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Pythos Tabletop RPG, Roleplaying Game of Myths and Legends project video thumbnail
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$5,959 pledged of $25,000 goal
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By Gareth Johnson
$5,959 pledged of $25,000 goal
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About this project

Playtester Quotes:

"I loved the ease of the system. Simple to pick up and use."

"Straight forward and nicely balanced in complexity. Well balanced and bonus for fun race options."

"Having combat phases execute simultaneously lends itself to significantly more cerebral, methodical pace-making decisions; and larger, long-term plans are rewarded over spontaneous decisions."

"I hadn't played a game with that type of magic before, so I thought that was really fun and unique."

"Very simple and adaptable."

"Great for a beginner to acclimate to a gaming system."

"Removes the 'What is the optimal move?' discussion from the table, the way it is set up."

(On the topic of running combat) "It is very simple and straightforward to run. I was thinking 'There's got to be more to this.' It is surprisingly easy."


Pythòs is a high-magic fantasy campaign setting, but one shrouded in a mysterious veil of powers beyond mortal control. Gods are most certainly real, but their powers are limited and their ways unknown. Very few mortals can grasp their intentions, but everyone has their own beliefs, many of them conflicting. The practice of every form of worship (or lack thereof) can likely be found somewhere.

Even more terrifying than the gods, titans of colossal size and enormous power have existed since before the first dawn on Pythòs, longer even than the gods themselves. Many believe them to be physical embodiments of the forces of nature; their immense presence is only ever felt when they awaken from slumber for short periods of seemingly mindless destruction.

The people of Pythòs, referred to as mortals, are as diverse as the people of Earth. Mortals vary as widely as humans do in size, features, skin color, temperament, and ideals; even more so with the existence of magic and mysterious racial heritages. There is also a great deal of cultural and technological diversity, with only a couple civilizations having discovered the strength of steel, while others having not yet realized the utility of iron or even bronze.

Much of this world was inspired by mythologies and ancient cultures on Earth. Some names of locations, peoples, monsters, gods, and titans can be easily recognized by those of you with an eye for history and culture, while other influences are more subtle. The result of this melting pot of ideas is a unique world where many mythologies come together to bring out fantastic stories of heroes and legends, war and magic, terrible devastations and glorious triumphs.

Pythòs isn’t just a new campaign setting. In fact, this whole project started with the idea that simultaneous action combat can be implemented without being complicated or difficult to learn.

Why simultaneous action? There are multiple things that simultaneous action does better than the alternative (turn-based combat):

  • It’s more realistic. In real combat, everything happens at once. Gamers often mock turn-based combat for the lack of realism it portrays. In Pythòs, a combatant can be killed in the same moments as its slain opponent.
  • It’s more intense. In the uncertainty and chaos of battle, making decisions simultaneously limits the amount of knowledge players have about the outcomes of their actions. 
  • It saves time. With everyone at the table making their decisions at the same time, there is no waiting for the GM and each player (one-at-a-time) to analyze the situation, look up spells or abilities, and finally make up their mind. 
  • It keeps everyone engaged. During each player’s turn in a turn-based game, what is everyone else doing? Some players wait patiently for their next turn, while others get distracted or become a distraction for others. With simultaneous action, there is almost no downtime for any one player.

The combat mechanics were designed to be simple and easy to learn, but simplicity doesn’t mean it gets dull. With so many possible combat situations and tactical options, simultaneous combat can be a challenge to master. It’s one of the biggest reasons Pythòs has been praised by both brand-new RPG gamers as well as long-time masters of tabletop gaming.

Here's a brief tutorial video showing how this works. The first half of the video explains the steps, and the second half of the video runs through a very basic example:

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Dice:
The only dice you'll need for this game is a d10 (ten-sided die). Multiple d10s can come in handy, but you really only need one.

Character Creation:
Character creation was also designed to be simple, yet offer opportunities for a variety of character concepts and the potential for complex strategies. Here are some key features:

  • Stats: Just 4 clearly defined “Abilities” serve as the baseline for a character’s strengths and weaknesses: Combat, Skill, Will, and Endurance
  • Resources: Health, Mana, and Effort.
  • Multi-classing is as easy as choosing to take a level in a different class. A level 6 character could easily be a Level 2 Warrior, Level 3 Magus, and Level 1 Trickster. The game maintains power balance without complicated multi-classing rules.
  • A variety of powers and maneuvers without class restrictions provide additional flexibility in character customization.
  • Spells: Instead of a catalog of complicated spells, spellcasters learn sets of themed spells. These are written to be easy to use and minimize page-flipping, yet flexible enough for creative applications. The use of mana (rather than spell slots) allows more flexibility and an easy way to enhance spells with scalable effects.
  • Items and inventory rules are brilliantly realistic, simple, and intuitive. No tracking weight or volume!

The Pythòs Core Book: 192 pages, high-quality, full-color, fully illustrated. It will contain everything needed to play, including plenty of setting material and resources for the GM to create and run adventures. The PDF version will be bookmarked and hyperlinked for easy navigation. The hardcover version will be printed with beautiful smooth matte finishing for the inside pages and the cover.

Starstruck Mountain: 32 page adventure module. A PDF version will be provided to all backers at the “Pythòs in PDF” level or higher. If we reach the $40,000 stretch goal, this adventure module will be included in the Pythòs core book (increasing its page count to 224).

Action Tokens: These 1-inch diameter punch-board tokens are a perfect supplement to the game. Use them to reveal actions simultaneously and/or as a reminder of each combatant’s declared actions. One set of 70 action tokens is typically enough for 4 players and a GM.

  • Every backer at the “Pythòs in PDF” level or higher will receive a digital file that can be used to print them on your own as tokens or cards.
  • If we reach 500 backers at the “Pythòs in Hardcover” level or higher, one set of physical action tokens will be included with each hardcover copy of the book.
  • Once the stretch goal has been unlocked, additional action tokens will become available as an add-on.
Early prototypes. Token icons are modified from works by Franco Giachetti licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. http://ludicarts.com/free-rpg-icons/
Early prototypes. Token icons are modified from works by Franco Giachetti licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License. http://ludicarts.com/free-rpg-icons/

 

As you can see in the table above, with the exception of the retailer level, each level includes all of the benefits of the lower levels.

Supporter ($5)
Your name in the core book

Quickstart PDF ($10)
Your name in the core book
One PDF copy of the Quickstart Rules for Pythòs:
This document will include all of the rules and character options required to play, but will leave out all of the artwork and most of the setting material. It will be formatted for quick and easy rules referencing.

Pythòs in PDF ($20)
Your name in the core book
One PDF copy of the Quickstart Rules
One PDF copy of the Pythòs core book
One PDF copy of the Starstruck Mountain adventure
All digital rewards unlocked as stretch goals
Invitation to access the Backer Beta Playtest:
With playtest access, you can preview game materials and provide feedback. This feedback will be used in the final stages of game development, before editing and layout finishing.

Pythòs in Hardcover ($45)
Your name in the core book
One PDF copy of the Quickstart Rules
One PDF copy of the Pythòs core book
One PDF copy of the Starstruck Mountain adventure
All digital rewards unlocked as stretch goals
Invitation to access the Backer Beta Playtest
One hardcover copy of the Pythòs core book (including physical rewards unlocked as stretch goals)

Signed Hardcover ($85)
Your name in the core book
One PDF copy of the Quickstart Rules
One PDF copy of the Pythòs core book
One PDF copy of the Starstruck Mountain adventure
All digital rewards unlocked as stretch goals
Invitation to access the Backer Beta Playtest
One hardcover copy of the Pythòs core book signed by the creator (Gareth Johnson) (including physical rewards unlocked as stretch goals)

Virtual Pythòs with the Creator ($200) (Limited: 12 Backers)
Your name in the core book
One PDF copy of the Quickstart Rules
One PDF copy of the Pythòs core book
One PDF copy of the Starstruck Mountain adventure
All digital rewards unlocked as stretch goals
Invitation to access the Backer Beta Playtest
One hardcover copy of the Pythòs core book signed by the creator (including physical rewards unlocked as stretch goals)
Invitation to play Pythòs with the creator (Gareth Johnson): This 4 to 6 hour game will take place online with the Roll20.net virtual tabletop platform, with an EXCLUSIVE storyline. All invitees will receive a copy of Gareth's GM notes after completion. The date(s) will be announced around the same time the books are shipped and will take place sometime in summer 2017. There will be some flexibility allowed in scheduling.

Pythòs Retailer ($210)
Your store’s name in the core book
One PDF copy of the Quickstart Rules, Pythòs core book, and Starstruck Mountain adventure (plus all other digital rewards) for in-store use
Invitation to access the Backer Beta Playtest
Six (6) hardcover copies of the Pythòs core book (discounted) (each copy includes physical rewards unlocked as stretch goals)

Legendary Hero ($500) (Limited: 6 Backers)
Your name in the core book
One PDF copy of the Quickstart Rules
One PDF copy of the Pythòs core book
One PDF copy of the Starstruck Mountain adventure
All digital rewards unlocked as stretch goals
Invitation to access the Backer Beta Playtest
One hardcover copy of the Pythòs core book signed by the creator (including physical rewards unlocked as stretch goals)
Invitation to play Pythòs with the creator on Roll20.net
Contribute one legendary character to be included in the Pythòs core book as a fully-playable example (as a player character, NPC, or villain). The illustrator will produce a character image to accompany its description in the book. This is subject to approval. Inappropriate and off-taste contributions will not be accepted.

The following are rewards that you may add on to your chosen backer level. Simply add the dollar amount of each add-on to your chosen reward tier. If you are outside of the US, don't forget to add shipping.

A survey will be sent out after the campaign to collect information about chosen rewards and add-ons.

(+$40) Additional Hardcover Core Book: (Free shipping in the US. Please add $10 for shipping to Canada, UK, EU, Australia, or New Zealand. Please add $40 for shipping anywhere else.) If you are an international backer trying to order several books for a bulk discount, send us a message and we will try to work out a deal for discounted shipping.

Action Tokens, posters, and more will become available as stretch goals are unlocked...

If we surpass our initial funding goal of $25,000, the additional money we raise will allow us to provide even more rewards to our valuable backers. As the rewards below are unlocked, more stretch goals will be added.

The Eternal Stretch Goal: There are many creative projects like Pythòs that would never be possible without crowdfunding. That is why we will be participating in the "kicking it forward" promise. After all the costs of making Pythòs have been paid, we will donate 5% of what's left to other Kickstarter projects.

500 Physical Reward Backers (500+ backers at the “Pythòs in Hardcover” level or higher):
One set of action tokens included with each hardcover copy of the Pythòs core book. These will also become available as an add-on.
Customs Friendly Shipping of all physical rewards to the USA, Canada, the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand (via Ship Naked)

$30,000: Digital Wallpapers
Every backer (including those at the “Supporter” level) will receive two high-resolution digital wallpapers: “The Acragaia” (the core book cover image) and “Starstruck Mountain” (the adventure module cover image).

$35,000: Poster Map
The Pythòs world map will be expanded to poster-size (24” x 30”), showing extra detail in all of its beauty. It will be included as a high-resolution PDF to backers receiving digital rewards and as a physical poster included (folded) with each hardcover book.
A non-folded version of the poster will become available as an add-on.

$40,000: Physical Starstruck Mountain
The "Starstruck Mountain" adventure module will be included in the physical Pythòs core book. (currently only a PDF reward)

More stretch goals…? How about more adventure modules and a double-sided poster map? (To Be Announced)

Phase 1 (September ~ October)

  • Backer Beta Playtest: For about two months, backers at the "Pythòs in PDF" level and higher will have an opportunity to try out the game and provide feedback to improve it.
  • Illustration: Matthew Cowdery will be hard at work producing beautiful pieces of art.
  • Writing: Gareth Johnson will be typing away at his keyboard, writing rules supplements and setting material.

Phase 2 (November ~ December)

  • Editing: After reviewing the feedback from the playtest, we will go over every last detail of the rules and the setting material. Typos, power imbalances, confusing rules, and anything lacking will all be painstakingly corrected.
  • Layout: As everything comes together, we'll be sure to share pictures of what the inside of the book will actually look like.

Phase 3 (January ~ March)

  • Printing: After submitting our files to the printer, they will provide us with a digital and physical proof. We'll check the quality, and when everything meets our high standards, we'll give them the go-ahead for full-scale printing.

Phase 4 (April ~ May)

  • Logistics: All of the products will be sent by freight to a warehouse, checked, and packaged. Some items (such as signed hardcovers) will get appropriate special treatment.
  • Delivery: Physical products will be shipped out to everyone around the same time, though certain add-ons may be shipped separately. Digital products will be sent out as soon as their ready, which could be somewhat earlier than the physical items.

These are our standard shipping costs for each hardcover book. You will be asked to select your location when you choose a physical reward level.

  • USA: Free (Included in the reward price)
  • Canada, UK, European Union, Australia, New Zealand: $15
  • Everywhere else: $50

Physical add-ons have their own shipping costs.

Risks and challenges

While our every effort is going to be spent getting a high quality product created and delivered on-time, there is always the risk of unforeseen delays.

Pythòs has already been developed into a fully-playable game. The steps remaining include beta-testing, writing additional setting material, illustration, layout, and printing. The greatest chance for delay is in the pre-printing process. If our printer's prototypes don't meet our high quality standards, time could be lost in a back-and-forth approval process (though we have already budgeted some extra time for this). We are maintaining contact with several printing companies, so in the event our first printer choice has an issue, we can easily switch to another.

Because of the timeline of this project, there is a risk that paper and/or oil prices may fluctuate before the time of printing. But if there are any cost overruns, you, our backers will still receive your rewards on-time. We will gladly accept the risk of losing money in order to make this project a reality.

The game's designer, Gareth, is running most of the show. He's acting as writer, editor, publisher, and project manager. His credentials include a Master of Business Administration degree and five years of engineering project management experience.

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    Signed Hardcover

    Hardcover copy of Pythòs signed by the creator (plus physical unlocked stretch goals), PDFs of Pythòs and Starstruck Mountain (plus the basic rules PDF and digital unlocked stretch goals), invitation to participate in the Backer Beta playtest, and your name in the book

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    Virtual Pythòs with the Creator

    Invitation to play Pythòs with the creator online (see the full description for details), a hardcover copy of Pythòs signed by the creator (plus physical unlocked stretch goals), PDFs of Pythòs and Starstruck Mountain (plus the basic rules PDF and digital unlocked stretch goals), invitation to participate in the Backer Beta playtest, and your name in the book

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    Pythòs Retailer

    Six (6) hardcover copies of Pythòs (physical unlocked stretch goals included with each book), your store's name in the book, all digital products funded by this campaign (for in-store use only), and invitation to participate in the Backer Beta playtest

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    Legendary Hero

    Contribute a character to the Pythòs core book (see the full description for details), invitation to play Pythòs with the creator online, a hardcover copy of Pythòs signed by the creator (plus physical unlocked stretch goals), PDFs of Pythòs and Starstruck Mountain (plus the basic rules PDF and digital unlocked stretch goals), invitation to participate in the Backer Beta playtest, and your name in the book

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Funding period

- (36 days)