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Tactical Miniatures Roleplaying inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics and Mordheim. Find the Keys, Save the Empire, Tell your Story. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on January 1, 2014.

Tactical Miniatures Roleplaying inspired by Final Fantasy Tactics and Mordheim. Find the Keys, Save the Empire, Tell your Story.

About this project

Download the Quickstart Rules: War of Keys: Prelude and get a feel for how the game works.  These are the Quickstart rules from the first printing, we are currently working on getting the the updated second printing version up here soon!

War of Keys is a Tactical Miniatures Role-Playing game that we are looking to publish and distribute, and that's what we're looking for your help with.  This is our first game, and so we didn't want to come to Kickstarter to ask for help until we had a finished product to demonstrate what we were about.

In War of Keys, you will gather a unit of elite magicians and warriors in service to one of the many factions of the Tharelian Empire seeking to gain control of the Keys to Heaven.  Units start with 3-5 characters and can grow to up to 8 or 9, of 19 classes and equipped with hundreds of unique pieces of equipment.  Instead of a system of player turns, War of Keys uses a unique system of character activations, allowing for a much greater depth of tactical gameplay than most miniatures games.

Right now we want to do a second print run of the core rulebook, War of Keys: Overture, as well as finance the game's continued development:

  • Expansion rules, including rules for 3+ player games, raising the level cap to 30, new Items, Specialist Paths for greater customization and multiplayer campaign play including 'boss fights' and acquiring the Keys for your faction
  • Android and iPhone apps for the Action Counter and Unit Record Sheets
  • Physical versions of the Action Counter
  • Novelizations and greater story depth

War of Keys was designed around creating a unit of your own characters, similar to how one creates a single character for a more traditional RPG, but creating an entire group.  From a gameplay perspective, you have the ability to build synergy and roles within the unit, progressively developing your unit's power.  From a story perspective, you get to develop not only one character's personality, but the relationships they have with the other characters in your unit as well as relationships with their rivals in your friends' units.  The idea of growing both in gameplay power and in telling a story as it happens was the idea that inspired us to make this game.

The story of the Empire of Tharelia and the Keys of Heaven was built to allow for players to tell their stories in a world open enough to fit most fantasy imagery: a divided church, warring noble houses, the lower classes who are considering open rebellion, "colored" schools of magic, supernatural combat techniques, forgotten secrets, mysterious strangers, ancient artifacts and dark forces gathering.

There are a large number of sub-projects we are currently working on, including a Digital Action Counter and the fixes on the second printing of War of Keys: Overture and Prelude.  We'll update this page when they come through!

Stretch Goals:

$10,000:  Work will be greatly accelerated on the first expansion, War of Keys: Fugue.  Anyone who has pledged at the $45 or greater level will receive a copy of the War of Keys: Fugue rulebook if we make this goal!

The Fugue Rulebook is planned to Contain:

  • An Increase in the Level Cap to 30
  • Multiplayer Rules and Scenarios
  • 5 New Skills for each Class for greater customization and combo-building
  • Specialist Paths which further define a character in battle, granting powers in exchange for restrictions
  • New Items of all levels, including many new powerful relics and artifacts, as well as new consumables, including poisons, explosives and special ammunition
  • The first three Multiplayer Campaigns, allowing players to learn the secrets of the Iron Key, the Silver Key and the Gold Key, as well as retrieve these artifacts for their patrons

Characters and Classes:

War of Keys has 19 different Classes that characters can gain levels in, learning varying abilities.  Sometimes they will gain skills from other sources, such as becoming battle-hardened after a particularly nasty injury.  Many classes are key classes to higher tier classes with commensurately more potent skills, though characters can also focus on the key classes to gain greater depth of power.

Recruits are poorly-trained fighters, with simple but effective skills: throwing handy rocks to inspiring war cries.

Apprentices are mages who are have no practice in battle magic.  Their combat spells are usually flexible and easy to use but not particularly devastating.

Chemists create elixirs and potions and can apply them to their allies in the middle of battle from a safe distance.

Soldiers wear heavy armor and learn powerful techniques to weaken their enemies and protect their allies.

Archers use bows, which they fire at massive ranges and learn skills to make precise and powerful attacks.

Black Mages use the magic of ravaging energies to annihilate their enemies.  Though they cast their spells slowly, they are unmatched in their destructive power.

White Mages, by contrast, learn spells of healing, purification, regeneration and protection to defend themselves and their allies.

Martial Artists take off their armor and lay down their weapons, learning to fight bare-handed and lightly armored with techniques that some would call supernatural.

Thieves set down their bows and instead learn trickery, misdirection and crippling strikes to keep their enemies out of the fight.

Star Mages turn the lessons of energy magic to the manipulation of the fabric of reality, letting them stretch and speed time, lock their foes in place and even teleport.

Green Mages learn spells that reshape the forms and minds of their enemies, twisting and incapacitating them.

Engineers are the only warriors to use the new weapons called guns, as well as unique devices such as mechanical animals, explosives and other contraptions.

Alchemists learn a rare form of magic which transmutes matter into related things, such as swords to wood, blood to liquid fire or flesh to stone.

Berserkers give into their fury and can barely control themselves in battle, but channel that rage into terrifying strength and prowess.

Guardians use their combat training to become nearly invulnerable in heavy armor, and channel their honor and will to protect others into powerful defenses and counterattacks.

Summoners use their blood to call the shadows of Avatars, immortal beings from the Astral realm, to our world causing powerful spell effects over huge areas.

Rune Mages learn the words spoken when the world was formed, which are themselves powerful spells of protection, healing and destruction.

 The Action Counter:

One of our primary goals during this Kickstarter has been to produce a Digital version of the Action Counter, the unique timing mechanic that makes War of Keys play very differently from the standard turn-based miniature game.

This screenshot of the in-progress Digital Action Counter illustrates the basic information provided by it.  On the left are characters who are not moving in time, Alice and Faust.  To the right of them is the main body of the Action Counter: the Ticks (from Now to 9) and the characters up to act next.  Marcus, as the leftmost character on 'Now' will be taking his activation next, followed by Davon.  After they have both acted, everyone will move up one tick, and Janus will Act, being the only one in "Now".

Each of the Characters has their Activity statistic listed after "Ticks:", determining how long it will be until they act again.  The Down/Stop button on each character is used when they are affected by something which prevents them from moving on the Action Counter, such as being unconscious or frozen in time.

Last, notice the "Haste (Marcus)", "Regen (Janus)" and "Protect (Vidor)" entries.  These are not characters, but status effects, benefits that apply to these characters.  They last a very long time, and when they activate will disappear from the board.  Since the Action Counter only goes from Now to 9, the Regen (Janus) status is on Tick 8, even though it has 18 ticks of duration.

Once the program is finished, the Digital Action Counter will be accessible for free on WarofKeys.com, and we'll produce a video tutorial explaining how to use it and how the timing system, the most complicated part of War of Keys, works.

Risks and challenges

The biggest challenges we will be facing are finding manufacturers for our physical Action Counter and completing our stretch goals on time, which since they are very much 'wildest dreams' types of things, will require a lot of extra work.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    0 backers

    A copy of the first War of Keys ebook, telling the story of Marcus Benth and the founding of the Dirt Knights.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    14 backers

    A pdf copy of War of Keys: Overture and a permanent subscription to Overture's Living Rulebook.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    19 backers

    A physical copy of the War of Keys: Overture rulebook and a Kickstarter-only deluxe copy of the War of Keys: Prelude quickstart booklet.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    16 backers

    A physical Action Counter and your name listed in the War of Keys: Overture rulebook as a kickstarter backer.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    5 backers

    Become part of the War of Keys expansion playtests, receiving playtest materials for War of Keys: Fugue and future expansions when they begin as well, making you a part of the game's development and future.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    3 backers

    I'll give you my IM and Skype information and talk to you as much as you like about War of Keys, game and story design, as well as making a character of your design an important position in the War of Keys story.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (28 days)