About this project
A superhero setting like no other. A role-playing game campaign book that includes techniques and lessons from over 22 years of play. A tribute to one of the greatest creators in the RPG industry, created using Champions 6th Edition.
This is STRIKE FORCE.
"One of the most important overall supplements in the history of roleplaying games." -- Steven S. Long, Champions Villains
In 1988, Aaron Allston released Strike Force, a supplement detailing the first eight years of his superhero campaign. Noted for its extensive and highly-influential advice to gamemasters on how to run a long-term campaign, Strike Force was a landmark RPG publication.
We are now working to release an updated version of this classic book for the 21st Century. Aaron himself was designing this new edition of Strike Force before his untimely death, and we want to bring his work to life as a monument to Aaron's lasting influence on the RPG hobby. This updated Strike Force sourcebook includes never-before-seen material detailing Aaron's multiversal superhero setting, compelling characters and villains, and updated and expanded advice from Superhero RPG veterans like Steve Kenson and Sean Patrick Fannon for how to run a campaign using "the Strike Force method."
WHY YOU NEED THIS BOOK: Strike Force was the first superhero campaign guide. It provided game masters with information on how to run a memorable and long-lasting campaign using all the great themes and tropes of comic book's best and most classic storylines. This new edition builds on that success, including advice from superhero RPG guru Steve Kenson! Aaron Allston's Strike Force is the resource to create unforgettable stories in your own superhero RPG campaign.
Principal writing has been completed and a WIP draft will be immediately available to backers! Preliminary artwork has been received, and we're in the process of laying out the book. However, we'd really like to be able to upgrade the artwork that is going into the project. We've got top-tier artists lined up to work with us, and we want to compensate them to the best of our ability--and that is why we need your help to reach our funding goal.
As things currently stand, High Rock Press and Evil Beagle Games cannot afford to purchase enough artwork to bring this up to the quality that we think is necessary for a historic RPG setting of this caliber. With a successful crowd funding campaign, we can use our artistic contacts to make a world-class product--worthy of Aaron Allston's talent.The initial funding goal includes the costs for artwork, graphic design, promotional materials, and assorted miscellaneous fees.
We plan to produce the core book as a PDF and as a limited print run. Aaron Allston's Strike Force is a 200-page, 8.5" x 11" book and will feature attractive page design and great illustrations. The PDF document will make use of PDF layer functionality so that graphic elements can be turned off to print more economically.
Aaron Allston's Strike Force presents the characters and villains of the setting in the Hero System, but we also have packages available to present these heroes and enemies in other rulesets such as Mutants and Masterminds, ICONS, and Savage Worlds.
"It’s a bit hard to explain to a modern audience, with the wealth of gaming knowledge and advice available today, precisely how important and vital Strike Force was when it came out in the dark days of 1988. I’ve occasionally resorted to a musical metaphor: Brian Eno once said of the seminal album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, 'only thirty thousand people bought a copy of that album in its first five years. But, every one of those thirty thousand started their own band.'” --Darren Watts, Galactic Champions
We're focused on producing the best possible gaming experience that we can for our backers. Backers should please note that the May delivery date is for the Aaron Allston's Strike Force PDF. Stretch goal books are certain to require additional time for completion. The time frame on those is going to vary based upon the number of stretch goals achieved, the number of creators involved, and sundry other factors. We aim to have everything done by Summer of 2016, but in the interests of full disclosure, it is possible that things could become delayed if the workload exceeds our expectations.
ShadowWalker - $20 - At our base pledge level, backers receive immediate access to the in progress draft of Aaron Allston's Strike Force through Backers Only Update #1. When it is complete, backers receive a PDF copy of the complete Aaron Allston's Strike Force. You have the option of having your name, your characters name, or your company name included in a special thanks section of the PDF. In addition, you receive a PDF of character sheets for the heroes and villains of Strike Force for ICONS, Mutants and Masterminds, and Savage Worlds!
Luster - $50 - As ShadowWalker, plus you receive a physical copy of Aaron Allston's Strike Force. In addition, you receive an electronic copy of the Hero Lab and Hero Designer files for the Strike Force characters and villains!
Man Mountain Thunder - $50 - This level includes the PDF, the archives, both character packs, and the 1988 Strike Force PDF. It's a $10 savings over buying them all individually!
Lightrune - $100 - As ShadowWalker, plus you receive a signed and numbered copy of Aaron Allston's Strike Force. You will also receive *all* of the Add-On's, an electronic copy of any stretch goals we unlock, and a physical copy of the Strike Force Anthology if it is unlocked.
Additionally, you will receive a special Strike Force adventure written by Michael Surbrook based on one of Aaron's ideas (2,000 words), and will be given access to a special one-hour character creation seminar hosted by him over Skype. Finally, you will receive access to the Strike Force Sketchbook: a PDF file containing artwork penned by Denis Loubet over the many years of the campaign.
Bolo - $250 - You receive the very first (#1) signed and numbered copy of Aaron Allston's Strike Force! This book is signed by all of the core creative team! You still receive a normal numbered copy signed by the core creative team as well. (Backers at this level also receive a physical copy of the Strike Force Anthology if that stretch goal is unlocked) (Limited to 1)
Phosphene - $250 - As Lightrune, plus you get a unique opportunity to interact with the creators! Just send a message to High Rock Press with your preference of reward. (Backers at this level also receive a physical copy of the Strike Force Anthology if that stretch goal is unlocked)
You may select one option from any of the following:
- Chupacabracon Special: You are invited to participate in a special Chupacabracon Strike Force Adventure run by Ross Watson and featuring Denis Loubet, one of the original Strike Force players! This pledge level does NOT include transportation, admission, or accommodations for the convention. (Austin, Texas, May 13-15) (Limited to 6)
- Gen Con Special: You are invited to participate in a special Gen Con Strike Force Adventure, run by Ross Watson and Michael Surbrook at Gen Con 2016! This pledge level does NOT include transportation, admission, or accommodations for the convention. (Indianapolis, Indiana, August 4-7) (Limited to 12)
- Design Seminar: You get a one-on-one two-hour seminar from the creators (Ross Watson, Michael Surbrook, or Sean Patrick Fannon) on Worldbuilding, Game Design, or Game Mastering. Seminars are conducted over skype. (Limited to 18)
- Gamer's Tavern Podcast Special: You get to specify a topic and help host an episode of the Gamer's Tavern Podcast, with Ross Watson and Darryl Mott, Jr! (Limited to 3)
Plasma Ranger - $500 - As Lightrune, plus you get a custom character illustration from Denis Loubet, Strike Force artist! (Backers at this level also receive a physical copy of the Strike Force Anthology if that stretch goal is unlocked) (Limited to 5)
La Panthere - $1000 - As Lightrune, plus you get to work with the creators to make your very own NPC for the setting of Strike Force! This is *your* opportunity to become part of this landmark book! (Backers at this level also receive a physical copy of the Strike Force Anthology if that stretch goal is unlocked) (Limited to 3)
Overlord - $5000 - As La Panthere, plus Michael Surbrook writes a custom Strike Force adventure for you and your group! (Backers at this level also receive a physical copy of the Strike Force Anthology if that stretch goal is unlocked) (Limited to 1)
"Strike Force is the foundation of a lot of the advanced techniques we see used in games in the modern era." -- Ross Watson, Accursed
Add-On #1: Strike Force Archives
If you are backing this project at any level, add $20.00 to your reward tier to receive access to the Strike Force Archives: over 800 megs of Aaron's original material retrieved by Jason Walters with the assistance of the Allston Estate. (The original recovered material was a 600 MB zip file, which unpacked itself into 872 MB with over 5,800 items.) Edited and organized by co-author Michael Surbrook, it will include an introduction and an index to this vast collection of newsletters, artwork, blue books, character sheets, notes, and other materials.
Add-On #2: Strike Force Hero Designer Character Pack
If you are backing this project at any level, add $5.00 to your reward tier to receive access to the Strike Force Character Pack for Hero Designer: the character creation software for the HERO System. Hero Designer is all you need to start creating, printing, and sharing characters for your games, and the Strike Force Character Pack--containing 31 different character sheets of the team's heroes and villains--will allow you customize the characters in the book to suit the needs of your individual campaign!
Add-On #3: Strike Force Hero Lab Character Pack
If you are backing this project at any level, add $5.00 to your reward tier to receive access to the Strike Force Character Pack for Hero Labs. This gives you the files for all the heroes and villains (a total of 31 different character sheets!) of Strike Force to use in Hero Labs for Mutants and Masterminds and Savage Worlds!
Add-On #4: 1988 Strike Force PDF
If you are backing this project at any level, add $10 to your reward tier to receive access to the 1988 Strike Force Sourcebook PDF. This original version of Strike Force is a piece of gaming history!
Making an add-on purchases is pretty straightforward. Just click on the green and white "Manage My Pledge" button. Then, don't change your reward selection, but increase the amount you're backing by the price of the add-ons that you'd like to include. Next, send a message to High Rock Press indicating which Add-on(s) you would like!
For example, if you were backing at the $25 level, getting just the Strike Force PDF, and you decided you also wanted the Strike Force Archives, you'd increase your pledge level to $45, but still keep the $25 reward.
“Going through Aaron’s Strike Force files was like exploring King Tut’s tomb. Every folder, every file, revealed new treasures." -- Michael Surbrook, coauthor of Aaron Allston's Strike Force
If we unlock this level, we will print Strike Force in full, glorious color! We'll also commission new artwork from talented artists dedicated to visually updating the setting for the 21st Century!
All Strike Force backers directly benefit from this goal!
If we unlock this level, we will print Strike Force in hardcover as well as in color! All backers at the $50.00 "Luster" level and higher will receive this hardcover version instead of the softcover.
If we unlock this level, we will publish a Strike Force fiction collection containing short stories set in that universe! This Strike Force Anthology includes original unpublished work by Aaron himself. It will be roughly 300 pages. All backers at the $100 level and higher will receive a physical copy of this book. Additionally, a limited print run of 100 copies will be made available for purchase by backers for a $20.00 Add-on (plus shipping). The book will also be available to backers in PDF, Kindle, and EPub for $10.00.
The authors involved with this Stretch Goal are:
- Scott Bennie, Hero Games author and designer on many video games including the original Fallout RPG!
- Richard Lee Byers, Forgotten Realms author and creator of the superhero series The Imposter!
- James Cambias, science-fiction author
- Bill Coffin, RPG writer and author
- Elaine Cunningham, fantasy and Forgotten Realms author
Jaym Gates, game designer and author
- Dave Gross, Pathfinder author and game designer
- Ian Harac, game designer and author
- Jane Linskold, fantasy author
- Steve Long, game designer and author
- Mel Odom, fantasy and science-fiction author
- Michael Stackpole, New York Times Bestselling author of many Star Wars and game fiction books
- If we unlock this level, we will publish an updated version of Aaron Allston's classic Champions supplement The Blood, detailing a super-powered, extraterrestrial group of mutants. It will be made available as a $5.00 Add On, and all backers at the $100 level and higher will receive it in PDF format, plus the Hero Designer files.
If we unlock this level, we will publish an updated version of Aaron Allston's classic Champions supplement The Circle, detailing a venerable school of superhero sorcery! It will be made available as a $5.00 Add On to all backers, and all backers at the $100 level and higher will receive it in PDF format, plus the Hero Designer files.
If we unlock this level, we will publish an updated version of Aaron Allston's classic Champions supplement M.E.T.E, detailing the Metropolitan Extra-Terrestrial Enclave, a traveler's aid society for alien visitors. It will be made available as a $5.00 Add On to all backers at the $100 level and higher in PDF format, as will the Hero Designer files.
Additionally, a limited run of 100 copies of a physical book comprised of The Blood, The Circle, and M.E.T.E will be made available for purchase to backers!
"It's been more than 20 years since I read Strike Force, but I'd still call it the most useful game book I've ever seen. It showed me how a campaign could be more than a series of adventures. I've read other advice on campaigning (and written some too), but Aaron Allston's detailed example and explanation of how he built and ran a campaign was more instructive than all that advice put together. Since then I've used his methods in several campaigns, from Star Hero to Dungeons and Dragons to Vampire: the Masquerade. They work. My players and I had fun. Thank you, Mr. Allston." --Dean Shomshak, The Ultimate Mystic
Additionally, thanks to the Allston Estate, we have an absolute *wealth* of content: enough to create many other books, depending on your enthusiasm and the demand!
Ross Watson is an award-winning game designer with more than 60 RPG books under his belt, many as Lead Developer for the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay line. He was the lead writer for several video games, including Darksiders II, Warhammer 40,000: Regicide, and Battlefleet Gothic: Armada. He has contributed to 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, and Savage Worlds. Ross hosts the Gamer's Tavern Podcast and is the Managing Director of Evil Beagle Games. Ross is the Lead Developer for Aaron's Allston's Strike Force.
Jason S. Walters is an author, essayist, and publisher best known for running Indie Press Revolution (IPR), a distributor of micro-published roleplaying games. He is also one of a small group of investors that purchased Hero Games in 2001, and serves as its CEO. He is the developer of numerous roleplaying games, including Champions Complete, Fantasy Hero Complete, and At The Hands of An Angry God. Jason is the Publisher for Aaron Allston's Strike Force.
Michael Surbrook has been developing games professionally since 1999. He’s worked with several companies, including Fantasy Fight Games, Hero Games, and High Rock Press. His published work includes material for Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader, as well as Fantasy Hero Complete, Kazei 5, Larger Than Life, and Ninja Hero. Michael is the Head Researcher and Co-Author for Aaron Allston's Strike Force.
Denis Loubet has been creating artwork for games since the early 80s. Most famous for his work on the Ultima and Wing Commander series from Origin Systems, he also cut his teeth doing work for Steve Jackson Games, Metagaming, Hero Games, PixelMine Games, and many others. Now he seeks to work directly for his fans through his Patreon campaign. Denis is one of the original players of the Strike Force game run by Aaron Allston. Denis also illustrated the legendary 1988 edition of Strike Force. He has a patreon page where he showcases his newest art projects. Denis is the Lead Artist for Aaron Allston's Strike Force.
Sean Patrick Fannon (aka "Big Irish" or SPF) has been professionally involved in tabletop RPGs, computer games, and entertainment for over a quarter-century. His dozens of projects have included Hero Games' Champions product line, including Champions Universe, High Tech Enemies, The Mutant File, Allies, and Corporations. He also worked on both West End's and Fantasy Flight's Star Wars RPGs; various World of Darkness books; and the Savage Worlds Epic High Fantasy setting, Shaintar. Sean is the Brand Manager for Savage Rifts. Sean is a contributing writer for Aaron Allston's Strike Force.
Steve Kenson earned his superhero stripes playing games like Villains & Vigilantes, Marvel Super-Heroes, and Champions in high school. A few years after having Aaron Allston autograph his treasured copy of Strike Force at GenCon 1990, Steve began freelancing professionally in the tabletop game industry. He has since overseen the design of three editions of the award-winning Mutants & Masterminds superhero RPG and the DC Adventures game for Green Ronin Publishing, as well as designing Icons Superpowered Roleplaying. He maintains a website and blog at stevekenson.com. Steve is a contributing writer for Aaron Allston's Strike Force.
The team members have designed role-playing games for many properties, including Mutants and Masterminds, ICONS, DC Adventures, Shadowrun, Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, several editions of the Hero System, Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay, Shaintar, and Accursed for Savage Worlds. We have decades of experience working in the gaming industry and we’re very excited about bringing Aaron's fantastic setting and campaign book to life. All of us are bringing our combined creativity, experience, and passion to the project.
Please be aware that we have been blogging about Aaron Allston's Strike Force for a little while now. If you need more information about the book, please take a look through our blog entries. By all means, get a handle on the material before you pledge. We also post links to new updates on our Facebook page and on Twitter.
"Strike Force is the seminal supplement from which all campaign design supplements follow." -- Michael Satran, Foxbat For President
"Strike Force was the first book to show me how to run a game at the table. It demonstrated how to engage the players and manage the campaign beyond the table, guidance which now echoes throughout the GM sections of games today." - Shane Harsch, Narosia: Sea of Tears
"Strike Force is an important milestone in the history of RPG game design. Aaron and his friends played this single campaign for a period of time rivaling the lifespan of Alexander the Great, drilling down to a depth of heroic complexity that rivaled the Iliad." - Jason S. Walters, Lucha Libre Hero
"The most amazing thing to me about Strike Force is that all of the great stuff that I mentioned above is in the first 18 pages of the book. The first 18 pages of Strike Force should be required reading for any superhero genre GM. Add in a large group of amazingly creative supers and beautiful art by Denis Loubet and you have a masterpiece. I only wish I could have shaken Aaron's hand and told him how much Strike Force improved my Champions campaigns over the years." -- John Taber, Kingbeast's Lair
"It's been a while since I've made a totally ridiculous and utterly indefensible claim on the ol' Gameblog, so here it is: Aaron Allston was the first RPG blogger. Dude just didn't have a blog."-- Jeff Rients, Jeff's Gameblog
Want to hear even more about the importance of Strike Force to the history of roleplaying games? Click HERE to view a series of in depth interviews with Darren Watts, Steve Long, Michael Surbrook, Ross Watson, Jason Walters, and others on the High Rock Press YouTube Channel!
Risks and challenges
I've published a lot of books over the years, a bunch of them here on Kickstarter! Four successful ones under Hero Games, four successful ones under Blackwyrm Publishing, and two... not so successful (but educational) ones also under Blackwyrm Publishing.
So we know that crowdfunding projects are hard and a lot can go wrong. Artists don't turn work in, budgets don't work out, printers make mistakes. You name it. And complex roleplaying game projects can end up taking *way* longer than you anticipate! The stories I could tell you...
Fortunately, everyone involved in the Strike Force project is a veteran game publisher or designer. We'll get it done.
- Jason S. WaltersLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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