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A Tabletop RPG setting about police officers overcoming paranormal threats in Detroit, MI. Uses Savage Worlds rules.
A Tabletop RPG setting about police officers overcoming paranormal threats in Detroit, MI. Uses Savage Worlds rules.
A Tabletop RPG setting about police officers overcoming paranormal threats in Detroit, MI. Uses Savage Worlds rules.
297 backers pledged $10,186 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Thin Blue Line: A Detroit Police Story

$10,186

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Calamity brews in Detroit. Paranormal activity is on the rise. An angry spirit, a dangerous creature, or a pack of desperate cultists hides under every sewer cover and within every abandoned building. Corktown has a secret, though. Its crew of supposed washouts are either psychics or have encountered the paranormal. The officers of Corktown Precinct stand between the city and paranormal onslaught. These damaged, over-worked, and under-paid officers must keep paranormal activity in Detroit under wraps and out of sight. No mean feat in a city as old, large, and haunted as Detroit. Corktown officers face constant threats from mundane crime, paranormal forces, as well as their inner demons and growing madness.

Do they have what it takes? Can they stand against the growing threats, or will they be consumed, along with the city they guard? The Thin Blue Line is a modern horror setting for Savage Worlds tabletop role playing game.

After the Project Closes

In the fall of 2015, The Thin Blue Line: A Detroit Police Story will be available for purchase in ebook and Print on Demand format through DriveThruRPG, as well as standard specialty game distribution channels. In addition to the Kickstarter updates, we'll also be keeping people in the loop through our blog and facebook pages.

Principal writing and editing on the Player's Guide to The Thin Blue Line for Savage Worlds is already completed (and immediately available to backers in the first project update!). Preliminary artwork (including photographs, historical images, and "witness composites" as demonstrated throughout this page) has already been received. We've begun the process of laying out the book. However, we'd like to be able to maintain a high level of high quality artwork throughout 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 The Thin Blue Line is a 82-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 The Thin Blue Line Core Setting book incorporates everything from The Player's Guide and adds an additional 60 pages of setting secrets and adventure material, including a selection of characters, monsters, and case files (adventures), to bring the book to 142 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.

Please note that The Thin Blue Line: A Detroit Police Story is an Official Savage Worlds Licensed Product. It requires the core Savage Worlds rules as well as the Savage Worlds Horror Companion to play.

Abandoned Michigan Central Station
Abandoned Michigan Central Station

Pledge Level Chart

Beat Cop ($10)

At this level, Backers receive immediate access to the in progress draft of the Thin Blue Line Player's Guide (check Update #1 for the link!). When it is complete, you will receive a PDF copy of The Thin Blue Line Player's Guide for Savage Worlds (82 pages). This includes game world information and the rules necessary to create a character. You have the option of having your name included in a special thanks section of the setting PDF.

Corktown Officer ($20)

In addition to Beat Cop rewards, you receive a PDF copy of The Thin Blue Line for Savage Worlds (~140 pages). This will include all of the material in the Player's Guide, as well as information on running a campaign in the setting. The additional material will include information on important NPCs, a bestiary of Detroit’s paranormal threats, and a variety of different adventures and adventure hooks.

BONUS UNLOCKED: All Corktown Officer pledges and up receive a free PDF of Fabled Environments' Modern Dive Bar map!

Corktown Investigator ($25)

In addition to Corktown Officer rewards, you also receive access to order one Print on Demand copy of The Thin Blue Line from DriveThruRPG.com priced at production costs. You will still need to pay for the production costs and the shipping fees. (See Ordering Hardcopies below for more details.)

BONUS UNLOCKED: All Corktown Investigator pledges and up receive a free PDF of Melior Via's Accursed Player's Guide! (Backers who have already bought that PDF are upgraded to a PDF of Accursed!)

Corktown Lieutenant ($60)

In addition to the Corktown Investigator level, you receive our premium add-on package. This includes a Corktown Precinct Patch, two Corktown Precinct Dice, and a Poster Map of Detroit as presented in The Thin Blue Line for Savage Worlds. Please note, this add-on package is ONLY available to United States mailing addresses. Postage is included in the pledge.

Corktown Captain ($125)

In addition to the Corktown Lieutenant ($60) level, the backer receives an autographed hardcover print copy of The Thin Blue Line. Please note, this package is ONLY available to United States mailing addresses. Postage is included in the pledge.

Paranormal Entity ($250)

In addition to the Corktown Lieutenant ($60) level, you get to create an important personality in The Thin Blue Line setting! You get to design a non-player character, one of the movers and shakers in the city of Detroit. Is this person a friend or foe? You get to decide! In addition, your character will get an illustration in the setting book. You will be provided with a high resolution version of the image created along with a print of it, though Melior Via does retain all copyright to the image and text.

Rookie Ride-Along ($500)

In addition to the Corktown Commander ($125) level, you get a private tour of Detroit for you and a guest, including it's most haunted spots, given by Game Developer Jason Marker. Tour will last 6 hours on a mutually convenient Saturday. Backer must provide their own transportation to Detroit (and housing if necessary).

Le Nain Rouge (Witness Composite Sketch)
Le Nain Rouge (Witness Composite Sketch)

Our basic backer levels do not include physical copies of the print book 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 images of the different printing and binding options as well.) At this time, backers at the Corktown Investigator 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 $6 to $20 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 are print facilities in the US,  the UK, and other countries.)

Our premium backer levels ($125 and more) do include the highest quality level hardcover print book that DriveThruRPG produces. This incorporates their deluxe color on higher quality paper. At these levels, book autographs can also include personalization.

Governor Mason - Statue and Tomb
Governor Mason - Statue and Tomb

We have plans in place for a variety of stretch goals, though  we'd like to be a bit conservative about discussing them. We prefer to focus on funding the project before we make too many announcements. 

Stretch Goal #1 - $10,000

Chapter Six of the full setting book presents a range of characters and monsters that inhabit the setting's fictional take on Detroit. Le This includes prominent citizens, talent scouts, and a variety of paranormal threats. With our current art budget, all of artwork in this chapter will be Black and White, rendered in the style of witness composite sketches. If we achieve this stretch goal, all of the NPC illustrations will be upgraded to full color illustrations. Illustrations in Chapter Seven (Adventures) will also be upgraded to full color. This will directly benefit everyone purchasing the PDF or print version of the full setting book (all backers at $20 and up).

Stretch Goal #2 - $12,500

We've contacted a few of our friends, and asked them to help us out with this stretch goal. At $12,500 we'll include a set of five 1-Sheet adventures for all backers at the $20 level and up. These will be presented in a similar style to the 1-sheets that Melior Via has previously published for Accursed. Each is a standalone adventure, with enough content for a solid night's gaming. The authors who have agreed to create these 1-sheets are:

  • Josh Hilden: Josh is a writer of Role Playing Games, short stories, essays, poetry, novellas, and novels. While many of his works heavily feature zombies and the undead, he writes on broad range of topics.
  • David Jarvis: David's best known for his creation of the Interface Zero cyberpunk campaign setting for Savage Worlds. He's also hard at work on Codex Infernus, a sourcebook for integrating hell into your Savage setting. Something that seems like it could be a great complement for The Thin Blue Line.
  • Mack Martin: Mack was lead developer for Malifaux: Through the Breach from Wyrd Entertainment. He also worked as a developer on Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay from Fantasy Flight Entertainment. Mack's currently host of The Dice Decide podcast.
  • Jason Richards: Jason is best known for creating the Breachworld RPG setting, a post-apocalyptic, open-world, kitchen-sink, sandbox RPG, powered by Mini Six.
  • Ross Watson: Ross Watson is an award-winning game designer who worked on Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay, Accursed, Dust Warfare and Darksiders. Ross hosts the Gamer’s Tavern podcast, a weekly show focusing on games, gaming, and game design.
The Packard Plant
The Packard Plant

Bonus Goal #1 Achieved!!

Fabled Environments dropped us a line to let us know how excited they are about the Kickstarter and to offer us a little bit of help. If we can get to 200 Likes on The Thin Blue Line facebook page, they'll let us send out one of their maps to all backers at the $20 level and above. The page currently has 160 likes. If we can get 40 more, we'll achieve that goal. Then, everyone who backed at the $20 level and up will get a free PDF of their very cool Modern Dive Bar map. Just the place to find a dead body, interrogate a witness, or exorcise an intruding spirit.

Bonus Goal #2 Achieved!

If we can get to 250 likes on our facebook page, we'll give every backer at the $25 and up level a free copy of our Accursed Player's Guide PDF (a $10 value). Already own the Player's Guide? No worries. Just send us the Order Number from your purchase transaction on DriveThruRPG, and we'll send you a free copy of the full Accursed Setting PDF (a $20 value) instead. Already have both? Then we'll send a copy of the Player's Guide to a friend of your choosing. (We'll get the e-mail addresses and necessary info in our Kickstarter Backer Survey.)

Detroit Poster Map Print on Demand Coupon ($3 each)

DriveThruRPG will be printing our physical poster maps of Detroit (see below). However, Melior Via won't be shipping them outside of the United States. Backers who want one sent to the Rest of the World can choose this add on. When the map is available, we'll send a digital coupon so that you can buy it at cost (less than $1) + shipping (~$3, but please check with a test order) directly from DriveThruRPG. (Just like Ordering Hardcopies above.) Backers at any level can select this add-on.

Physical add-ons

We're doing a limited number of physical add-ons, which are only available to backers who are already receiving physical shipments from us (Corktown Lieutenant and above). These add-ons will only ship to US Mailing addresses. Please note that at the Corktown Lieutenant level, these are already included. This section is just in case someone wants additional copies.

Corktown Precinct Patch ($10 each)

This fully embroidered patch has a heat seal backing. It depicts the emblem and motto of the (fictional) Corktown Precinct. We have already obtained a prototype order of these. (1 patch is included in all Corktown Lieutenant and above pledge levels.) Please note that the patch is a Kickstarter exclusive. We will not be selling these later.

Corktown Precinct Die ($5 each)

The Corktown Precinct die is a satin blue six-sided die from Chessex, with the Corktown emblem engraved upon the 6-face. It makes a great wild die for Savage Worlds. (2 dice are included in all Corktown Lieutenant and above pledge levels.) Please note that the dice are a Kickstarter exclusive. We will not be selling these later.

Poster Map of Detroit ($5 each)

This 18" x 12" poster map is compiled from satellite imagery of Detroit and surrounding areas. It has been specifically modified to reflect changes between the real world and the game setting. The map is already included in the book and PDF versions, this printout is not split across two pages. It is also nicely sized for hanging on the precinct wall (IE, your game room), and tracking paranormal outbreaks. (1 map is included in all Corktown Lieutenant and above pledge levels.)

West Side Refineries
West Side Refineries
Melior Via successfully ran and fulfilled a Kickstarter for Accursed (a dark fantasy RPG setting for Savage Worlds) in 2013. We learned a great deal from the project, and we are using the lessons learned in undertaking this one.

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, Wyrd Games, Melior Via, and Catalyst Game Labs. When not writing about spaceships or the vagaries of the games industry, Jason keeps house, raises his daughters, 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, Modiphius Games, 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, 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 modern horror RPGs. Both of us are bringing our combined creativity, experience, and passion to the project.

Mikael Brodu (also known as Otaku Mike on many web boards) has been a graphic designer for nearly 20 years, and during that time has worked on magazines, websites, television, and many, many books. His most recent work includes the Thunderscape RPG from Kyoudai Games (both the Pathfinder and Savage Worlds iterations), several boardgames from Iello/Purple Brain (Shinobi Wat-Aah! and most games of the Tales & Games series), and of course A Thin Blue Line. He has also worked in the Shadowrun and Legend of the 5 Rings worlds as artist and writer.

Please be aware that we have been blogging about the Thin Blue Line 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.

Stretch Goal #1 - $10,000

Chapter Six of the full setting book presents a range of characters and monsters that inhabit the setting's fictional take on Detroit. Le This includes prominent citizens, talent scouts, and a variety of paranormal threats. With our current art budget, all of artwork in this chapter will be Black and White, rendered in the style of witness composite sketches. If we achieve this stretch goal, all of the NPC illustrations will be upgraded to full color illustrations. Illustrations in Chapter Seven (Adventures) will also be upgraded to full color. This will directly benefit everyone purchasing the PDF or print version of the full setting book (all backers at $20 and up).

Stretch Goal #2 - $12,500

We've contacted a few of our friends, and asked them to help us out with this stretch goal. At $12,500 we'll include a set of five 1-Sheet adventures for all backers at the $20 level and up. These will be presented in a similar style to the 1-sheets that Melior Via has previously published for Accursed. Each is a standalone adventure, with enough content for a solid night's gaming. The authors who have agreed to create these 1-sheets are:

Josh Hilden: Josh is a writer of Role Playing Games, short stories, essays, poetry, novellas, and novels. While many of his works heavily feature zombies and the undead, he writes on broad range of topics. David Jarvis: David's best known for his creation of the Interface Zero cyberpunk campaign setting for Savage Worlds. He's also hard at work on Codex Infernus, a sourcebook for integrating hell into your Savage setting. Something that seems like it could be a great complement for The Thin Blue Line. Mack Martin: Mack was lead developer for Malifaux: Through the Breach from Wyrd Entertainment. He also worked as a developer on Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay from Fantasy Flight Entertainment. Mack's currently host of The Dice Decide podcast. Jason Richards: Jason is best known for creating the Breachworld RPG setting, a post-apocalyptic, open-world, kitchen-sink, sandbox RPG, powered by Mini Six. Ross Watson: Ross Watson is an award-winning game designer who worked on Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay, Accursed, Dust Warfare and Darksiders. Ross hosts the Gamer’s Tavern podcast, a weekly show focusing on games, gaming, and game design.

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenge with getting any RPG completed is getting the actual work done. We have already completed the primary 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. We have some of that in-hand, but we do need to secure the remainder. Some of that requires shooting additional pictures. Other parts requires contracting artists. Several 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, the other 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 used them in the past to produce and distribute PDFs as well as print books and cards. We are confident that their expertise will be sufficient to produce great products once more. We know 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.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Beat Cop - You receive immediate access to the in progress draft of the Thin Blue Line Player's Guide. When it is complete, you receive a PDF copy of The Thin Blue Line 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 included in a special thanks section of the PDF.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    Corktown Officer - In addition to previous awards, you receive a PDF copy of Thin Blue Line 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.

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    104 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Corktown Investigator - In addition to previous awards, you also receive access to order one Print on Demand copy of The Thin Blue Line from DriveThruRPG.com priced at production costs. You will still need to pay for the production costs and the shipping fees. (See Ordering Hardcopies for more details.)

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    118 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Corktown Lieutenant - In addition to the Corktown Investigator ($30) level, you receive our premium add-on package. This includes a Corktown Precinct Patch, two Corktown Precinct Dice, and a Poster Map of Detroit as presented in Thin Blue Line for Savage Worlds. Please note, this add-on package is ONLY available to United States mailing addresses. Postage is included in the pledge.

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    Ships to Only United States
    30 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $125 or more About $125

    Corktown Captain - In addition to the Corktown Lieutenant ($60) level, the backer receives an autographed hardcover print copy of The Thin Blue Line. Please note, this package is ONLY available to United States mailing addresses. Postage is included in the pledge.

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    11 backers
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  6. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Paranormal Entity - In addition to the Corktown Captain ($125) level, you get to create an important personality in the Thin Blue Line setting! You get to design a non-player character, one of the movers and shakers in the city of Detroit. Is this person a friend or foe? You get to decide! In addition, your character will get an illustration in the setting book. You will be provided with a high resolution version of the image created and a print of it, though Melior Via does retain all copyright to the image and text.

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    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 3 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Rookie Ride-Along - In addition to the Corktown Commander ($125) level, you get a private tour of Detroit for you and a guest, including it's most haunted spots, given by Game Developer Jason Marker. Tour will last 6 hours on a mutually convenient Saturday. Backer must provide their own transportation to Detroit (and housing if necessary).

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    Limited 1 backer
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Funding period

- (21 days)