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HC SVNT DRACONES is an exciting new sci-fi tabletop role playing game featuring a fresh and unique system for combat and interaction
252 backers pledged $17,220 to help bring this project to life.

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$17,220

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HC SVNT DRACONES is an exciting new post-humanity tabletop role playing game. Players take the personage of a Vector, a new species created near the end of human civilization that witnessed the demise of their fore-bearers and has struggled through 700 years of slow growth devoid of personal history to etch out a new existence for themselves in the galaxy. Ships, gene-splicing, implants and esoteric horror mix with environments ranging from urban cities a mile high to twisted forests grown from terraforming mishaps in this wholly new and original system.

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 The 8-10-12 system addressees an issue I always felt constricting about many check systems: a limitation in avenues of approach. Too often I found myself in situations that required a specific check that I simply couldn't make for lack of points, despite my character possessing alternate means of approaching the task. There was also the opposite problem: having to dump all you starting points into certain must-have areas, because without them survival wasn't going to be possible. This made it difficult to flesh out the areas of my characters that were more flavorful. It's particularly frustrating when the opportunity arises to make a roleplay check related to your character's background or field of interests, something they should be good at, and you fail utterly because you had to put those points into whatever it was that would keep you alive in the next inevitable fightscene.

HSD's system changes the DM question from "Do you pass?" to "How do you pass?" You can still fail, of course, but by using the system you can approach roleplay situations from a myriad of different angles, affording you the greatest probability of success by playing to the strengths of the character rather than the limitations of they system. Because the checks are narrative in their own way, the act of maneuvering yourself to take advantage of your build becomes part of the narrative.

 The HSD combat system is awash with features intended to add a little more strategy and movement to your battles, rather than stack ways to increase damage. Every weapon is a danger in the right hands, and the system rewards using cover and terrain to your advantage. Additionally, the combat stats and proficiencies range across your entire statline, which rewards diversity in your character creation. through use of the command and support actions, even characters with no weapon-based skills whatsoever can be tremendous boons in a fight.

HSD takes place 700 years after the war that spelled the end of humanity, and follows the progression of their only surviving lineage: the race called Vector which emerged in the turmoil of mankind's twilight hours. The events leading up to this point span the spectrum from mysterious and supernatural, to violent and woefully human. What has emerged at the end of it all is a new race with no previous history to go off of but things they've heard in stories, and the shattered husk of a once beautiful world hanging overhead.

Vectors span the solar system from Mars to Venus to the moons of Jupiter. Their biological spectrum includes dozens of different species from Earth, as well as a whole host of mutations that cropped up during on of the stages of their initial development and have remained keyed in their genepool. Their culture is run by massive corporate structures that take the place of traditional government. Beauty can be purchased. Strength is an investment in hardware. Integrity is good marketing. and hiding just outside the borders of the flashing lights and busy lives of the children of mankind lurks a new threat that vector-kind is far from ready to cope with. Each encounter assembles pieces of the puzzle that is the fall of Earth, and what it is to live on the edges of the map.

Games in this system can range from space exploration to mystery and espionage to good old fashioned hank-n-slash to astral horror. There's a little in here for everybody. Best of all, the setting is crafted to allow for seamless transitions from one to the next. Its a great big web of lies out there. As soon as you start picking at one of the strings, you'll find a dozen others its attached to.

Just watch out for spiders.

 HSD's character generation works in series of stages, each one increasing your variety in a simple but broad range. With over a thousand different possible permutations, it may seem a little overwhelming, but its all staged out in small, intuitive steps.

 SELECT YOUR FAMILY

Each of the families in HSD possess unique perks and abilities that can help you craft the person you want to be.

SELECT YOUR SPECIES

Each family has a variety of individual species within it, which help further refine your appearance and function in the game world.

SELECT YOUR MORPHISM

During the initial Vector creation process, there were a series of errors that tossed a lot of random elements into the genepool. You can select one to add that touch of 'exotic' to your character. From color patterns to extra limbs, this section allows for a great deal of variety in your final build.

These first three sections deal with establishing your physical appearance. From here, you proceed to assigning abilities, motivations, equipment and unique characteristics, in similar stages. Reading all the information will surely take a while, but once you've gone through the process once, building characters in HSD is a snap, requires very little dicerolling, and can be completed in a matter of minutes.

So, where are we going with this?

HSD has no fewer than seven planned expansions already on its plate. Each of the major megacorps that play a roll in the setting and in character generation get their own unique book, written in their voice so you can really get a feel for the personality their society has.

Included in each are:

  • New species
  • New morphisms
  • New abilities
  • New equipment
  • More corp-specific lore for people to really get a better feel for who they work for.

Risks and challenges

HSD has been a labor of love from its first paragraph, and there's still a long road ahead. I'm excited to report, however, that of all the challenges still in store, writing the book is not one of them. The HSD rulebook is nearly 300 pages long, and it is (mercifully) complete! That's right, content, copy, system and lore, all set down in nice, clear text. All that remains is layout, more artwork (always more artwork), and repeated editing and proofreading to make sure nothing is left behind from its numerous tests and adjustments. This system exists, and more than that, it has proven functional and exciting. We just need to get it off my computer and onto yours!

When you're an unknown quantity, large scale printing companies are pretty reluctant to set up the large and expensive lithographs required to bulk-print full color, double-sided pages at a rate affordable enough to sell them. With shipping considered on a book this size, the price per unit has to be pretty small or it will quickly price itself right out of the costumer's hands. Not a big deal to a large established gamehouse, but its a pretty big hurdle to a brand new franchise. To help offset this, HSD is going to begin its life as a digital book until it has enough momentum and support behind it to show up as more appealing to printers. Of course, the almighty buck is the bottom line, and if we can reach far enough in the funding stage to let our wallet do the talking, we can get those hard copies out that much faster. Until that point, only those who donate to the kickstarter in sufficient quantity to receive a printed copy will have one, made to order.

Digital distribution in the early stages of the game affords another advantage: It allows for corrections. HSD has been (and continues to be) extensively tested, but the reality of the small size of this startup means that no matter how far I reach, I can only communicate with so many people. The results of the dozens of test groups that have touched this game so far may not notice problems eventually discovered down the line when hundreds or thousands of people begin playing. By distributing digitally, should something critical emerge that was completely unforeseen, it can be corrected and new editions distributed without devastating cost. Naturally, the book will be complete and as robust and balanced as it can be before any edition at all is released, but I have to consider the possibility that something wholly unexpected will pop up, and be ready to fix it.

HSD isn't a one-time publication. This is the beginning of a new and exciting franchise with multiple expansions already planned and framed. Within its lore are possibilities for full vehicle and equipment books, books dedicated to exploring the community and lore of planets and megacorperations, additional families and species, even extreme and alien incursions. The success of this initial venture will dictate the speed and frequency of the following ones.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Your name in the support section of the official book!

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    Your name, listed as a supporter, and a randomly determined printable .pdf of an exclusive Kickstarter supporter Desktop Wallpaper (one of six) featuring art and lore from the book!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Your name, listed as a supporter, and a .pdf of the official book once its released! Not only does this give you the full text for less than its retail price, you'll also be one of the first to have it! Your .pdf will be labeled as a Kickstarter edition, one of a select few released only to those who donated 25$ or more.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Ready to really leap in? This gets you licenses to 3 .pdf's of the HSD rulebook, enough for you and three friends to get started as soon as the book is completed. You'll also be featured as a supporter. In the meantime, you can enjoy all six of the Kickstarter thank-you wallpapers!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    HSD's rulebook is no joke, weighing in at the better half of 200 printed pages and packed full of rich artwork and color. A pledge of 75 dollars gets you a physical copy of the tome, as well as two .pdfs for your friends to use while you lord your pretty pretty pages over their heads. Just don't drop it on them. Its heavy.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Lets get you something pretty. The printed core rulebook with a special insert page with a signed personal thankyou for your support sounds nice. Two .pdfs to go with it sounds nice too. But we'll cap it off with a dozen printed character sheets and poster prints of the kickstarter wallpapers so you can adorn your game room in style.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    The Playset: Two printed copies of the rulebook, two .pdfs, two dozen character sheets and the alllll the fancy wallpapers in printed form. You'll also be placed in a special section of the supporters list reserved for those who've donated $200 or more.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The Creative Contribution. On top of the $200 rewards, we'll get in touch with you and help you craft an item for the book. Could be some equipment, some armor, a special weapon or just a utility, Even surgical upgrades or implants! They do have to be lore-friendly, so we'll work with you on that, but they'll be included in the book itself for players everywhere to use, and your entry in the Supports section will include the item name next to it!

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    HSD's author will get in touch with you to help you craft a character in HSD's ruleset. Not only will that character be featured (and named) in the rulebook, it will also be illustrated in full color and your name credited for it in the Supporters section! And just to make sure you get to enjoy it, we'll throw in all the rewards from the $100 dollar donation too.

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

    The big one. HSD is a book, and as such it has a cover, with a front and a back. The front is taken care of, but the back remains open. That is, until one of you snag it. For a thousand dollar donation, you reserve three character images to appear on the game's back cover, following the same guidelines that appear in the $300 pledge. Your trio may also appear as incidental artwork here and there in the book itself, and will be rendered in beautiful color. Your image will be presented to you as a printable .pdf and an actual poster, signed by HSD's creator with a message of thanks. You'll also receive the $250 backer reward.

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Funding period

- (30 days)