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Fantasy tactics with mod support, manipulable battlefields, a Fire Emblem-style campaign and hotseat multiplayer.

FREE DEMO! [ [  Windows   |   Mac   |   Linux  |  Manual  ] ] 

Imagine that Fire Emblem and Disgaea had a baby, and that baby turned out to be a prodigy...

“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

“You can smash through walls, rob the high ground, build bridges, and lay down explosives. You can also back your foes into undesirable puddles of stuff, like water and lava. For a change, try flinging your best friend off a cliff.”GameZebo

"Telepath Tactics is the first tactics game where I felt competitive in a good way and had a great time whether I was winning or losing. I love the use of environmental effects in TT and they've led to some interesting land grab battles where it was more about controlling, deforming, or transforming the maps to win than directly battling my opponent."Phil Tibitoski, Octodad

THE GAME

Telepath Tactics is a turn-based tactical RPG in the tradition of Fire Emblem and Disgaea. It features a single player campaign with well-written characters embroiled in a tale of war and political intrigue, as well as 2-to-6 player multiplayer with support for hotseat play (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. Back the game at $25 or more and get early access; back at $50 to get early access to the map editor as well!

Setting

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. Cavaliers don't ride horses: they ride giant, armored praying mantises. There are no elves, no dwarves, no goblins, no dragons: it's just humans and a few other, entirely original sentient races (such as the shadowlings, disembodied floating heads that quite literally feed on human suffering).

[ [ Read more about the setting and the story in Update #1! ] ]

Gameplay

Telepath Tactics takes a highly deterministic approach to combat mechanics. 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.

Telepath Tactics borrows liberally from the best tactics games around to provide a wide variety of available strategies. 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 new environmental manipulation mechanics to the table. Push boulders, barrels and tables in the way to block off certain routes; 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; shoot through open windows; place down explosive charges to create a trap for an unwary opponent. Telepath Tactics supports all of this and more.

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—instead, the AI will actively maneuver and seek out ways to get at your most vulnerable characters.

Telepath Tactics multiplayer comes with 22 unique character classes, each with its own strengths, weaknesses, and battlefield roles. The single player campaign features unique, named characters based off of these classes, each with its own custom stats and leveling schemes.

[ [ Read more about the game's character classes in Update #6! ] ]

[ [ Learn more about multiplayer in Update #8! ] ]

You don't have to be content with the selection the game ships with, however. Telepath Tactics features extensive mod support that allows you to create custom multiplayer maps, 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-edit .xml files, so modding is a cinch.

The game also comes with a full-featured map editor to make creating new battles fast and simple. Create your own, or download someone else's: Telepath Tactics supports all of the above.

[ [ Learn more about modding in Update #4! ] ]

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.

WHERE IS TELEPATH TACTICS AT IN ITS DEVELOPMENT?

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.

Get a taste of the game in this public alpha demo!

[ [     Windows   |   Mac   |   Linux     ] ]

SO, WHAT DO YOU NEED $25,500 FOR?

I've crunched some numbers, and $25,500 is the bare minimum amount of money it will take to finish Telepath Tactics to my satisfaction. (Please note that I am not counting wages for myself in this figure. I don't want a salary; I just want the money to get this thing done right.)

Here are the things your contribution will fund:

  • Hiring a sound designer to create all of the sound effects for every last button click, movement, attack, character death, item usage, and action in the game.  Estimated cost: $12,000
  • Hiring a composer to flesh out the game's soundtrack with more music.  Estimated cost: $4,000
  • Hiring artists to create more art: tilesets, destructible objects, character portraits, NPC sprites, and a second gender for each character class.  Estimated cost: $4,000
  • Promoting Telepath Tactics* at PAX East.  Estimated cost: $2,000
  • Hiring a web designer to build a proper website* for Telepath Tactics.  Estimated cost: $1,000

Now, if you're good at math, you might be scratching your head right now. "Craig," you might say, "that's only $23,000. What is the last $2,500 for?" Good eye. The last $2,500 is to cover the estimated 10% cut that Amazon and Kickstarter take from whatever we raise. (For instance: if we raise $25,500.00, I estimate that these guys will take a $2,550 cut; that leaves just about $23,000, the amount I need to cover the expenses listed above.)

* Publicity is important to the game: it means more people for you to play against in multiplayer, and more people creating single player campaigns for you to play. Trust me, you want this!

WHAT HAPPENS IF WE RAISE MORE THAN $25,500?

In the event that this happens, I have a wish list a mile long for extra goodies I could pack into the game! Check out the full list of stretch goals here.

THE REWARDS

So let's talk rewards. We'll start basic, then build up toward the really awesome stuff. Any contribution gets our gratitude; the actual goodies begin at $10.

$10 will get you a digital copy of the game upon release. (Windows, Mac or Linux.) Simple, no frills.
$10 will get you a digital copy of the game upon release. (Windows, Mac or Linux.) Simple, no frills.
$20 will net you some awesome digital art in addition to the game.
$20 will net you some awesome digital art in addition to the game.
Back the game at $25 and you'll get early access! You'll get the game within a few weeks after this campaign ends; everyone else will have to wait until I finish and release it.
Back the game at $25 and you'll get early access! You'll get the game within a few weeks after this campaign ends; everyone else will have to wait until I finish and release it.

BONUS: Add $9 onto any pledge level to get an extra copy of the game for a friend; that way, you'll have a buddy to fight against in multiplayer. (Also, that's 10% off the price of the game!)

At $30, you'll get everything above, plus a cool Telepath Tactics postcard.
At $30, you'll get everything above, plus a cool Telepath Tactics postcard.
NEW! An alternate $30 reward tier that substitutes the game's soundtrack in place of a postcard.
NEW! An alternate $30 reward tier that substitutes the game's soundtrack in place of a postcard.
At $40, you'll get everything in the $30 Postcard tier and your name will appear in the game's credits!
At $40, you'll get everything in the $30 Postcard tier and your name will appear in the game's credits!

BONUS: Everyone who pledges at or above $40 will receive a free copy of Telepath Psy Arena 2, an addictive tournament-style tactics game with team management, challenge matches, randomly generated training battles, and 10 leagues filled with fights that will test your tactical skill!

At $50, you'll get everything in the $40 tier, plus early access to the game's map editor so you can start making battles and campaigns right away!
At $50, you'll get everything in the $40 tier, plus early access to the game's map editor so you can start making battles and campaigns right away!
NEW! Digital all-in! At $60, get the game, early access, digital art, your name in the credits, the map editor, the soundtrack, a 2nd copy of the game for a friend, AND the awesome 30-track soundtrack to Telepath RPG: Servants of God!
NEW! Digital all-in! At $60, get the game, early access, digital art, your name in the credits, the map editor, the soundtrack, a 2nd copy of the game for a friend, AND the awesome 30-track soundtrack to Telepath RPG: Servants of God!
At $75, get everything in the $50 tier plus an awesome, full-color 24" x 18" Telepath Tactics poster.
At $75, get everything in the $50 tier plus an awesome, full-color 24" x 18" Telepath Tactics poster.
At $100, you'll get to add a name to the game's database of multiplayer character names! (I reserve the right to veto inappropriate submissions.)
At $100, you'll get to add a name to the game's database of multiplayer character names! (I reserve the right to veto inappropriate submissions.)

BONUS: Everyone who pledges at or above $100 will also now receive a free copy of my last game, Telepath RPG: Servants of God, a Middle East steampunk tactical wRPG about oppression, democracy, God, and the nature of knowledge. That game normally costs $25 all on its own, so this is a pretty killer value!

At $125, you get a limited-edition signed version of the Telepath Tactics poster! (Who knows: maybe it'll be worth something someday?)
At $125, you get a limited-edition signed version of the Telepath Tactics poster! (Who knows: maybe it'll be worth something someday?)
At $150, you'll not only get to name a character in multiplayer, you'l also be listed as a Producer in the game's credits!
At $150, you'll not only get to name a character in multiplayer, you'l also be listed as a Producer in the game's credits!
At $200, you'll get to chat with me on Skype for an hour on any topic(s) of your choice. Want game design advice? Want beard-trimming tips? Want to argue over which Monty Python film was best? It's up to you! (Plus, you'll have my Skype username forever,
At $200, you'll get to chat with me on Skype for an hour on any topic(s) of your choice. Want game design advice? Want beard-trimming tips? Want to argue over which Monty Python film was best? It's up to you! (Plus, you'll have my Skype username forever,
At $300, I will immortalize you by incorporating you into the game's official single player campaign as an NPC!
At $300, I will immortalize you by incorporating you into the game's official single player campaign as an NPC!
At $350, you will not only be an NPC, but you will have a dramatic scene with plot significance! (We'll work with you to decide the circumstances: death, romance, a narrow escape, etc.)At $400, you will not only be an NPC, but you will have a dramatic sce
At $350, you will not only be an NPC, but you will have a dramatic scene with plot significance! (We'll work with you to decide the circumstances: death, romance, a narrow escape, etc.)At $400, you will not only be an NPC, but you will have a dramatic sce
At $500, you'll get to chat with me, the developer, on Skype for one hour on any topic(s) of your choice. Want game design advice? Want beard-trimming tips? Want to argue over which Monty Python film was best? It's up to you!
At $500, you'll get to chat with me, the developer, on Skype for one hour on any topic(s) of your choice. Want game design advice? Want beard-trimming tips? Want to argue over which Monty Python film was best? It's up to you!
At $500, be an NPC+, plus you can choose to name an island in the Dundar Archipelago, where Telepath Tactics takes place! This island will persist in future games and become part of the official canon, so choose wisely! (I reserve the right to veto dumb n
At $500, be an NPC+, plus you can choose to name an island in the Dundar Archipelago, where Telepath Tactics takes place! This island will persist in future games and become part of the official canon, so choose wisely! (I reserve the right to veto dumb n
At $1000, you will appear in the official 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'.)
At $1000, you will appear in the official 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'.)
At $2000, you'll appear in-game 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. Pretty awesome.
At $2000, you'll appear in-game 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. Pretty awesome.
At $5000, you can work with me to design a battle in the official campaign! You'll also be credited as an Assistant Designer.
At $5000, you can work with me to design a battle in the official campaign! You'll also be credited as an Assistant Designer.
At $5000, you can instead choose to work with me to design a totally new multiplayer game mode! Here, too, you'll be credited as an Assistant Designer.
At $5000, you can instead choose to work with me to design a totally new multiplayer game mode! Here, too, you'll be credited as an Assistant Designer.
At $10,000, pick any tier; plus, I will take you out for an awesome evening with all the best food and drinks I know of around Chicago! (Free bonus: get me drunk enough, and I will totally dish dirt on the Octodad team.)
At $10,000, pick any tier; plus, I will take you out for an awesome evening with all the best food and drinks I know of around Chicago! (Free bonus: get me drunk enough, and I will totally dish dirt on the Octodad team.)
Finally, as mentioned above, we have a top-up option! Add $9 to your current pledge, and you'll get a discounted second copy of Telepath Tactics to give to a friend!
Finally, as mentioned above, we have a top-up option! Add $9 to your current pledge, and you'll get a discounted second copy of Telepath Tactics to give to a friend!

Please give as generously as you can; it'll help a lot!

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!

WHO IS THIS MYSTERIOUS AND HANDSOME DEVELOPER, ANYWAY?

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.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Game design, in general, is an area fraught with risks. If you've paid any attention to the world of game development, you probably know about all of these already: going over time, going over budget, having your programmer or artist suddenly leave, etc. I'll just briefly address each of these:

1) I constantly tweet and blog about my progress while I'm developing, so if it's going to miss the estimated release date, you'll know well in advance. I'll try to avoid having this happen, of course.

2) If the game goes over budget, that'll be my fault. Therefore, if that happens, I will make up the difference out of my own pocket.

3) There is always a risk when working with contract artists. However, over the years, I've built up a core group of folks that I know are both talented and dependable--the chances of them running off and not doing the work are quite low.

Meanwhile, I am my own programmer, so there is zero chance of someone taking off and leaving me with code I can't read or use. 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. Period.

FAQ

  • 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 is dead.)

    Last updated:
  • I am not a fan of intrusive DRM: it's a waste of time to implement, and it hurts the player's experience of the game. If Telepath Tactics ends up having any DRM, it will be nothing more serious than entering a one-time activation code. Regardless of what I choose, early access backers ($25+) are guaranteed a DRM-free copy.

    Last updated:
  • Telepath Tactics is now up on Steam Greenlight--if you want to see this game on Steam, go vote for it! http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/…

    Last updated:
  • 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.

    Ignore the text that says "December 2013": that's a typo (and unfortunately, Kickstarter won't let me change it now that folks have pledged).

    Last updated:
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    DEVELOPER CHAT. All of the $100-tier rewards, plus chat with Telepath Tactics developer Craig Stern on Skype! Want feedback on a project idea? Want to ask him deeply uncomfortable personal questions? He's all yours for 1 hour!

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    NAME AN ISLAND. All of the "BE AN NPC+" rewards, plus you also get to name one of the islands in the Dundar Archipelago (within reason). This will become part of the lore of the Telepath series, and will remain the island's name in all games going forward!

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    THE GRAND TOUR. All rewards from any reward tier of your choice, plus Craig Stern will personally fly you out to Chicago and take you out for an evening of food and drinks at all of his favorite spots around town. (For contributors outside of the U.S., please add $3,000 for the cost of international flights.)

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