Project image
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$2,836
pledged of $4,000pledged of $4,000 goal
51
backers
12days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, July 28 2019 3:00 PM UTC +00:00.

$2,836
pledged of $4,000pledged of $4,000 goal
51
backers
12days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, July 28 2019 3:00 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Rational Magic is a campaign filled with investigation, intrigue, and espionage set in a gritty dystopian fantasy world; a world that evolved from a traditional sword and sorcery setting. Players are Operatives who work either to maintain the status quo or rebel against the forces of magical modernity.  Rational Magic is for 5th edition, as well as the Lore System RPG, which was purpose-built for this campaign. 


Long ago, in the Heroic Age, wizards and warriors went on adventures, killed orcs and dragons, found treasure, and saved maidens.  But then a revolution occurred.  Not a revolution led by usurpers or valiant rebels. Rather, a revolution driven by a change in the practice of magic. Wizards discovered how to make order from the chaos of magic.  Magic is no longer an art; it is a technique. Magi-Technology is systematized, homogenized, and commoditized.   This change in practice brought about untold wealth to the magnates of the magic industry. It revolutionized the ways of war and the ways of production.  It even brought immortality to those who could afford it.  And it introduced methods of unprecedented social control.  

The proponents of this new practice of magic are called the “Rationalizers”. The current epoch is called “The Age of the Rationalization.”  

Core

Rational Magic will be around 200 - 250 pages. Within this book is the following:

  • Settings section for the Rational Magic game world.
  • Description of important NPCs and the city of Nagaplath, a modern magical city-state.
  • Optional rules for handling investigation and espionage in 5e campaigns.
  • At least three scenarios taking place in Nagaplath, forming the first part of the "Rude Awakening" campaign. Each scenario can be completed in 3 - 6 hours on average and the focus is on investigative game play.
  • Factions lists.
  • At least 10 pre-generated player characters.
  • The Lore System rules

The Setting

Rational Magic takes place in a world setting that evolved has from traditional sword and sorcery.  Society is in upheaval, as competing economic and social ideologies strive to set people free or enslave them. In this world, players are Operatives who work either to maintain the status quo or rebel against the forces of magical modernity.  

All the included scenarios are located within the urban city of Nagaplath, one of the most advanced of the modern "Central Nations" that were able to rationalize the forces of magic to fuel a "magi-technological" revolution.  

This setting is inspired by the fantasy and science fiction books of:

  • Richard K. Morgan (Land Fit for Heroes)
  • China Miéville (Bas-Lag series)
  • Charles Stross (The Nightmare Stacks)
  • Larry Niven (The Magic Goes Away)
  • Tippyverse
  •  The Gods are Bastards (web-serial)

The Lore System

The Lore System (v2.0) was purpose-built for this Rational Magic setting. The Lore System will give you a fast and meaningful role playing experience tying a character’s story and development to the game world. It was developed by looking at some of the best features of such games as FATE, GUMSHOE, Barbarians of Lemuria, and Microlite20. For more information on the Lore System, including links to SRD documents, see the Rational Magic page on the Sons of the Singularity website.  

Additions to 5e

The basic mechanics of 5e do not readily support some types of non-combat game-play.  Rational Magic borrows two subsystems from the Lore System (SOS's home-made RPG system) to add support for espionage and investigation. This support comes in the form of Lore Sheets and Risk Counters.

Lore Sheets are handouts that provide players with extra background information about their characters and the game world, and Lore Sheets can be used to assign special roles to each player character. Player characters gain mechanical advantages through Lore Sheets, therefore they should not be regarded as mere “fluff”.

One benefit of Lore Sheets is that complex information about the setting can be distributed quickly and without the need for including a tedious history lesson as part of the game. This rule is best used when playing an extended campaign, where the GMs and the players are comfortable with player characters pursuing “secret goals” as part of the campaign game play.  

Risk Counters are a count-down mechanism which conveys to the players the amount of risk that is in a scene. They are used for scenes which include elements of stealth and investigation.  Risk Counters help players evaluate how their failures progressively make the world more dangerous. For example, the guards in the area will become more alert. 

Welcome to the World of Rational Magic!

Have an idea for an adventure to be played in the dystopian fantasy world of Rational Magic? We encourage you to write it up! Want to build an adventure, campaign, campaign setting or other content that is compatible with the Lore System? Great, we would love to see what can be done with the Lore System!

Rational Magic is intended to be an open world in which the gaming community can build upon and expand. Our imagination is our limit, not some tedious license agreement. We will make the campaign setting Rational Magic (excluding artwork and graphical design elements) available to you, to be used in any way you want, so long as you do not use it to promote bigotry, racism, sexism or fascism. All we will require from you is give us, Sons of the Singularity, credit for our original work.

Lore System is intended to be open gaming system upon which members of the RPG community may run their adventures. We are not interested in asserting copyrights in the Lore System itself. As a game system, we believe it is neither possible nor appropriate to assert copyrights in the Lore System. Rather, we encourage you to use the Lore System to design and run your own adventures and campaigns. We implore you to build content that is Lore System compatible!

The basic book contains 3 scenarios, 10 pre-gen characters and 3 pieces of custom full-page art. At this level, we will have enough funds to redo our layout with the included art, and prepare for digital distribution via DriveThruRPG.  

At this Stretch Goal level, we will commission two more full-page illustrations.

At this goal, we will be able to include a fourth scenario. This scenario will be for higher-level characters and focus on a new campaign direction; a conflict against extra-dimensional forces who seek to infiltrate and corrupt the Operatives' city.

At the "School of Cognitive Control and Manipulation" stretch goal level we we will commission black and white portraits for all the pre-generated characters. Backers at the "Necromantic Labor Controller" level will be a able to send in pictures to be sketched for the pre-generated characters.
 

We believe that, ideally, “Rational Magic” should be read as a book, printed on high-quality paper. At this funding level, we will be able to afford a traditional off-set print run to produce a hard cover book. We will still offer a DTRPG Print-on-Demand (POD) “standard-color” book; this will be a more economic option for Backers outside of North America who want to save money on shipping.  

 At this level, we will commission an artfully drawn custom map of Nagaplath.

Imprinter socialites at a dinner party
Imprinter socialites at a dinner party

IMPORTANT

We are fulfilling this Kickstarter with a "hybrid approach" which means that Backers can support the project on Kickstarter, but shipping and handling of physical rewards will be handled on other platforms. We use this method so as to maintain flexibility, reduce shipping costs, and provide a quality product to our Backers. However, this method of fulfillment will require Backers to make TWO PAYMENTS; one payment on the Kickstarter, and one payment for shipping charges. 

Default Fulfillment Process

At project funding, we commit to deliver Rational Magic as a print-on-demand book on DriveThruRPG, using standard color printing quality. We will give Backers at the Mage-Bonded Operatives level or higher a coupon to use on DTRPG. You will just need to pay for shipping on DTRPG's site, which will cost around $6 for Backers in the USA and an average $10 for Backers in the EU.  

School of Meta-Material Planning (print-run) Stretch-Goal

If the project reaches the School of Meta-Material Planning Stretch Goal (either 16,000 or 300 Backers at the Mage-Bonded Operatives level), we will commission a traditional off-set print run at our printing vendor in the United States. This will produce a higher quality book. US-based Backers will be given a coupon to use on the Sons of the Singularity (that's us) web-store where they will pay for shipping charges. Shipping will cost approximately $6 to the US, and $15 to Canada, not including any applicable duties.

Customers in other countries will be able to get the hard-cover book from the web-store, however, shipping will likely cost $23 to the EU and $30 to other countries, and you will be responsible for paying all taxes and duties. You will still be eligible for a DTRPG coupon if you want the print=on-demand soft-cover book and lower shipping charges.

We love game shops, retailers and distributors here at the Sons of the Singularity LLC, and we know that some game shops, retailers and distributors will want to stock Rational Magic at distributor pricing, If interested, please contact Jesse directly at ogami.itto.meifumado AT gmail.com.

We are also excited about the prospects of collaboration and cross-promotion with other content creators, artists and publishers. If you would like to discuss how we might work together to enrich the RPG community and improve our offerings, please contact Jesse.

Jesse Covner and Jason Sheets   - Writers / Publishers 

Jason GMing a KhanKon in Beijing. Jesse, wearing the cool hat (on the left), is attempting to translate the name "Nyarlathotep" into Chinese for the the non-English speaking investigators who joined the game.
Jason GMing a KhanKon in Beijing. Jesse, wearing the cool hat (on the left), is attempting to translate the name "Nyarlathotep" into Chinese for the the non-English speaking investigators who joined the game.

Sons of the Singularity is an indie RPG design and publishing house established by Jesse Covner and Jason Sheets in 2018. In 2019, we successfully Kickstarted "The Sassoon Files" for Call of Cthulhu and GUMSHOE.  

Our goal is to make role-playing games and scenarios which are entertaining, exciting, thought-provoking, and genuine. We are two left-handed American guys who met while living in China more than a decade ago. We now (2018) live in Japan. We both like the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Charles Stross, and Richard K. Morgan. Jason is the "Wicked Son" and Jesse is aspiring to be the "Wise Son" (Passover reference). 


Jennifer S. Lange - Primary Artist

Jennifer S. Lange, artist at large
Jennifer S. Lange, artist at large

 
Jennifer S. Lange is an artist and illustrator working mostly in the gaming industry and also creates book covers and fine art, and her own fantasy world Genius Loci. The number of her rpg characters is legion, but she hasn't lost count yet. She lives in Lübeck, Germany, with her fiancé and two cats. You can find her work at her website.

Legal Stuff

“Rational Magic” and the “Lore System” are products of the Sons of the Singularity; the words “Rational Magic” and “Lore System” are common law trademarks of the Sons of the Singularity; those words signify the Sons of the Singularity as the source of those products. Feel free to use those words to talk about our products; feel free to identify your works as compatible with our products, just don’t hold yourself out as Sons of the Singularity or as endorsed by the Sons of the Singularity. If you are interested in endorsement or other types of collaboration, please email us at ogami.itto.meifumado@gmail.com

Risks and challenges

Writing and Edits - We have written three scenarios (and much of the other content) to be included in Rational Magic. The scenarios are thoroughly play-tested.

We are in the process of adding compatibility with the 5E d20 systems. Moreover, we are developing supplemental content, including another scenario that will be released as a separate add-on. Although development of additional content may delay the project, we feel there is little risk of non-delivery.

Art Production - Commissioning additional art, especially if we achieve our stretch goals, may delay delivery of project.

Layout - New content and art will require additional layout. Depending on the results of this Kickstarter campaign, we may decide to retain professional layout services, which could add 2-3 months to the delivery date.

Fulfilment and Printing - We intend to use DriveThruRPG for fulfillment, however, we will run a traditional off-set print in the United States if we achieve the "School of Material Conversion" stretch goal. A traditional off-set print run will likely require us to push back the delivery date.

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    You will receive a full-color printed copy of the Rational Magic campaign book, as well as the PDF edition. This is a Print-on-Demand version, fulfilled through DriveThru RPG. At the "School of Meta-Material Conjuration" stretch-goal level, there will be other options for the printed book.

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    In addition to receiving the books and PDF, a portrait of you drawn by one of our talented artists will be included as one of the named NPC in a scenario included in the book.

    Additionally, the first 5 Backers to pledge at this level will also be allowed to name the NPC. The name must be appropriate for a fantasy setting and not silly or offensive. If you get one of the other rewards that allows you to name a character, that character cannot have the same name.

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    In addition to receiving the books and PDF, our team will work directly with you to develop a pre-generated character to be included in the book, including name, background history, and look. At the "School of Cognitive Control and Manipulation" Stretch-goal level, we will commission portraits for the pre-gen character; you will be able to have that portrait made according to your specifications.

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    City Alderman

    In addition to receiving the books and PDF, a portrait of you drawn by one of our talented artists will be included as one of the major faction leader NPCs or as the primary antagonist in a scenario. You can name the NPC faction leader, but the name must be appropriate for a fantasy setting and not silly or offensive. If you get one of the other rewards that allows you to name a character, that character cannot have the same name.

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    Extra-dimensional Tentacular Threat

    In addition to the Manifold Defense Force Agent and Mage-Bonded Operative rewards, you will get a reserved seat (1 of 5) at a private game hosted during GenCon 2019 or 2020. Your physical book will be signed by The Sons of the Singularity writers and creators.

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