This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, October 19 2018 2:01 PM UTC +00:00.
Horror in the Pearl of the East! The Sassoon Files will be a set of scenarios and campaign resources for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition and GUMSHOE role-playing games (RPGs) set in historical 1920s Shanghai; an international city of intrigue, espionage, style and violence.
Victor Sassoon, a preeminent bon vivant, has found himself trading correspondence with Doctor Henry Armitage. They share a common goal and a common modus operandi. Victor fights to keep his empire safe, but he also fights for a Shanghai free from Mythos influence. Victor has gathered around him professors, detectives, muscles, guns, criminals and other problem solvers to mount a defense against a rising tide. Victor is your hook.
The trail leads to...
- a strange gate opened by an ancient Daoist ritual, and an alien spirit called forth from the Polaris solar system.
- a Shanghai triad operated by someone claiming to be the deceased Empress Dowager Cixi.
- a scam at the horse track, a heartbroken triad gangster, and the Bloated Woman.
- a lost city of golden sands, a field of black lotus, and a place suspended in time and space.
The Sassoon Files will be released as a PDF and a printed book, approximately 150 - 200 pages long. It will be modular in design; each of the included scenarios may be played as a "one-off" session or as part of a larger campaign set in 1920's Shanghai. The scenarios will be tied together by common locations, characters, threats and themes. The history of the Paris of the East is rich; with the help of the Sassoon Files, you will be able to dig deep into the vein of Old Shanghai.
The Sassoon Files will include the history of Shanghai and some of the primary factions that competed for influence and power: the Communists and Nationalists who played a game of deadly cat and mouse; the Jewish tycoon who provided succor to refugees; the Triad societies who competed to provide vice for the city's residents; the Japanese who were moving closer to invasion. The Sassoon Files will also explore the secret history of the Mythos, and the local factions who sought to exploit that which could not be fully comprehended.
Our Awesome Partners
"I had a great time playing the Sassoon files! All the scenarios provided a good mix of captivating historical facts and frightening Cthulhu horror. A must for historical buffs and Cthulhu gamers." -Francis Acquarone
"The Sassoon Files were a blast. Every scenario fed into the next and weaved a great story without feeling we were forced into anything. A good story teller could take this material and run with it for years." -Jacob Hardin
- Help us get more art. Help the Sassoon Files come alive with more art! Commissioning art requires money, and our artists should be well compensated.
- Physical books. A product full of beautiful art should be printed. It should be something that you can hold and look at and admire. We need funding to make these books possible.
- Layout Advice. We already created a look and feel for the layout of the book. We would like to hire other layout specialists to refine and improve on the design.
- Get the PDF with the book. We do not intend to distribute the Sassoon Files PDF with regular purchases of POD books on DTRPG. Supporting this Kickstarter will be the only way to get both for one price.
Completed - The basic book contains 3 scenarios, 15 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.
Completed - At the first stretch goal, we will be able to include the “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” scenario. This scenario has already been written and playtested. However, to “reincorporate”, we need to complete additional editing and redo the layout.
Completed - We will be able to commit to creating 3 more pieces of full-page art: “The Plague Pagoda”, “Peacock’s Eye”, and “The People’s Liberation Army vs. Mythos” (working titles). Also, we will create 5 more pre-gen characters, with backstories and stock-art portraits. This means that there will be 20 pre-gens in total, or 5 per scenario. Plenty of characters to choose from should any player character become non-viable due to unforeseen circumstances.
Completed - At the “Let’s Love Tonight” level, we will commission 3 full-page diagrams and handouts. These are not absolutely essential for play, but we do think it will add to the product. We will also commission a full-page advertisement for “Mary Xie and the Szechuan Peppers Jazz Troupe at the Crystal Garden” in the style of old-Shanghai advertisements.
Completed - At this level, we will commission a more artistic, annotated map of old Shanghai for the campaign. This will not be necessary for play, but will probably do well to contribute to the player’s sense of immersion.
Completed - We will be able to create character portraits for four main NPC antagonists.
Completed - We will be able to finish the add-on scenario: “The Brother of Jesus” to include as PDF download. The scenario will tie in elements from the Taiping Rebellion, which took place 80 years before the main events of “The Sassoon Files”.
Completed - When we reach the Magic Love level ($17K USD), we will commission 2 new full page pieces of art for the Brother of Jesus and 1 new full page piece of art for the campaign text of the Sassoon Files. The two pieces for the Brother of Jesus will be the “Black Litany Burlesque Show Flyer” and the “Destruction of Sodom”. The third commissioned piece has yet to be titled, but will be related to the May Thirtieth Movement when the Shanghai Municipal Police fired on Chinese protesters.
At the Jasmine Flower ($19000 USD) level, we will make maps for each scenario within The Sassoon Files. As much as possible, these maps will be historically accurate to real-world locations within 1920s Shanghai.
At the Old Tea House level ($20K USD), we will create 2 Player Factions and related content, enabling players to role-play as members of either the Communist Party or the Green Gang.
We believe that, ideally, “The Sassoon Files” 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. Instead of using DTRPG Print-on-Demand (POD) “standard-color” quality, the printed book will use much thicker paper. We will set up fulfillment centers (discussed in the Printing & Fulfillment section below) in North America and Europe to get the book to our customers with some efficiency and security.
We would like to invite interested Backers to create your own Lore Sheets; 175 word mini-narratives which describes a relationship a character has with another character or part of the game world.
We will edit the Lore Sheet, attach it to a game setting, and publish it. We will also give you a writing credit for your contribution as well. We intend to include at least 20 faction-oriented Lore Sheets in The Sassoon Files and we might include a lot more in a separate digital publication, to be used as handouts.
If you are interested in contributing to The Sassoon File by creating a Lore Sheet, please contact us by email (ogami.itto.meifumado AT gmail.com) or by message through Kickstarter. Let’s discuss!
At "The Song You're Hearing" backer level, we will finish creating an add-on scenario, "The Brother of Jesus". All backers at the "Cultist" ($38 USD) level level and above will receive this add-on scenario. Other backers can buy this when it is ready on DriveThru RPG.
If this project reaches the "There is this One Girl" stretch goal level, we will offer Print-On-Demand posters as an add-on. More on this later!
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 the Sassoon Files 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.
Jason Sheets and Jesse Covner - Writers / Publishers
Sons of the Singularity is an indie RPG design and publishing house established by Jesse Covner and Jason Sheets in 2018. 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).
Breno Girafa - Artist
Breno loves all things SciFi, Horror, the 50s and boxing. Breno is an accomplished professional artist, winning the the Society for News Design international illustrator-designer award 4 times. Breno has worked for the game/entertainment industry in companies such as CCP Games (EVE and Dust 514), Lazy Town and Tin Man Games.
Dan Bass - Writer
Who is Dan Bass? Dan is an avid gamer of over 40 years, so much so that he helped to found and run China’s first and foremost annual gaming convention, Khan Kon, for the last 7 years. He is also a founder of a new gaming community APP, Gstone, that is releasing this year. His gaming interests run the gambit from RPGs to LCGs, and almost everything in between. If you are in Beijing, you can usually find Dan every Sunday afternoon playing at the Frontiers Board Game Club. Drop by and join him for a game sometime!
George Sibly - Writer
George Sibley has been running and playing RPGs for 17 years. A native of Miami, FL and a five-year China resident, he met Jason Sheets in Shanghai and was one of the original players in the first draft of the Sassoon Files. When he's not writing new games, he can usually be found riding his motorcycle across the highways of the American West.
Francis Acquarone - Writer
Francis’ developed a passion for writing and rolling out scenarios that feature a good mix of historical facts, political intrigue and dark horrors. Born in Montreal, Francis spent nearly two decades living in China managing foreign trade missions before relocating back to Canada. In his spare time, Francis explored the country inside out and spent considerable time deepening his understanding of Chinese culture. A bachelor of history and major in East Asia Studies, Francis is looking forward to add his knowledge, personal experiences and vision to the Sassoon Files.
Patrick Chandler - Editor
Patrick Chandler is a Canadian writer/editor, with over a decades worth of short stories for education and entertainment. He is a gaming enthusiast, and enjoys RPGs, board games, and Magic: the Gathering. He is co-host of MTG Podcast One Scry Away. Patrick now lives in Vancouver, but has lived in China for ten years, unravelling its secrets and mysteries. The Sassoon Files - based in China, are very dear to him and his personal experiences.
Below the "Give Me a Kiss" Level:
The Sassoon Files will be released as a "Print on Demand" book through DriveThru RPG, which will handle fulfillment and shipping. Backers who contributed at least $38 will receive printed copies of the book. We believe that editing and layout will be completed by end of November, 2018. Proofs for POD printing would be done in December.
"Give Me a Kiss" - Offset Print-run:
If our "Give Me a Kiss" stretch goal tier is achieved, we will run a traditional off-set print in China, at CHINA SEVEN COLOR GROUP CO. LTD (on the web at: http://www.chinaprinting4u.com). This will enable us to deliver books printed on better quality paper, but it is expected to add some time to completion and shipment, pushing delivery into late December.
Fulfillment for this print-run will be handled by Fulfill By Amazon (FBA) to deliver books to our backers in Europe. We will use ShipBob to deliver books in the USA. We may also set up more fulfillment options as needed. PDF copies will all be distributed via DTRPG.
Assuming this Kickstarter project achieves the "Give Me a Kiss" goal, we will send our printed books from China to fulfillment centers in the USA and Europe. We will pay for import tariffs to bring the books into those countries from our printer in China. Please understand that the shipping rates do not reflect our exact cost of shipping. We expect shipping to some locations will be cheaper and some more expensive. As the Kickstarter progresses we may set up more fulfillment centers; please stay tuned.
NOTE: If you want to back this project and receive a physical product, but do not live in the USA, European Union, Mexico, Canada, or Japan, please contact us; we can see if we can make a special shipment to people out of these zones. If we can export the book to you, all VAT and import taxes will be paid by you.
Risks and challenges
Writing and Edits - We have written four scenarios (and much of the other content) to be included in the Sassoon Files. The scenarios are thoroughly play-tested and are currently compatible with the Gumshoe SRD published by Pelgrane Press. We are in the process of adding compatibility with the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition RPG system. 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 China if we achieve the "Give Me a Kiss" stretch goal. A traditional off-set print run will likely require us to push back the delivery date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- All gone!