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A military-horror novel (and RPG) with gritty battles, creepy paranormals, and some awesome high-end art depicting both.
A military-horror novel (and RPG) with gritty battles, creepy paranormals, and some awesome high-end art depicting both.
80 backers pledged $2,900 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$2,900

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Tank and gun, vampire and lycan. WWIII.

Katarina bookmark stretch goal UNLOCKED!

New Art and Add-on

From noted illustrator Gary McCluskey (about a quarter-jillion book covers), this drawing of Üdvöske, the witch of Budapest. This illustration will be included in the book and you can get an enlarged, signed version as an add-on. See below.

It's 1985

West Germany teeters on the brink of defeat. The American V Corps is all but crushed, and Soviet armored formations rush to the French border. In a small town near the North Sea, a temporary POW camp holds hundreds of NATO soldiers... and a terrible secret that could turn the tide of battle.

Sergeant Matt Dahl and the men of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, Tiger Squadron, are committed to a desperate raid to free the prisoners and discover the truth. Yet the truth is more sinister than they could possibly imagine. It involves a formidable vampire warrior, an ancient and powerful witch, and the key to saving the world from a destructive force that will make World War III look like a small-town fireworks display. It’s up to Corporal Mike Hudson and his undead lover, Katarina, to save the world while Sergeant Dahl and the rest of Tiger Squadron fend off the Soviet juggernaut.  

Welcome back to Mark Walker’s Dark War: a series set in the midst of World War III, thundering with authentic battles, screeching with the bone-chilling cries of the dark entities unleashed by the war’s massive bloodletting. It’s military horror at its best.  It’s Dark War: Retribution.

Canned Intro Aside...

Hi, my name is Mark Walker. I'm a game designer ('65, Sticks and Stones, Night of Man, Lock 'n Load, World at War) and writer. Retribution is my fourth novel, the sequel to Revelation. It combines a gritty military thriller with creepy paranormal elements. If you like fast-paced, authentic action, you'll like Retribution. If you like a twist of the unknown, you'll like it even better. Thundering tank battles, crackling firefights, and thrilling, comic-book inspired combat between werewolves and vampire, an ancient witch and a dedicated order of warrior priests, it's all here. You can read a couple of excerpts on my blog, Over da Edge.

Excerpt One: Katarina Kills. Includes character development, sexual content, vampire attack.

Excerpt Two: The Village. Combat action. 

We are still in the early testing stage with the Dark War role-playing game, but I did want to give you all a feel for what’s going on. I want to make an RPG that is enjoyable for role-players and non-role-players alike. To that end I want to keep the design as tight and smooth as possible.

Characters each have five attributes. Gamers are given eight “dice” to assign to these attributes; 4 x D4, 2 x D6, 2 x 2D8. No more than two dice may be assigned per attribute. These are the dice that are rolled when that attribute is tested. Any roll of 4 or higher is a success. For example, if your character is firing an AK-47 at a distant enemy she would roll her Agility dice (Let’s assume they are 1D4 and 1D6). She rolls 3 and 5. She would score one hit and inflict damage equal to the weapon’s Stopping Power. Yes, there are other variables such as range, inherent weapon capabilities, and cover. All this firing and damaging takes place on a somewhat, but not totally, abstract 21-space grid. So, range matters, flanking matters, terrain matters, but the system won’t scare off folks with a number phobia.

Other attributes are just as important. Agility and/or Smarts affect turn order, Strength affects melee and health, Speed impacts turn order as well as number of actions a character receives in his turn. Here’s how. Each combat round each character or NPC determines their initiative number by combining either their Agility and Speed OR Smart and Speed dice. The total number rolled determines the order (higher is better), the total number of successes determines the total number of actions you may take (minimum of one).

Players may choose up to two Perks (total) that modify the Abilities. For example, the Rifleman Perk adds 1 to every Agility die rolled when firing a rifle. The Decisive Perk adds 1 to any attempt with the Intelligence dice.

The two scenarios included in the initial game parallel the novel. Players have numerous and important choices, but the Dark War RPG isn’t a sandbox. The choices are limited by the areas available. For example, in the first scenario the players begin in a large tent in the POW compound in Aurich. In the background, they can hear the firefight initiated by Katarina’s attempt to break Mike Hudson out of the camp. The party will have the choice, which is graphically represented on a map with lines drawn to specific areas, of 1. Moving to the compound’s fence, where a simple test of mechanical intelligence might break them out of the camp, 2. Moving to a nearby toolshed, where a Charisma success will distract a Russian guard while another party member steals his weapon, or running towards the firefight (Just a lousy idea, but hey, it’s your RPG). As your party moves to each new space, fresh spaces will be revealed.

Last, but not least, are Wild Cards. These are actual cards, two per player, dealt at the beginning of the encounter. Each card is different. One may let you reroll an attack, another might enable you to automatically pass any test, yet another would heal wounds. You play the card as needed. New cards are given to the player at the discretion of the DM or as rewards for accumulating experience points.

So, that’s your summary. It’s brief, but I think it gives you a flavor for what’s in the RPG. Below is our initial cut on a Dark War stat sheet. Feel free to ask questions.

We're Not Through Yet...

I've also asked some artist friends to bring the characters and scenes to life. You'll see the results of their efforts in the book. Portraits like Katarina below, battles scenes, and more. Artists like Federico Dallocchio (DC Comics, Suicide Squad), Lohran (Tonya from All Things Zombie), and Gary McClusky who has done dozens of book and game covers. 

 

 

Add-Ons

Let's face it. Seven Kickstarters under my belt and I still haven't totally figured everything out. That said, this will be the first Kickstarter that I'm offering add-ons. You may only select these add-ons if you have pledged at the Lieutenant level or above.  

1. A 17" x 22" poster autographed by both myself and the illustrator. $15.00 per poster. These are the illustrations that you see above.

You can choose from.

  • Katarina
  • Mike Hudson
  • The Ambush
  • Üdvöske (new)

2. A tee-shirt with one of the illustrations on the back, and Dark War: Retribution printed above the left breast. These are $25.00 per tee. 

You can choose from.

  • Katarina
  • Mike Hudson
  • The Ambush
  • Üdvöske (new)

3. Dark War RPG/Skirmish rule book. Full-color, saddle-stitched, rules, professionally laid out. $27.

4. Hardcover copy of Dark War: Retribution. By popular request. Some folks want to add this to their pledges. Please do. And thanks. $27.

5. Paperback copy of Dark War: Revelation. Again by popular request, a paperback, perfect bound copy of the first novel in the series, Revelation. $17. 

6. Hardcover copy of Dark War: Revelation. Yet again by popular request, a hardcover copy of the first novel in the Dark War series, Revelation. $27.

Add-On Instructions

To add-on to your pledge, follow these instructions.

  • Press the "Manage Your Pledge" button at the top of the page. If you have not pledged yet, it will say "Back This Project".
  • Increase your pledge in the "Pledge Amount" box by the total of the add-ons you want to add (postage is already included).
  • After the end of the Kickstarter you will receive a survey that will ask you questions so that you can explain how you would like the add-on money assigned. 

Anyone who pledges Lieutenant level ($15) and higher (i.e. further down the list of pledges) receives all the stretch goals we unlock. 

Here's the list (so far).

$2750: Katarina Bookmark. UNLOCKED! A 2.5" x 3.5" bookmark featuring the Katarina art above. 

$3000: Hudson Bookmark. A 2.5" x 3.5" bookmark featuring the Hudson art above. 

$3500: Ambush Bookmark. A 2.5" x 3.5" bookmark featuring the Lycan Ambush art above. 

$4250: Battle scene art. I'll commission two new pieces of art depicting battle scenes within the book.

$5250: Audio Book. You know, an audio book, with narration provided by a professional, card-carrying actor. 

And more... What else do you want? Let us know, and we'll try to make it happen.

Questions

Q. So this is a book?

A. Yeah, a novel. It's what we used to do before YouTube.

Q. And a Role-playing game.

A. Yes, the RPG is separate, but related. Only available in specific pledge levels or as an add-on.

Q. Does the RPG rule book contain everything I need to play. 

A. Yes, it contains all the rules, statistics, and a couple of scenarios. You'll have to provide suitable miniatures, measuring tools, etc. 

Q. What about those pictures? Is this like a comic book?

A. No, I can't afford that many pictures. Right now I have 5-6 illustrations commissioned. If we raise more money, I'll put it to more art. 

Q. Is this Euro-Friendly?

A. Yes it is. 

Q. Can anyone get the add-ons?

A. Nope. Only folks who have pledged at the Lieutenant level ($15) and higher. 

Q. Who gets the stretch goals?

A. Anyone who pledges Lieutenant level ($15) and higher (i.e. further down the list of pledges) receives all the stretch goals we unlock.

Q. Who will be the publisher of the book?

A. Tiny Battle Publishing.

 

Risks and challenges

There are no risks. Well I guess I could die, but even then my wife could get the novel printed and mailed out. This puppy is written, this puppy is edited, this puppy is ready for you all to see how far we can take it (i.e. how many drawings I can pay for). This is my seventh Kickstarter, I've fulfilled all but one, and that one is on its way to the printer this month. You pledge, you'll get what you pledged for.

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    Corporal

    A DRM-free digital download of the Dark War: Retribution novel (for PDF, Kindle, Nook or Kobo).

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    Everything above plus separate digital, hi-res copies of all the art that we cram in the book. We will send pledgers a link to download the art.

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    Everything above plus a copy of the first Dark War novel, Revelation.

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    Hard Back Lieutenant

    A DRM-free digital download of the Dark War: Retribution novel (for PDF, Kindle, Nook or Kobo), separate digital, hi-res copies of all the art that we cram in the book, and a hardback copy of the book.

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    First to Fight!

    Cheap for the first 20 pledgers!
    A DRM-free digital download of the Dark War: Retribution novel (for PDF, Kindle, Nook or Kobo). digital, hi-res copies of all the art that we cram in the book (We will send pledgers a link to download the art.), plus A PAPERBACK OF THE NOVEL, and a a full-color, saddle-stitched hard copy of the ROLE-PLAYING/SKIRMISH GAME set in the Dark War universe, designed by Mark Walker with help from renowned RPG designer Greg Porter (End All Be All Role-playing System, Macho Women with Guns, and Guns,Guns,Guns.) Book will be delivered in March of 2017, the a full-color, saddle-stitched hard copy Dark War RPG rules will be sent in June of 2017.

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    PDF Gamer!

    The pledge level for gamers! A DRM-free digital download of the Dark War: Retribution novel (for PDF, Kindle, Nook or Kobo). digital, hi-res copies of all the art that we cram in the book (We will send pledgers a link to download the art.), plus A PAPERBACK OF THE NOVEL, and a PDF of the ROLE-PLAYING/SKIRMISH GAME set in the Dark War universe, designed by Mark Walker with help from renowned RPG designer Greg Porter (End All Be All Role-playing System, Macho Women with Guns, and Guns,Guns,Guns.) Book will be delivered in March of 2017, PDF of the Dark War RPG will be sent in June of 2017.

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    Hard Copy Gamer!

    Yet another level for gamers! A DRM-free digital download of the Dark War: Retribution novel (for PDF, Kindle, Nook or Kobo). digital, hi-res copies of all the art that we cram in the book (We will send pledgers a link to download the art.), plus A PAPERBACK OF THE NOVEL, and a full-color, saddle-stitched hard copy of the ROLE-PLAYING/SKIRMISH GAME set in the Dark War universe, designed by Mark Walker with help from renowned RPG designer Greg Porter (End All Be All Role-playing System, Macho Women with Guns, and Guns,Guns,Guns.) Book will be delivered in March of 2017, a full-color, saddle-stitched hard copy of the Dark War RPG will be sent in June of 2017.

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Funding period

- (14 days)