Hi guys! My name is Craig and I'm with Girded Rose Games and I'm here to tell you about our exciting new game. Clockwork Depths, an underwater steampunk role playing game (RPG), came about due to our lead designer and his wife's mutual love of RPGs and the steampunk genre. He’s been designing games for years, but this is their first solo venture.
What is Clockwork Depths?
Though the game is based in the current year that you are playing in, humans developed diesel, electric, atomic and digital ages slower than in the real world due to the discovery of a rare element deep under the waves. Later, at the end of a second world war - which had dragged on much longer than the real one, lasting until 1955 - a limited, but devastating, atomic exchange occurred since other countries had time to develop atomic weapons of their own. Since they also had access to airships they could reach the American soil easily. The world was appalled and quickly banned anything more advanced than steam technology. Of course, the Technomancers of the world ignore such bans, but that is a story for another time.
Now, your character is in one of these dometowns under the waves for their own reasons. Will you be one of the spirits inhabiting clockwork bodies, known as the Mechis, who's discovery of the mystery ore made all of this possible? Or will you be one of the other species like the Merrow and Undyne, who were discovered as humans explored the oceans, or one of the Chimaera, who were created through alchemical experimentation?
Why do we need your money?
The game has been play-tested and the rule book has been written and is going through a cycle of edits right now, but we need your help with the finishing touches. To clearly convey the world of Clockwork Depths we want to fill the book with professional drawings, photos and schematics of the people, setting and equipment you can expect to find in our game world. And good artwork isn’t free. Any money you pledge will go towards commissioning artists, hiring photographers and graphic designers and equipping our models with the right steampunk gear and fashion they’ll need to bring the world of Clockwork Depths to life for you. The funds will also be used to print the books once we've loaded them full of the artwork to compliment the lore already present in the book.
The steampunk genre is very visual, and while the words we bring to you paint a vivid picture, the development team's hand-drawn concept pictures, included on our website, are more like crude cave paintings. As amusing as these sketches are, they're not what we want to put into the book.
As your characters will learn in the dometown, nothing is ever free, and why should this be any different? Below are the reward tiers we are offering.
For a $25 donation we will send you a black and white copy of the book.
For a $40 donation we will send you full color copy so you can enjoy the artwork as it is truly meant to be.
For a $75 donation we will send you everything you need to run a game including a color copy for you, a black and white copy to share with other players and a Gamescaper binder filled with plot ideas, pre-generated NPCs, maps and details of some of the undersea cities and submersible schematics for the most common ship styles.
For a $100 donation you get a full color book signed by the creative team and a bag of limited edition, hand-made tokens for game play. Also, we’ll send you a treasure chest filled with undersea nautical equipment like a spyglass, compass, rebreather and more that you can use as part of your live action costume or to decorate your gaming table, home office or cubicle at work.
Finally for 200$ you get everything included in the $100 donation reward and your image will appear as an NPC in the book, complete with game stats based on your preferences.
A deeper look at the world of Clockwork Depths.
The Journey so far.
While Clockwork Depths (affectionately known as CwD to us) has undergone some changes since its original concept, there are a few key concepts that have never changed. It was always set in an underwater steampunk world where time continued to march on, but technology had not. Additionally, it was always our plan that CwD could be played as either a table top or a live-action game using the same rules and mechanics for both styles. Finally, and most importantly, was the target audience of the game. Not only did we always want it to be appealing to both children and adults, but we constantly strove to make it a game wherein players of all generation could participate in the same chronicle, if they wanted to. This was mostly selfish on our part. Many of us have kids who wanted to play with us, so we made a game setting that had more than enough for everyone to do. This variety includes: wanting to be silly and joke around in the park or tavern, play whack-a-monster on the sea floor, or dive headlong into politics and world building within the dometown.
Including the kids was part of the reason why we chose to set the game in the world we did. In the Victorian era, children as young as ten had some very real and grown-up responsibilities, and while many of the less savory aspects of Victorian culture have been phased out of this setting, we decided to keep this one in. Because of this, kids can choose to play adult characters if they want (especially in the table top version) but if they want to play a character who is their age, they can do that too without detracting from the setting. If a character is a child, they have special generational boons which allow them to accomplish things that the adult players cannot. Let's face it, you wouldn't really suspect that sweet angelic face to be a distraction while her friends steal from your shop, would you?
The Mechanics: What's in your pouch?
One last thing that changed were the mechanics. Originally the entire system was dice-based but it quickly became apparent that we’d need something else. Don’t get me wrong, we didn’t create a new system because we had an overriding urge to reinvent the wheel or to say “Look at us, we’re so cool we don’t use dice!” Instead, the new system came about because we wanted the same mechanic to be able to be used for both the table top and live-action styles of play, and dice don’t work too well in a live action setting.
So was the sack system spawned! Actually... we call it the blind draw system - but I find that boring. Players have a bag filled with tokens of various colors and symbols. These colors and symbols represent the different attributes a PC has such as Strength, Perception and Aura, with higher scores in an area equating to a greater number of that type of token in the bag (or “sack,” when we are feeling juvenile). A PC’s skills, meanwhile, determine how many tokens are drawn from the bag when the player is attempting an action related to that skill. If your PC is trying to sneak past a guard and has a high Stealth skill then you get to draw several tokens from the bag. You succeed if one of the tokens drawn represents the appropriate Attribute for what you are trying to do. In the above example, Stealth is Physical draw, so drawing tokens representing either of the physical Attributes (Agility and Strength) would mean success.
Who are these people asking for your money?
As I said in the beginning, this is the first solo venture of our lead designer. He and his wife approached myself and a few of our other friends to go on this adventure with them and we couldn’t be more excited! It has proven to be challenging at times, but we have several dedicated and talented people helping us on this project, and they have helped to smooth out the rougher edges so that we can present a role-playing game geeks and gamers everywhere can enjoy. This is just our first product and many more games are in development to bring to you in the future! If you want to check our credentials - and even see our pictures - you can head over here. Just make sure to come back and read the rest of the campaign!
Risks and challenges
Of course there are challenges to what we're trying to do, like keeping the development troll in his cave. But the real issue is timing with things including:
+Printing - this could be an issue with delivering the books to you guys if our printer gets backed up or runs into an issue. We will look into finding back-up printers should something like this arise.
+Formatting & editing - This could delay delivery as we introduce the pictures into the manuscript. To mitigate this, we are working with two individuals who have experience in textbook editing and formatting.
+Visuals - finding the right visuals elements we want to highlight may cost more, or take longer to find, than expected in order to deliver exactly what we had envisioned. However, if any perfectionism snags are encountered Operations will be sure to reign in the Visual Arts department and publish with the art and photos we have as the deadline draws near.
- (30 days)