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$6,494 pledged of $30,000 goal
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By Lagging Dice LLC
$6,494 pledged of $30,000 goal
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About this project

Some secrets are best left undisturbed.

Gatekeepers is a role-playing game of fantasy intrigue made for lazy game masters and creative players. It takes minutes to create a party of player characters, it takes seconds to draft a random (or not so random) encounter for them to fight, regardless of their level. Our rules do not get in the way of your story.

Players build their characters card-by-card in place of traditional character sheets where each card grants two stat bonuses and one ability that uses them. These abilities are atomic and benefit each other in a surprising variety of ways. There are no restrictions in how to build one's character.

Want to cast spells in plate armor? You got it. 

Want to ride a bear into battle while shapeshifted into a ferret who makes healing rain from the sky for the entire party? Righteous. 

How about teleporting around the battlefield so you can assassinate the enemy leader with a great sword? Great!

With this rule set, every dice roll and player decision matters. Even failures move the story forward. Players maneuver between factions and noble Houses of the city, making deals and alliances that either keep the status quo or destabilize it to the brink of civil war.

Gatekeepers was designed to make running a game more light-weight and focused on storytelling. You can find more about Feyhaven, the setting and the lore of Gatekeepers RPG here and in this kickstarter's updates.

 

 

Gatekeepers game box prototype
Gatekeepers game box prototype
  • 96 page rule book, perfect-bound hardcover (the image above is a softcover prototype)
  • 150 tokens for rewards, spell effects and damage
  • 150 cards (plus all unlocked stretch goals)
  • 17 playable races (City Elves, Dark Elves, Demons, Dragons, Dwarves, Fairies, Feral Elves, Giant Mantises, Gnomes, Goblins, Goopy Blobs, Humans, Kobolds, Orks, Trolls, Vine Creepers and Watchers)
  • 18 six-sided dice
Size comparison of playable species
Size comparison of playable species

 

Starting players choose a race card and three additional cards from the Strikes, Spells, Items or Skill decks to form their character concept. As they advance, they learn, buy or trade for more cards. There are no restrictions.

At any point in time, characters have half of their cards on the table in front of them with the other half held in their hand for reserve. The cards on the table are referred to as the player's stance.

Stance
Stance

The icons on the cards in a player’s stance indicate their current stats. During combat or skill checks, players roll two six-sided dice and use those dice to buff their icons to pass their skill check, defend or increase their damage. During combat, the dice are committed to the cards for an entire round. Only having two dice per round means characters need to think critically about how they use them; should they be used for an all-in-one explosive hit, or saved for defense?

These icons also represent a player’s health and emotional status. When players take damage, they cover their icons with a mark: a token with two random icons on one side and a blank on the other. Short term, marks boost a character by giving them two icons rather than one (excitement! inspiration! adrenaline!). However, once a player covers all their icons, they will have to start flipping the marks to the blank white side, taking scratches (pain and suffering). Once all icons on a players stance cards are covered by white tokens, the player is knocked out.

But what about the cards still in a player's hands? Once per round the players can swap one card in their stance for another. This is called a stance dance and needs to be used critically like the dice since it's also a limited commodity.

But what if you have a mark on your card? Or a committed die? We don't want to get into all the rules here on the Kickstarter page, but we want you to get as in-depth into the rules as you want so you can download and read a 23-page sample of the core rule book as a free PDF. These pages detail character creation, dice resolution and the entire combat system.

 

We made a game for our friends: at the end of the day, that’s what matters. If your friends are like ours, we bet they’ll like this too.

We drew inspiration from fantasy authors like G.R.R. Martin and J.R.R. Tolkien, but felt our world needed more cowbell: fantasy creatures and magic. So we put our inspirations, hopes and dreams in a blender and cranked magic up to 11. (Hint: don't do it at home. Glitter went everywhere.)

We wanted to focus on three areas:

  • Fast and simple combat: people are not computers, and we shouldn’t be. We follow the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle so players can focus on their decisions and creative solutions.
  • Minimal prep: the game master does not need to spend an evening before the game to have a game. You start with an idea and you’re ready to play.
  • Cheat-free GMing: the game master does not fudge anything. The challenge is real, but fair. The game has no game master screen, so the players can plan their teamwork around what their enemies can do.

The real elephant in the room is that this role-playing game is using cards and tokens in place of pencils and character sheets, like a board game. What gives? Why?

The short answer is the cards and tokens make the game run faster, and keep it fun. We wanted our game to gives players creativity in character creation and development, something you can master and "theorycraft" and argue about, without getting bogged down in math.

It is still a role-playing game, and it still requires a game master, because there is no substitute for a human mind when it comes to imagination.

 

For the time being, you can add these amounts to your pledge yourself. A backer survey will be sent out at a later date, allowing you to choose your rewards, change your address and increase your pledge if you so choose.

 

 .PNG and .PDF files needed to print and play the game on your own. Digital-only reward. MSRP: $14.

 

 An extra copy of the game. Not a digital reward, but you get to save on shipping multiple copies to the same address. MSRP: $55

 

Digital only reward: a .PNG file with the world map of Feyhaven, large enough for a poster or a desktop background.

 

Digital only reward: a .PDF file as a collection of adventure ideas and sensitive information. This book is full of potential spoilers for players, and it makes sense to keep it a separate reward to keep certain things safer than others. Whenever possible, this book gives more than one theory about any one thing, to keep those who spoil their own fun firmly in the dark. Estimated delivery for this reward is December 2017. MSRP: $9.

Some of the contents:

  • Royalty of the five Houses of Oroden locked in political struggle over the Regency of the city: their goals, resources and dirty laundry 
  • Possible Gate locations, secrets of their operation and "holiday destinations" (i.e. various hells) they open
  • "Perfectly safe" ancient artifacts in common use in Oroden
  • Doomsday plagues of the ancients, and ways to unleash or prevent them
  • What is really buried under the Boneyard Keep
  • Who's who in the criminal underbelly of Oroden
  • Undertown: map of the Dark Elf settlement growing directly under Oroden
  • Series of unfortunate events that could lead to Oroden's destruction

 

Digital only reward: .PSD source files for the cards and tokens. .PSD source file of the Feyhaven world map. Two proprietary fonts used in card creation. If you are able to work in Photoshop, you'll be able to create, print and SELL your own cards and adventures. MSRP: $29

With the Print-n-Play pledge and the Source Files pledge you can make your own cards, have them printed professionally and sell them. We don't mind at all. Want to take Feyhaven to steampunk age? No problem. Gun powder age? Cyberpunk? Dieselpunk? Fusionpunk? Maybe you want to make your own setting altogether. Go right ahead. We only ask that you don't put our hour-glass logo on your cards and products, so we can differentiate the cards made and tested by Lagging Dice LLC, for the sake of the community's collective sanity. Here are some partners for printing your cards: The Game Crafter, Board Games Maker, Ad Magic, Board Game Manufacturing. Our cards are half the size of poker cards, colloquially known as mini-cards. Have fun!

 

 After we reach our funding, stretch goals will unlock more cards, optional game components, free PDFs and other nifty additions. 

 

Read the review by Endzeitgeist:

  • "An interesting system that plays quickly and fluidly."

 

Watch video review by Ernie and Derek from Pixels & Papers:

  • "Makes it very apparent what you need to do when you're making the world, and it's really easy."
  • "In this game you can be so many character races... Can't say Giant Mantis enough! I'm sold."

 

Read review by Jim Low of Swords and Stationery:

  • "This should please both roll- and role-players."

 

Read review by Lucitie:

  • "The lore is on par with Forgotten Realms, and I really can't give it higher praise than that."

 

 

Risks and challenges

To start off, this is our first time launching our own Kickstarter. However, we have had the opportunity to collaborate with others on their Kickstarter projects and learned from their experiences.

We’re aware that one of the biggest risks and challenge with any Kickstarter is shipping - specifically in regards to delays and cost precision.

To help prevent any issues and fill any knowledge gaps we have, we are working with fulfillment centers around the world that have specific expertise working with Kickstarter products, many of them indie game companies with products similar to our own. Additionally, we are working with a manufacturer who also provides fulfillment services so we have a backup service should any issues arise.

While the game is built, proto-typed, play-tested and ready to go, the art in the game book is completely original and not yet complete. This is the only item that keeps us from sending the game for print as soon as the Kickstarter is completed, so our risk would be that the artwork is not completed on time to make our shipping date of October 2017.
So how are we solving it?

While being a workaholic helps, a sane schedule is better. We built a schedule for the remaining art based off of the time it took for what is already completed and then added in time for shipping and manufacturing, including buffer time for potential delays.

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Funding period

- (30 days)