Opening image: Herman Potočnik - Noordung [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Far in the future, in a universe we thought devoid of life beyond Earth, we found a ring shaped space station populated by giants. We are insects to these creatures physically and mentally.
Although humans that try and contact the Station Keepers almost always meet a swift end, we have been able to get into the bowels of the station. Literally the bowels. The station is part living organism, part technological and part unknowable. There are creatures we recognize as "Intelligent" that make up part of the station's system and many that cannot be reasoned with.
On the station there are answers to any question you could imagine asking. Getting to those answers is the problem. They are guarded, cryptic and mysterious.
Why would you enter the station? Are you looking to strike it rich stealing wondrous technology? Do you have a relative with an incurable disease that you hope to find a cure for somehow? Are you just insatiably curious and want to prove your theory for what the Station Keepers are doing? Everyone that comes here has their own reason. What will it cost you to fulfill your aspiration?
This Kickstarter is inspired by a podcast. In episode 338 of The Misdirected Mark Podcast it was speculated that a game designer might transparently try and Kickstart the development of a game. Not that the end of the campaign would result in a finished game, that it would gauge interest and supply some funding to the process.
Thats what this is, an attempt to see if there are other modes of Kickstarter funding. The initial conditions were to have a relative unknown game designer start to engage the community through a Kickstarter campaign where the finished product is the end result of a month of game design.
In one month from the end of this campaign I will deliver via PDF the end result of that month of a game design effort. To be clear, the plan is to devote two full work days to this project and work on the project periodically throughout the month as time becomes available. A full work month of effort would put the cost of this Kickstarter over $2000 because I have to pay bills. My day job and other responsibilities take up most of my day. I normally work on projects for one to three hours a day which is the plan for the rest of the month.
Giving the project two work days and then returning to it throughout a month will give time for the design work to breath and for ideas to develop. Even if I'm not actively writing, I'm usually thinking about a project. Turning the project over in my head is where I normally solve problems or come up with novel solutions.
Although a full working game isn't guaranteed, I will do my best to get as close to that as possible. All the work done will become available to backers at $5 and above at the end of the development month in a 6x9 formatted PDF. Collaborator levels will get access to development documents to watch and comment as I work.
My name is Emmett, I do game design for Store32. I've designed a number of games in the past. Most of my games are free and I make games because I love doing it. You can download many of my games at theartifact.net and store32.net I also have games on DriveThruRPG for sale. My designs are often very different from each other and I expect this project to be unlike any of my currently available games.
I have ideas for the system I want in Station Keepers. I want a light system that gives a lot of options to the players. I'd like this to be a low prep game. What that looks like in my mind at the moment is that players get a description of a scene and they state their goal for that scene and the effect level of that goal, anywhere from Humble to Astounding. The players make a single roll in a scene which says how well they did with their goal. They can accept the result or give concessions in their goal. These concessions give a mechanical boost to their die roll and are complications that don't negate their goal but give it extra costs.
Players are defined by what they aspire to. Aspirations give a mechanical advantage or disadvantage to rolls if they apply to the scene.
The second part of the system is the part that makes the game low prep for the GM. Scene modules that the GM can choose, feed into each other and produce paths for the players to choose from. This is the really experimental part of the game and probably the most exciting.
My feeling for how I want the tone of this game to play is something like Into the Odd in that there is strange unknowable technology. The system for player rolls is basically how most games treat non-combat situations with a kind of negotiation that drives the action and the descriptions.
I want weird environments, strange monsters and a mood that can shift from dark to humorous depending on the tastes of the table
$200 Two more days of dedicated development time.
$500 A full work week of development during the development month.
$700 Take the game to Metatopia 2019 for playtesting. (November 7-10) Results and amended documents shared with all backers $5 and over.
$1000 Add artwork to the game.
$3000 Commission professional art and layout for the project. This will take time. The writing will still be delivered on time but a second delivery of a document with art and completed layout will be delivered separately. This will delay paperback delivery.
What happens after the Kickstarter campaign and the month of development is over? Stretch goals aside, with enough interest, this is a project that I would like to continue working on. It's something that I imagine filling a lot of pages with places, creatures and weird tech. The intent is that this will be the beginning of a fun project that can continue. I would consider a game of this kind finished after at least two years of development.
What does that mean for you? Obviously all the stated rewards if you back and we can talk about that and what you'd be interested seeing for the future of this project. I highly value collaboration and although I'll be making the ultimate choices, input is always valuable.
Risks and challenges
I have participated in 24hr game challenges in the past and produced an end product. This will be that process only amplified. The game Whisperers took me two days to put together. The scope of attempting to produce a game in a month can be done but no project is guaranteed until it's complete. Although I have a strong intuition on how this project should work, I can't be absolutely sure until It's done. Layout may not be complete, it will undoubtedly need editing. In the end you'll get the result. I'm confident that it will be a fun project and I'd like to bring you along for the process.
Some stretch goals will alter the completion time of the game. Although at the one month mark in development any work accomplished will be shared with backers at the $5 and up level some stretch goals like going to Metatopia and playtesting the game can't be done until the convention. The core of this project is to get a month's worth of development work done and to share it. I currently have no artists lined up if this were to get to a stretch goal that required it so that will also create an extended period from the initial completion date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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