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$670 pledged of $18,000 goal
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By David Alvis
$670 pledged of $18,000 goal
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About this project

Marshals & Myrmidons (M&M) is a new spin on the old RPG's. Instead of rolling the dice, you spin the wheels.  It is a unique table-top RPG that combines the sociality and impromptu dialog of a table-top game with the speed and variety of a digital game.

The unique wheel system allows for extremely quick character and scenario creation, maximizing time to play.

During play, the wheels allow for ultra-quick combat and saving rolls, taking into account all of the modifiers and options with a flick of the wrist or a click of the mouse.

Unlike other RPG's and Tabletop gaming systems, Marshals & Myrmidons focuses on friendly cooperation rather than cut-throat competition, on creativity rather than hack-n-slash, on fun instead of detail management.  Most importantly, it generates hilarious encounters and unpredictable adventures.

Game History

While teaching secondary education, Stephen Alvis created Marshals & Myrmidons in the 1980's to teach leadership and decision making. Over the next several decades, it was refined and honed into a streamlined experience developing its own unique, on-going backstory. Many of the most heroic and engaging players were immortalized as permanent  non-player characters in the game. Today, Stephen's son, David now manages the bulk of the content while Stephen maintains the creative direction for the game.

The name Marshals & Myrmidons comes from ancient armies. A marshal is a great leader in war, commanding thousands, and a myrmidon is a loyal and obedient follower. Myrmidons were Greek warriors led by Achilles at the siege of Troy.  In Classical Greek, the name was interpreted as "ant-people," who inhabited the island of Aegina, which Stephen visited as a young man.  In our game, myrmidons are non-player characters executing every command with literal exactness.

Setting

In the universe of Marshals & Myrmidons, our initial setting is the planet Harnacaff a post-technological society, as a result of a massive world war which occurred a few thousand years ago. The outcome of the war threw the planet back into a medieval technology level. It has been long enough now that only a few remember what happened and still have access to technology from that era. 

However, Marshals & Myrmidons is not all about the medieval level of technology, we have a vast galaxy of other planets we will eventually release in the Interplanetary Adventures.  There are currently about 70 planets that have been established in our Galaxy.  After we finish the details about Harnacaff, we will be putting together details on the rest of the galaxy, and new wheels to aid in exploring the galaxy.

Design Philosophy

We have designed the game to be fun for everyone, no matter how much or little experience they have with table-top RPGs. Where players are encouraged to work together to get out of sticky situations, and sometimes to create sticky situations. And where the challenges, scenarios, and solutions are as varied as the players themselves.

The interactive adventure and character wheels are easy for beginners to learn and provide a fast-paced way to play this table-top RPG. To accomplish this we use a system of 3 separate rings that simultaneously work together to allow players to quickly create unique combinations of characters and situations. From that was born a series of wheels that allowed for, not only unique and random characters, but also outrageous situations and scenarios.

The set of physical Adventure Wheels from Adventures on Harnacaff Vol 1.
The set of physical Adventure Wheels from Adventures on Harnacaff Vol 1.

An outrageous example from Perils on the Plains Adventure Wheel:

  • "Around a leaping campfire is
  • a happily whistling and frolicking
  • nest of poisonous pit vipers."

And sometimes they are desperate like this example from Under the Trees Adventure Wheel:

  • "You find lost pilgrims dying of thirst at
  • an abandoned guard house with rabid bats
  • as wolf packs howl and yip at each other. "

A final example of an unexpected encounter from the upcoming Metropolitan Menagerie adventure wheel:

  • "You feel a blade at your throat from
  • a filthy, snotty-nosed
  • innkeeper and his guest.'

What are you going to do? Whistle with the vipers around a camp fire or save the pilgrims or pay off the snotty-nosed innkeeper?

Where we are going and where the funds go

While we have a fully functioning game, it needs some work to bring it fully into the digital age. Thousands of hours have already been invested into creation and production.  A minimum of a full month of time is expected to be needed from everyone to bring the first phase of the project to a state of completion.  That's where you come in.

Funds raised here will go towards paying for full time work by:

Artist  - With over 30 years of back-story and content, most of it drawn by hand, an artist is needed to upgrade the graphics to a professional level.  This is a biggest need.

Creative Director -  Stephen will continue to create content, monitor the creative direction of the game, and work on the expansion.  His abilities are currently split among other projects, and this will allow him to focus on Marshals & Myrmidons.

Content Manager and Technology Specialist - David will continue to manage the digitization of content, creation of and upgrades to the technology that runs the game, and preparing for roll-out of the game on completion.  He will also manage store-front creation and all web-related design, and expansion to other platforms.  Planned platforms include Mac OS and iPhone/iPad. He is currently looking for another job, but this will allow him to focus all his time on improving the game.

Supported Systems

Currently the main game runs under Windows, but can be easily ported to Mac as soon as we have a development machine. Also the player's character sheets can be stored in a custom Android app or on a Windows machine. We hope to also provide a Mac and iPhone version of that tool as well. We have also experimented with running the main game under Android, the wheels work well, but the HTML manual and the map are cumbersome to use right now. If there is enough demand, we will look at making an Android version and possibly an iPhone version as well.

Hand-drawn map of Astrakhan with remastered version overlaied
Hand-drawn map of Astrakhan with remastered version overlaied

Rewards and Opportunities

Loyal backers that pledge $10 or more at Myrmidon Level to this Kickstarter will receive: Adventures on Harnacaff Volume 1, including 2 character wheels (male and female), 6 adventure wheels (these are the scenarios that the players encounter as they travel across the land) and 3 combat and saving wheels. In addition they will also receive the digital HTML manual with all the rules and information on the inhabitants and places in the country of Astrakhan on the planet Harnacaff. This includes a rich backstory that can be used to enhance your game sessions. Finally you will receive dozens of interactive maps that can be zoomed in and out, also you can place markers to keep track of your party, and all major points of interest on the map include links back to the manual to quickly reference anything. The bulk of this is done, and the polish should only take at least a month before we begin releasing content and another two more months to finish polishing the content.

The Adventure Wheels of Adventures on Harnacaff Vol 1
The Adventure Wheels of Adventures on Harnacaff Vol 1

Brave backers that pledge $20 or more at Spartacid Level will receive everything included in the Myrmidon Level plus additional wheels and content for the rest of the planet Harnacaff. Including Mountainous Encounters, Metropolitan Menagerie, Beast Feast, Pathos Wheel (this wheel specifically focuses on your pathos. Are you pathetic enough to get out of these sticky and sometimes hilarious situations?) In addition, there will be more maps for each of the countries of Harnacaff included along with more cities. The production on this will take at least 10 to 18 months to finish after Volume 1 is finished. We have several new maps to make, and tons of content to add into the manual. The wheels are already in pre-production, and waiting for final approval of the text. If there are insufficient funds to complete the full production, we will still release the content we do have to these backers.

The Adventure Wheels of Adventures on Harnacaff Vol 2
The Adventure Wheels of Adventures on Harnacaff Vol 2

Freewheeling backers that pledge $30 or more at Game Master Level will receive everything from the above levels, plus the tool we developed to easily build your own custom adventure wheels. This will allow our budding Game Masters to add up to 6 custom wheels to the main game. These custom wheels can also be shared with other game masters. They only require 2 text files and a small graphic. We will set up an exchange where they can be uploaded for others to see. Please note that these wheels will not look as good as the other wheels because the text for them will be drawn on a blank, generic wheel. But they will be just as functional as the other wheels.

Creative backers that pledge $100 or more at Literati Level will receive everything from the above levels plus the chance to send us your inhabitant of Harnacaff to be included in the game.  (Content is subject to approval. No copyrighted material. Please remember this is being marketed as a family friendly game)

Big wheel backers of $250 or more at Marshal Level will receive everything above, plus using our tool, they can build and send us the text for the three rings of their own wheel that we will add into the game in an update for everyone. (Content is subject to approval. No copyrighted material. Please remember this is being marketed as a family friendly game)

Backers of $500 or more at Heroes of Harnacaff Level will receive the complete Adventures on Harnacaff (Volumes 1 and 2), the custom wheel builder, PLUS exclusive access to the first planned space expansion: Interplanetary Adventures Volume 1 as soon as it is available. This will include new Character Wheels, new space-themed wheels, and 20 new planets to explore. If we fail to get enough funding to properly present this, we will still send you the framework we currently have. We project that it will take at least 12 to 18 months of production to get this presentable.

Our treasure-laden backer of $5,000 at the Plutocrat Level will receive the full collection from the Heroes of Harnacaff Level, and get to participate in a game play session with the creators of the game over the Internet.

Download Demo

We are excited to finally be able to get our game out to everyone. We know you will all enjoy it as much as we have. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns or comments. We appreciate all feedback (as long as it is polite). If you would like to see a demo of the game, please visit www.adventure-wheels.com

Why Steam & Greenlight

Why would a game like this even belong on Steam? To answer that, it is quite simple, Steam Workshop support. We currently have the ability to allow custom wheels and maps to be added into the game dynamically. Allowing users to add this content to their game through Steam Workshop, would open up a kinds of new possibilities for our users. Of course the other benefit of being on Steam would be the game streaming and social networking features that would allow remote players to connect with other groups and still see what is going on.

Come vote for us on Steam Greenlight, so that we can be the first table-top RPG on Steam!

Risks and challenges

The risks of not getting at least the base game are minimal at best. We have a fully functional game that could be distributed today, but we feel that it needs some work from an artist, and many entries are incomplete, due to only being able to work on it in our free time.

To simplify things, all the distribution will be done digitally. The biggest risk is to backers of the higher tiers that may not get as much content as we are hoping to make, though much of it exists in some form. It will all come down to how long we can continue to pay our bills while we make this.

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Funding period

- (30 days)