The Vampire's Codex RPG (Canceled)
The Vampire's Codex RPG (Canceled)
The Vampire's Codex is a gothic noir tabletop RPG set in modern day. Its game play features an ideographic language mechanic.
The Vampire's Codex is a gothic noir tabletop RPG set in modern day. Its game play features an ideographic language mechanic. Read more
About this project
Before I go any further, there is something I need to say...
This is a dream project...
I've worked on several RPG's in the past, but this is one is special because it goes back to my very first experiences in gaming. When I was 16 years old, every weekend for hours on end, my friends and I would escape into the realm of role-playing. This is where I first learned the tradition storytelling, a tradition that would shape my world for years to come.
Years have gone by, I am now in my thirties. And as a middle-aged storyteller who grew up idolizing the likes of Jim Henson, Dr. Seuss, and George Lucas, this is the one story that I've always wanted to share with the Gaming Community that I love so dearly...
To all of the gamers out there...
Thank you for being there all these years,
Our vision is to produce a tabletop role-playing game brand line entitled J.A. Dohm's The Vampire's Codex, and use its momentum to create an Internet community focused on building a bridge between the Gaming Industry and the Film Industry.
Here is a little bit about the Big Picture...
That is what I truly want out of this project, and I firmly believe it can happen...
We're seeking a minimum backing of $14,500 to publish and commercially distribute The Vampire's Codex. The vast majority of these resources will go to finishing the art commission, printing, and fulfillment costs. Stretch goal funding will go toward development of a web series and construction of a subsidiary app company.
20 Eyes Entertainment Inc. is a small role-playing company out of Chicago, IL. Our designers, artists, and management bring a collective 50+ years of Gaming Industry experience to the table. We have produced a few small scale RPG titles, the most widely known being...
We are professional game producers. The primary creative contributors slated to finish work on The Vampire's Codex are:
J.A.Dohm (Author: Steamfortress Victory, World's Largest Dungeon)
Brent Chumley (Artist: Dungeons and Dragons, Legend of the Five Rings, Warlord)
Jason Carter (Meta Game Designer: Serpent's Tongue)
Jeffrey Kidwell (Lead Playtester: Steamfortress Victory)
Stretch goal funded contributors include:
Matt Forbeck (Author: Brave New World and many others.)
Our philosophy as a business is about putting people first and fostering relationships.
Too many businesses exploit the talents of individuals for profit and cast them to the wind. We not just trying to create a single product, but to develop a long-lasting publishing company with the potential for job growth and expansion backed by the Gaming Community.
Above all, we are entrepreneurs. Your backing will empower us to do our part and build up a small business.
The Vampire's Codex is a tabletop RPG set in a modern Gothic Noir world. You can play as a Fledgling Vampire, a Mortal Acolyte, or a Fiend Hunter as you uncover the shrouded history of the cabal that conquered the conquerors...
The Setting style can be best described as Underworld unravels The Da Vinci Code in cynical tone of The Maltese Falcon.
Additional setting influences include: The City of Lost Children (1995), Dracula's Daughter (1936), Dark City (1998), 30 Days of Night (2007), and Frank Miller's graphic novel, Sin City: The Hard Goodbye.
Our vampires do not sparkle.
They are the God-Cursed. Their instinct is to crave blood and death.
Imagine if Stanley Kubrick and Wes Craven were to make a vampire movie together...
Now, that's our concept of vampires!
In The Vampire’s Codex RPG, you will explore the complicated structure of vampire culture in a dark cityscape. Your character will be required to live under the complex hierarchy of the Pentacle, and manipulate its politics to build your own network of acolytes.
This is a game of redemption...
Each vampire bears the God-Curse of their Namesake, the original vampire in their lineage. The first Namesakes are all mentioned in Dante's Inferno, and have earned their God-Curse by committing unspeakable treachery against humanity. They've passed on their curse to a few hand-chosen mortals in hopes building enough collective strength to undo their immortal condition.
Vincentians of the Black Hearth are the order of priests traditionally sent to assess human encounters with malicious supernatural manifestations. Whether it is a run-of-the-mill demonic possession or the rampaging incarnation of a Baron of Hell, the Vincentians are always watching and determining where the Church stands on the matter. Most instances warrant little involvement. Other situations become full-fledged battles between Hell and humanity.
The priest had been sent to Bosnia because fiend hunters had captured a Patriarch vampire.
No one had ever captured a Patriarch vampire...
An exorcist traveling through the rubble of war ravaged Bosnia seeks a group of military scientists who have captured a vampire named Tyre. They've kept Tyre immobile by using high temperature spotlights to weaken his stamina. The exorcist arrives, gauges the situation, and decides to begin the Rites of Banishing...
...only to have Tyre mercilessly slaughter everyone in the compound before he finishes...
Tyre was feigning his weakness in order to lure an agent of the Church into his grasp. He offers the priest a deal he can’t refuse--- a chance to uncover the truth about an ancient society of vampires in return for sanctuary within the Church.
The exorcist accepts the deal, and is given The Vampire’s Codex...
The Vampire's Codex is an ancient tome that chronicles the existence of Pentacle, a secret vampire cabal that dates back before recorded history. The book also contains a translation of an angelic language called the Covenant. The Pentacle has been using the Covenant's power to keep humanity at bay for centuries by manipulating the structure of civilization.
Vampire Fledglings are the bread-and-butter character archetype in The Vampire's Codex. You take on the role of newly Blighted soul. As a Fledgling, you will build up your influence within the five assets of the Pentacle: Father (or Mother), Acolytes, Creed, Covenant, and Cabal.
These five assets determine a vampire's worth in their culture.
Your Father and Acolytes are the most important assets to a new vampire. Your Father (or Mother) is the vampire that passed on their God-Curse to you; a wise parent is priceless. Acolytes are essential mortals who covertly operate to keep your existence hidden from humanity.
Creed is your core mastery of the Graces. Covenant is entwined with your Creed as it reflects your study of the vampire language. The Cabal encompasses your political status in the large network of vampires that manipulates your geographic region.
Seek the wisdom of the true Covenant, so one day you may free your lineage from the God-Curse!
Fiend Hunters rely faith to guide them. Now that The Church is fully aware of the Pentacle, they will either rule them or destroy them. Thus, the Vincentians of the Black Hearth were armed with every form of holy weaponry imaginable and sent out to obliterate the Vampire Threat.
A Fiend Hunter's primary weapon is the power of True Faith, the only Bane that every vampire shares. Fiend Hunters have the innate ability to use true faith to make their inner life force or Essence lethal to the God-Cursed. They can also perform rituals to sanctify armaments as well as bless themselves with an aura of holy protection.
Protect the Church's interests, and smite the succubi!
For every diabolic Dracula, there is an even more treacherous Renfield!
You can take up the role of Kingmaker. You are not the vampire, but you are the reason he or she is still alive. You are the protector of the Covenant, a recorder of the Pentacle's history, and the barrier against the humanity that would consume your world.
Unlike the stereotypical ghoul/master relationship, your character is empowered with their own set of abilities and Graces granted by a Patriarch vampire. You are not a bodyguard, cannon fodder, or insane, you're more proactive than that. An Acolyte can be any type of skilled individual: a government spy, assistant to a state senator, a cryptologist, etc. Vampires choose useful individuals to be their Acolytes, not mindless sheep...
Worker drones are not assets. An Acolyte is an asset.
The Vile System is absolutely diceless. Here are the finer points:
Draw and Pull Mechanic
Most RPG's have a simulated action system. Some involve dice, some involve Rock, Paper, Scissors... ours is about tokens.
Simulated actions are resolved by pulling different colored Tokens from a cloth bag, each representing a probable chance of success or failure. The goal is for the Player to blindly draw out as many of his or her colored Tokens to produce a successful action.
Our tabletop rules have been designed to be completely synergistic with Live Action Roleplaying (LARP). We chose the use of tokens over dice because dice are cumbersome in LARP. Tokens in cloth bags can be used as props that easily attach to costumes.
We are a cosplay friendly company...=)
Sample Beta Character Sheet
The Vampire's Codex storyline includes a mysterious spoken and written language passed down through the generations of Vampires. It is called The Covenant and it is an angelic language.
The Covenant is over 5,000 years old, and like any dialect, has developed slang and bastardized tongues. One of the key elements of the game is for players to discover Chants and Illumination texts that bring them back in touch with the root language.
As a mechanic, the Covenant does two things:
In game, when chanted correctly, the language triggers Graces or vampire powers. The more accurate the pronunciation of the chant, the more powerful the Grace becomes. The most recent two generations of vampires have lost touch with the original tongue. As a result, their powers are toned down in comparison to their elders.
The most prized find for a Vampire Fledgling in this game is a lost Chant, as it often unlocks a Grace previous unknown to recent vampires...
The Covenant's texts are ideographic. The mortal alphabet is not complex enough to describe a vampire's range of thoughts and experiences. Thus, the Pentacle created illuminated texts. These texts can come in the form of long lost books, scrolls, or even embedded other images...
Illumination is primarily a storytelling mechanic, as decoding such texts lead players to finding Reliquaries or vampire sacred objects. Illuminated texts can also be hidden in plain sight anywhere in the world where there is art: Dutch Masters, sculptures, cave paintings, etc. After all...
Illumination is not what you are looking at, but what you are truly seeking!
You'll receive a PDF of the abridged rules. This digital document will be around 30 pages and provide you with a enough material to play a one shot game. Extended setting and storytelling tips will not be included in this version. It is strictly a rules lite version meant for running demos.
Core Rule Book PDF
You will be sent a Digital PDF of the entire Core Rule Book and have access to the PDF version via DriveThruRPG. This will allow you to download any future updated versions of the book.
This version will be available before the hard copy of the book.
Codex Reference PDF
You will be sent a PDF with key charts for decoding the language, quick NPC stat blocks, and other useful storytelling quick reference charts.
Printed Core Rule Book
The book. It is slated for a base range of 240 to 300 pages hardcover book. This will be a premium print role-playing book: tons of art, easy read lay out, and loads of story setting!
Exclusive Adventure: Faith PDF
"Faith" is the prequel adventure to the pilot web series episode. This is a prequel adventure module to that pilot. You get to go on the quest that led the Priest With No Name to translate the Vampire's Codex.
Exclusive Adventure: Blood Sapphires PDF (Stretch)
Blood Sapphires is a bonus adventure module. Fledglings race against the clock and other Covens to find a reliquary called the Blood Sapphire. It was a choker given to the first Bride of Vlad Tepes by the Church that now holds an unspeakable dark secret...
Character Journal PDF (Stretch)
This is a printable journal with an expanded character sheet. You can use it to record your notes on the Covenant or pen down your character's adventure.
Create a Reliquary
Reliquaries are unholy artifacts of power, usually containing pieces of flesh from older vampires. This reward allows you to work with our design team to create one for the book. Here are the specifics:
- Your reliquary should be an original, fictional piece of work. We will alter anything that is directly from an anime, movie, book, etc.
- We reserve right to edit out anything goofy like an "Amulet of Bananas" or a "St. Anger's Grinder Monkey". Keep your item out of the realm of comedy and in the realm of Gothic Noir intrigue.
- We will work with you to write around 60 words of flavor text.
- We will also create an image of your reliquary (dimensions approx. 50x50mm).
- We will develop stats for it to be used in game.
- Your reliquary may be used in other images or later fiction.
Create a Vampire
You can work with us to create a canon character that will be printed in the Core Rule Book. Here are the specs/limits:
- Keep it original, dark, and cool. We will alter anything that is from an anime, movie, book, or anything that seems Bozo the Clownish.
- We will work with you to write around 100 words of character biography.
- Your vampire will get his own half page.
- We will develop stats for it to be used in game.
- Your character may be used in other images or in later fiction.
Create a Rex
Same as Create a Vampire, except this character will be exceptionally more powerful. A Rex is a 'king' of a Cabal or geographic stronghold, so your character will control several vampires as puppets. Here are some additional specs:
- You get to choose from a list of Cabals, and you will have say in what country he is from.
- We will work with you to write around 250 words of character biography.
- Your vampire will get his own page, but may or may not have an actual stat block (Higher ups don't really get involved in combat...)
- You will have the option of portraying that character in sanctioned LARP's as an NPC...
This one is for the budding game designer.
I've been involved in the Gaming Industry for almost twenty years as a designer, brand manager, screenwriter, game store owner, and demo expert. If you got a project and want to get it market ready, I know the ropes. We'll schedule some Skype sessions, and talk your project and Gaming Industry. Plus, I'll give your project a plug through my vast social network when the time is right...
VIP Beta Access
Your feedback will help shape the project. You be put on an e-mail list, and allowed to view components of the book before they get published. This way you can interact with myself and the designers, and make sure your voice is heard during the playtest process.
Launch Party Reward (US AND CANADA RETAILER ONLY)
This Reward is available only to owners of brick and mortar retail stores. You will get a promotional Launch Party Kit that includes:
- 5 copies of The Vampire's Codex Core Rule Book.
- 5 copies of Quick-to-Play Rules in hard copy (Exclusive to Retailers)
- 2 promotional posters to hang in the store.
- 20 promotional wristbands.
- 5X of the Codex Reference PDF, the Core Rule Book PDF, and the exclusive Kickstarter Adventure in PDF.
- Option to direct order for early release at a standard discount rate once the project is green lit.
You will receive your copies one month before the game is scheduled for distribution. This reward is ONLY AVAILABLE to owners of brick and mortar retail stores (We will search you!)
We are perfectly happy just publishing the book. Let's face it, $14,500 isn't an easy chunk of money to raise. However, we also think it would be awesome if we could get a chance to complete the vision. So...
...after we make it to 15K in funding, stretch goals kick in...
We have a number of supporters in the Gaming Community that have agreed to have their likeness in the Vampire's Codex as vampires or fiend hunters. Each time we max out a Limited Reward, we'll add one of these Celebrity Vampires to the book:
And now, the First Two. They are authors.
Celebrity Fiend Hunter #1: "Father Matthew Dooley"
Clues to his Gaming Celeb Alter Ego: Author who has introduced the gaming industry to a brave new world of roleplaying.
How to Unlock Him: Get 50 Backers for the $28 Lictor Reward.
Celebrity Vampire #1: "Praetor Tiber Solo"
Clues to his Gaming Celeb Alter Ego: He is a Best Selling Author who has written, extensively, about both intergalactic deserts. Recently, he got a real rush out of angelic steampunk!
How to Unlock Him: Get 50 Backers for the $68 Alpha Lictor Reward.
The next three celebs will be added 10/17/2014!
Preview: A Magician, a Geek Girl, and a Settler.
Add Ons will be available after October 21st. Come back for updates!
Risks and challenges
We are professional game producers, back us with confidence that the project will get completed and look amazing!
With that said...
There are few possible obstacles this project faces beyond funding. The chance of these problems becoming a major issue is remote, but in the spirit of full transparency, please note the following:
First of all, the most consistent thing about shipping services is their inconsistency. The printed books could experience shipping time frame delays depending on the companies chosen to fulfill the orders or if they simply lose product in the transit. We intend to curb these issues by seeking to keep production within the United States, and avoiding overseas shipping if at all possible. If shipping errors occur, we will do our best to solve them on an individual basis.
Another possible issue is printing delays. Occasionally, printers get backlogged near the end of the year. This delays on completion of larger print runs. We don’t anticipate this being a problem as our production cycle on this product is schedule to be completed by July 1st, 2015. However, if a printing problem occurs, we will keep our backers informed.
20 Eyes Entertainment is a new small business and has a small staff. Production and lay out take a great deal of time and effort, leaving our crew at a disadvantage as we have to rely on freelancers to do some the work. Artists, graphic designers, and editors have schedules, but they occasionally miss deadlines which cost time and money. We plan to mitigate these problems through effective management, use of project managing software, and keeping the backers informed of progress on a regular basis via e-mail and social media.
As you might have noted, we have not declared as to whether or not the book will be in full-color or partial color with grayscale. This is not a financially influenced decision, it is a stylistic option. The Gothic Noir genre is generally dark and brooding, full color may not convey the proper mood and tone.
Regardless of the color palate, the book will be of premium quality: hardcover, sewn bound, and gloss/semi-gloss weighted paper. We are out to make a beautiful product with the funding we receive.
That’s about it. Thank you for considering our project. Please back us and help this dream become reality!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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