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Upwind is an RPG of lost science, elemental magic and uncharted skies. Join the Explorers' Guild and sail into the Twilight Frontier.
Upwind is an RPG of lost science, elemental magic and uncharted skies. Join the Explorers' Guild and sail into the Twilight Frontier.
Upwind is an RPG of lost science, elemental magic and uncharted skies. Join the Explorers' Guild and sail into the Twilight Frontier.
496 backers pledged $32,891 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Upwind RPG - Treasure Planet meets Studio Ghibli

$32,891

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Core Book Cover Art
Core Book Cover Art

 

This Kickstarter is to fund a portion of the printing costs for the Upwind roleplaying game core book, the Knight’s Deck custom cards and the Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign and sourcebook.

This project is from the creators and authors of the acclaimed Blue Planet RPG, the award-winning Midnight d20 setting, and the renowned World of Darkness RPG series including Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension.

Free Upwind Quickstart Primer - download the file, explore the setting, learn the basic rules and play the introductory adventure, Bait and Switch

The Short Version

Imagine Bakshi’s classic animated film Wizards has a head-on collision with Disney’s Treasure Planet and the resulting fire is put out with a whole lot of Studio Ghibli’s Castle in the Sky. That, in an unexpected, animated mash-up, is Upwind.

Upwind is a narrative style RPG set in a strange alternate world of floating island nations, flying sailing ships, long-lost technology, wild elemental powers, looming war and forgotten legacies.

Upwind is powered by the Q system, an original stakes-based, playing card-driven mechanic that gives every encounter consequences with meaningful, narrative-building outcomes. With its unique bidding rules, Upwind plays as fast as you can tell your story.

The Longer Version

 
Inhabited Skyland
Inhabited Skyland

The Setting 

Upwind presents a fantastical setting where the remains of a broken world drift as floating islands through a sky divided into the Light and the Dark. The Kin inhabit the skylands of the Kingdoms in the Light while the Children of the Dark dwell far below where the Light does not reach. The Wind is a powerful force energizing the wondrous machines of the Kin and charging the elemental Potential all Kin wield. Lost technology is the currency of the Kingdoms, scavenged from the remnants of the Masters of the Wind - a culture destroyed long ago in the great cataclysm known as the DownFall.

The Spire Artifact
The Spire Artifact

The young civilization of the Kin has been reborn and struggles both with itself and the Children of the Dark as it strives to recover. Wind-powered skyships serve as the lifeblood of trade and the backbone of defense, while exploration, mystery, intrigue and war form the backdrop of the narrative. The Age of the Grand Amplifier is said to be drawing to a close, the Children of the Dark threaten from below, and the Kin misunderstand the truth about both.

A Voyage into the Dark
A Voyage into the Dark

Here are some excerpts from the setting chapters.  

The Characters 

Knights' Blade and Vow
Knights' Blade and Vow

Upwind campaigns focus on the exploits of the Knights of the Explorers' Guild - storied, skyfaring explorers, scholars, engineers, elementalists and soldiers who search the Twilight Frontier for lost Masters’ caches. The player characters are rare, highly trained individuals with exceptional skills and elemental powers. Duty-bound to the Guild, they lead missions across dangerous skies and expeditions into the uncharted Dark.

Wind and Arc Explorer Knights
Wind and Arc Explorer Knights

The System

Upwind uses an original game system called Q. Rather than shape the narrative by resolving character actions one at a time, Q works through a sort of quantum mechanic, resolving entire encounters with single plays. Two potential outcomes are negotiated cooperatively and proposed as stakes for which the participants bid using hands of playing cards. The narrative is then tailored to the winning outcome, and the story progresses in a quantum rather than incremental way. As a result, Upwind allows you to to tell your story three times faster than with typical incremental systems.

Here is an excerpt from the system chapter.

Playtest Character - Bree the Gentle Giant
Playtest Character - Bree the Gentle Giant

  

This campaign was launched to complete the production of three Upwind products that will provide a complete game line and a limitless sky of adventure. The writing, editing, layout and art costs for the Upwind series have been covered. The pledges from this Kickstarter will fund the offset printing of the product line, putting the game directly into the hands of backers and then later into general distribution. 

Upwind Core Book 

Upwind will be a full-color, 225+ page beautifully illustrated hardcover book. It will contain everything needed to adventure across the endless skies of the Kingdoms in the Light and deep into the Dark. At higher pledge levels the book will feature a collector’s edition embossed cover and signed dedications by the design team.

Wraparound Cover Art
Wraparound Cover Art

The Knight’s Deck Playing Cards

Upwind is played using standard poker cards rather than dice with an original bidding mechanic that uses the various features of those cards to direct the narrative. The Knight’s Deck is a custom-designed deck that enhances the Upwind setting. Beyond use in play, every card in the deck features an illustration of a specific settlement, location, or Master’s cache as well as descriptive text. An integrated coordinate system allows players to arrange the cards into an illuminated schematic of the Upwind setting that provides fun and useful insight into the uncanny geography of the game.

Knight's Deck Sample Card
Knight's Deck Sample Card

Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier Campaign and Setting Supplement 

The Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier is a setting-spanning, Upwind sourcebook and campaign written by Upwind’s authors. The book is packed with new locations, NPCs, Relics, creatures and Master’s caches, and the adventure will draw players deep into the setting. The story takes a band of young Knights from novice recruitment through their Academy training, challenges them with their graduation cruise, leads them on a ranging series of missions across the Realms and then sends them deep into the Dark in pursuit of an ancient legacy. The discoveries they make will upend everything they know about the history of the Children, the Masters of the Wind and the origin of the Kin themselves.

Child of the Dark warrior
Child of the Dark warrior

 

Interviews and Actual Play Game Sessions

• Author runs demo for the crew at Role Playing Public Radio.

• Ross Payton runs a preview of his stretch goal adventure.

Interview with author on Talking Table Top with Jim McClure.

Interview with author on Third Wheel podcast.

Mechanics demo by author on Redacted Files podcast.

$12,500 - “Illuminated” Character Sheet 

Unlocking this goal will create an enhanced digital character sheet. It will consist of several modular pages illuminated by Upwind artists to look like Induction Hull controls and will include a play-mat for the various card hands, cache token pools, a Relic design schematic, a boat crew roster and even a stock pennant on which crews can create their own ensigns.

$15,000 - Setting Map Navigation Poster 

Reaching this level will fund production of Uncharted Skies, a 34” x 22” full-color poster portraying the uncanny geography of Upwind - the Kingdoms in the Light, the Twilight Frontier and the Dark. Designed as a navigational chart the Knights themselves might use, this beautiful poster will show the wondrous, alternate world of the Upwind setting, providing players a sense of the strange skies and a familiarity with the nations, kingdoms and hinterlands of this unusual realm.

Explorers' Guild Skyship
Explorers' Guild Skyship

$20,000 - RPPR The Three Beasts Adventure 

When this goal is reached, Biohazard/Nocturnal will produce an Upwind mini-campaign written by Ross Payton, host of Role Playing Public Radio. The adventure will tie directly into and expand the gameplay for The Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign.  

Ross is an accomplished RPG author with his own supers game - Base Raiders - and credits in such other lines as Eclipse Phase and Monsters and Other Childish Things. He is also the first person to ever run Upwind after the author, and if you are curious about his style, head over to RPPR and listen to the actual play Upwind campaign series running right now in support of this Kickstarter. Ross and crew are awesome!

An Old Bull Hemoth
An Old Bull Hemoth

$25,000 - Ships of the Realms Vessel Identification Poster 

When this goal is reached, Biohazard/Nocturnal will produce a 34” x 22” full-color poster displaying the designs, aesthetics, paint schemes and ensigns of the navies of the Kingdoms in the Light. If the funding reaches $26,000, the artists will add several specific ships to the poster including several known classes of Children of the Dark vessels.

+$30,000 - Upwind Incursion Print-&-Play Skyship Combat Game 

Ship and Munitions Playtest Token Mock-Ups
Ship and Munitions Playtest Token Mock-Ups

Reaching this goal funds the production of Upwind Incursion, a print-and-play “miniatures-style” tactical wargame of skyship-to-skyship combat in the dim reaches of the Twilight Frontier. A target and destroy battle of sharp-eyed lookouts, daring maneuvers and devastating broadsides, Incursion brings the war between the Explorers’ Guild and the Children of the Dark out of the RPG and onto your nearest tabletop. The game is a fast-playing, tactical challenge that depends on stealthy movement and decisive actions. Since it’s print-and-play, you can scale up to fight as many ships as you care to put in the sky against as many opponents as you care to challenge!

$35,000  - The Unlikely Tale of Captain "Grimstone" Doe - a Short Story 

Captain Abram Doe is commander of the Explorer Knights’ 4th Fleet and one of the most respected members of the Guild. Doe is an exceptionally serious man and, despite his Dimmish heritage, a potent Ore user - the combination of which earned him his longstanding moniker. He was not always so grim, however, and this Upwind tale reveals the essential history of Doe as a reckless young Knight and the origin of the unlikely conspiracy at the heart of the Grand Amplifier campaign book. 

$40,000 - TickTock Alternate Setting PDF 

Reaching this goal will fund the production of the TickTock alternate setting PDF for the Q rules-set from Upwind.

Arcanochronometer
Arcanochronometer

TickTock describes the Clocklands - a fantastical mechanical world deep inside the vast Mechanism, with its own gear-driven landscapes, ecologies, and inhabitants. The characters are wind-up, clockwork beings that the players assemble from modular parts that each have unique game effects and powers. Adventures focus on the fact that the world is failing - falling into disrepair, breaking and becoming inert - as the evil Wormgear and his gearling minions raid the Clocklands for working parts. Individual adventures focus on protecting the Clocklands, thwarting Wormgear and salvaging the hardware needed to keep everyone wound up. The hopes of the inhabitants rest in finding the EverKey, a mystical spring winder that will allow a great hero to defeat Wormgear once and for all and rebuild the decaying world.

Social Media Point Total: 

        2961

Woot! Your support has unlocked all our social media goals - congratulations and thank you!

Each of the social media nods listed below will earn the associated number of social points. As these points accrue, they will unlock social stretch goals that will enhance the Upwind community experience.

New Twitter follower = 1 point 

New Facebook like = 1 point 

New public Facebook post = 5 points 

New Google+ post = 5 points 

Tweet = 10 points 

Retweets = 5 points 

New sign-ups on the website email list = 5 points 

New Upwind blog post or similar = 100 points 

New interview or podcast about Upwind = 200 points

Social Media Links:

Biohazard Games - Jeff Barber

Biohazard Facebook

Biohazard Twitter

Nocturnal Media - Stewart Wieck

Nocturnal Facebook

Nocturnal Twitter 

Nocturnal Kickstarter

Please send us a link when you post or come across a post that you think is worth social points, and we’ll add it to the social stretch goals total.

Click here to access the Upwind "Press Kit"

Goals:

500 points - Quick-Start Rules

Reaching this goal will unlock the Upwind Quick-Start Rules allowing backers to start adventuring across the uncharted skies of the Kingdoms in the Light as soon as they pledge the project.

1000 points - Open Gaming License

Meeting this goal will assure that the Q System will be distributed under a permissive open license, the details of which will be determined through consultation with the KS backers who will serve as stakeholders. This will mean that anyone can commercially use this unique and fast-playing system to power other games of high action and daring consequences.

1500 points - Guild Dispatches - Listserv, Website or Forums

Earning 1500 social points will unlock Guild Dispatches - the official Upwind forums where the designers will answer questions, post design notes and share advice on running Upwind. They will also post adventure hooks, new NPCs, creatures, Relics and locations. Dispatches will also be the place where the members of the Upwind community can share their own adventures, setting material, alternate Q settings and Q system hacks.

2000 Points - Podcast Tutorials 

Unlocking this goal will trigger the production a series of 15 minute tutorial podcasts on how to get the most out of Upwind and the Q system. The designers and the Upwind playtest crew will share their intentions for and insights about the system, addressing a variety of topics including those requested by the Upwind community.

You may add any additional digital or physical products to any reward level by adding the amounts listed below to the base cost of any reward level you choose (additional shipping charges may apply). These items will also be available as add-ons through Backerkit after the campaign.

+$50 - Extra Upwind core book, hard copy version 

+$10 - Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck, PDF version 

+$25 - Knight's Deck playing card deck, physical version 

+$15 - Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign PDF 

+$30 - Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book, hard copy version 

+$15 - Uncharted Skies 34” x 22” full color Upwind world map poster (if unlocked) 

+$20 - Biohazard’s complete PDF collection of all 10 Blue Planet titles

International distribution centers will allow us to keep rates low, but shipping fees will be paid by individual backers at the following flat rates: 

USA - $15   Canada - $20    Brazil - $30    Elsewhere - $25 

Jeff Barber – Jeff is the founder of Biohazard Games, the creator of the critically acclaimed Blue Planet RPG line, the primary author of the award-winning Midnight d20 corebook by Fantasy Flight Games, and a founding member of Pagan Publishing. Jeff has contributed to various game lines in his career, and his work is characterized by unique and immersive settings. Upwind has been drifting around in Jeff’s head for far too long, and he is excited to finally get it out and share it with the roleplaying community.

John Hay – John is a seasoned professional with experience in both tabletop and video games. He worked with Jeff on the original Blue Planet RPG before moving on to write for Song of Ice and Fire, Pathfinder, and Star Wars: The Old Republic. He also worked on the fifth edition of Dungeons & Dragons during his time with Wizards of the Coast. As editor as well as content developer, he has been a contributor to Upwind from the very first playtest.

James Stowe - The talented writer and illustrator behind the online comic and children’s RPG Sidekick Quests, James is a longtime industry illustrator and has contributed to dozens of titles - most notably in the original World of Darkness line by White Wolf. James’ vibrant style is a perfect match for Upwind’s fantastical visuals. 

Stewart Wieck - Stewart is a game designer and author of short stories, novels and screenplays. His work is most closely associated with White Wolf Publishing, a company he founded while in high school to publish a magazine dedicated to pen and paper roleplaying games such as Dungeons & Dragons. His work at White Wolf is highlighted by the co-creation of the World of Darkness, a fictional world developed in roleplaying games he co-created such as Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension. He owned White Wolf for 20 years and operated it under the conviction that games can be art. He remains dedicated to this idea with the games produced at his new company Nocturnal Media.

Guild Boat Crew
Guild Boat Crew

 

Risks and challenges

Upwind is written, the Q system has been thoroughly playtested and the game is ready to go. The art is in production - including the Uncharted Skies setting map and the Knight’s Deck card designs. The Grand Amplifier campaign is being playtested as you read this and will be ready by the new year. The line is all but done and ready to publish.

The Biohazard/Nocturnal Media partnership represents decades of experience in RPG production, and its members have collectively brought dozens of acclaimed game titles to life. They are skilled creators, capable production managers and experienced industry professionals. Though this is Biohazard's first involvement in a Kickstarter, Nocturnal and its principal Stewart Wieck has brought 10 Kickstarter campaigns to completion and understands how to deliver on funded projects. There is always the possibility of unforeseen events delaying production, but Upwind is as sure and certain an investment as Kickstarter has to offer.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Novice - digital map

    • Our sincere gratitude for your support of the Upwind project
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper

    Please note:
    You may add any of these additional digital or physical products to any reward level by adding the amounts listed below to the base cost of any reward level you choose (additional shipping charges may apply). These items will also be available as add-ons through Backerkit after the campaign.

    +$50 - Extra Upwind core book, hard copy version
    +$10 - Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck, PDF version
    +$25 - Knight's Deck playing card deck, physical version
    +$15 - Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign PDF
    +$30 - Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book, hard copy version
    +$15 - Uncharted Skies 34” x 22” full color Upwind world map poster (if unlocked)
    +$20 - Biohazard’s complete PDF collection of all 10 Blue Planet titles

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    Apprentice - PDF core book

    • PDF of the Upwind core book
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper

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    Journeyman - all digital rewards

    • Upwind core book PDF
    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck PDF
    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign PDF
    • All unlocked digital stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as a Journeyman

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Explorer Knight - physical book

    • Upwind full-color, hardcover core book and PDF
    • All unlocked digital and physical stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as an Explorer Knight

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    "Deck" Knight - book + cards

    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck - physical and PDF versions
    • Upwind full-color, hardcover core book and PDF
    • All unlocked digital and physical stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as an Explorer Knight

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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    "Campaign" Knight - book + campaign

    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book and PDF
    • Upwind full-color, hardcover core book and PDF
    • All unlocked digital and physical stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as an Explorer Knight

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Knight Captain - all physical rewards

    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck - physical and PDF versions
    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book and PDF
    • Upwind full-color, hardcover core book and PDF
    • All unlocked digital and physical stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as a Knight Captain

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    Pledge $115 or more About $115

    "Blue" Captain - all rewards + BP PDFs

    • Entire 10 title PDF catalog of Biohazard Games’ award-winning Blue Planet RPG
    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck, physical and PDF versions
    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book and PDF
    • Upwind full-color, hardcover core book and PDF
    • All unlocked digital and physical stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as a Captain

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    Pledge $140 or more About $140

    Sky Captain - collector’s edition

    • Upwind collector’s edition, embossed cover core book - signed by design team
    • Standard edition Upwind core book PDF
    • Entire 10 title PDF catalog of Biohazard Games’ award-winning Blue Planet RPG
    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck, physical and PDF versions
    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign hard copy book and PDF
    • All unlocked digital and physical stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as a Sky Captain

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    Standard Guild Quartermaster - retailers

    • 5 - Upwind full-color, hardcover core books
    • Store name, town and state listed in core book

    (Verification of retail business required.)

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    Pledge $190 or more About $190

    High Captain - online tutorial

    • One hour, one-on-one, online tutorial with the author on how to get the most out of your Upwind games and the Q system mechanics
    • Upwind collector’s edition, embossed cover core book - signed by design team
    • Standard edition Upwind core book PDF
    • Entire 10 title PDF catalog of Biohazard Games’ award-winning Blue Planet RPG
    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck, physical and PDF versions
    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book and PDF
    • All unlocked digital and physical stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as a High Captain

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Premium Guild Quartermaster - retailers

    • 5 - Upwind full-color, hardcover core books
    • 3 - Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card decks
    • 3 - Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign books
    • 5 - Uncharted Skies 34” x 22” full-color Upwind world map posters (if unlocked)
    • Store name, town and state listed in core book

    (Verification of retail business required.)

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    Child of the Dark - create core canon

    • Work with Biohazard/Nocturnal to create your own piece of Upwind canon for publication in the game - a unique Relic, nation, creature, NPC, city, Master’s site or a Guild squadron - the sky is literally the limit (subject to guidelines)
    • One hour, one-on-one, online tutorial with the author on how to get the most out of your Upwind games and the Q system mechanics
    • Upwind collector’s edition, embossed cover core book - signed by design team
    • Standard edition Upwind core book PDF
    • Entire 10 title PDF catalog of Biohazard Games’ award-winning Blue Planet RPG
    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck, physical and PDF versions
    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book and PDF
    • All unlocked digital and physical stretch goals
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as a Child of the Dark

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Primary of the Children - online game

    • One-shot adventure run by the author online for your group
    • Work with Biohazard/Nocturnal to create your own piece of Upwind canon for publication in the game - a unique Relic, nation, creature, NPC, city, Master’s site or a Guild squadron - the sky is literally the limit (subject to guidelines)
    • Upwind collector’s edition, embossed cover core book - signed by design team
    • Standard edition Upwind core book PDF
    • Entire 10 title PDF catalog of Biohazard Games’ award-winning Blue Planet RPG
    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck, physical and PDF versions
    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book and PDF
    • All unlocked stretch goals - physical and digital
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as a Primary of the Children

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    Pledge $1,600 or more About $1,600

    Master of the Wind - in-person game

    • The author will travel to your city at company expense and personally run an Upwind one-shot for your group (up to 8 players - continental US only)
    • In-person tutorial with the author on how to get the most out of your Upwind games and the Q system mechanics
    • Work with Biohazard/Nocturnal to create your own piece of Upwind canon for publication in the game - a unique Relic, nation, creature, NPC, city, Master’s site or a Guild squadron - the sky is literally the limit (subject to guidelines)
    • Upwind collector’s edition, embossed cover core book - signed by design team
    • Standard edition Upwind core book PDF
    • Entire 10 title PDF catalog of Biohazard Games’ award-winning Blue Planet RPG
    • Knight's Deck custom Upwind playing card deck, physical and PDF versions
    • Prophecy of the Grand Amplifier campaign book and PDF
    • All unlocked stretch goals - physical and digital
    • World map PDF and digital wallpaper
    • Name listed in the core book as the Master of the Wind

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    Ships to Only United States
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Funding period

- (30 days)