of the Penitent, an organization devoted to ridding the world of the Witches and their evil influence. Others offer their skills as warriors, alchemists, and spies to the highest bidder. Yet others have succumbed to corruption, greed, or insanity.
Light has failed, darkness is ascendant—only those bearing the forms of monsters can stand against the tide of the Witches’ evil. The Accursed are this world’s only hope—they must learn to embrace their curse or to fight against it, and find some way to free themselves forever of their Witchmark.
This is the world of Accursed.
"...you secretly slipped Ravenloft some PCP."
-Abstruse of AICN Tabletop
Principle writing and editing on the Player's Guide to Accursed for Savage Worlds is already completed (and immediately available to backers!). Preliminary artwork has already been received. We've begun the process of laying out the book. However, we'd really like to be able to upgrade the artwork that's going into the project. We're lucky to have top tier talent willing to work with us, and we want to be able to compensate them to the best of our ability. That's why we need funding.
As things currently stand, Melior Via cannot afford to purchase enough artwork to bring this up to the quality that we think is necessary for a RPG setting of this caliber. With a successful crowd funding campaign, we can use our artistic contacts to make a world-class product.The initial funding goal includes the costs for artwork, graphic design, promotional materials, and assorted miscellaneous fees.
We plan to produce the core ebook in two different formats. The Player's Guide to Accursed is a 96-page, 8.5" x 11" book, which includes information about the game world and the rules to create a character for the Savage Worlds Game system. The full Accursed Core Setting book incorporates everything from The Player's Guide and adds an additional 48 pages of setting secrets and adventure material, including a Plot Point Campaign, to bring the book to 144 pages. In either case, the book will feature a color interior with attractive page design and great illustrations. The document will make use of PDF layer functionality so that graphic elements can be turned off to print more economically.
"We're talking Hansel & Gretel, Witch Hunters meets Van Helsing by way of Rippers and Castlevania, and I am stoked as hell about that."
-Sean Patrick Fannon, Creator of Shaintar
We're focused on producing the best possible gaming experience that we can for our backers and everyone that participates in a game of Accursed. The creative team has experience with designing settings, making rules, and directing artwork. Unfortunately, we are not experienced at packaging and shipping large volumes of product. Because of that, we plan to partner with DriveThruRPG to handle the fulfillment of all of our printed products. Our project is focused on creating the ebooks and other electronic materials. Backers who wish to obtain physical rewards will have access to them, but that will require an additional expense on their part (see Ordering Hardcopies below).
Backers should please note that the December delivery date is for the Accursed for Savage Worlds ebook. Stretch goal ebooks are certain to require additional time for completion. The time frame on those is going to vary based upon the number of stretch goals achieved, the number of creators involved, and sundry other factors. We aim to have everything done by Summer of 2014, but in the interests of full disclosure, it is possible that things could become delayed if the workload exceeds our expectations.
Witchmarked - $10 - At our base pledge level, backers receive immediate access to the in progress draft of the Accursed Player's Guide through Backers Only Update #1. When it is complete, backers receive a PDF copy of the Accursed Player's Guide for Savage Worlds. This includes game world information and the rules necessary to create a character. You have the option of having your name, your characters name, or your company name included in a special thanks section of the PDF.
Accursed - $20 – As Witchmarked, plus receive a PDF copy of Accursed for Savage Worlds. This includes all of the material in the Player's Guide, as well as information on running a campaign in the setting. Including additional background information on the Witches, their Banes, a plot point campaign, and short adventure hooks.
Accursed Scroll - $30 – As Accursed, plus receive access to order one Print on Demand copy of Accursed from DriveThruRPG.com priced at manufacturing costs. Those costs are likely to be roughly $5 - $15 depending upon the print and binding quality you select. (MSRP on this book will be $40 - $50.) You will still need to pay for the manufacturing costs and the shipping fees. (See Ordering Hardcopies for more details.)
Chosen Accursed - $50 – As Accursed Scroll, plus backers receive four of the stretch goal ebooks created for this project. (They can choose any four.) As of 10/7/13, there are exactly four stretch goal ebooks unlocked.
Champion Accursed - $75 – As Accursed Scroll, plus backers receive all of the stretch goal ebooks created for this project (5 are currently unlocked) as well as the full library of existing Melior Via ebooks, including products from our range of Hope Preparatory School ebooks. (A total of 16 existing products, with a retail value of more than $60.) We will reveal additional titles as stretch goals are achieved. Currently, backers at this level receive 21 bonus ebooks.
Defender of Morden - $125 - As Champion Accursed, plus the backer receives a ticket for one player to participate in a world-altering, epic, four hour game session of Accursed run by one of the creators at Gen Con Indy 2014. This game session may include up to six total players. This pledge level does NOT include transportation, admission, or accommodations for the convention. Any backers who wish to purchase more than one ticket for this event (or add a ticket to another pledge level) must message the project creator on Kickstarter so that we can clarify add-on pricing and reduce the number of available tickets at this backer level.
The August 2014 delivery date is for the game session only. Other backer rewards will be sent as with the Champion Accursed level.
Ranger of Morden - $150 - As Champion Accursed, plus one of the creators will run a game of Accursed (or any other RPG they have worked on) for the backer and his or her gaming group using Skype, Google Hangout, or another mutually agreeable chat interface. This session may include up to a total of six players. The June 2014 delivery date is for the game session only, and is intended to be a generous estimate. Our hope is to run the game in the first quarter of 2014, subject to the availability of all players involved. Other backer rewards will be sent as with the Champion Accursed level.
Any backers at other pledge levels who wish to have the creators run an on-line game for them and their group must message the project creator on Kickstarter so that we can clarify add-on pricing and reduce the number of available tickets for this backer level.
Witch Foe - $200 - As Champion Accursed, plus backers get to create an official piece of the Accursed setting! This canon location may either be a town somewhere in Morden or one of the islands in the Discordian Sea. You will work with the creators to bring another piece of Accursed to life. The officially recognized location will either appear in the setting book or one of the stretch goals in text and on a map. Melior Via does retain all copyright to the text.
The March delivery date operates under the assumption that the location would appear in one of the stretch goal creations. If we are able to instead put the location in the setting book, then delivery would be in December. Other backer rewards will be sent as with the Champion Accursed level.
Witch Bane - $250 - As Champion Accursed, plus the backer gets to create an important personality in the Accursed setting! You get to design a non-player character, one of the movers and shakers in the world of Morden. Is he a friend or foe? You get to decide! In addition, your character will get his own illustration in the setting book, where he appears. You will be provided with high resolution version of the image created, though Melior Via does retain all copyright to the image and text.
The delivery date operates under the assumption that the character would appear in the setting book. If the character needs to appear in a stretch goal book, delivery will be delayed until that product is completed.
Bane of the Coven - $500 - As Champion Accursed, plus the creators of the Accursed setting will personally design an adventure for you and your gaming group! The adventure will be at least 12 pages in length, though Melior Via does retain all copyright to the images and text used.
The March 2014 delivery date is for the adventure only. Other backer rewards will be sent as with the Champion Accursed level.
Curse Maker - $1,000 - As Champion Accursed, plus the backer gets to work with the creative team to introduce a new Witch and associated Witchbreed to the setting. Your Witch and the Accursed will both have full write-ups and unique illustrations in the setting book. We'll send you a high resolution digital file of the illustrations as well as a digital print of each. Melior Via does retain all copyright to the image and text.
None of our backer levels include physical copies of the material we're producing. If you're just looking for the PDF versions of the books, then this section need not concern you. However, if you do want a printed copy, this part is VERY IMPORTANT. Once the Kickstarter concludes, we will finish up the last few bits of development, including final artwork, integration of playtest feedback, and anything else that crops up. After the PDF of the main book is sent out to backers, we will commission print on demand proofs through DriveThruRPG. The creative team will review the proofs, and once they meet our satisfaction, we will turn on access to backers. (We plan to show photos or video of the different printing and binding options as well.) At this time, backers at the Accursed Scroll level or higher will be able to visit DriveThruRPG.com to purchase the print copy of the book at varying levels of binding and printing quality. The printing cost will be roughly another $5 to $16 depending upon the quality level the backer desires. (MSRP for these books will be $40 - $50, depending upon binding and print quality.) An additional shipping cost is also incurred at this point. That is typically ~$5 for US backers, and typically ranges from ~$5 to ~$12 for international backers, depending upon the availability of local printing facilities. (There is one located in the UK.)
Thanks to the support of the Kickstarter community, we have already unlocked several stretch goals for the Accursed Kickstarter. Of course, we would love to unlock more so that we can share the game world in an ever-expanding way. These are the goals that we've announced and are still working toward. The ones we've already achieved are listed below them.
$25,000 (Funded + $15,000) If we achieve this level of funding, accomplished game designer Owen K.C. Stephens will create a Pathfinder system conversion for Accursed. The completed conversion will be a standalone product, including the same material presented in the Savage Worlds version of the core rules. Like the Savage Worlds version, The Pathfinder edition of Accursed will be available as PDF or Print on Demand through DriveThruRPG. If we achieve this level of funding, backers at the Accursed level or higher will be able to elect to receive the Pathfinder version in place of the Savage Worlds version. Backers who wish to receive both may select it as an add-on purchase or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher. Please note that there are likely to be several months between the release of the Savage Worlds edition and the Pathfinder edition, as we'll want to make certain that we have ample time to complete a thorough playtest. (Backers who choose this version will be able to participate in the playtest.)
$28,000 (Funded + $18,000) The core creative team will create a second setting sourcebook. This will focus on another two of the world's nations. As with the previous setting sourcebook, this will contain additional material that could not fit into the core setting book, including new banes, new character options, and more adventure hooks. This is available as an add-on purchase or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher. If we reach this funding level, we will also open up two additional slots for creating NPCs in the setting.
$30,000 (Funded + $20,000) National bestselling author, Phaedra Weldon will write a novella that takes place within the Accursed setting. he novella will be available in PDF, .mobi, and .epub formats, so that you can easily enjoy it on your ereader of choice. This is available as an add-on purchase or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher.
Objectives Achieved!UNLOCKED! $10,000 - Sean Patrick Fannon, best known for his work on the Shaintar Savage Worlds setting, will create an ebook adventure for the Accursed setting. This is available as an add-on purchase ($5) or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher.
UNLOCKED! $10,000 - Rich Baker, most recently known for his Primeval Thule setting, will create an ebook adventure for the Accursed setting. This is available as an add-on purchase ($5) or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher.
UNLOCKED! $12,000 (Funded + $2,000) All of the artwork can be full color. All backers receiving the Players Guide or Core Setting directly benefit from this level.
UNLOCKED! $13,000 (Funded + $3,000) Andy Chambers, will draft the introductory fiction for the setting book. Andy is best known for his work on Warhammer 40,000, Dust Warfare, Starship Troopers Miniatures Game, and Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. He's also written short stories and novels for Black Library. All backers receiving the Players Guide or Core Setting directly benefit from this level.
UNLOCKED! $15,000 (Funded + $5,000) Mel Odom will write a novella that takes place within the Accursed setting. The novella will be available in PDF, .mobi, and .epub formats, so that you can easily enjoy it on your ereader of choice. This is available as an add-on purchase or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher.
UNLOCKED! $17,000 (Funded + $7,000) An accomplished group of game developers will each contribute a Savage Worlds 1-sheet adventure to the project. The four adventures will be combined into a single .PDF file, which can be chosen as an add-on purchase ($5) or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher.
The authors involved in this stretch goal are:
- Shane Hensley, president of Pinnacle Entertainment Group, is best known as the creator of Deadlands and Savage Worlds.
- Adam Jury , co-owner of Posthuman Studios, is best known for his work on Eclipse Phase and Shadowrun.
- Colin McComb, is the Creative Lead for Torment: Tides of Numenera at inXile Entertainment. He's also known for his work on Planescape and Birthright.
- Sean Preston, founder of Reality Blurs, is best known as the creator of Tremulus, RunePunk, Iron Dynasty, and Agents of Oblivion.
UNLOCKED! $20,000 (Funded + $10,000) A pair of authors have agreed to collaborate on a sourcebook for Accursed. The sourcebook will be available in .PDF format, and can be chosen as an add-on purchase ($5) or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher.
The authors involved in this stretch goal are:
- Chris Avellone is best known for his work on Planescape: Torment, Fallout 2, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, Fallout: New Vegas, and Torment: Tides of Numenera.
- George Ziets is best known for his work on Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer, Fallout: New Vegas, and Torment: Tides of Numenera.
UNLOCKED! $22,000 (Funded + $12,000) Fantasy author Richard Lee Byers will write a novella that takes place within the Accursed setting. The novella will be available in PDF, .mobi, and .epub formats, so that you can easily enjoy it on your ereader of choice. This will be available as an add-on purchase or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher.
UNLOCKED! 400 Backer Bonus Goal! - Using the artwork from the book, we'll produce a special Accursed poker deck. This will be available as an electronic file to backers who choose to purchase it as an add-on. It will also be available as a print on demand deck from DriveThruCards. Note that the final version will have rounded corners. Backers who receive this award will be able to order the deck of cards paying only the costs of manufacturing (~$5.25) and applicable shipping. This is available as an add-on purchase or as one of the stretch goal selections for backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level or higher.
UNLOCKED! 450 Backer Bonus Goal! - We'll expand the poker deck so that backers can order 4-suit or 6-suit versions. The two new suits are Red Drops and Black Moons, which reflect elements of the Witchbreeds our Curse Maker backers have created.
We have many additional stretch goals planned out. In fact, our plans currently extend to over $100,000. However, we need to hold a few cards closer to our chest for now. We'll release additional information about them as we get closer to reaching them. Please keep checking back at the Kickstarter and our blog to watch as the campaign progresses.
Backers at the Accursed Scroll ($30) level or below do not automatically receive additional products that are created as stretch goals for this project. Because of this, they may wish to increase their pledge level to add-on the additional products. Please be aware that backers at the Chosen Accursed ($50) level receive four unlocked stretch goals automatically (their choice of which 4). Backers at the Champion Accursed ($75) level receive one of each unlocked stretch goal.
All add-ons are currently priced at $5 each. The following add-ons have been announced. Please be aware that all of these are for electronic products. Print versions will be made available, where that is feasible:
- Sean Patrick Fannon authored adventure ($5 - Already unlocked)
- Rich Baker authored adventure ($5 - Already unlocked)
- Mel Odom authored Novella ($5 - Already unlocked)
- Four pack of 1-sheets ($5 - Already unlocked)
- Accursed Poker Deck ($5 - Already unlocked)
- Zeits / Avellone authored sourcebook ($5 - Already unlocked)
- Richard Lee Byers authored Novella ($5 - Already unlocked)
- Owen K. C. Stephens Pathfinder conversion ($5 - Unlocks at $25,000 pledged)
Making an add-on purchases is pretty straightforward. Just click on the green and white "Manage My Pledge" button. Then, don't change your reward selection, but increase the amount you're backing by the price of the add-ons that you'd like to include.
For example, if you were backing at the $10 level, getting just the player's guide, and you decided you also wanted the adventure that Rich Baker is writing, you'd increase your pledge level to $15, but still keep the $10 reward.
After the Kickstarter closes, we'll send around a survey. On that, there will be questions where backers can indicate if they've added on extra money and what that money was for.
Ross Watson is an award-winning game designer with more than 50 RPG books under his belt, many as Lead Developer for the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay line. He was a core developer on the Dust Warfare and Shadowrun: Sprawl Gangers miniature game teams, and the lead writer for the Darksiders II console and PC game. He has written or contributed to books for 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, and Malifaux: Through the Breach. Ross consults with companies on narrative, design, development, and IP management issues.
Jason Marker has been writing for the traditional games industry since 1999. In that time he’s worked for Palladium Books, both as a freelancer and a full-time staff writer, Fantasy Flight Games, Third-Eye Games, Melior Via, and Catalyst Game Labs. When not writing about spaceships or the vagaries of the games industry, Jason keeps house, raises his daughter, plays in a guerrilla brass band, shoots pictures, shoots guns, shoots bourbon, shoots his mouth off, rides motorcycles, and plays a hell of a lot of games.
John Dunn's been active in the RPG community since the early '90s as an author for RPGA convention scenarios and later as the coordinator for the Shadowrun Missions ongoing campaign. In more recent years, his focus has shifted to work as a freelance writer and game developer. He's worked with Fantasy Flight Games, Pinnacle Entertainment Group, Catalyst Game Labs, and Wyrd Games. He is also owner and lead developer for Melior Via, LLC, publisher of Hope Preparatory School and Accursed.
The team members have designed role-playing games for many properties, including Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, Shadowrun, Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay, Robotech, and Malifaux: Through the Breach. We have decades of experience working in the gaming industry and we’re very excited about bringing a new twist on dark fantasy RPGs to life. The three of us are bringing our combined creativity, experience, and passion to the project.
Please be aware that we have been blogging about Accursed for a little while now. If you need more information about the world, please take a look through our blog entries. By all means, get a handle on the material before you pledge. We also post links to new updates on our Facebook page and on Twitter.
- Character and cover artwork by Alberto Bontempi.
- Graphic Design by Kevin Childress.
- Cartography by Jeff Preston.
- Video by River Valley Films.
- Video music courtesy of Lorenguard
In addition to Alberto, Kevin, and Jeff, we have agreements in place with several other artists to work on the project. Their involvement is, of course, dependent upon us reaching our funding goals. Artists who have already committed to providing us artwork include:
After the Kickstarter
We're putting this in shortly before the Kickstarter closes, because the story cannot be edited after it does so. Thank you to everyone who backed the project, especially those who helped us to promote it by spreading the word about our setting. We're simply blown away by the fantastic support that we have received. Thank you for your outpouring of enthusiasm and generosity.
We'll be hard at work acquiring artwork, collaborating with backers at special pledge levels, and incorporating the playtest feedback that we've received. We have every reason to believe that our projected deadlines should be achieved. We will keep you informed about them as things progress.
In the meantime, some people may want to join the project after it closes. If that's you, please drop an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll try to do our best to accommodate you, though funds from any backers that join after things close on 10/13/13 will not count toward achieving stretch goals. We also won't have a clear-cut way of demonstrating if limited pledge rewards have sold out (and may not have time to create some of them as time before the final release runs low).
Risks and challenges
The biggest challenge with getting any RPG completed is getting the actual work done. We have already completed the principal writing on most of the book. Using the resources of our core creatives, the remaining writing should be completed in conjunction with playtesting shortly after the completion of this Kickstarter. The other requirement is the interior artwork for the remainder of the book. While we do have some of that in-hand, we need the funding from this project to secure the remainder. Our artists have already given us verbal agreements, but we need funding before either side can commit to the contracts. Once those contracts are done, we expect the work to flow smoothly.
If either writers or artists encounter problems with deadlines, we have enough contacts (and resources from this Kickstarter) to reach out to other freelancers to finish the job. If something catastrophic were to happen to one of the core creatives, either of the other two would be more than capable of wrapping the project.
Printing can be a challenge, for those seeking hard copies of our products. To overcome this challenge, we are working with a world class organization in DriveThruRPG. We have created print-ready PDFs in the past, and we are confident that their expertise will be sufficient to produce great products from those files. We are confident that we can obtain proofs from them in a timely fashion that will be up to the high expectations of our backers. Once those are approved, production is just a matter of flipping a switch.
- (30 days)