Adventures in Austerion (AiA) is a fantasy role-playing game (RPG). Mainly designed to explore unfriendly locations in the continent of Austerion, it may be played in fast-paced sessions of 2 or 3 hours. To do so, it relies on a mix of classical RPG rules and board game mechanisms (such as tiles, cards and tokens…). If this approach will help new players to discover RPGs in a comforting and amusing way, it will fulfill the grognards as well, with additional possibilities offered by a set of optional rules that convey an old-school dungeon-crawling feeling.
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The continent of Austerion
Adventures in Austerion is set on the continent of Austerion, a fantasy world where most of the land is still uninhabited, although ruins of ancient civilizations that hide from the stranger’s view highlight the long history of the kingdom. Isolation between the peoples has allowed each of them to develop its own culture. In Austerion, struggles are local, taking shape day to day. Each kingdom is unable to see farther than the end of its frontiers, or its neighbor’s. Life is sometimes hard, often good, always wondrous.
In its previous publications, De Architecturart explored the South, wandering the piers of the peaceful island-city of Tahala, ventured into the North, chasing the caravan of Endless-city moving across the northern steppes, delved into the East, meeting the goblins living in the Tal’Tikur city in the heart of the jungle, and ranged over the West, strolling through the pastoral region of Borth.
The Kingdom of the Oak Vales
Adventures in Austerion offers the player the opportunity to explore the Kingdom of the Oak Vales, located in the western part of the continent, one of the oldest territories. Here, the land’s rich history teems with legends, and the elderly once believed (and may still believe now!) that Austerion himself, the first known hero, was born in these vales, emerging from a cow’s udder, shaped by the morning dew.
Nevertheless, the glittering past of the Vales left fabulous but hazardous vestiges: haunted ruins, hideous tunnels and dark dungeons lie all around. The once-majestic land has been decaying for decades. Rumours mention a so-called Market of the Fierce, in the Darks, where black goblins purchase monstrosities and acquire their “supplies” for their internal struggles. People whisper of the Rat Men at the edge of the Lost Tunnels. They trade tales of shameless highwaymen who control the Great Road of the Kings and the trade routes from North to South, and even into the Old-Freeport. And rarely mentioned but known by all are the Hideaways, the lost baronies on the Forgotten Lake. Rumours have it that blood cults worship terrifying, eldritch creatures down there.
These threats have gradually spread through these lands, which are long since abandoned by the crown. Nobles have become captivated by their own interests. Sadly, for the local people, these struggles are now part of their daily life.
The Company of the Armigers
Fortunately, with the ascension of Pietrof of Riverblade, Duke of Oakvale, to the throne, the new King of the Oak Vales has vowed to improve the situation of his former subjects. In order to better consolidate the power of the throne, he has recently begun the Sublime Purge, the first step of a challenging programme he has implemented to reconquer these forlorn, neglected territories. Every faction has endorsed his decision, at least on the surface.
To achieve his goal, the King needs daring adventurers, ready to join the Company of the Armigers. The Company welcomes individuals from every background, whatever their life story and expectations may be, as long as they are not murderers. These audacious daredevils are eager for riches and glory, oblivious to potential dangers.
You are one of these Armigers. Even if you are seldom in the limelight, each of your successes nonetheless restores some lost splendour to the troubled Kingdom of the Oak Vales.
Suitable for any campaign
Similar to other De Architecturart publications, the game takes place in the World of Austerion. However, our system can be used to play in any setting. You just have to establish the Company of the Armigers in any of the tormented areas the local authorities have decided to pacify.
You play adventurers, bound together through the Company of the Armigers.
Sixteen archetypes, called the Vocations, are available, such as Rogue of the Depths, Shadow Hound, King’s Inquisitor, Scourge of Arcana, Adept of the Ironfist, Bardic Drifter, Vermin Hunter, Tunnel Rat…
A character is defined by 4 Qualities. Each one is determined by the roll of a six-sided die.
- Smasher: charisma, persuasiveness, assertiveness, and eloquence.
- Genius: power of deduction, knowledge, and magical power.
- Bruiser: physical abilities and endurance.
- Fleet-flooted: agility, adroitness, and dexterity.
Sixteen Proficiencies are associated with these qualities (4 of them per quality). These groups of skills are used for the Player Character’s actions. For example:
- Hocus Pocus is used for magic.
- Where Is It for detection.
- In Your Face for melee attacks.
- Nowhere To Be Found (NTBF) to hide or being stealthy or discreet.
- or Silver Tongue to negotiate with or convince someone.
Generating a Character takes less than one minute, thanks to a simple character creation system.
What sort of adventures can I expect?
If you are appointed by the Company, it is clearly not to plunder without compensation. You must restore peace and tranquillity to the Vales by completing high risk missions in hostile territories (tunnels, dungeons, fortresses, noble houses, and even in the open countryside).
Your adventures can consist of exploring forlorn tunnels, infiltrating and spying on criminal organizations, kidnapping enemies who hold vital information, spiriting away a kidnapped personality, bringing important documents back to the king, besieging ruins to set an outpost, or even eliminating vermin from an ancient dungeon.
However, make no mistake, Pietrof hates carnage! He wants to clean up these lands, but not necessarily by the sheer use of force. No, he expects his Armigers to use their skills, their minds, their cunning, as much as their brawn as they return the Vales to its former glory!
Four adventures are included, and thanks to your support, we do hope to offer additional scenarios. Moreover, Adventures in Austerion gives you the opportunity to leave the dungeon crawling mode behind, and play many kinds of adventures. We intend to plant scenario seeds for wilderness adventures, as well.
And of course, you can convert any fantasy adventure to our system.
How Do I Succeed?
A single easy-to-use system allows the resolution of any action.
You want to climb a cliff? Make an Action Check:
1. Roll two six-sided dice and add the results.
2. Apply modifiers (Difficulty, Non-Player/Player Character Quality in opposition…).
3. Check the sum. Is it under the corresponding Proficiency value? It’s a success!
Adventure and Battlemap
In RPGs, the most important part of the playing session consists of interactions between Player Character (PC) and Non-Player Character (NPC) and in descriptions of their actions. Adventures in Austerion follows the same pattern.
Even if our system offers to play any kind of adventures the player desires, this first box is designed to explore Hostile Territories. These territories are illustrated by a sequence of Tiles: rooms and corridors to illustrate a dungeon; grottos and tunnels for a cavern; rooms and corridors for a house, fortress or palace; streets and houses for a town…
Several scenes can take place outside of this Territory, but sooner or later, the characters will come to explore it. Once there, the Tiles act as an evolving, modular Battlemap. They can be uncovered when the characters reach the area, and removed as soon as they leave it, reinforcing the dungeon-crawling atmosphere.
Character Adversity: Challenges
Adventures in Austerion standardizes adversity in the form of Challenges. Each Tile includes one or more Challenges, provided by the scenario. They cover everything that may stand against the Characters: a locked chest, an enemy to stun or to turn into an ally, a cliff to climb, a trap to jump over, an item to steal, a riddle to solve…
These Challenges have a Resistance Gauge (RG). This represents the capacity of the Challenges to resist the Characters: an enemy endurance or mental strength, the resistance of a lock, the intricacy of a riddle… When this gauge is reduced to 0, the Challenge is Overcome.
You don’t have to overcome a Challenge to advance through the story, though. For example, there are times when it could be more relevant to hide from a sentry than to confront him. Remember, the King expects you to use your skills!
Four kinds of Challenges exist: Social Interaction, Mental (including Magic), Physical Abilities, Adroitness.
Regular RPG or Board game mode, as you want!
This standardization of the Challenges, in addition to the Tiles system, allows you to play a regular RPG session with a Gamemaster, or you can choose to play it as a board game, with or without a Gamemaster. This way, you can play solo or with others.
Encounters (Non-Player Characters and Creatures) can be resolved physically, as usual. However, in Adventures in Austerion, you can combine social interactions and fighting to reduce the Resistance Gauge of an encounter, whether be it mentally or physically.
Thus, a PC may start the conflict with an orc chief by using his weapon, aiming to physically reduce the orc’s RG, then, by the way of one (or more) of the five available tactics of social interaction, trying to mentally reduce the RG. The player has to play his PC consistently with the Tactic the PC adopts. For instance, “corruption”means that the player has to convince the Gamemaster/NPC to surrender by offering his help to leave the dungeon unharmed. After the roleplaying interaction between the Player and the Gamemaster, an Action Check with a roleplaying bonus resolves the action. If the orc is Overcome this way (RG=0), he surrenders, and PCs will be able to interact with him the way they want.
Free-form Magic : Spell or Destiny
Any Character with a certain value in Hocus Pocus proficiency is able to use magic in Austerion. However, magic is difficult, and its effects are not always what you would expect.
Twelve Effect Families are proposed. To create a magical effect, the Character chooses a Family and uses the Hocus Pocus proficiency for his action. Then, he has two choices: he can either decide to create a stereotypical and limited effect (a Spell) or to generate a new, powerful but unchecked effect in a Family (a Destiny). But there is always side effects with Destiny...
The Tiles, a Modular Battlemap
Each scenario includes its own set of tiles, to which is tied a run of Challenges and game elements. With this system, Tiles are more than scenery – they are a real help to the Gamemaster, especially a beginner.
Moreover, you will be able to create new adventures by organizing tiles any way you like. The 40K Stretch goal will propose a creation system which includes random tables for Tiles, Challenges, and Backgrounds, and to run your own adventure without any preparation.
The Gamemaster Kit
Cardboard cut-out miniatures of Characters and Non-player Characters, secret passages, chests, scree, traps… to be placed on the tiles. If the KS is a success, we will offer pieces of furniture to embellish your dungeon.
Manage your pledge
The « Manage your Pledge » button on the Adventures in Austerion Kickstarter page allows you to purchase any add-ons. Add the amount of the purchased items in the Pledge Manager to your current pledge.
At this stage, do not specify the purchased add-ons, we’ll sort this out at the end of the campaign. You will receive a link to our Pledge Manager.
For instance, if you are from the US and pledged for The Box reward (49€) and you want to add "12unpublished tiles for outdoor environments" add-on, add 16€ for a total of 65€.
We expect a delivery on march 2020.
Shipping costs are NOTincluded in the pledge.
They will be automatically calculated for you and charged in the Pledge Manager, after the funding is complete. You do not pay shipping during the Kickstarter campaign. Below is a rough estimate of the costs.
For the moment, we will use 2 HUBs to ship boxes (Europe and USA and Canada), but if sales in Asia or Oceania allow it, other shipping centers will be opened to get the most competitive rates.
We DO NOT SHIP to PO Boxes, domestically or internationally, nor to Afghanistan, Burma, North Korea, Sudan, Russia, Ukraine, China, Brazil or Kazakhstan. Sorry about that.
De Architecturart is a French publishing company, founded by Guillaume Tavernier, and specializing in settings and maps for RPGs. De Architecturart has already published 5 books: Artbook volume 1, Seigneury of Borth (in english and french), Tahala, Longue-Ville, Tal-Tikûr and A collection of Fantasy Maps (in english on Kickstarter). All of them got excellent feedback and reviews, whether in France and in other countries.
The company publishes richly illustrated products, especially designed to be instant adventure settings. De Architecturart proposes innovative formats for RPGs, like they did for the Seigneury of Borth (giant sized maps to discover the region) or Adventures in Austerion (a RPG with board game mechanisms).
Risks and challenges
Most of the texts and illustrations for Adventures in Austerion are finished. The entire set of rules has been written, as well as the first adventure. Playtests are on their way and will improve the game.
After the crowdfunding campaign, we will write the remaining scenarios and create the last few tiles. Then, the layout and the box production will be on their way.
De Architecturart has good experience in the world of crowdfunding, with four successful campaigns in France (on Ulule and Game on tabletop), and a successful one on Kickstarter. We always choose to launch a campaign when we are sure the delivery time is reasonable (only few months).
Adventures in Austerion is our company’s most ambitious project. We do hope it will be even more exceptional than even we expect!
Thank you all for your continued trust and your commitment to our collective success.
- (26 days)