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A gritty medieval roleplaying game with an easy to learn and play system, and a richly detailed world.
A gritty medieval roleplaying game with an easy to learn and play system, and a richly detailed world.
142 backers pledged CA$ 5,800 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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CA$ 5,800

142

The initial funding goal has been reached! Thankyou to all of our backers who have made this possible!

We are currently working at having more artwork done for you IMMEDIATELY so you can see it on the Kickstarter page. Also, further information is being added to the FAQ and a copy will also be inserted into the main page for easy access.

March Against Darkness is a completely new role-playing game that is all about overcoming the feeling of being powerless, or succumbing to it. This game uses a new dice mechanic that enables it to be picked up quickly by players not used to role-playing games and also streamlining the experience so seasoned players can get on to playing instead of being bogged down with bloated rules.

Players who enjoy Game of Thrones, stories of Beowulf and Hercules, or have played darker fantasy games will be right at home with March Against Darkness.

The Game

Characters start off as lowly commoners, nothing more than a town farmer or maybe blacksmith. Through their adventures they will face powerful challenges whether mundane or magical and solve them in whatever way they can. Due to the systems static amount of hit points etc, there is a real feeling that it was the player who succeeded and not the system.

Another important part of March Against Darkness is its accessibility to the end user. Not only are we trying to keep the book at only $20, but it will be coming in a paperback form factor. This allows players to grab their copy when an opportunity arises to play and go to a game store, friends basement, etc with as little fuss as possible. Even the game system itself has been made easy for new players to jump into and get their character started within a few minutes!

Example dice with stickers included with core book (product not final)
Example dice with stickers included with core book (product not final)

The dice used in this system are all six-sided. Different faces have different values with some being zero. This allows the system to always have a chance of failure no matter how powerful a character is. Higher-tiered dice have a more likely chance of rolling a value, while still having a chance of failure. Characters that have existed for a long time have a much better chance of rolling a high value, but a newer character will always have a chance (though not as good) to succeed at the same task.

"Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either." - Aesop
"Every truth has two sides; it is as well to look at both, before we commit ourselves to either." - Aesop

There will be no set leveling system in March Against Darkness in the sense that there is no “Level 1” or “Level 15” characters. Players gain experience points by completing challenges and overcoming obstacles. Experience is based off of the Ability of the target not their level. For instance, if a monster/NPC has a high Attack score he will yield a fair amount of experience, while slitting his throat may provide only a small amount due to his low senses. Persuading him also has benefits as you are beating his Knowledge. This allows Players to gain experience no matter how they choose to handle a situation. Players redeem experience to increase their abilities and to learn new skills for use in combat, crafting, persuading and many other things.

Setting

There are 4 main kingdoms across the land, in various states of war or peace throughout the timeline. Barons, Abbots, and knights are all present and the entire structure of medieval law and daily life has been carefully researched. Names for people and towns are based on facts, so there will be no “nonsense names” just because they sound fancy or medieval. Monsters and other creatures have been designed from those of ancient legends and fairy tales, ready to haunt the dreams and savage the bodies of would-be heroes. There are no basic skeletons and goblins here, but a horde of evil much worse.

"There is nothing certain in a man's life except that he must lose it." - Aeschylus
"There is nothing certain in a man's life except that he must lose it." - Aeschylus

A truly massive selection of weapons and items are available in the game world with over 50 weapons (not including upgrades/modifications, improvised weapons or torture devices) and more than 40 pieces of armor to protect you from the forces of evil. Options to customize your character are nearly endless when more mundane objects such as clothing and general adventuring gear are added.

A full timeline including the lineage of kings, family trees, and persons of renown will be included to add a huge amount of depth to the game world. Alliances between the different factions and their wars are detailed up to the current point in time for Game Masters to draw history from or to build a story within. There will be several adventures included in the book, all from different periods within the games history. The first will be during the Clansmen’s settling of Heparch on the mainland, while another will center around the later sacking of Stowcaster. Several smaller scenarios will also be included for quick use in any campaign such as: witch trials, missing persons, and the search for a murderer.

"Let another's wounds be your warning." - Njal's Saga
"Let another's wounds be your warning." - Njal's Saga

Players interact with a world on the brink of being dragged screaming into the night by creatures of unimaginable malice. Fishing vessels are torn apart or left deserted to float endlessly, children are stolen from their beds under the light of the moon, and undead beings circle above weary crusaders like vultures in the night waiting for them to slip into a deep sleep for their last nightmares of their sins in war...

"No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow." - Euripides
"No one can confidently say that he will still be living tomorrow." - Euripides

Stretch Goals

$4500 - More artwork will be added to the March Against Darkness rulebook. Additional creature sketches, character portraits, and locations will be brought to life by our amazing artists! Additionally, folding card miniatures will be made to represent your characters and any monsters/creatures/characters they may encounter.

$5500 - Hardcover copy of March Against Darkness will be available. These can be purchased separately or added as an upgrade to your existing physical copy.

$6500 - Custom dice!!! Specially cast dice will be made to replace the sticker sheet included with the book.

$8000 - "Odyssey", the expansion to the core book will be made. This book will include detailed descriptions of many more places across the lands, new non-player characters, monsters of unimaginable power, and spells capable of tearing apart the stone beneath your enemies feet. The expansion will also reveal the homeland of the Clansmen and finally unveil the grand cities beyond the Sea of Bone!

Rewards/Add-Ons

+$3 - Additional sticker sheet (12 6-sided dice required)

+$8 - Game Masters Screen (double sided)

+$12 - Full color game poster

+$12 - Dice bag

+$15 - PDF copy of March Against Darkness

+$18 - Additional physical copy of March Against Darkness

+$25 - MaD t-Shirt, black with deer skull and logo

+$100 - Custom campaign for your gaming group, illustrated with a physical copy

Pledges

Pledge $15 or more

COMMONER - You will receive a PDF of March Against Darkness

Pledge $20 or more

MAN AT ARMS - Physical copy of the game!!!

Pledge $40 or more

SQUIRE - Physical copy of the game, full color poster, and a Game Masters screen.

Pledge $60 or more

KNIGHT - Physical copy of the game, full color poster, Game Masters screen, plus early Beta PDF access and input towards refining the game through our online forum.

Pledge $75 or more Limited (10)

BARON - Physical copy of the game, full color poster, Game Masters screen, and early Beta PDF access. You will also receive a LIMITED EDITION signed copy of the Beta book.

Pledge $150 or more Limited (30)

ABBOT - Physical copy of the game, MaD T-Shirt, full color poster, Game Masters screen, early Beta PDF access, and a limited edition Kickstarter Hero mug. You will receive a custom illustrated adventure for your game group tailored to your taste. Not only that, we will send you a physical copy of the booklet!

Pledge $300 or more Limited (15)

BRINGER OF DARKNESS - 4 Physical copies of the game, MaD T-Shirt, full color poster, Game Masters screen, early Beta PDF access, a limited edition Kickstarter Hero mug and a custom adventure for your game group. A town of your specification will also be built inside the game world, and a Baron of your likeness (or design) will rule over it and be illustrated inside the book!

Pledge $500 or more (5)
LORD PROTECTOR - Everything from the Bringer of Darkness pledge level, a framed art print of your towns Baron, a limited edition signed copy of the Beta book AND a full multi-session campaign over Skype with the creators. Finally, any unlocked rewards you will receive FREE!

“Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.” - Socrates
“Thou shouldst eat to live; not live to eat.” - Socrates

FAQ

How is this game different from other RPGs currently available?

This RPG is different in that a single monster is the focal point of a game session, not simply another quick experience grab. Multiple game nights can be spent trying to discover and deal with a demon inside its host lurking among a towns population. They are also those of legends from around the world, expanded upon or adapted for the game world. Many RPGs just lean on the staples of Goblins, Elves, Skeletons and Zombies. Even Cthulhu and his ilk are becoming garden variety. However, we have gone through the histories of cultures from around the world to dig up monsters and demons that are more than the normal cannon fodder. The Strigoi for instance is a creature an adventure is built around and not something you merely hack down on the other side of a dungeon door. You can look for information on the: Leyak, Spriggan, Baykok, and Ankou for some ideas on what is coming (sorry I don't want to spoil them all). Not all creatures are purely evil as well. A Huldra may be encountered outside Bradfirth by the players and end up helping them OR hurting them depending on how the party reacts.

A massive amount of detail has gone into the setting well beyond regular RPGs. Weapons and armors have been checked for weight with actual historical objects, monetary systems have been fully fleshed out, even the lineage of every major ruler will be down for reference. As an example, religion is often just a footnote containing a name for their gods and an alignment. However, religion is one of the most important powers in medieval times. We have gone so far as to create a complete religion for the game world with prayers (finger tips touching, palms outwards making a "roof" symbolizing being under the protection of god or the owner of the home). In March Against Darkness, everything from reasoning, history, even the way a body is positioned during execution is all covered. (On their knees tied to a Y shaped frame, arms stretched upwards with their head bound back so they must stare to the heavens).

Even the monetary system has its own back-story, such as the man who forged a letter of mark (like a cheque) and once discovered was hung in a gibbet with nothing but paper to eat and ink to drink. His bones still hang in the same gibbet within the royal treasury at Kingsgarth as a warning to others.The Sea of Bone? That was not merely a name chosen because it sounded neat but for the color of the sands and the beliefs of the people who live there. The constantly moving dunes are believed to be the teeth of god endlessly eating the world. The heat, his breath and those lost often attribute their hallucinations to being able to hear his divine voice.

What are the core mechanics of the game like?.
There are only 6 sided dice which come in 3 types (tiers). A players rolls the dice his current skill uses and the game master rolls for the monster/npc or uses a set value. If the player rolls equal to or higher than the other, the succeed. Armor does not add to defense but soaks a certain amount of damage to that location on their body. Since there is always the same number of hit points for players (they are all human) armor and defensive abilities are very important. A player can outfit their character with hundreds of different combinations of armor to their head, neck, shoulder, hands, chest, back, waist, groin, legs, and feet.

Different defensive stances and attack forms make combat extremely tactical. You can trip your opponent, get in close and shiv him with a hidden knife between his plates, or grab him around the throat and strangle him until unconsciousness and death. Shields can be linked together to form defensive lines, or pulled away by a skilled Clansmen with their axe.

The dice you see in the Kickstarter picture are all 'tier 1" dice. They have a 0, 1 or 2 on each face. The other Tiers of dice replace the 0's with 1's. Also important, every die has only a single chance to roll 2, and always has a chance (though diminishing) to roll 0. This means that no matter what the challenge a player always has a chance of success or failure at a task whether it is being skunked while fishing or swinging a heroic blow to cleave a demons head. Having a mechanic like this means higher power creatures certainly outmatch the heroes, but they never feel completely helpless (at least artificially by the game system) because there is always a chance for them to roll spectacularly high or for the foe to roll nothing but 0s. Chances range from 0.08% to 40.74% so a players does have an idea of what their average range is.

Magic uses the magic stat just like attacking when applicable. Spells use up some of your life force every time they are cast. Since there is no "mana" in our system, spells are very tricky things to trow around. The caster may slip unconscious or even die if they try and push themselves too far. However, the devastating power is undeniable. After casting a Flame spell for 3 turns (while the party defends them so the spell is not interrupted) a magic adept player can burn upwards or 12 men alive in their armor leaving nothing but slag and the echos of their screams. Since magic is tied to a stat and unlike other stats it always starts at 0 , no starting player can cast magic right out of the gate. They must sacrifice to gain the required knowledge first. This way characters organically grow and fill into their own rolls, or can be molded into pretty much anything a player wants.

How does experience work?
When you defeat a challenge (not just kill an enemy) you gain experience. You can spend this experience after a game session/campaign (or during in game downtime) to upgrade your skills or lean new ones. 

Experience can come from MANY sources. XP is based off of an enemies (or challenges) skill which you have surpassed to best them. Sneaking up and slitting an old merchants throat will net a player only a small amount due to his low perception, while bartering and extorting him for information on suppliers to get things cheaper will be a huge boon as the merchant has a very high skill in that area from all of his years.

When you defeat a challenge (not just kill an enemy) you gain experience. You can spend this experience after a game session/campaign (or during in game downtime) to upgrade your skills or lean new ones.

Example: Player has 30xp after a long campaign. He spends 12 to upgrade his attack by 1, and another 10 to learn Tier1 fishing (add on for survival) which grants him an extra die to the applicable action. He has 8 points left, not enough to upgrade his already high Defense stat, so he saves them instead of spending them on something he does not want.

Risks and challenges

March Against Darkness faces some of the typical challenges of all game projects (print quality problems, etc). Our greatest challenge is having the artwork done on time and to the high standard of quality we expect. We also have a backup printer for our book in the event problems arise so the physical copy will reach our backers with minimal delay and without print issues.

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    Pledge CA$ 1 or more About $0.96

    CORPSE - Thanks from the whole team, remember to spread the word!

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    COMMONER - You will receive a PDF of March Against Darkness

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    MAN AT ARMS - Physical copy of the game!!!

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    SQUIRE - Physical copy of the game, full color poster, and a Game Masters screen.

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    KNIGHT - Physical copy of the game, full color poster, Game Masters screen, plus early Beta PDF access and input towards refining the game through our online forum.

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    Pledge CA$ 75 or more About $72

    BARON - Physical copy of the game, Game Masters screen, and early Beta PDF access. You will also receive a LIMITED EDITION signed copy of the Beta book.

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    Pledge CA$ 150 or more About $144

    ABBOT - Physical copy of the game, MaD T-Shirt, full color poster, Game Masters screen, early Beta PDF access, and a limited edition Kickstarter Hero mug. You will receive a custom illustrated adventure for your game group tailored to your taste. Not only that, we will send you a physical copy of the booklet!

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    Pledge CA$ 300 or more About $288

    BRINGER OF DARKNESS - 4 Physical copies of the game, MaD T-Shirt, full color poster, Game Masters screen, early Beta PDF access, a limited edition Kickstarter Hero mug and a custom adventure for your game group. A town of your specification will also be built inside the game world, and a Baron of your likeness (or design) will rule over it and be illustrated inside the book!

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    Pledge CA$ 500 or more About $480

    LORD PROTECTOR - Everything from the Bringer of Darkness pledge level, a framed art print of your towns Baron, a limited edition signed copy of the Beta book AND a full multi-session campaign over Skype with the creators. Finally, any additional unlocked rewards you will receive FREE!

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Funding period

- (34 days)