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$7,306 pledged of $5,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

Set the Wayback Machine to the 1980s

Back in 1983, a company called Bard Games released some books: The Compleat Adventurer, The Compleat Alchemist, The Compleat Spellcaster. These three books would later be combined into an omnibus called The Arcanum. The Arcanum, in addition to repeating an edited and cleaned up version of the three previous books, added an entire game engine to the mix. The two follow-up books (The Lexicon, and The Bestiary) became a trilogy allowing gamers to explore The World of Atlantis.

Arcanum Covers
Arcanum Covers

 The Arcanum had three editions. Bard Games released the first two; the third was released by Death's Edge Games. A new version of The Lexicon, combined with The Bestiary was released as well. Over time, this small press game was all but forgotten. The author, Stephan Michael Sechi, had moved on to write Talislanta. Then, after some more time, he left game writing to focus on his music career. He is truly a multi-talented man, and a fine human being. I purchased the rights to all three editions of The Arcanum (text and artwork {1}); another company (which also ran a Kickstarter campaign for the setting) purchased the rights to The Lexicon and The Bestiary well before I first spoke to Mr. Sechi. In other words, these two books are in very good hands.

30th Anniversary Edition logo
30th Anniversary Edition logo

The 30th Anniversary Edition

The Arcanum was far from a perfect book. It had some editing and typographical errors, some issues with formatting, and so on. In other words, it suffered the issues associated with a small group of enthusiasts trying to publish an RPG in the days before desktop publishing. I am working on the 30th Anniversary Edition {2} of this book; my goal is to make this the end-all, be-all of The Arcanum Role-Playing System. I am cleaning up the text, re-arranging items; breaking up the book into true chapters, and creating a cohesive flow making the rules easy to follow.

What I am not doing is substantially altering any aspect of the game {3}.

Some things are quirky. This is not a flaw, or an error -- it is a matter of style. To do this, I have to strive for two secondary goals:

  • This edition is setting free. The game will have reference to some things (certain classifications of higher and lower powers, types of undead, and so on). But no established setting is to be assumed. The Atlantean Setting is the property of Khepera Publishing. I have spoken with Jerry D. Greyson (great guy, by the way) -- he and I have a gentleman's agreement. Where the information in The Arcanum makes reference to The Atlantean Setting, I am free to deal with that as I wish. Anything strictly within the pages of The Lexicon and The Bestiary is off limits. This is a very fair arrangement.
  • I will have to develop a standard system for creatures. Since the animals, beasts, monsters, and other creatures are all described within the pages of The Bestiary, I will have to take every creature that has information or has references to it made within The Arcanum and flesh them out in some way. This adds a chapter (Bestiary) within The Arcanum that was not there before. Without this section, the RPG is sorely lacking as a stand-alone system. If we get enough money, this may become a separate book.

Why Do You Need Money?

The money is needed to handle normal publishing expenses (e.g., ISBN, printing, artwork).

Who Are You?

My name is K. David Ladage. I am the founder of ZiLa Games -- and this role-playing system is my flagship project. As a freelance writer, I have written for Steve Jackson Games, Sword and Sorcery Studios, and others. I am a tinker of games and a natural game designer (meaning that I love coming up with games, and when I play games I begin looking at how I would have done things almost immediately). I have high hopes for ZiLa Games. I have a lot of ideas and notes that need an outlet.

OK... How Much More is Left to Do?

The book is done (save a few pieces of art, and editing). So... very little is left to do.

Wait... Didn't You Do This Already?

Yes and no. I ran a Kickstarter campaign some time ago for this book. I asked for far too little and it succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Then things went south. I had two artists filch me out of a couple thousand dollars. I let my eyes get too wide and started envisioning things far outside the scope of the project -- that I laid out money for. Then all things went to hell as the scope of the project's text started to get violated. Weeks turned into months. Months into a year and more.

I realized I needed to make my backers whole again . So I took out a small loan and used my income tax refund to refund every dollar that had been donated to that last attempt. Then, outside of a pressure caused by my desire to get a product out for 90+ backers, I started working on the material when I could. It is now done.

Some editing remains. Some artwork needs to be put in. But it is fundamentally done. All it needs now is you: pledge and help make a dream come true.

Stretch Goals  

  • $10,000 -- The dice and the dice bag will become an add-on items. You can order them, order additional sets, etc.
  • $15,000 -- The hardcover edition will become a numbered, limited edition item where no more than 500 will ever be printed in that format. The Paladin-level donor will get book #001 of 500.
  • $25,000 -- The limited edition hardcover will get the number in gold on the cover as opposed to the inside of the book.
  • $35,000 -- A Game Master's Screen will be produced and made available as an add-on item.
  • $45,000 -- The Monster chapter (Bestiary) will be pulled out of the main book, expanded, and made into a separate volume. Those that get a copy of the book will get a similar copy of the Bestiary (PDF = PDF, Softcover = Softcover, etc.)
  • $50,000 -- I cannot imagine this campaign reaching this level... but if it does, I will add more stretch goals. Right after I change my pants. :)

Add Ons

  • $15 -- Additional PDF (only available to Gladiator and above)
  • $30 -- Additional soft cover (only available to Sorcerer and above)
  • $60 -- Additional hard cover (only available to Assassin and above) 

Custom Dice and Dice Bag

Some of the higher level pledges get custom dice and a custom dice bag. Below are pictures of what they will receive. These are not available as add-ons. Supplies are limited.

Dice Bag (outside) and custom dice
Dice Bag (outside) and custom dice

 

Dice bag (inside) and custom dice
Dice bag (inside) and custom dice

One-of-a-Kind Dice Tower

The Paladin level includes a one-of-a-kind dice tower. This is what it looks like (dice are shown for scale).

Dice Tower: Lower Front
Dice Tower: Lower Front

 

Dice Tower: Back
Dice Tower: Back

 

Dice Tower: Two Parts
Dice Tower: Two Parts

 

Dice Tower: Upper Front
Dice Tower: Upper Front

 

===

{1} -- I own the rights to all of the text and artwork for all three editions of The Arcanum. However, one exceptions was made: one of the races in the book became a major part of Talislanta -- Mr. Sechi maintains the rights to that one element of the game.

{2} -- The original material was published in the mid 1980s. The combined book (the actual Arcanum releases) came shortly after. Thus, the 30th Anniversary of this RPG classic.

{3} -- The bestiary is the only major change to the system.

Risks and challenges

The rights are secured. ZiLa Games owns the text and art -- so this is already taken care of.

The book writing and layout are complete. I have the dice (Chessex) and the dice bags (Custom Dice Bags). I have the dice tower (Unique Dice Towers). I have an artist who is donating his time and effort for the last few remaining spots where artwork is needed. The biggest hurdle will be in the editing. I am estimating how long that will take. If it runs over, I will let you know.

I am hoping to get it printed by a local printer in Cedar Rapids, IA -- CEDAR GRAPHICS. If all else fails, I can do the printing through Lulu or CreateSpace.

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    Charlatan

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    Gladiator

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    Assassin

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    Bounty Hunter

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    Necromancer

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    Witch Hunter

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    Wizard

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    Paladin

    As Astrologer, above. Plus you will receive a hard-cover copy of the book once it has been printed (#001 of 500 if the limited edition stretch goal is met); three sets of custom dice; a custom dice bag; a one-of-a-kind Arcanum-themed custom dice tower from Unique Dice Towers.

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