We’re so excited to be back on Kickstarter with our new game, Copper Dreams! It's an isometric, party-based, turn-based, pen-and-paper-inspired game in a dystopian cyberpunk setting. Think an isometric Escape from New York, or Deus Ex.
As an Agent of Asset Inquiries that syndicates hire to gather items, intel and citizens of value, you'll often be put through sensitive situations not to win but to minimize your level of failure and tackle conflicts with clever stealth (or lots of bullets).
Our previous successful Kickstarter, Serpent in the Staglands, featured a no-handholding philosophy, an open world, and challenging puzzles. We got a lot of great feedback and learned a lot from the experience, and have moved forward with a new RPG we think you'll love with even more systems and mechanics to support this gameplay style.
Copper Dreams emphasizes the adventures that happen between quests and narrative events, which can be just as fun, unexpected and dangerous. To enable this, the player will traverse a cyberpunk world while scaling buildings, taking part in turn-based combat between humans, robots and many other types of foes, all while managing their character’s health through a detailed system of physical ailments.
Players have many tools to help them succeed in their missions. The player can engage in espionage gathering, modifying and upgrading weapons and disabling or killing enemies by targeting specific body parts. To do this justice we've designed a ruleset from the ground up we call the Burning Candle to work with all these mechanics.
Copper Dreams is set on an off-world island colony called Calitana. Owned by the US government, Calitana is one of many interstellar bases, although it is notoriously the least enjoyable to live in.
At the start of our story, the US government has been forcibly sending its citizens to these off-world colonies to free up overcrowding in cities. You play as one of these unlucky draftees, starting your adventure as your pod crashes into the shores of your new home.
Calitana lives up to its reputation, seeing little in supplies or surveillance from the US over the past few decades, giving free rein to the corporations and syndicates that amassed power in the absence of any official rule.
Though you begin your journey as an Agent of Asset Inquiries for one of the bustling corporations in the slums district, your responsibilities, especially your task of gathering intel and spying on your competitors, lead you to discover secrets and mysteries that go beyond corporate warfare.
An isometric, fully 3d world allows for vertical freedom and movement. Traverse through districts by vaulting through windows, grappling hook to decks above, or by jumping from building to building. Every floor of every building in a district can be entered without loading a new scene, so you can plan proper escape routes or entrances in ways that suit your team.
The city and surroundings that sweep the horizon of the island are dense with people, puzzles and intrigue to explore any way you can.
Stagger the odds in your favor with good hardware. Ditch those fleshy limbs hanging off your joints, and instead rig in a harpoon or a chainsaw, coiled legs, built in wrist recoil, cloaking rigs, or a convenient mobile eye for scouting around corners and down hallways.
The specialties of the cybernetics artists in Calitana range from practical to avant-garde, where food is scarce but copper is cheap and unregulated technology runs rampant.
Weapons on Calitana are largely scrapped together as the most profitable black market merchandise, though some syndicate operations have started manufacturing their own. The Mayflower Initiative not only controls the Corporeal Synthesizer from Earth which generates metals to be marketed, it also manufactures ray guns for their field units in the streets.
Individual weapons have different stats that not only take into consideration what you can put in and out of it, but recoil, reload times and other factors that are reflected with time and rolls for combat usage. Different types of fire arms start with different ways to use them as well.
Anything from melee to ballistic weapons can be upgraded if you find the right shop. While with the right paperwork you can get your in-house technician to augment your weapons, the more exotic and brutal upgrades can be found in the black market. Additionally, weapons can use an individual variety of ammunition with varied effects, from incendiary rounds and emp to full metal jackets.
In your role as an Agent of Asset Inquiries, stealth is essential to staying alive. These mechanics create a stealth simulation system that is performed rather than just rolled.
- Line of Sight: Your team will utilize a volumetric line of sight, which shows enemies around, above and below.
- Noise: Both you and your enemies have a chance that your footsteps and item usage will make noise, which can both draw attention to your party, but also allows your party members to roll the dice to hear enemies nearby if they are out of sight.
- Wall Hugging: You can use wall hugging to peek around corners, take quick pivot shots, and increase your volumetric light of sight.
- Crouching: A low-to-the-ground, stealthy walk or idle will help to move through the shadows unseen, minimize your own footstep sounds, or to take cover against difficult assailants.
- Hide: Lockers will become an unexpected haven if you scuffle and attract the attention of a nearby patrol.
- Distractions: All items can be thrown to create a diversion.
- Environment: With skills and training, you will be able to alter your environment by manipulating the electric grid, shooting out lights and cameras, and re-programing patrols and robots.
While most RPGs pit you against a mosh pit of enemies in an open environment, Copper Dreams will give you ample opportunity to use height, distance, lighting and hazards to your advantage to get the upper hand with cyber-espionage.
Saving with your field radio
Radio calls have their quirks that any good agent should be privy to — you'll need open air to reach the towers, so you won't be able to make a call five floors below ground in a bunker. Using a radio can be intercepted and heard from short distances. Opposing syndicates will consider this a threat and either investigate or call for backup (depending on their alert level) if they hear unregulated radio calls in their controlled zones of the city. A good agent should know how to either find or 'create' safe zones to make the call if they are in unprotected areas.
Furthering the premise of making persistent consequence while playing, the field radio will keep you aware while out in the field, and make those non-savable areas even more dangerous.
Engage enemies in strategic, turn-based combat with time-based resolution. Execution time for a turn's actions adds an extra tactical element to the classic turn-based system, and gauging when to attack, hide, intercept or engage in a full-party assault can turn the tide of battle in your favor.
All weapons have different actions and different strengths. A shotgun, for example, is excellent at suppressing fire to stall enemies at short distances, while a grenade can have the pin pulled and cooked for various times before tossing to accommodate for moving enemies while it's mid-air.
This system compliments a more simulation oriented way for rolling to hit enemies, which uses environmental and skill challenges to overcome a hit chance roll. The factors in the diagram above are the stats taken into account in the challenge roll.
Fighting Clever Enemies
In and out of combat, enemies react to and use the same environmental mechanics as you do.
- Hearing: Enemies are constantly listening while on patrol, some with better success (and cybernetic ears) than others. If they hear you walk, or fire, they'll come investiage.
- Patrols: The syndicates may be blamed for many things, but lack of organization is not one of them. Well-armed thugs move in routine paths to make sure their interests are protected.
- Search: If an enemy hears you, they'll search the area near the noise they heard for a variable amount of time. Manage to hide before they arrive and stay silent, and you can breathe a sigh of relief when they return to their patrol empty-handed.
- Vision Cone: All enemies utilize a vision cone, and their sight can be avoided with careful movement and wall hugging.
- Last Known Position: It's possible to end combat by hiding or sneaking silently from the sight of your enemies, but they will first try to find you by spending their turns rummaging around where they saw you last. An indicator will note where they think you are.
These ailments are the result of D8 die rolls that vary based on weapons used. The ailments fall into three categories, lesser, greater and mortal, each with its own cap that is increased or decreased by character creation stats. These ailments don't just inch you closer to death’s doorway, but also decrease your stats until you heal, simulating the weakness that your player should feel if they are fighting with a few bullets in their legs, a broken kneecap and a minor concussion.
One of the things we like best about this system is taking away the abstraction of hit points and being able to put a mental image to the risks and dangers of combat.
In this ruleset you don't control the damage your bullets do, though you could have a strength or cyber-modification for melee attacks. You'll be more worried about claiming tactical superiority before a fight ensues and what types of attacks to perform. In other words, you can't will a bullet to be better, but you can set yourself up for success to land the attack.
Resting in Safety
In town hubs and clinics you can choose to rest, which allows a myriad of options for your characters to pursue individually over time. With missions and events only having an allotted time for completion, this type of action has to be carefully considered, for events can change or take a turn against your favor. The world moves without you, but you'll have to heal those 6 bullet wounds in your head eventually.
- Purchasing clinical aid: Clinics provide you with full health, but take day(s) of recovery depending on how damaged your body is.
- Training Skills: Exchange experience points gained while adventuring to increase aptitudes. If you've met characters throughout Calitana, and the district you are in, you can purchase or go to them for additional training and unlock special action buttons for weapons or uses of items.
- Work: Depending on a character's ability, they can do menial work around their district suited to their skills. If they've gained favor with certain factions or businesses they can work with them, and when converging back with the group will give a floppy drive worth of data of any gossip or news they've heard for potential new leads or secrets.
We're Hannah and Joe Williams, a married couple living somewhere around the Misty Mountains of the West Coast. Joe is an artist and animator and Hannah is a programmer and writer and with our powers combined we make RPGs.
We recently released Serpent in the Staglands, a successfully funded Kickstarter game with an upcoming expansion, "A Banquet for Fools," and are happy to be back on Kickstarter with a pitch to expand a new sci-fi project that's been tremendously fun to work on.
Who You'll be Listening to
As our goals indicate further down the page, we're hoping to be able to utilize these wonderful folks for even more than we have planned. Longer soundtracks and more in-game character prompts and quips will really help bring Copper Dreams to life.
The handcrafted journals we made for the Serpent in the Staglands backers were among the highlights of the development cycle for us, and we're so excited to be planning another batch for Copper Dreams. Using stained and branded oak, black patent deer leather and plenty of hardware, these new journals are exclusively for our Kickstarter backers and filled with game tips and secrets.
Backers who pledge at the figurine level will get to choose one of many 3D printed models from the game. Below are the mockups as they are now! You will have an option for a colored version or a white one, if you'd want to color it yourself.
As of now the fundamental systems are in the game, which was the largest hurdle of prepping a new ruleset and the mechanics needed to support it. While this includes a lot of backend stuff, all the bullet points listed throughout the page are also implemented and we're primarily starting the process of building levels for it all to be used in. Along with that means art polish passes on everything from environment, effects, characters, and implementing the writing. RPGs are beasts, and having built Serpent in the Staglands from the ground up we have a good grasp on how long the content creation should take.
Thanks for checking out our page, and please let us know if you have any questions in the comments! The two of us will be available throughout the campaign to answer anything, and we have some updates planned with more gameplay going over specific features of the game we've talked about on the page. If there's anything in particular you'd like to see, just let us know.
Hannah & Joe
Risks and challenges
We like to think we’re decent planners, but development can always throw unexpected hurdles and we've worked in ample time in our schedule to account for that. Our previous game, Serpent in the Staglands, released on schedule, give or take a few months, and we're confident we can keep to a tight schedule again this time around. We'll be introducing a lot more players and testers early into our development cycle to aid with that.
We strive to keep our backers informed if anything changes and when we finally set a release date, and while we do have a current internal release timeline set, the Kickstarter goals and testing factors might alter that. We’d like to release the maiden voyage of the Burning Candle ruleset in action as bug-free as possible and take our time cleaning it up, so at this time we’re not committing to a release date. After the closed beta we will be able to announce a quarter to release it in.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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