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$1,266 pledged of $3,000 goal
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$1,266 pledged of $3,000 goal
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About this project

Roleplaying Simplified

A rules and combat light playing card based system that is designed to be used with any genre of story. It is intended to be accessible to non-gamers, but have enough depth to it to interest long time gamers.

Updates

Interview!!

Listen as I get interviewed on the Postcards from the Dungeon podcast.  We talk primarily about getting new people into the hobby and how I believe my system will help with that.  We also talk mechanics of the system.  NOTE: When the host numbered the location of the episode, he mistakenly miss-numbered it.  http://pftdcast.com/2013/07/episode-one-hundred-twenty-universal-storytelling-system/

Exclusive for Kickstarter backers!!

The physical books will have the alternate artwork.  This is an exclusive for Kickstarter backers and will not be available to the public.  So anyone pledging the 10 of Hearts level and above will get a choice of either the normal or exclusive cover for their physical copy.



Design Criteria

  • The language would change so that role-playing games would be not confused with games where one player or team wins. The concept of collaborative storytelling needs to be conveyed. 
  • The system would be easy to learn and character creation could be done in under an hour for new players. 
  • Characters have a mind and that should be notated on the character sheet 
  • The characters are not all celibate. Even if no romantic storylines come out during the course of a campaign, it should be clear as to who the character is attracted to. 
  • The mechanics could be derived from tools accessible at any supermarket. This will reduce the hesitation that people may feel about going to a Friendly Local Gaming Store. Not to mention that they are sometimes hard to find. 
  • Combat needs to be intuitive and quick. It also needs to be able to flow smoothly from the narrative. 
  • Any genre can be used without any rework of the mechanics 
  • There are no perfect characters. Flaws are required and can be picked up throughout the narrative. There is no mechanical benefit to the character for taking flaws. 
  • Magic needs to be loose enough to require creativity on the part of the player, but controlled so that the narrative does not get crushed by the player. 

A Little about the System

That design criteria led to the creation of the Universal Storytelling System. Everything a character does is based on the number of successes drawn from a standard playing card deck that includes the jokers. Successes are 8-K. Aces take away a success. Jokers are wild. They first count as a success, but they force a single card draw. If the card is a success, the player adds three successes. If the card is a failure, the player takes away four successes. The system uses dots to determine how many cards are drawn for a particular task. Most of the draws are based on the skills the character has. 

 Each character is defined by their physical appearance, their emotional traits, who they are attracted to, their advantages, and flaws. To keep the character moving and changing, they always need to have short term and long term goals. Achieving those gets them development points to be used to improve the character. The improvement is smoothly gradual rather than stepped, as in a level based system. 

Combat is story driven, in that the players must describe what their character does in order for the other players to determine what their characters do. Each player describes what their character does in initiative order (determined at the beginning of the session). Players later in the initiative track can use earlier players’ actions in determining what they do. Once everyone describes what they have done, each player determines if what they described gets pulled off through card draws. If any dependent action fails, the later characters must try to do as much as they can as to what they intended. Like crashing through a window that was not able to be opened in time. If any character cannot do what they intended, they may fully change their action. 

 The system can be extremely deadly. There are six areas of the body that can be targeted and destroyed. If the head or body gets destroyed, the character dies. It is important to have armor or a good dodge skill. 

Magic uses runes and areas of influence to define what a character can do. Each rune has an area of influence, like Raido that governs travel and cycles. Then there is a Venn diagram of influences, which includes Self, Others, and Environment. By using a rune within the diagram of influence, a player can describe what it is the character is trying to do, which is up to the player’s imagination. To determine a successful casting, the player makes a card draw based on an appropriate magic skill combined with creativity. The story master (GM in gamer parlance) will make a 3 card draw per rune cast. If the player has one success per area on influence used and the SM has at least one success per rune cast, the spell succeeds.

Where the Project is Today

The text is done, with the exception of some minor edits.  It has been play tested for the past year, both in my group and at Gen Con and Fear the Con.  The $3,000 raised will be used for the editor, the artwork, the layout, and a limited print run.  I have an editor ready to go and the artist, who is also my layout person, is underway with her artwork.

The release date will be December of 2013.

After the project is funded, weekly status updates will be sent so that you know the progress of the project that you helped fund.  I will not leave you guys hanging.  

Stretch Goals

There is so much I want to do beyond the base book.  Anything collected above and beyond will go towards these items.  Although if the goal is met, then the item will definitely be made.  An approximate completion date is also included with the goal.

Advantage: Cheater!! - $4,000.00 {LOCKED}

A one-page cheat sheet of tables will be created in PDF and physical forms.  This sheet will list the development point costs to advance a character, the body area hit table, the damage table, and the list of the runes and their meaning.  It will be printed on heavier card stock and the other side will have an illustration.  It's like a GM screen, but you will not be able to block the happy shiny faces of your players. -estimated April 2014

The 9 of Hearts will get the PDF.  The 10 of Hearts and above will get both.

Advantage: Genre Walking - $6,000.00 {LOCKED}

Each genre has its own flavor to capture.  To help you out, a single page of genre appropriate advantages, flaws, and skill blocks (suggested skill list for character archetype) will be created for each of the following genres.  High fantasy, low fantasy, wild west, steampunk, modern detective, sci-fi, cyberpunk, apocalypse survival, Victorian romance, and modern romance. -estimated June 2014

The 9 of Hearts and above will get all of them in digital format.

Advantage: The Windup - $10,000.00 {LOCKED}

Everyone needs a starting point.  So if The Windup is met, three mini-adventures will be created.  There will be enough detail to get a campaign started and helper locations, NPCs, and storylines to keep it going.  The genres will be modern superheroes, steampunk, and classic fantasy. -estimated August 2014

This will be added to everyone 9 of Hearts and above.

Advantage: The Long Haul - $15,000.00 {LOCKED}

If this stretch goal can be met, I will poll the supporters to determine which of the following genres (Western, Futuristic/Sci-Fi, or Superhero) for which you wish me to create a setting.  This will be the first setting for the Universal Storytelling System.  A series of new advantages, flaws, and possibly new rules will also be created.  The setting book will be published separately from the additional rules for that setting.  Both books will be in PDF form. -estimated Spring 2015

The PDFs will be added to everyone 9 of Hearts and above.

Risks and challenges

With any independent project, stuff happens, even though I am dead set on getting this done by December of this year.

The artist is already working on the art and I have been through one edit. The other editor is tagged and ready as soon as this is funded. However something could come up that would make one or either not available for a time. I don't foresee that happening, but this is a potential risk.

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    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    8 of Hearts: $1-8 of Hearts: Thank You: You have a heart of gold. Thank you for helping me bring this system to reality.

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    9 of Hearts: Your name will be included in the Kickstarter section of the book. Plus you will get the PDF with the Kickstarter exclusive cover.

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    10 of Hearts: All the above plus a hard copy of the book with the normal cover, but it will be signed.

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    Jack of Hearts: All the above and you get to, with approval, create an advantage and a flaw.

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    Queen of Hearts: All the above and a print of both the normal and exclusive covers.

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    King of Hearts: All the above and a Kickstarter exclusive deck of cards in a wooden box

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    Joker: All of the above and be drawn as a character, with approval, within the book illustrating one of the system's concepts

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Story Master: All of the above and I will run a four to five hour session for your group of, at most, six over Google Hangout. The genre, setting, and overall story will be mutually approved. The time for the session will also be mutually approved.

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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Elite Story Master: Everything up to the $1000 level and I will fly out to your location to run a session for your group of, at most, six at a local hotel on a mutually approved Saturday. I will provide all transportation and lodging. Continental U.S. only.

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Funding period

- (60 days)