About this project
Smash the Axis! The Golden Age, beginning in 1938, created and defined the very idea of superheroics, and now the legendary superhero roleplaying game Champions has its definitive guide to this amazing era! Written by longtime Hero System designer Darren Watts, author of titles such as Champions Universe, Millennium City, UNTIL, Hidden Lands, Vibora Bay, and (along with Jason Walters) the infamous Lucha Libre Hero, this massive book will provide full coverage of the Golden Age subgenre, before, during and after World War II.
This book will include:
• A detailed examination of the earliest days of superheroic storytelling, describing the history of the actual comics and providing guidelines for simulating all of the elements and aspects of the Golden Age.
• A complete description and history of the period between 1938 and 1950, both in the real world and the Champions Universe, focusing of course on the global conflict that involved over 100 million people and defined the “Greatest Generation.”
• Extensive information and assistance in creating your own superheroes and villains, including Package Deals, expanded rules for Skills, Perks, Talents and Powers, and over 60 characters (both heroes and villains) from around the world of the Champions Universe setting.
• A detailed timeline of the entire period, including important events in the fields of war, politics, science, and popular culture, as well as the strange and weird details that provide both color and plot ideas for your own campaign. Includes information and events from "Champions Universe Earth" with the permission of Cryptic Studios!
• Play two heroes at once! Players will enjoy creating and adventuring with two distinct types of characters: mighty four-color superheroes who stay on the home-front to combat sinister supervillains and foil fascist schemes, and two-fisted heroic spy-smashers who fight alongside our soldiers in the trenches or undertake daring raids behind enemy lines.
This project will also produce:
• The Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes (second edition) is the definitive resource for information on the heroes of comics' Golden Age, the years from 1935 to 1949. Every heroic character from Abdul the Arab to ZX-5 has their own entry--nobody was overlooked or forgotten. The Encyclopedia also has a Taxonomy, breaking down the characters by category, so that if you want a quick list of all the superheroines of the Golden Age you can find it, and a list of characters by creator, so that if you want to know what characters Jack Kirby created or co-created, you can easily discover that as well. Truly one-stop shopping for information on the superheroes of the Golden Age, The Encyclopedia of Golden Age Superheroes is a must-have for fans of comics' Golden Age!
Their Finest Hour - $20 - You receive access to the in-progress draft of Darren Watts's Golden Age Champions, and will be able to watch the creation process as it unfolds. When it is complete, you receive a PDF copy of the complete Golden Age Champions sourcebook for Champions 6th Edition. Your name will be included in a special thanks section of the PDF. In addition, you will receive a PDF of character sheets for the heroes and villains from the book converted to the Mutants and Masterminds and Savage Worlds systems!
Loose Lips Sink Ships! - $30 - At this level you'll get everything from the Finest Hour level, plus the PDF of the Encyclopedia of Golden Age Heroes!
We Can Do It! - $50 - As Loose Lips Sink Ships, except you also receive a physical copy of Darren Watts's Golden Age Champions.
Dig For Victory! - $90 - This is the retailer level: confirmed retailers will get four copies of the Golden Age Champions book. We'll contact you directly to confirm your status and thank you for your invaluable support!
Keep 'Em Flying! - $100 - At this level you'll receive both Golden Age Champions and the Enyclopedia in both hard copy and PDF format! You will also receive *all* of the Add-On's and an electronic copy of any stretch goals we unlock.
The Enemy Laughs... When You Loaf! - $200 - At this level you'll get the same package as Keep 'Em Flying, but your copy of Golden Age Champions will be the first one off the press, certified and signed by Darren, Jason, and as many other contributors as we can track down!
When You Ride Alone, You Ride With Hitler! - $500 - At this level, you'll receive both books, both PDFs, and also are invited to a special live game with Darren, Jason, and several other guests players from the Hero family, held at Gencon (or if necessary at another convention, to be determined in discussion with you.) You must provide your own transportation, convention badges, hotel room, and other expenses.
Add-On #1: Golden Age Secret Files If you are backing this project at any level, add $10.00 to your reward tier to receive access to the Golden Age Secret Files: a collection of twenty years worth of unseen electronic material created by Darren Watts for his Golden Age campaigns as he helped to create the Champions Universe!
Add-On #2: Golden Age 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 Golden Age 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 Golden Age Character Pack--containing 60 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: Golden Age 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 Golden Age Character Pack for Hero Labs. This gives you the files for all the heroes and villains (a total of 60 different character sheets!) of Golden Age to use in Hero Labs for Mutants and Masterminds and Savage Worlds!
Add-On #4: 1994 Golden Age Champions PDF If you are backing this project at any level, add $10 to your reward tier to receive access to the 1994 Golden Age Champions PDF. This version of Golden Age is a piece of gaming history!
If we unlock this level, we will print Golden Age Champions in full, glorious color! We'll also commission new artwork from talented artists dedicated to creating a visually stunning setting.
If we unlock this level, we will print Golden Age Champions in hardcover as well as in color! All backers at the $50.00 We Can Do It! level and higher will receive this hardcover version instead of the softcover.
GOLDEN AGE ANNEX If we reach $42,500, eight talented people will provide you roughly 24,000 additional words of unique content for Golden Age Champions. All backers will receive the Annex in electronic form, and it will be included in the final electronic package for Golden Age Champions.
Steve Long Wants YOU For U.S. Army! Steve Long - creator of the Hero System 5th & 6th Editions - has forgotten more about roleplaying games than most of us will ever know. Help us reach this Stretch Goal and you'll get to find out what he has to say about Golden Age Champions!
Black Rose & Airacobra! Bruce Harlick - the first employee of Hero Games and the OG (Original Gamer) - will create a piece on the Black Rose (nurse by day, masked crime fighter by night), Airacobra (Former Flying Tiger pilot who has the power of flight), and their adventures in San Francisco during and after WWII. Airacobra is a tribute to Mike Gray, one of the original Hero crew who sadly left us years ago.
Mice, Rats, and Bats: the Weird Weapons of World War II! Veteran game designer Michael Surbrook provides game information on the German Maus, the Ratt (a 1,500 ton ’tank'), and the American bat bombs. Also the Nazi "Amerika Bomber" orbital skip bomber, guns that shoot around corners, super guns, and other crazy stuff!
Not Another White Guy in a Cape! Filmmaker, activist, and foundational Masonic Street Irregular Maurice Poplar discuses the art of building diversity Into Golden Age adventures, including heroes, villains, and NPCs.
The True Story of Operation Underworld It's a historical fact that during World War Two the FBI made a deal with the mob to help counter Axis spies and saboteurs along the U.S. northeastern seaboard ports. But game designer Beth Rimmels asks: what if there was more to this story? The story of why organized crime worked with the government to protect American ports during World War II is only half the tale. In this secret history for Golden Age of Champions, the wife of the crime boss who negotiated the deal had mind control powers. She used her husband as a front for this and other activities, giving the mob unprecedented access for their own operations while also enabling her to strike back at the fascists controlling Sicily. These “patriotic” criminals add an interesting dimension to your Golden Age of Champions campaign as they work with – and sometimes against – your heroes.
After The Rise And Fall Game designer Greg Elkins specs out a Nazi-themed occult based organization that survives the war and goes freelance... possibly in Illinois. (After all: everyone hates Illinois Nazis!) Will include characters and Hero Designer files.
Why Was The Black Terror So Damn Awesome? In this essay publisher Jason Walters discusses the extreme awesomeness that was Nedor Comics's forgotten 1940's character The Black Terror.
Our Comic Book Characters Punched Nazis Too! A humorous essay by game designer Rod Currie about the Canadian-created characters of the Golden Age, focusing on some of the sillier sounding ones like the Polka Dot Pirate.
Darren Watts is the former President of Hero Games, and the primary writer for such titles as Champions Universe, UNTIL, Millennium City, Hidden Lands, Vibora Bay, and along with Jason Walters the infamous Lucha Hero. He has also written for multiple other rpgs, including Doctor Who and Masks.
Storn Cook has been one of the most talented and prolific artists in the world of games for more than twenty year, with work appearing in hundreds of titles.
Jess Nevins is the author of numerous scholarly works including the excellent Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, A Blazing World: The Unofficial Companion to the Second League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Pulp Magazine Holdings Directory: Library Collections in North America and Europe, and The Encyclopedia of Golden Age Heroes.
Bill Keyes has supervised the layout of dozens of roleplaying game products, and is the author of the popular roleplaying game The Widening Gyre. He's also a noted internet wit and lover of bunny rabbits. Bill will be handling the layout and art direction of this project.
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 Darren Watts's Golden Age Champions.
John Adamus lives in New Jersey with a dog and rooms full of books and binders and games and toys. He enjoys Murder She Wrote and reasonable distance walks on beaches. Also, he helps people produce the books, games, speeches, and scripts that they’ve always felt they couldn’t do. So he'll be editing this project.
Ruben Smith-Zempel was made in Oregon. He showed his creativity at an early age, charging his 3rd grade classmates 25 cents for paper and cardboard army vehicles (for the G.I. Joe’s, of course). Thus was born an artist who would never shy away from creating things important to his hobbies. Ruben will be handling the Mutants and Masterminds conversions for this project.
Sarah Lyon is the owner of Three Sages Games and half of a husband and wife writing team focusing on the role-playing game industry. As a long-time gamer, she got her first formal publishing credits with Savage Mojo in the Savage Suzerain line. Since then, she's gone on to work as a Line Developer for Interace Zero 2.0, and as an editor and for both words and rules for Mystical Throne Entertainment, High Rock Press, and Rebel Minis. In addition to this work, she also is an executive assistant at Indie Press Revolution, helping to promote independent writers and publishers. Sarah will be handling the editing and Savage Worlds conversions for this project.
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, two successful ones for High Rock Press, 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 Golden Age Champions project is a veteran game publisher or designer. We'll get it done.
- Jason S. WaltersLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
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