Fire Emblem-style tactical RPG with modding, custom campaigns, bridge-building, destructible battlefields, and hotseat multiplayer. Read more
This project was successfully funded on April 16, 2013.
About this project
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Read the Manual! [ [ Manual ] ]
Imagine that Fire Emblem and Disgaea had a baby, and that baby turned out to be a prodigy...
"The demo was quite long, and I had to actually pull myself away from one of the two stations because I wanted more people to be able to get their hands on it. Telepath Tactics won my heart pretty quickly, and it should do the same to any other fan of Fire Emblem, Disgaea, or Shining Force." --Destructoid
“With destructible buildings, bridge construction to create new flanking opportunities and the ability to throw people into lava, it sounds like Telepath Tactics may contain all that is necessary for my tactical needs.” –Adam Smith, Rock Paper Shotgun
“The gameplay recalls Sega’s Shining Force series, mixed with a bit of Advance Wars — as a fan of both, I definitely approve of the direction this one’s taking!” –The Indie Games Blog
Telepath Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG in the tradition of Fire Emblem and Disgaea. Featuring mod support, a robust map editor, and a dialog editor, you can create your own campaigns and download others' off the internet!
On top of single player, Telepath Tactics also features 2-to-6 player local multiplayer matches (i.e. you and your friends playing together in the same room, Super Smash Brothers style).
Telepath Tactics is being developed for Windows, Mac and Linux.
Telepath Tactics takes place in a fantasy-steampunk universe that averts most of the tropes you're used to from these sorts of games. Magic doesn't exist: instead, there is psionics and steam-powered technology reliant on a volatile, crystalline substance called vibra. Cavalry don't ride horses: they ride giant, armored praying mantises. There are no elves, no dwarves, no goblins, no dragons. The world is populated by humans, steam-powered mechanical golems, and other, original races (such as the shadowlings, disembodied heads from the nether reaches of the earth that quite literally feed on human suffering).
Shadowlings were the first to discover the secrets of vibra mining. Crucial to powering steam tech, vibra turned out to be big business–and no place had it in greater concentrations than the Dundar Archipelago, a string of islands governed by the Roman-style Dundar Empire. The influx of moneyed interests to the islands has corroded the empire's adherence to democratic traditions, and the native human population now faces increasing exploitation as Dundar's politicians turn a blind eye.
Emma and Sabrina were nearly too young to remember when their family was forced into slavery in the vibra mines of Kovit. When their father took ill, the sisters were forced to make his quota or face starvation. After a shadowling slaver took pity on them, they escaped, fleeing into the wilderness. They were found and taken in by a tribe of Lissit, reptilian warriors, who raised the sisters as their own.
Now Emma and Sabrina train tirelessly, bent on revenge and the prospect of rescuing their ailing father from bondage. They will need all of their wits--and the help of some unlikely allies--if they are to succeed...
Telepath Tactics borrows the best parts of our favorite tactics games to create a dream team of available strategies in battle.
Throw enemies off of cliffs; push enemies into water or lava; fling friends across gaps; set your enemies on fire; freeze them; blind them; cripple them; stun them; use hit-and-run tactics with cavalry and bowmen; teleport; grab item drops; stick your ranged units on the high ground to boost their effectiveness; the list goes on and on.
Telepath Tactics also brings fresh, brand new new environmental manipulation mechanics to the table. Freeze water and build bridges to create new routes across water or lava; build barricades to brunt an incoming attack; destroy walls, doors and bridges to open up or close off routes of attack; push boulders, barrels and tables in the way to block off certain routes; shoot through open windows; place down explosive charges to create a trap for an unwary opponent. Telepath Tactics supports all of this and more.
Attack damage is 100% predictable, and attacks always hit unless there is some intervening factor (such as the attacker having been blinded, or the target having some special defensive status effect). In this regard, it is very much a game of skill akin to chess. Chance will seldom determine the outcome of a battle; victory depends on you and your wits.
And you'll need all the wits you can get: the enemy AI in Telepath Tactics is aggressive and reactive. The enemy will not just sit around the battlefield waiting for your characters to wander into aggro range or trigger a script—the AI will actively maneuver and seek out ways to get at your most vulnerable characters. It will backstab you, compete with you to grab useful items, break down your barricades, and shove you right into the lava every chance it gets.
Telepath Tactics features 22 unique character classes, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, and battlefield roles. The single player campaign uses unique, named characters based off of these classes, each with its own custom stats and leveling schemes.
On top of all this, Telepath Tactics features extensive mod support that allows you to create custom battles, custom tilesets, custom destructible objects, custom items, custom attacks, custom character classes, and even whole single player campaigns filled with unique characters, enemies, dialog and cut scenes. Everything is stored in easy-to-read files that can be opened by any text editor, so modding is a cinch.
The game also comes with a full-featured map editor to make creating new battles fast and simple. There's even a built-in dialog editor to let you add dialog trees and create cut scenes! Make your own scenarios, or download someone else's: Telepath Tactics supports all of the above.
There is a lot more I could say about the game. Rather than talk your ear off, however, I will direct you to the latest draft of the Telepath Tactics manual with more (and more detailed) information on how the game works.
Every single thing you read in the section above is currently in-game and working. There is no question about whether this project is too ambitious to complete: it isn't. The lion's share of the really tough stuff is already done. I just need more resources to give the game all the content and polish it needs.
Telepath Tactics is playable, but there's still a lot of content to create for the game. It needs a lot more art, for one thing. Specifically:
- Character portraits;
- gender variants for each character class (all characters are currently just male or just female);
- animated NPC sprites (villagers, merchants, politicians, businessmen, etc.);
- individualized attack buttons;
- status effect symbols;
- nicer-looking buttons, menus, and other elements of the user interface;
- more tiles; and
- more destructible objects.
Your contribution will go directly toward commissioning high quality assets to fill these gaps!
Additionally, I'm looking to fill out the soundtrack with high quality tracks. Composer Ryan Richko is currently working on that, but I need money to hire him to keep going. Here's a sample of what he's done so far:
I've compiled a huge array of rewards to encourage folks to back the game as generously as possible! Check a column to see everything you'll get by backing the game at a given tier:
With the base funding met, I can afford to have everything in the "What do we need money for" section above created for the game. That doesn't mean we have no use for more money, though! I took a poll of project backers and took their most-wanted features for the game's stretch goals. Here is what we came up with:
Achieved! $22,000 - Extra Character Classes with Animated Sprites. This was easily our most popular stretch goal. Reaching this goal means that we'll have more visually distinct class sprites around to use for stuff like unit promotions!
Achieved! $28,000 - Dungeon Tileset with Traps, Openable Doors, Scripted Levers and Buttons. This is a really cool stretch goal because it not only means a bigger variety of tiles, it also means a wider variety of ways that characters can interact with the battlefield, which in turn means bigger mission variety.
Achieved! $34,000 - Randomized Battlefield Generation. This was the third most popular stretch goal. Procedural level generation is really tricky to pull off well, but it adds a ton of replayability when it is! Reaching this goal means I can take some time off of work to code this feature properly.
Achieved! $38,000 - Extra Branch in the Main Campaign. Only just narrowly edged out by random battlefield generation, the Extra Branch stretch goal means that I will present the player with a significant decision during the campaign; this choice will affect which missions the player gets from that point forward.
$46,000 - Mobile Ports. Our fifth most popular option, the Mobile Ports stretch goal will allow me to have the game's art redone to be easily tappable (and visible) on super-high resolution displays like Retina.
I'm Craig Stern, the guy behind the company Sinister Design. (You also might know me as the creator of IndieRPGs.com, but I consider myself a game developer first and foremost.)
I've been designing board games and card games since I was a child, and I've been creating video games for more than half a decade. Over that time, I've put out a whole slew of turn-based strategy RPGs. Those games were pretty good, but I consider them all a dry run: Telepath Tactics is the real deal. Telepath Tactics is the culmination of years of careful thought and design work. I am not messing around with this game: I am gunning to create the most elegant, comprehensive, tactically deep strategy role-playing game in existence, and to then give it over to you, the community, to extend as you see fit.
Please contribute to make Telepath Tactics happen; you'll have my sincere gratitude, and one excellent turn-based tactics game to show for it!
(In addition to pledging, you can also help Telepath Tactics out by voting for it on Steam Greenlight--this will help ensure that the game sees a Steam release.)
Risks and challenges
The big risk with small teams is that the programmer takes off, leaving the hapless game designers with code they can't read or use. That is not a risk with me: I am my own programmer, and I have a history of finishing what I start. (You can check SinisterDesign.com for examples of my past work if you're curious.)
I do not like to leave projects unfinished; it's just my personality. I stuck with my last game (Telepath RPG: Servants of God) for more than four years, then released it when it was done. Unless I am abducted by government agents or run over by a truck, Telepath Tactics is going to be completed. The only real question is, am I going to have the resources to get this done with all the assets it needs?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Yes. 840 generous backers pledged over $18,000 in that campaign, but we fell short of the goal. Therefore, no one was charged and the project did not receive any of the funding. This is my second attempt. You can read more about it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1426761469/telepath-tactics/posts/415514
Forget "will"--it already has mod support! The game supports:
--branching, scriptable dialog
--custom character classes
--custom characters with custom leveling schemes
--custom destructible objects
--custom character animations and object sprites
You can even edit the character shadow blobs or the dialog window graphics if you're so inclined.
I did a video giving a quick overview of how to mod certain aspects of the game back in December--it's a little out of date, but the general method remains the same. You can watch it here if you're curious: https://www.youtube.com/watch…
So, you know all that stuff that went on with Diablo III and Sim City? This is what's nice about being indie: I have no publisher to make me stick bloated, pointless DRM in my games. All Telepath Tactics backers who get the game will get it DRM-free. Period.
(One caveat: if you're holding out for a Steam version, be aware that Steam games are *always* DRM-protected insofar as the game is tied to your Steam account. I don't control that: that's just how "Steam rolls," so to speak.)
I don't control that, unfortunately, but I'd certainly like for it to be! If you want to help Telepath Tactics get on Steam, go ahead and vote for it on Steam Greenlight! http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/…
I'll be making the game available to early access backers shortly after the Kickstarter campaign ends: within no more than a few weeks, and possibly a lot sooner.
The same goes for the map editor: folks who select early access to the map editor as a reward will get it within no more than a few weeks after the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign.
The main campaign will feature perma-non-lethal-K.O. In short: when characters reach 0 health, they have suffered injuries so bad that they can never fight again. However, they're still alive and will speak during cut scenes. (Basically, it's permadeath without you having to create a zillion variations in every cut scene to account for who fell in battle.)
Custom campaigns can feature perma-non-lethal-K.O., actual permadeath, or something more forgiving, depending on how you choose to script your campaign.
Leveling in Telepath Tactics is comparable to leveling in Fire Emblem (though it's actually more similar to Yggdra Union, if you're familiar with that title).
It works like this: characters level up upon reaching 100 experience points. Each character has a certain number of "leveling points" in every stat. Think of a leveling point like a card in a deck of cards. The game "shuffles" the deck, then selects two different stats at random; those two stats improve. Characters have different likelihood of improving in different areas based on how their leveling points are distributed, but you can never be sure of how characters will develop until they level up.
Characters can also gain new attacks upon reaching certain levels. (In the public demo, for instance, Emma learns both Shove and Pull upon reaching level 2.)
If you prefer player-directed development, however, it's quite possible to mod the game to feature player-directed stat development upon level-up.
Pledge $5 or more
You have my sincere gratitude. Thank you for contributing!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $10 or more
Get the game when it's released (estimated release: 2014); Windows, Mac or Linux.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $20 or more
Get a free copy of the finished game whenever it's released, PLUS an awesome high-resolution digital poster designed by artist Benn Marion AND a special forum badge marking you as an Above-And-Beyond Backer!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $25 or more
Get immediate access to a Kickstarter-exclusive, DRM-free copy of the game as soon as this Kickstarter campaign ends, with continuing updates during the game's development; the ability to play player-created campaigns from day one; a free copy of the finished game whenever it's released; and a free Steam key whenever the game appears on Steam! (You'll also receive the forum badge and digital art.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $30 or more
Get a Kickstarter-exclusive, DRM-free copy of the game as soon as this Kickstarter campaign ends, with continuing updates during the game's development; the ability to play player-created campaigns from day one; a free copy of the finished game whenever it's released; a free Steam key whenever the game appears on Steam; the forum badge, the digital art, AND you'll get a copy of the game's soundtrack upon release!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $40 or more
Kickstarter-exclusive, DRM-free copy of the game as soon as this Kickstarter campaign ends, with continuing updates during the game's development; the ability to play player-created campaigns from day one; a free copy of the finished game whenever it's released; a free Steam key whenever the game appears on Steam; the forum badge; the digital art; a copy of the game's soundtrack upon release; AND you'll appear in the Telepath Tactics end game credits with a special thanks for your generosity! BONUS: you'll also get a free copy of tournament-style turn-based tactics game Telepath Psy Arena 2.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $50 or more
Get every last thing in the Credit tier above, PLUS get early access to the game's map editor as soon as the Kickstarter campaign ends! (Get a head start making your own battles and campaigns!)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $65 or more
Get everything in the Map Editor tier, plus get a second copy of the game to give to a friend AND get the awesome 30-track soundtrack to Telepath RPG: Servants of God on top of all that!
BONUS: The first 200 people to back at or above this level will *also* get a free copy of Defender's Quest and the Defender's Quest soundtrack!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $75 or more
Get everything in the Map Editor tier, plus you get both a physical postcard and an awesome 18" x 24" printed poster designed by artist Benn Marion!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $100 or more
NAME A CHARACTER
Get everything in the Digital All-in Tier, plus name a character in multiplayer! (Submit any character name of your choice, within reason, to be included within the game's random name generator.) On top of that, you'll get a free copy of Telepath RPG: Servants of God!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $100 or more
1 backer Limited (199 left of 200)
Get everything in the Physical All-in Tier, plus developer Craig Stern will personally sign your Telepath Tactics poster!Estimated delivery:Ships anywhere in the world
Pledge $125 or more
Get everything in the Name a Character Tier, plus get a free copy of The Beginner's Guide to Programming RPGs, a book I've written but never before released! This book covers every aspect of coding RPGs: from movement to combat, inventory systems to enemy to AI, it's all in here. No prior programming experience is necessary; not available anywhere else!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $150 or more
Get everything in the Initiate Tier, plus get listed as a Producer in the game's credits!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $200 or more
1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)
Get everything in the Initiate Tier, plus learn the incantation to summon me on Skype (or Google Hangouts, if you prefer)! Want design advice or feedback on a project idea? Want beard-trimming tips? Want to argue over which Monty Python film was best? It's up to you; I'm all yours for at least 1 hour! (And of course, you'll have my contact info available for the future.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $200 or more
0 backers Limited (12 left of 12)
LET'S PLAY OF YOUR CAMPAIGN
Get everything in the Initiate Tier, plus I will personally play through a Telepath Tactics campaign that you create and record it as a Let's Play series to be shown on The Sinister Design Channel on Youtube.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $300 or more
1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)
BE AN NPC
Get everything in the Initiate Tier, plus appear in the official single player campaign as an NPC!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $350 or more
1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)
BE AN NPC+
Get everything in the Be an NPC Tier, plus your NPC will have a dramatic scene! (We'll work with you to decide the circumstances: death, romance, a narrow escape, etc.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $400 or more
1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)
Get everything in the Be an NPC+ Tier, plus you'll get an island named after you! (Or, if you prefer, come up with another name of your choice.) I'll come up with a story behind how you came to have the island named after you; this will become part of the lore of the Telepath series, and will remain in all games going forward!Estimated delivery:
Pledge $500 or more
3 backers Limited (11 left of 14)
BE A VILLAIN
Get everything in the Initiate Tier, plus appear in the official single player campaign as a villainous boss character that the player has to defeat! (If I were contributing to this campaign, I'd totally pick this one. Just sayin'.)Estimated delivery:
Pledge $1,000 or more
0 backers Limited (12 left of 12)
BE A PLAYABLE CHARACTER
Get everything in the Initiate Tier, plus you'll appear in the official single player campaign as an actual playable character that the player recruits into his or her army! We'll work with you to decide your character's backstory, personality, and combat abilities. Seriously awesome.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $2,000 or more
0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)
THE ASSISTANT DESIGNER
Get everything in the Initiate Tier, plus work with me to design a mission in the official campaign (including scripted dialog, the battle itself, and events that happen beforehand)! You will be credited as an Assistant Designer.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $3,000 or more
1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)
THE LEAD ASSISTANT DESIGNER
Get everything in the Initiate Tier, plus work with me to design a brand new multiplayer game mode! You will be credited as a Lead Assistant Designer.Estimated delivery:
Pledge $5,000 or more
0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)
WINE AND DINE
Pick whatever you like from the tiers below $5,000; on top of that, I will fly you out to Chicago from any location in the contiguous United States and take you out for an awesome evening with all the best food and drinks I know of around the city! (Free bonus: get me drunk enough, and I will totally dish dirt on the Octodad team.)Estimated delivery:Only ships to: United States
0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)
KEYS TO THE KINGDOM
At $10,000, I'll license the game's engine to you for use in your very own commercial project. (The engine is not available for commercial use any other way!)Estimated delivery:
- (33 days)