There are stories of journeys that give us a sense of wonder and magic, stories that take us through worlds of imagination and sensual evocation. Meridian is a storytelling game that will enable you and your friends to create your own such accounts. It gives you an ever-shifting map and cast of characters, but you make each journey unique.
The Boxed Set
Meridian is a game based on different player roles and colorful prompts. These work best on cards, which is why this game simply had to be realized as a boxed set. Thanks to our layout and graphic design wizard, Andrew Henderson, it turned out beautifully:
Here's a complete listing of the contents:
- 3 sets of Journeyer cards (Defiance, Obsession, Devotion)
- 1 set of Guide cards
- 3 Touch cards
- 5 sets of Companion cards
- 54 cadences in 3 sets: Quirky Creatures, Fleeting Moments, and Dread&Doubt
- 15 Locales in 3 sets: Capricious Festival, Bumpy Rides, and Dark Reflections
- 1 rulebook
Playing the Game
There are three kinds of journeys that you can undertake, to reflect the different arcs commonly found in the inspirational material. Sometimes the Journeyer just happens to land in Meridian and is eagerly searching for a way home. Sometimes they are a citizen of Meridian itself, trying to find a cure for some looming corruption or disaster. And sometimes a Journeyer is obsessed with something and knows that in Meridian, all wishes can come true... for a price.
The Locales you visit provide a description, sensory details, and suggested character names and titles, as well as 3 laws that can't be broken (in most cases). For example, at the Scarlet Masquerade, you cannot unmask yourself or others, and you can only directly interact with others while dancing with them. These laws make for unique interactions and interesting complications at each Locale.
On the second card, you'll see two Progressions. When you journey through Meridian, you either take parts of it with you or leave parts of yourself behind; often both.
To further ensure that each journey is unique, the players are inspired by Cadences to create secondary characters and strange events. Here are some examples:
- An exquisite performance for an unappreciative audience
- A fluffy, cuddly creature thinking itself terribly ferocious
- Gauzy walls of gossamer, with shadows moving on the other side
- Handprints of blood, and the creature that left them
The game provides three different sets of Cadences so you can adjust the mood of your journey by selecting one or more of them.
You can download the draft rulebook to read all of the rules of the game! We're still proofing it, so typos or oversights will be fixed before the final release.
"The best session I played all year was that session of Meridian! It pulls at the heart strings." -- Jamie Fristrom, Happion Labs.
"Meridian is a magical delight." -- Lesley McKeever Myhan.
"The roles in Meridian are playful and exciting, with each of the three –Journeyer, Guide, and Companion– making for very different play experiences. Lots of replay value there alone, with each being easy enough for a passionate first timer." -- Jackson Tegu (RPG designer, on Patreon).
"Everything about this was so, so imaginative! I can't wait to play this again and experience more places, and creatures and choices!" -- Adrienne Mueller.
"Every con I go to I have one experience, very early on, that I I say to myself 'Okay. I can go home now. That was worth the price of admission and it's not gonna get better.' These experiences keep me coming back to cons. Meridian eclipsed them all." -- Dylan Green.
"The cards have enough evocative prompts to help those who are stuck and the details of each Locale are lyrical and beautifully framed." -- Shuo Meng (Assistant Editor and Designer of the #Feminism Anthology).
"Meridian allows players to create an amazingly broad array of stories, from deeply dark to surreal explorations to light-hearted journeys of wonder." -- Dr. Twyla Campbell.
Here are some examples of journeys we've undertaken, and other playtesters have embarked on without us, over the last couple of years. The original authors are indicated, though the accounts were edited for length and clarity.
Agnes loses her toddler granddaughter Jenny in the thicket of her garden while looking at the picture of her late husband on the anniversary of his passing. She follows and finds herself in the Midnight Conservatory, where she trades her saddest memory (the day her husband went off for war and she knew he wasn't coming back) to comfort the Mournful Gardener. A gazebo lifts her high into the skies into the Phoenix Aerie, where she soars into the air with a pair of peacock wings with Ray, a bluejay-humanoid companion. After breaking one of the Laws, she only just makes it into the Moonlight Market with an angry Phoenix's booming wrath behind her. Agnes and Jay narrowly miss an altercation between a vendor and the Corvid cult and find themselves at the massive treasure pile of The Restless Collector. After making a deal for a compass that will always show Agnes where Jenny is, Agnes finds herself at the Scarlet Masquerade. Agnes —- who has been transformed younger and younger with each new Locale she has visited —- joins the party after an exciting wardrobe change. She finds Jenny all grown up as a young woman and dancing with a mysterious figure dressed as a crow. When Agnes tries to make a grab for Jenny, the crow figure forces her to dance with it and it's soon revealed that this figure is actually her and the two merge. Agnes' beautiful garnet studded dress and living red fox shawl is now blackened and the darkness is creeping up her dress with every movement. She sees a man with the eyes of her late husband through a masquerade mask come towards her and the two dance while everyone around the room are compelled to watch. The man asks Agnes to stay in Meridian with him but she sadly tells him every dance must end eventually. She picks up her granddaughter, who is now back to her toddler age, and walks out through the gardens, growing older with every step closer to home. (Shuo Meng)
Arthur is a middle-aged man filled with regrets. The main one is that he thinks he may have a child he's never met. One cold night he chases a vision of that child into a world of might-have-beens. In the Midnight Conservatory he relives conversations of the past - whispered from the hats of faceless gardeners - and can only escape the eternal cycle of growth and death by cutting a new path for himself and imagining a different choice. At the Scarlet Masquerade he flirts with the possibility of taking the easy way out: living in the moment and forgetting both his worries and the past. But he continues on to the Whispering Court, where he enters into a battle of wits with the Torn Jester herself. In the epilogue, five years later, we see that he is reunited with his child, but he is also deathly ill. His child rages at him for leaving after they've only had so little time together. Arthur says not to worry - they'll see each other in Meridian again, where they found themselves once before. (Adrienne Mueller)
Another Arthur's Journey (Coincidentally)
Arthur, a successful engineer, traveled to Meridian after his wife died of cancer to forever lock his heart and her memories away. He traded his reflection to the Mournful Twin, tricked the Torn Jester with an engineered puzzle box, and grew wings to fly with the Skybound Phoenix. He also acquired two companions in Firio the Speechless, a cat of miming excellence, and Meyr of the Grieving Hymns, a singer who even gave her own heart away to help Arthur on his journey and stop her own grief. Once Arthur reached the Midnight Conservatory and the chest that would house his heart, however, he realized that there could be no growth without sadness. He planted what was left of his heart in the soil, where in accordance with the Midnight Conservatory's Laws it sprouted and blossomed and grew two new hearts. He accepted one and gave another to Meyr, leaving Meridian a changed man. (Christian Griffen)
As you can see, this Kickstarter is straightforward. Instead of offering complicated reward levels, we want to focus on getting the game printed without creating any potential for delays.
For $2, you can support the game and get access to a printable PDF of the playable demo before it's released to the general public. You also get access to any backer-only updates and notifications, and you can always use this as a placeholder to move up to the full game if you like what you see.
For $15, if the cost of shipping is prohibitive for you or if you'd just like to read through the game, you can order a PDF. Please note that this will require a lot of printing and cutting to be playable! There are 84 poker-sized and 30 jumbo-sized cards in the game.
For $40 (plus the shipping cost listed below), you get a boxed set of the full Meridian game. This level also includes the PDF and any bonus content we produce as a result of stretch goals.
If you choose the $40 reward level with local pickup, I’ll assume you’re a Portland-area local who can pick up your copy of the game. Please contact me before the end of the Kickstarter to make arrangements.
We're funded! Now we're ready to add some extra value to the game. It already contains enough material for a variety of journeys, but we have several ideas for bonus content. Here's our first stretch goal:
- $4,500: UNLOCKED! We will develop several pitches for a bonus Locale to be included in both the physical box and the PDF. All backers will have the chance to vote on which of those we will develop into a full Locale. This also provides the opportunity to see how to create your own Locales.
- $6,000: UNLOCKED! We will develop a second bonus Locale and include it as in the previous stretch goal!
- $10,000: Given the positive reception of the bonus Locale pitches, we'll let you vote a third time. That would bring us to a total of 20% additional Locales in the base game!
- USA $8
- Canada $20
- Elsewhere $28
Thank you for supporting Meridian! Making this game has been a dream of mine since I first cracked open The Neverending Story as a little boy, and now it's finally within reach.
Risks and challenges
We're currently proofing the cards and booklet. All of the creative work, stretch goals notwithstanding, is done. While some minor changes are forthcoming (e.g., the "M" symbol on the box will be the silver you see in the image above for better contrast), overall what you see here is what you'll get.
The printer (TheGameCrafter.com) warns that drift can sometimes be an issue -- where graphics don't line up perfectly with the layout on the cards, booklet or box. Our proof was spot on and didn't have any drift at all (as you can see in the video and images). Given the printer's note, however, we think you should be aware of this as a remote risk, as it would be with any printer. Any such drift is not grounds for a refund or replacement.
We're purposely keeping the kickstarter simple, to avoid any delays in getting the game into your hands.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)