Killshot Reloaded: An Assassin Tabletop RPG
In our line of work, you're either an assassin or you're a mark. Which do you want to be when your time comes?
It's been two weeks since this project failed to hit its mark and I've started to think about the future of Killshot and the Optional System in general. Don't worry, it's all good, but I need to hear as much input and wild ideas as possible to determine if the next course of action is viable or not.
So, here's what ya do. Join the Killshot Online Community if you have a Google account. Originally set up for online demos of the game, it will now serve as the central point of contact for play testing, discussion, and open forums on the future of this game. If you continue to believe in what you saw here for those 30 days and want to help make it stronger, please join today. Or tomorrow. Sooner or later, but emphasis on sooner.
Well, that's it. After 30 days of pushing, pimping, and plugging, this draft of Killshot Reloaded has come to a close with $1789 (60% of its original goal). A shame, yes, but not a defeat. Defeat breeds strength and can teach as much - if not more - than victory. If anything, I've learned that from playing roleplaying games.
Over the next few days, I'll be sifting through the debris and digging up the black box for analysis, reviewing what did and didn't work, and discussing the matter with a few people involved in this version and its future. As I've been saying for a while now, I'm not finished yet.
I want to take a moment to thank for incredible people who really gave it their best to help this project succeed, from those directly involved (especially my editor and good friend, Vincent Harper, for the hours we've spent talking about this project and its future) to the passionate backers and podcasters who have prompted me to continue on with my work (Tre Grisby, Pete Yagmin, Pete Figtree, Brian Kelsay, Jacob Wood, Jason Pitre, and the entire Accidental Survivors crew for starters). While this project did not succeed overall, there's solace in one indisputable fact. On the very first day, we raised 18% of our goal. It was because of this initial rush of support that we all believed this was going to happen and what sticks out in my mind is that initial rush.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have some revisions to write. I'll be in touch.
You did it, assassins! We've passed the $1,500 mark and that means it's time to live up to our promise. Here's a preview explaining the importance of the ninja's stealth to their craft.
Masters of Stealth: A Preview for Way of the Killshot
People fear the dark. The shroud of black lying in wait behind the treeline fills our imagination with thoughts of dread and danger as we complete the black void with thoughts of bloodthirsty killers and demons lurching forward unseen and unheard. The shrill of a bat becomes a terrifying reminder of the unknown waiting for us in the darkness and so we retreat into the light and bolt our doors shut. As a people, we are terrified of the dark and the ninja are counting on it.
Western society has interpreted the ninja as a black-cloaked martial artist of unparalleled skill and aptitude, yet this only scratches the surface. They may not be the original assassins (that honour goes to the Order of Assassins founded by Hassan-i Sabbah around 1080 AD), but a case can be made for the ninja as the ultimate example of an assassin solely on their success in not only conducting their business skillfully and effectively, but without revealing their identity in the process. Many ninja were masters of disguise, walking amongst the crowds of pilgrims, hiking to holy sites, as one of the poor and downtrodden capable of striking down their marks with poisonous concoctions or stabbing the mark in vital arteries before fading into the void. Their actions are legendary; their identities remain a mystery.
For the ninja, secrecy goes beyond the art of misdirection and trickery. The people – and those who had cause to fear the direct intervention of the ninja – thought of them as men versed in the ways of black magic taught by the mystical tengu. They were believed capable of true invisibility and the summoning of elemental magic. There was no reason for the people not to believe such tales and legends spread of these shinobi, and this only helped spread the terror as the ninja clans of ancient Japan engaged in more than just assassination. Experts at sabotage and espionage, the impact of the ninja on Japanese history may never be fully understood.
As a ninja in Way of the Killshot, you are more than a mere assassin trained in the martial art of ninjitsu. You are more than just a killer of warlords, enemies of the Empire, or hired muscle for the daimyos of this tiny island. Your skills are an extension of your ability to remain undetected through the use of a variety of tools, focus, and gear designed to strike directly without anyone ever knowing you were there. In this way, the ninja are exceptional practitioners of the Three Rules common throughout Killshot Reloaded and set the bar for centuries of assassins to follow. Adaptable, fluid, and severe in their pursuit of the perfect kill, their abilities stem from the strict adherence to the ninja code.
Demonstrating this essential trait is the ninja core's key benefit of Stealth. Whenever a ninja has more modifiers available than their opponents, they have Stealth and can cheat the rules of the game by choosing which stat they will affect. For example, if a ninja wants to sneak past the wall of samurai surrounding their master, she need only ensure she has more modifiers than the samurai. Under the normal rules, any other assassin would need to make an active Sense roll against the samurai's opposed Sense roll. Unfortunately, all samurai are highly trained as bodyguards and can easily spot suspicious characters. A ninja, however, can make her way past the samurai by making an active Sense vs. opposed Mind roll (a fairly low stat amongst the blindly loyal samurai) and gut the unsuspecting master in a heartbeat.
Do you consider yourself a master of stealth and infiltration? Or do you wish to learn the Way of the Killshot and shape the tide of Japanese politics for centuries to come? The path is long and difficult, but those who adhere to the mastery of subterfuge will endure a long and prosperous life in the annals of legend... even if no one will ever know your name. The first step on the path to enlightenment is to vote for Way of the Killshot in the Stand Alone Theme stretch goal for this Kickstarter. Then – and only then – will you be able to become a true ninja master.