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A setting and mechanics sourcebook for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, set in a harsh world of industry, magic, and horror.

Update!

As we reach the home stretch, for current and potential backers, here are the three major categories of products that you get through pledges:

  • $15 Pledge: Core Book and Module #1 (PDF)
  • $40 Pledge: Core Book and GM Screen (Print & PDF), Modules #1-6 (PDF)
  • $60+ Pledges: Core Book, Gm Screen, Modules #1-6 (Print & PDF)

We want you to pledge, but only if you have full knowledge of what you're getting! Thanks!

What is Thunderscape?

Thunderscape: the World of Aden introduces readers to the battered but unbroken world of Aden, a world where knights and sorcerers fight shoulder to shoulder with mechamagical golems against the nightmarish hordes spawned by the Darkfall, a supernatural cataclysm of unknown origin. Ten years ago, the sun was suddenly and unexpectedly eclipsed by an unknown force. Although the darkness lasted only a short time, in those long moments of false night, horrors beyond imagining sprang from every shadow. Beasts long destroyed, terrors that had only ever been imagined, and things that no sane mind had ever contemplated all became suddenly, violently real, and Aden burned. The nocturnals, as these beasts became known, slaughtered countless thousands and put an untold number of villages and cities to the torch. In one instant, the world of Aden was plunged into chaos and anarchy. Having known only peace for more than a thousand years, the nations of Aden were ill-prepared for this ruthless onslaught, and it seemed that the world of the mortal races would perish without ever knowing the cause. But the people of Aden are hardier than that. The world was in the throes of an industrial revolution, with magic and technology being tied together into a strange arcane art known as mechamagic. With this, and with the many other strengths brought to bear by the nations of Aden, the world fights back against the Darkfall and the nocturnals.

The Age of Thunder has not ended.

Aden will not slip quietly into the night.

Wait, Have I Heard of Thunderscape Before?

You may have! The world first appeared in Thunderscape, a PC game released in 1995. A second game set in the same world, Entomorph: Plague of the Darkfall, was released later that same year. In 1996, a series of three novels, entitled The Darkfall, The Sentinel, and Indomitable Thunder, was released, as were two role-playing game sourcebooks. Published by West End Games, these two role-playing supplements, The World of Aden and Campaign Chronicles, were the last appearance of Thunderscape until now.

The Known World of Aden
The Known World of Aden

What Is It You Are Producing?

We’re working on a full color hardback sourcebook for the Pathfinder RPG with standards commensurate with both Paizo Publishing’s high quality publications, as well as the flair for fantastic art that the Legend of the Five Rings Roleplaying Game is known for (it only makes sense, given our background, after all). Our current outline includes 120,000 words divided across six chapters. The size of the book will increase somewhat as the Kickstarter pledge levels allow us to add additional content being generated by our supporters. Our current budget allows writing, playtesting, and layout to be covered. What we need from this endeavor are the funds for the quality of art we want to see included, and to fund the initial print run. Depending upon the level of success we experience as part of this process, the Kickstarter may fund additional releases as well.

What Can We Expect in Thunderscape?

Pure, unadulterated awesomeness. Not only will you learn this history of Aden and its many nations, from the radiant and noble Arasteen to the barbaric High Steppes, from grim, polluted Urbana to the scorched wasteland of Aramyst, and many more, but you will gain access to a wide variety of new mechanical options that will enrich any Pathfinder game. The Mechamage class combines the versatility of an arcane spellcaster with command of a powerful steam-powered golem animated by magic. The Golemoid represents a warrior who has surrendered part of his very flesh to the power of steam technology, gaining incredible power but losing part of his soul in the process. Similarly, the Fallen class gives players a chance to portray a character who has inadvertently (or perhaps deliberately?) gained a glimmer of the Darkfall’s power, and must now constantly struggle against the growing darkness in his own soul. There’s another new class as well, but we’ll save that one for a little later.

Classes aside, Thunderscape introduces new feats, new spells, new archetypes, and a number of new races. Humans, elves, half-elves, and dwarves are all present, while the gnomes and half-orcs have been replaced with the otherworldy faerkin and the powerful jurak, respectively. Take on the role of a ferran, an artificially created race of man-animal hybrids; a rapacian, the deadly lizard-men of the SunderedDesert; a goreaux, the brilliant but bitter champions of the lowland hills; or embrace the truly bizarre and create an insect-like ilithix or the cursed, shape-shifting Echoes.

Will there be more? Oh yes, much more. Some of it supplied by those of you pledging to support this project! Who knows what wonders will be unleashed?

Who Is Involved in This Project?

My name is Shawn Carman, and I am the project lead for Thunderscape: the World of Aden. If you are familiar with any of my other work, it is almost certainly due to my years of work on the Legend of the Five Rings brand for Alderac Entertainment Group, where I am the Lead Writer for the CCG as well as the Lead Designer and the Production Manager for the RPG. I also do a bit of freelance writing, but you can read more about that in the Risks section lower on this page. My associates at Kyoudai Games are my good friends Ryan Carman, Matthew Schenck, and Rob Dake. A finer group of friends and gamers a man could never hope to find.

I am a pretty good judge of character as well as relative strengths when it comes to work in this industry, and so I decided to recruit my old boss and a good friend, Rich Wulf, to handle all the mechanical design for this project. Rich has, as always, done an amazing job of taking my insane, rambling ideas and making them into something that’s both cool to read about and awesome to play. Plus, we hadn’t worked together in a few years, and it made the experience of writing this book even better than I had hoped. Rich and I worked together for many years on dozens of books at AEG, and he’s also published an incredible trilogy of novels set in Eberron. You should totally go check those out.

There are many others involved on some level, but let me just say thanks to Dan Moenster for his help with the logos and art direction, Diego Gisbert Llorens for his amazing cover art, Paul Meador for his absolutely unbelievable cartography skills, and Chris Koch for helping us fill in the holes where we needed some new eyes and fresh details.

Alastrina, a Knight of the Radiant Order, leads an attack on one of Urbana's Thunder Trains alongside her allies, Gudrun and Silak.
Alastrina, a Knight of the Radiant Order, leads an attack on one of Urbana's Thunder Trains alongside her allies, Gudrun and Silak.

Stretch Goals!

  • UNLOCKED! $10,000 – If we reach this level of funding, the adventure module included in the $60 pledge level will be extended to a trilogy. The first module will be included at the $40 level, the second at the $60 level, and the final installment at the $80 level. Each will stand alone or work together as one massive adventure, fraught with peril and reward.UPDATE: To pay respect to our PDF only customers, we wish to clarify that the $15 level pledge will recieve a PDF of the first adventure. So: $15 gets Book/Module in PDF, $40 gets Book/Module in Print/PDF, $60 gets Book/2 Modules in Print/PDF, and $80 gets Book / 3 Modules in Print/PDF.
  • UNLOCKED! $12,000 – If we reach this level of funding, a free PDF conversion guide will be included for all pledge levels. This guide will include all mechanics from the book in a number of different open source and free-to-use systems, including Savage Worlds, FATE, D6, and others. A poll will be taken of all pledge supporters to determine exactly how many systems will be supported, but we hope to make sure everyone can use the book for their own purposes, whatever those might be.
  • UNLOCKED! $14,000 – If we reach this level of funding, a GM screen will be included with all supporter packages beginning at the $40 level.
  • UNLOCKED! $16,000 – If we reach this level of funding, we will double the art budget for the book. That’s right, I said double. More pieces, higher profile artists. All supporters receiving a copy of the book will be forced to sign a waiver, because it will include so much artistic awesomeness that cranial explosion becomes a genuine concern.
  • UNLOCKED! $18,000 – If we reach this level of funding, the adventure module at the $60 level that was expanded to a trilogy at the $10,000 stretch goal will be expanded again, this time to a complete, six-module adventure path that will be included in all supporter packages at the $40 level and higher.
  • UNLOCKED! $20,000 [Updated!] – At this level of funding we will be headed to GENCON where we will have some free to play events coming your way! Also, we will still begin production of an app that allows you to directly influence the events and kingdoms of Aden. The Darkfall? There’s an app for that.
  • UNLOCKED! $21,000 - If we reach this level of funding, we will begin work on a series of new PDF guides, each one custom-tailored to one of the four new base classes found in Thunderscape. The first will be A Goreaux's Guide to Golems and Various Other Servitors for the mechamage class, followed by guides for the golemoid, seer, and fallen. Furthermore, each backer at the $15 level and above may choose one of these four guides to recieve free of charge when it is completed!
  • UNLOCKED! $22,000 - If we reach this level of funding, we will begin work on a free PDF that fully integrates the psionic classes into the world of Aden. This will ensure that all of the fine works published by our friends at Dreamscarred Press will be absolutely, 100% usable in the world of Aden.
  • UNLOCKED! $23,000 - If we reach this level of funding, we will begin work on a series of drag-and-drop supplements, each published as its own PDF, that give new locations, events, and encounters for GMs to drop into an existing campaign. Tired of a generic old tavern or a nameless ancient ruin? We'll have something for you to fix that, no problem! The first release in this new series will be free for all backers!
  • UNLOCKED! $24,000 - If we reach this level of funding, we will expand our series of drag-and-drop PDFs from the previous level to include mini-modules that can serve as a full session's enjoyment. Each encounter carefully constructed to highlight the unique aspects of the world of Aden, these mini-modules will be able to fit right into your weekly game night for the cost of the change in your pocket! The first release in this new series will be free for all backers!
  • UNLOCKED! $25,000 - If we reach this level of funding, a FIFTH new class will be added to the Thunderscape: the World of Aden core book! Not only that, bu thtere will be a poll of all backers to help determine what kind of class it is! Something arcane? Something martial? Something else entirely? You'll tell us!
  • UNLOCKED! $26,000 - If we reach this level of funding, we'll begin production of a special PDF guide to steamtech vehicles! Prominently featuring the fearsome Thunder Trains of Urbana, this tome will also include smaller, more player-accessible devices such as the airships of Yzeem, the wind-riders of New Columbey, and others! This book will include new player options, including feats, alternate traits, and spells, for when owning a vehicle just isn't enough!
  • UNLOCKED! $27,000 - A second class from the vote incurred at the previous level will be added to the core book!
  • UNLOCKED! $28,000 - And a third!
  • $29,000 - Unlock a 4th class
  • $30,000 - Forget the vote... You get them all!!!

Add-ons! (Updated 4/2/13)

Some of you have inquired about the t-shirts that you missed out on when the early bird special filled up quickly. Well fear not, friends. We wouldn't let you down! You may now add the following items to your pledge, if you are so inclined:

  • Kickstarter Exclusive Thunderscape Logo T-shirt: Add $20
  • Thunderscape Logo Bumper Sticker: Add $5
  • 24 in x 24 in color map of Aden: Add $20
  • 1.5 in diameter full-color metallic Thunderscape button pin: Add $2.50
  • A copy of Module #2 in PDF form: Add $10 (already included in $40+ pledges)
  • A copy of Module #3 in PDF form: Add $10 (already included in $40+ pledges)
  • A Copy of Modules #4-6 in PDF form: Add $15 (already included in $40+ pledges)
  • A copy of the GM Screen in PDF form: Add $10 (already included in $40+ pledges)

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

As of the launch of this Kickstarter, the manuscript for this project is sitting right at 70% completion, and we anticipate it being finished before the Kickstarter ends (allowing some time for feedback from playtesting, of course). Any additional materials generated as a result of the stretch goals will be able to receive our full writing attention as soon as the Kickstarter ends.

I have been an industry professional for fourteen years, working primarily for Alderac Entertainment Group but also for Green Ronin, West End Games, and Fantasy Flight Games, and I have more authorial credit on more than seventy role-playing game sourcebooks, literally hundreds of fictions and articles published in support of the Legend of the Five Rings Collectible Card Game, and one graphic novel. During all that time I have a 95+% deadline rating and a 100% completion rating. I have never failed to complete a project. I don’t intend to start now.

For the past year, I have also been in charge of production of the Legend of the Five Rings Role-Playing Game, published by Alderac Entertainment Group. During that time I have learned a lot about art direction, layout, printing, and shipping. I plan to use all these skills to the fullest in order to keep Thunderscape moving forward in a timely and economical fashion. I’ve waited more than ten years for this project to become a reality. I’m not going to make anyone who pledges their support wait one minute longer than necessary to ensure they receive their just reward.

FAQ

  • This is very much a player book, although obviously it has a lot of value for GMs as well. It introduces a large number of mechanics intended for players, including new races, classes, feats, traits, spells, alternate rules for firearms, and any number of other juicy tidbits you might expect in a mechanical sourcebook. It also provides an in-depth look at the nations that make up the world of Aden, as well as the customs and information that any player character would expect to be familiar with. In fact, the only part of the book specifically and exclusively for GMs is the introductory adventure found near the end. Other than that, everything in the book is intended for and of use to players.

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    Burcham’s Brigade: At this level of support, you gain the undying gratitude of all of us here at Kyoudai Games, as well as credit in the final product. Additionally, if you decide later that you would like to purchase something from our company's website, we will recognize your patronage and give you a special thanks.

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    Rhanate Outrider: At this level of support you gain our gratitude, a credit in the book, and a complimentary copy of the final product in PDF format.

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    162 backers

    Sanguine Monk: As above, supporters at this level receive a credit in the book, a complimentary copy of the PDF, and a complimentary copy of the printed book as well. SPECIAL NOTE: The first twenty five supporters to pledge at this level or higher will receive a free t-shirt with the Thunderscape logo!

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    Beast Shaman of Vanora: Supporters at this level receive all of the benefits of the previous level, and a complimentary printed copy of an adventure module set in Aden to get them started on their way in our brave new world.

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    Swarm Rider of Kyan: Supporters at this level receive all the benefits of the previous level. Additionally, each supporter at this level may submit one character from the world of Aden. All these characters will be featured in official Kyoudai Games Thunderscape products within the first four releases!

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    NEW! Merchant of Balaquim: To accommodate multiple requests, we have added this retailer-specific pledge level. Anyone pledging this level will be required to provide proof that they represent a retail store. Those who do will be provided with five copies of our printed book as a result of this pledge. This will allow retailers to sell the book at MSRP for a profit. No other benefits from previous levels are afforded at this pledge level, and the benefits of this pledge are not included in subsquent pledge levels. UPDATE: We'll throw in a complimentary copy of one of our adventure modules for the store to do with as they please!

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    Inquisitor of Carraway: Supporters at this level receive all the benefits of the previous level. Additionally, they will each receive a complimentary print of our stunning cover image by artist Diego Gisbert Llorens!

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    18 backers

    Veiled Council of Yzeem: Supporters at this level will receive all benefits from the previous level. In addition, each supporter will have the opportunity to help develop the background of Aden in some meaningful way, either through the development of events having taken place in its history, locations presently found in the different nations, etc. This is a tremendous opportunity to take a character introduced at the $80 supporter level and augment them. Perhaps the character you submit owns a tavern, or is obsessed with a particular ruin. Perhaps she protects a village, or has sworn to see a bandit fortress destroyed. Tell us your stories and see them become a part of Thunderscape!

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    3 backers Limited (47 left of 50)

    The Order of Stone: Supporters at this level will receive all benefits from the previous level. They will also have the opportunity to participate in an online gaming session set in Aden by the lead writer of Thunderscape, Shawn Carman! This will be conducted via Skype and participants will be organized based upon their time zones.

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    The Iron Guard: Supporters at this level will receive all benefits from the previous level. They will also have the opportunity to contribute mechanically to the development of Aden in the form of a feat, a spell, an alternate class ability, or other mechanical aspects of the game. Supporters at this level will be asked to submit their mechanics via a structured survey that will allow for a wide range of responses, which will then be taken into account by the editor and lead designer.

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    Knight of the Radiant Order: Supporters at this level receive all benefits from the previous level. In addition, you may submit a photograph of yourself, which we will use as a reference piece for one of our artists when we commission art for the book. You will appear in Thunderscape! Additionally, in recognition of the enormous generosity and support offered at this level, we here at Kyoudai Games will provide all members at this level with a complimentary copy of every Thunderscape PDF and print book that we release for the next ten years.

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    Masters of the Realm: Individuals offering the Thunderscape project this level of support will be afforded an unprecedented degree of influence over the setting, in the way of working with the writing staff to create a new kingdom that will be completely incorporated into Aden’s history and future. Members of this group will collectively determine the new kingdom’s name, history, government, themes, archetypes, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Supporters at this level will be credited as contributors in the book with a special attribution. This is in addition to the rewards from all previous levels.

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    Hero of Aden: The individuals offering this level of support will be awarded all previous level benefits, including participation in the creation of a new kingdom, and will have their characters star in a Thunderscape novel produced by Kyoudai Games. All supporters at this level will be creative consultants for the novel’s development, and will have some degree of editorial control over their character’s behavior and presentation within the context of the novel. Like the Masters of the Realm supporters, supporters of this level will receive a special attribution in the credits of Thunderscape: the World of Aden.

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