Red Moon Rising is a fascinating web comic that Scottish artist Rose Loughran has been producing since 2009. Set in a steampunk alternate reality, the comic is about opposing nations that wage war using both weird technologies and magical abilities, and how its protagonists get tangled in a conflict that threatens their lives and their loved ones. This campaign aims at financing a role-playing game supplement about the universe of Red Moon Rising.
Do you fancy living in a world with Victorian-style airships and fire-wielding magicians? Well, then this Kickstarter is for you.
Oh, and if you are a fan of the web comic but you are not a gamer… just go to the “What you get for your support” section. This campaign has something for you, too.
Rose Loughran is a freelance artist, and sometimes composer (the music track of the video is hers) who lives in Scotland and has gathered a host of loyal followers for her Red Moon Rising web comic. This campaign marks the first time her comics are published in paper format – a well-deserved achievement.
Alephtar Games is a publisher of role-playing games. We are based in Italy and produce games and supplements in English, Italian and recently French. Our second product, Peter Nash’s excellent Rome: Life and Death of the Republic, won the Silver ENnie Award for best RPG setting at GenCon 2010. After years of partnering with larger companies to license their game systems, Alephtar Games has chosen to go full indie with its own Revolution D100 game engine.
After the release of our new Revolution D100 RPG, we at Alephtar Games are supporting the game with a line of interesting supplements, like the ones we have created in the past years for game systems that other companies produce. The first supplement, Merrie England: Robyn Hode, was crowdfunded with the core rulebook and is currently delivering to backers worldwide.
However, along with the continuation of our long-standing tradition of historical/fantasy supplements, we really wish to explore the new route of cross-media publishing. This means that we are actively seeking to partner with other independent publishers that have interesting products in the domain of fiction, comics, web tv and so on, and create a game based on the contents produced for another media. This yields a synergy between the game and the intellectual property it leverages: different media formats help each other in gaining visibility and appealing to a wider audience.
Red Moon Rising is the first of our cross-media experiments, and we could not have hoped to start with a more exciting title. As our followers may have noticed, there were already featuring pieces of Rose’s artwork in the Revolution D100 core rulebook because our supporters and we are great fans of her work.
There are two distinct rewards we provide for this campaign. The first is the game, which means the setting supplement “Red Moon Rising”. The supplement is scheduled to be a 160-page, letter-sized, full-colour book. The type of graphic presentation is like that for our Revolution D100 core book, with glossy paper and a stylish layout inspired by techno-fantasy images. Unlike previous Alephtar Games supplements, the interior of the book will be printed in full colour. The artwork will be entirely by Rose Loughran, the author of Red Moon Rising. Those who do not have the Revolution D100 core book will have the opportunity to include a copy in their reward for a discount price. This kind of reward is available in both print and electronic format, and all rewards that include the print version come with the PDF, as well.
The second type of reward is a printed copy of the first part of the web comic, “Waterlogged”. Although the story of Red Moon Rising goes on after this first episode, it does come to a temporary end (and what an end!) and you will certainly enjoy reading it on paper, like you enjoy reading a single novel in a popular serialized fantasy franchise. This graphic novel will be printed in full colour 17x25cm comic book format, on quality glossy paper as well. Due to the number of plates that compose “Waterlogged”, we plan to split the graphic novel over two or three volumes to avoid damage to the book spine while reading. Backers will receive all the volumes at once. As the electronic version of "Waterlogged" is already available for free, all rewards include the PDF version of the graphic novel as well.
The initial purpose of the graphic novel was to provide easy access to background materials for game masters and players, as not everyone likes to read comics online. However, it soon become evident that there is a consistent number of non-gamer Red Moon Rising fans that would like to have a printed copy of their beloved comic. Who are we to deny this opportunity to a true supporter? Therefore, the graphic novel is also available as a stand-alone reward for the campaign.
In this way, we are also furthering our agenda of cross-media integration, as:
- Fans of the comic, with their support, help the funding of the game
- Fans of the game, with their support, give the comic an opportunity to appear in print.
Which means that everybody wins.
The world of Red Moon Rising is like ours, with two important exceptions. The first is that some individuals are born with the innate gift of magic, which allows them to control one or more elements and create spectacular and often deadly effects. The second is that strange substances exist, like the floating ore that allows Ashuli airships to fly; this has led to the development of science at a different rate than our world, with some branches being more advanced and some others far less developed. The result is an environment with a Victorian vibe, but where devastating magical effects are always a possibility.
Ashul, a large city scarred by a deep chasm that produces the mysterious floating ore, is the capital of the nation named after it. It is a land of rain and mist that tempers its inhabitants with its harsh climatic conditions. Ashul is currently experiencing an industrial revolution, which in turn has led the country to becoming an expansionistic military power. Its military includes ranking cadres made entirely of mages and a fleet of airships with a support role.
Rishara Caan is a satellite nation of Ashul, conquered and occupied militarily some years ago. An untamed group of rebellious souls still opposes the Ashuli yoke, but they lack the support of magicians, as their nation had always exhibited a natural distrust for magic. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage against the magically supported Ashuli army, a gap that they hope to fill with the recent invention of a wonderful new technology called “firearms”.
Imara is a land of beauty and benevolent climate, whose inhabitants feel blessed and beloved by their deity, the moon. More interested in developing culture and civil infrastructure than in war, the nobility that rules the country nevertheless breeds mages among its ranks, although few of them become combat magicians like their Ashuli counterparts. Imara is still clinging to its independence despite a state of permanent tension with Ashul, which has resulted in open war in the past.
The game book will follow the typical structure of our supplements, as detailed below.
A brief introduction to the main nations and a questionnaire to determine whom your character is and why he or she is adventuring. You can then use the questionnaire answers to create the game statistics for your character, or follow the standard instructions given in the core rulebook.
A full presentation of Ashul, Imara, Rishara Caan and Havander, their known history and customs., important geographic locations and of relevant districts of the main cities. Details about the organizations a character might be involved with, from the Ashul military to the Imaran guilds and noble families.
Technological level and specific gadgetry that one can find in the various parts of the world., information about ships and airships, how to pilot them and how to fight other ships, just in case someone wishes to be a daring air captain.
How magic works in general (extension of the base rules), and the difference in approach and treatment of mages in the various countries, as well as how to play a member of a mage organization, and how to play a rogue mage.
How to create and develop an exciting adventure: ideas, hooks, information about uncharted territories and so on, how to adapt the plot to the personal story of the characters, and how to expand your adventures beyond the lands described in the books.
One or more ready-to-play scenarios, including “Project Kormoran”, an Ashul-based adventure, will certainly be present; other scenarios might be unlocked as stretch goals of this campaign.
For role-players who do not know it, Revolution D100 is a game based on percentile die rolls. The characteristics that set it apart from other, similar percentile systems are:
- A new way of using percentile dice with a reduced amount of calculations.
- A streamlined system to run everything significant as a conflict, with rules that mimic classic RPG combat.
- The ability to choose between basic and advanced combat, according to how much detail you want.
- Advanced narrative rules that leverage character motivations.
- Hooks that allow you to “plug in” rules found in other percentile-based games.
You can read more about Revolution D100 in this EnWorld review.
The first set of stretch goals are improvements in the graphic presentation and packaging of the rewards, particularly the graphic novel. The second set includes more content for the game supplement, such as scenarios.
- The volumes of the graphic novel will come in a stylish slipcase, for which Rose will draw a special double cover image.
- Ben Monroe, the author of Magic World and other role-playing games, will write the adventure “Shadows Whisper”. Ancient mysteries are uncovered when the player characters intercept a distress signal. Will following it lead to arcane lore, or a grisly death? The scenario will be included in Chapter Six of the book.
- The printed version of "Waterlogged" will pass from a 17x24cm comic book format to a 21x25cm true graphic novel format.
Risks and challenges
The graphic novel is essentially ready and only in need of a polishing of its lettering and very minor adjustments. Our new graphic manager, who created the layout framework for Revolution D100 and the Italian and French editions of Cats of Catthulhu, has a decade-long experience in doing comic books and has worked with most Italian comics and manga publishers. Therefore, we are confident that the delivery of this part of the campaign rewards is rather low risk.
The game supplement itself requires a bit more work. We do have all the “setting info” consolidated and ready, but the “rulesy bits” will require a bit of playtesting before they can be green lighted. This implies a minimum risk of delays. However, if you are familiar with Revolution D100, you already know that the system is already fit for “out-of-the-box” play in a pulp or steampunk environment, and has been tested for similar environments.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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