The ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting, a true oceanic world.
The ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting, a true oceanic world.
ENDLESS BLUE, an immersive RPG set in a world submerged under water, featuring strange races, unique challenges, and danger everywhere.
ENDLESS BLUE, an immersive RPG set in a world submerged under water, featuring strange races, unique challenges, and danger everywhere. Read more
Life began in water...
...ours begins on Kickstarter!
Endless Blue is an immersive tabletop fantasy RPG set in a world covered with ocean. It focuses on ideas and story over mechanics, written from a logical perspective, producing an imaginatively alien yet familiar setting so detailed that it feels like it could actually exist.
Welcome to the world of Elqua, the water world around which the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign is played. ENDLESS BLUE will be a D20/Pathfinder tabletop RPG compatible setting. It will be different from other "aquatic" supplements in that unlike those others, which are meant to be tacked onto an existing land-based campaign, ENDLESS BLUE is built from the ocean-floor up. Much like the flip side of most games, the underwater cultures are the dominant races of the world. In fact, they are the ONLY ones, as there is no intelligent life on the small archipelagos that dot the endless horizon of blue. This juxtaposition poses some problems for life as we know it, but many of the ideas that define the setting take this into account: How do you write under water, or farm, or build, or even cook for that matter? In many ways, the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting rulebook will be one-half role playing supplement and another half world building exercise.
There will be nine different playable races in the ENDLESS BLUE, with memorable classes, cultures, and politics that through the centuries have both brought them together as well as kept them at each other's throats. Survival of the fittest is the law of the ocean. You are either predator or prey, and you'll need every shred of instinct and skill make the difference. Elqua is a giant world filled with things like orca bards whose voices echo across the currents, terrapin mages bending solid coral to their will, and octopi unleashing frenzied sharks upon their enemies. The only thing assuring your survival is the death of something else. Creatures almost too small to see and monstrosities that dwarf the largest prehistoric beast all inhabit the same oceans as the players, each providing a unique slant to survival under the waves. Special attention is given to the most everyday experiences in order to explore and explain the unique difficulties inherent in an aquatic civilization. Imagine the alienness of Wayne Douglas Barlowe's "Expedition", the war of ideas from Planescape, the epic scope of the works of Michael Moorcock, and the adaptability of the D20/Pathfinder system all working together to deliver a world like no other...
I envision the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook will run to 200 8"x10" B&W pages, with a full-color perfect-bound softcover. Approximately 150,000 words, with at least 9 full sized pages of professional art (not to mention spot illustrations throughout). Projected release date would be January of 2014. Hopefully, if there's enough interest in my project, I can bump this up to an illustrated hardcover, larger page count, with full color on every page... A guy can dream, can't he?
"New Traditions" is the name of the exclusive Kickstarter adventure for the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting. It concerns the actions of a particular Locanth tribe that has turned its back on the ideals of balance and harmony with nature in the face of impending starvation. It brings them into conflict with other Locanth tribes, and brings them the attention of the Kelpygmies. The resulting repercussions affect the surroundings and others, with the players caught in the middle as the resolution comes to a head. Is impending ruination inevitable or can salvation be found in a compromise? Hard choices will have to be made in this 32 pg. black & white adventure.
What do I need the money for?
Foremost, for printing on dead trees.
I could easily just throw together a .PDF of the setting, toss it on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG, and let you print it on demand. But I don't feel that does the world of Elqua and the ENDLESS BLUE setting justice. I'm a gamer myself, and there's just something magical about holding a well-crafted book in your hands, hearing the soft crack of the binding as you first open it, and of course that new book smell! Then pouring over page after page. each filled with rich detail and provocative ideas, and another world unfolding inside your mind... There's nothing like it! But I also see the value in electronic version of the same product, for portability, quick reference, and space considerations. So I'm making both available to you at various levels of support, starting with .PDFs at the lower end and print editions at higher levels, as well as the chance to purchase additional copies as reward add-ons.
Second, paying for some pretty pictures.
It's not just for the sake of having pictures: there's a reason Kickstarter requires a video with every project. Art adds a whole level of depth to a project, creating things like style (both figuratively and literally) and feel. I can't define every tiny aspect of the setting by myself -- some things like the look of fashion in the Endless Blue setting will be a result of artist input. With that being said, feel free to point interested artists in my direction, and meanwhile I'll be searching out some on my own. Know a friend that has developed their skill and is looking for a chance to shine?
Third, storage, postage, and overhead.
While I'd love to quit my day job and write full time, that just isn't in the cards. First I need a DBA or incorporate to gain a tax id number so I can do business with manufacturers, then find a CPA to make sure the books balance. Without those, Uncle Sam won't get his share...
Finally, Kicking it Forward!
I pledge to "Kick It Forward", donating 5% of the profits towards other Kickstarter projects. While this, the Kickstarter fees, and Amazon's fees will reduce the final amount I earn from the project, I think it is vitally important to give back to the community that is so giving enough to help me succeed.
These are the goodies you get for donating to the cause of getting the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting printed.
- $1 GUPPIE -- Your name on a special page of the website.
- $5 GROUPER -- Your name in a special section of the .PDF/printed book.
- $10 TUNA -- Mostly text-only B&W .PDF of the book, for those that hate eye-candy.
- $15 SALMON -- A color, art-filled .PDF of the book, for those that just can't go without color.
- $30 MANTA-RAY -- This level garners a B&W .PDF of the exclusive Kickstarter adventure, only available through this drive.
- $50 GREAT WHITE -- This is the "Early Bird" pledge, with the first 50 patrons getting the printed ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook at a discounted price.
- $60 HAMMERHEAD -- Don't pledge this level if there are any slots under GREAT WHITE open, as the rewards are identical. If there are no slots open, I'm sorry you missed the opportunity, but perhaps someone will later change their pledge, at which time you can pounce like a true shark!
- $70 MEGALODON -- Just like the HAMMERHEAD level, but I will have your exclusive Kickstarter adventure printed out for you.
- $85 ICHTHYOSAUR -- Your printed Kickstarter adventure will be signed and numbered.
- $100 PLESIOSAUR -- I'll personalize your printed Kickstarter adventure as well as sign and number it.
- $180 NARWHAL - At this pledge level and above, I will start signing and numbering all printed copies of the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook.
- $225 ORCA -- At this pledge level and above, I will not only sign and number your ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook, but personalize it with your name as well!
- $250 KRAKEN -- You get to contribute an NPC to the setting. Visit http://wjcuffe.wordpress.com to find information about the races and some of the classes specific to the ENDLESS BLUE setting. And, FYI, no Ameoboid Ambushers -- they were just a joke. Only 8 slots available.
- $300 LEVIATHAN -- The flip of the KRAKEN pledge, where I will make you a PC to use in your games, with an official, sanctioned little bump like an extra ability or unique item. Perhaps synesthesia, or passive ultravision, or a coveted coiltech weapon? Only 8 slots available.
- NEW!: $30 FUR-BEARING TROUT -- This pledge level gets the benefits of both GUPPIE and GROUPER levels, plus a B&W print softcover copy of the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting rulebook. It does not get the .PDF rewards of the TUNA or SALMON levels.
Should the ENDLESS BLUE Kickstarter project reach goal, new RETAILER pledge levels will open up. Imagine, with enough interest, you might see ENDLESS BLUE on the shelves of your favorite local game shop!
I wanted to create a fun reward that gave value to donators that took the plunge early in a Kickstarter project, but didn't result in a sense of serious loss if you learned about it too late. As a result, I created what I am calling the Patron Rule, which reads thusly:
As a reward for early donation, everyone who submits at the $5 GROUPER Level or more will gain an in-game bonus based on the date of their pledge. This is my way of giving a very special "Thank You" to those that put faith in me and the setting instead of biding their time to see how the project fares.
These generous gamers will gain an amount of extra starting funds during character creation based on the date of their pledge, ranging from 31 (first day adopters) to 1 (last minute pledgers).
To verify, simply look for the player's name in the Patron section of the ENDLESS BLUE rulebook (yep, there's actually a reason for it!), then take the day in January of their donation and subtract it from 32. This is how much extra they have to spend on every character they create. Not just the first, not just in home games -- in every game the player creates a character. After all, without them, the setting would be languishing in obscurity and none of us would get to experience it.
Furthermore, in addition to extra starting funds, any character the Patron plays -- pre-generated or personally made -- gain an amount of additional XP above the normal amount earned at the end of each game session. This is a nice little bonus that slowly rewards Patrons over time, and can add up over an extended campaign.
So, unless you have a common name like "James Smith" and are planning to mooch off of someone else's generosity, you might want to think about pledging early...
Should the wonderful happen and this Kickstarter drive reach its goal, here are the SUCCESS! Level 1 preliminary goals to reach for:
- $25K -- I will create a special color, double-sided character sheet in .PDF format, free to all levels (GUPPIE and up).
- $30K -- Everyone contributing at the $50 GREAT WHITE Level and above will receive a .PDF of ENDLESS BLUE Fold-Up Terrain (2+ spurs) in addition to their normal awards. Tentatively (should it prove possible), I'd like to provide printed versions as an add-on, printed on clear plastic (overhead film).
- $35K -- I'll upgrade the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook from a softcover to a Hardcover!
- $40K -- A new product! I'll create an ENDLESS BLUE Player's Guide, with the B&W 64 pg. .PDF free to all of $10 pledge level and up. It will contain much of the same information as the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook, but tailored toward the player as not to spoil any of the world's best secrets.
- $45K -- Print the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook in glorious COLOR at no additional cost to you!
- $50K -- Print the ENDLESS BLUE Player's Guide, available for purchase as an add-on.
From here, OVERACHIEVER!! Level 2 goals are reached every $10K until $100K. More products are planed for the ENDLESS BLUE line.
Should the unimaginable happen, the IMPOSSIBLE!!! Level 3 goals kick in at $120K and arrive every $20K thereafter to $300K. Think we can reach higher than that? By all means, make me scramble for more ideas!
In addition to the Pledge Rewards that can be achieved through donations, there are some initial items that can be purchased by everyone -- simply select at least the $1 GUPPIE Level (or higher if you would like) and add the following amounts to your pledge:
- +$2 - 4" x8" color print of the ENDLESS BLUE Logo with planet Elqua and the three moons (via DeviantArt).
- +$5 - 8" x 10" color print of the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook cover, sans logo (via DeviantArt).
- +$25 - 16" x 24" color poster of the Elqua Map or The Vastness (via DeviantArt)
- +$18 - Tote bag with embroidered Logo (via Stitches by Gina)
- +$20 - Baseball cap with embroidered Logo (via Stitches by Gina)
- +$20 - T-Shirt with embroidered Logo (via Stitches by Gina)
- +$35 - Polo with embroidered Logo (via Stitches by Gina)
- +$30 -- A B&W softcover print copy of the ENDLESS BLUE Campaign Setting core rulebook (+ $10 S&h outside the US).
NOTE: Use the "Manage My Pledge" button below the "Time Left" counter to add dollar amounts to your current pledge reward level. Don't forget additional shipping costs for overseas orders on applicable items.
TALK TO ME!
Got questions, suggestions, or just want to voice your enthusiasm? I want to hear from you! Post a comment, and share with other backers. Because more than likely, they have the same concerns as you do. Ask me things, and I will try to answer -- I'm planning to make daily Updates, but I need to know what you want to know...
Join me in obsessing over the progress of the ENDLESS BLUE Kickstarter project over at Kicktraq.com, and enjoy the undulating waves as the tides of donations ebb and flow.
Please spread the word; my success is completely in your hands. Hopefully the ENDLESS BLUE setting has sparked your interest, and I look forward to producing the best quality game I can envision!
Risks and challenges
The first challenge will be of time. As much as I would love to quit my job and just write for the ENDLESS BLUE setting all day, I still have a day job. However, the year of work posted at http://wjcuffe.wordpress.com should serve as an example, since that was all written while I maintained full-time employment. Unless something crazy happens, then all the work will be done during my off time.
The second challenge will be logistics. Collecting and maintaining all your orders, getting a printer and accepting delivery, storage space for the product, and so on. This will be accomplished out of the equivalent of a home office. There will be no such thing as "leaving work behind at the office until tomorrow" when I'll be sitting right there, surrounded by it!
The third challenge will be soliciting and collecting the art for the project. The little artist voice in me is whispering, wanting to do it all myself, but realistically I can't -- there's just too much to do. I have to delegate responsibility. I have a plan of various artwork that will be needed, including a juicy assignment for some lucky artist to produce the full page, all color portraits of the setting's various races and another plum to produce the iconography for the nation flags/emblems. And on the subject of delegation, I can't design every tiny aspect by myself, and so I'll be relying on the artist I choose for things like fashions and other aesthetic touches.
The risk is pretty obvious. The ever-looming specter of failure, nagging at me, telling me I'm not good enough, not talented enough. This is your money I'm entrusted with, to produce a product to the best of my abilities, and I'm dedicated to that outcome. You are entrusting me with your money, and I take that responsibility with utter seriousness.
Am I up to the task? I think so. And you can judge for yourself, as I have over 100,000 words already written and posted on the Internet, sprinkled with illustrations, free for you to read at http://wjcuffe.wordpress.com. Not all of it is useable, and much still needs to be added, but as given it shows there is a depth and vision to the ENDLESS BLUE campaign setting that forms a foundation for many products to come...Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)