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About this project

What is this Mechanika?

Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam is the core rule book for the Mechanika system.  We at Xaos Publications have been working hard trying to bring a true next-generation role playing game to the market.

We believe that Mechanika is the first game to truly encompass all the things that make a Steampunk game Steampunk, while at the same time incorporating Magical and Psychic elements, bringing them all together in a way that makes them feel genuine, and not just like numbers on a page.  

What exactly do we mean by next generation? 

There is a reason that video games still sell, and not just sell, but sell more copies to a wider customer base than any other gaming medium out there. The reason is that they have evolved. Long gone are the two dimensional 8-bit graphics and one dimensional stories. If video games had not, "kept up with the times," and adapted to their evolving market they would have died out long ago, or at least not be what they are today.  

So why not table top games? 

What we are doing is taking the tabletop RPG and saying, "Hey, maybe it's time for a change." Every game, it seems, since the inception of role-playing games, uses the same tired formula. Make a character. Roll some dice. Eventually, if the game lasts long enough, my guy will be cool.  

There are a few other games that change this formula up, but only barely. They add a new system here or there, or they make the characters insanely powerful from the beginning. Sadly, though, it's still the same tired formula, except now you level till you're uber- uber-ridiculously powerful.  

The way our system differs is our Pillared Game System. We have six pillars in Mechanika, the three Pillars of Game Play, and the three Pillars of our World.  

The three Pillars of Game Play may seem simple, and to be honest they are. I challenge you however, to think back to any pen and paper RPG you have played and you'll see that most of them follow only one, or none, of these.

1. Your character should be what you want and be cool from creation.  

Have you ever sat down to play a game and thought to yourself,  "Well I'm going to build blankety-blank, and I'm building it because at level eight I get this ability, then at level 10 I'll cross class into this, and at level 16 I'll finally be what I want."  We have. 

This system has two big issues. Number one, if you have played in any role playing group, oftentimes the games don't last that long, and your dream character never gets anywhere near completion. Number two, this turns a lot of people off to table top RPG's because of the time sink involved. Who really wants to play a level 1 anything for that long? 

So how do we do it differently? We have no levels at all, and right from the start you can make literally any character that you want! You want to play a swashbuckling Sky Pirate? Done. Crazy Pyromaniac Goblin? Done! Dhampyr Telekinetic? Done and done. You can alter your powers and skills, and you can change and advance your character, getting new and exciting powers, but your character is yours and fun from the get go!

2.The game should be cinematic, not flat and one sided.

Most of us have played that game where the GM reads from the adventure packet in a dry monotone, and you respond with "I use my level 1 spell slot to cast firebolt."  How many video games, movies, or comics have you read or watched that work that way?  It's tedious, it's boring, and it completely takes you out of the experience.  As a GM, it can be boring to run and also exhausting to think of new places and creatures that the players then may not like or that they feel disconnected from.  

We fix that in two ways. First, we have a system called scenes. This allows both the GM and the players to design NPCs, places, and even events that have an impact and can be easily kept track of. How many of us have been to the Dancing Pony Inn for the umpteenth time, only to be greeted by a different interior NPC bartender and villagers that have no clue who we are, when we've saved them nine dozen times? This also allows the GM and the players to become invested in the game and to share in the game play.

The second way we do this is our Fate system. Most games work on a very mathematical system. Kill monster, get points, level guy. This is okay, but it gets old quickly. Our system differs by having players pick a character Concept (who they are), a Lower Self (their bad side), and a Higher Self (their good side), and they advance their character by roleplaying these aspects. 

For example: Mortimer Black. Concept, elitist Warlock; Lower Self, glutton for any vice; Higher self, promotes the good of Magick. What this means is that Mortimer collects Fate every time he role-plays any of these elements, and not merely from killing random monsters.  

Unlike Experience Points, Fate Points can be spent to affect and make changes to the the world; from simple rerolls, to avoiding death, to creating a variant event in a scene. This allows players to have a say and affect the world and allows for the GM to be surprised in a scene as much as the player is. Fate Points can also be used to purchase Experience Points to buy new abilities and skills between game sessions. 

3. Keep magic magical! Keep artifice amazing!.  

In most games out there, Magic, or even Artifice (Steampunk), is just arbitrary numbers given to some clunky system. Spell slots? I can only cast once a day? These ideas are strange and foreign in any comic, anime, movie or novel. Our system allows a character that uses these powers the ability to do so whenever they want, however, harnessing these powers is often dangerous. Incantations can hurt a Magister, a Psychic trying to disarm a man with her mind could black out, or an Artificer's ray gun might malfunction and explode. These abilities are rare, and using them is dangerous and amazing each time you do so.  

The three pillars of our game world are simple as well.  

1. A world that players will know and will feel comfortable in. 

Players and GMs alike get irritated at meta gaming, and irritated when the players do not know simple things that their characters would know. This happens because worlds, at least good ones, are elaborate and complex. GMs often read the 400 page rule books back to back a dozen times, but many players don't. Making countless knowledge checks to know what the capitol city is, or who a king is, makes the game drag and pulls people away.  

Our world is an alternate timeline filled with historical and fictional characters from that time. Most people know Mark Twain, Mr. Hyde, Rasputin, George Washington, and Tesla, just to name a few. Yes, they are altered slightly and made to fit in our new world, but the basics are already there. People also know places like France, London, or America, so little explanation is needed besides an explanation on how they vary from our timeline.

2. Monsters, Magic, and Horror should be cold and alien, and not cute and quirky. 

Many games show monsters as cute, or at least G-Rated; in this world monsters are evil and alien. Magic has hard rules, and science, and occult things, feel truly dark and foreboding. We use a mixture of real-world myth, weird horror and the works of H.P. Lovecraft to create a mature world which feels unique and uneasy.    

3. Players have a place in the world.  

Your players will create full characters, and as a group they will have bonds with each other and with places in the world. This means they will want to help each other out, not because the players know each other outside the world, but because their characters know each other already inside the world. It also perpetuates the desire to experience the world, because the character you have created has a place in it and has countless things to explore, beyond blank, random adventures.  

Please join us on www.xaospub.com. Try our demo, and realize just what we are trying to do, and the world we are bringing to you and your friends.

From all of us here at Xaos Pub, thank you for helping us realize this dream.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Constable - In addition to having our eternal gratitude for helping us make our vision a reality, we will list you as a sponsor under "Constable" in the core rulebook.

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    Gumshoe - Not only will your name be listed in our Core Rule Book as a sponsor, but we will ensure that you're the envy of your friends and neighbors by sending you your own personal PDF copy of Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam, a full 2 weeks before it can be purchased by the public!

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    Inspector - Now we're talking! For sponsorship at this level we will make sure you and your friends are fully equipped to explore Mechanika in all its dark splendor two weeks before the general public. We will provide you with three PDF copies of the Mechanika core rule book, along with a signed Letter of gratitude sent by post from the Xaos Pub staff. On top of that you'll also see your name listed in our core rule book under "Inspector."

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    Investigator - This is sponsorship in style! As well as having your name listed as a sponsor, you may also select any one of five custom Mechanika t-shirts, featuring exclusive Mechanika art! In addition we will make sure you receive your own copy of the Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam core rule book on PDF, as well as a signed Letter of gratitude sent by post from the Xaos Pub staff.
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    Innovator - Seriously Awesome! For sponsoring us at this level we will make sure you receive one of the first physical copies of the Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam, hot off the presses, two weeks before it can be purchased by the general public! Not to mention we throw in either a free copy in PDF format or one of our limited edition posters! Of course you will also be listed as an "Innovator", under the "sponsors" section of our book, and recieve a signed Letter of gratitude sent by post from the Xaos Pub staff.

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    Grease Monkey - I'd kiss ya if I could! Receive a physical copy of Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam, signed by the writers, as well as the artist, not to mention one of five exclusive T-shirts! We will also make sure you have a backup PDF copy of the core rulebook, a limited edition signed poster, a signed Letter of gratitude sent by post from the Xaos Pub staff, and your name listed as one of the sponsors that made it all possible.

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    Gear Head - Couldn't have done it without you! Receive a physical copy of Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam signed by the writers and artist, plus 1 of 5 T-shirts! Also 3 PDF copies of Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam, and a signed Letter of gratitude sent by post from the Xaos Pub staff. Plus be one of the first to get our upcoming serial: The High-Street Disappearances!

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    *****Retailers Special*****
    This pledge level is perfect for retailers. For pledging we will make sure you are sent five copies of the book two weeks before the general public; that means two weeks ahead of the competition. In addition we will also send you three T-shirts, and two posters of your choice.
    A 190.00 Value!

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Engineer - Wow...Just Wow! Receive two physical copies of Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam, signed by the writers and artist. Plus 3 of 5 t-shirts or all three of our limited edition Mechanika posters. Also receive 4 PDF copies of Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam, a signed letter of gratitude sent by post from the Xaos Pub staff, and be one of the first to get our upcoming serial, The High-Street Disappearances, as well as be listed under the Sponsors section of the book as "Engineer."

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    Warlock - Fantastic! Get everything in our $250.00 pledge, plus gain access to beta test every single one of our upcoming products! That's right, you get to try 'em out and tell us what you think of each and every product for the next five years.

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    Magister - Get Everything in our 325.00 pledge, plus work with Xaos Publishing to create your own custom NPC complete with art that will appear in both our upcoming serial, The Ripper and in our upcoming Source book, Places and People. Finally we will put your name in our Sponsors section as "Magister."

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    Lord - Amazing! Thank You! Get everything from our $250.00 pledge plus Xaos Publications will work with you and your group to create a custom serial! This serial will contain custom art and feature your characters as NPCs! You will have access to it before the general public and receive five copies for you and your group.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Baron - Wow, you rock! In addition to our undying gratitude you will receive five physical copies of the Mechanika: Empires of Blood and Steam core rulebook signed by the writers and artist! You will also get five copies of the PDF. We will list you under Sponsors as "Lord," send you a letter of gratitude, and send you all five of the t-shirts and all of the posters signed by the artist. Finally, get every single core book and serial that we produce for Mechanika in PDF for the next 5 years!

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    Guv'nor - You are incredible!!! You will receive everything in our $1000.00 pledge, plus get a PDF of every core rule book and serial for every product line we produce for the next 5 years! This includes Void: the Emptiness and The Wastes: After the End! Plus meet and have a dinner on us either in our home town of Portland, Oregon or at any Con we visit.

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    Savior of the Empire - We cannot thank you enough, but that wont stop us from trying! For this generous donation you will receive everything from our $2500.00 "Guv'nor" pledge, and Xaos Publishing will work with you to create an important NPC version of you that will appear in every single main core rule book we ever produce!

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Funding period

- (45 days)