Trials of the Magi is a quick and easy role-playing game centered around a Harry Potter inspired world, where arcane scouts track down and test those with the potential for magic. These gathered candidates are required to overcome a crucible of mental simulations in order to prove that they have what it takes to become a fledgling magus.
These tests compose the core fiction of Trials of the Magi, following the players as they guide mental projections of themselves through the strange and treacherous landscapes of the trials. The psychological and imagined nature of these landscapes allows the Game Master to create interesting and creative locations that can bend the laws of reality.
Where Trials of the Magi tries to shake the RPG formula is that in the game's fiction the "real" players are the ones actually being tested by the arcane scout. As such the mental projections that navigate the trials are literal representations of the players. Meaning they look, act and talk just as the players would. Not surprisingly, it is really easy to role-play yourself, making Trials of the Magi a great game for first time players of the hobby. It allows them to get familiar with navigating a shared fiction before trying their hand at more role-play intensive storytelling. This idea of the player being the character is expanded upon in the game’s mechanics, where a character’s strengths and abilities come from a player's real life experiences. These memories are written on custom dry erase cards [or blank Index cards] and a hand of these cards act as a player’s character sheet. No complex calculations or overabundance of stats. Just simple tactile mechanics that allow players to get into the game easily and quickly.
Making a Character
In Trials of the Magi, characters are direct representations of the players. These fabrications, often called a player's Persona are constructed from a handful of powerful memories held by the player. These memories give a Persona strength and power within the trials. In order to capture such an abstract idea, Arcana Cards are used. These are writable cards that contain two important values on them, an arcana suit and an Enigma.
Arcana Suit: These four suits of Swords, Wand, Cups and Coins have a large impact on a Persona. They not only grant a suit specific power, but they also influence the types of memories associated with the card. When creating a character an assortment of these cards are chosen by the player. Letting the player dictate their playstyle by which cards they choose.
Enigmas: Working with the Game Master, players generate a single word noun that best encompasses the memory associated with the card. This noun is then written on the card and acts as the Persona’s ability.
As an example cards of the Coin suit are tied to physical possessions and collections cherished by the player. If a player used to catch and collect bugs as a kid then they would be able to tie the Enigma Word of Insect to a Coin Card. Giving their Persona the power to summon bugs or gain insect related powers.
Some Example Enigmas: Iron, Fire, Death, Nebula, Music
When faced with a problem players can play their arcana cards to overcome it. The more difficult the challenge, the more cards required. When playing an Arcana Card, a player must justify it's use by incorporating the card's Enigma word in the action being performed.
As an example, when faced with a large chasm of a difficulty of two, 2 cards must be played in order to overcome it. The player can play their "Insect" and "Wind" cards to meet this requirement. Justifying the chosen cards by saying:
"I use my Insect card to grow moth wings on my Pesona's back and ride a powerful gust across, created by my Wind card."
However, Once the cards are played, they are laid on the table and are no longer available for the player to use. In order to return played card to their hand, a player must spend an in game resource called Entropy.
Entropy is represented by a deck of pass or fail cards [substitutable for a standard deck of playing cards]. When trying to overcome an obstacle, a player can choose to draw a card from the Entropy Deck instead of playing one of their Arcana Cards. If the player draws a positive entropy card, the Persona succeeds the action, acting as though an Arcana Card was played. Draw negative entropy however, and the Persona’s situation is complicated and made worse. Each Entropy Card drawn is then held onto by the player and can be spent later in the game to pick up their played Arcana Cards, at the cost of one entropy each.
The connection between player and Persona is the most vital source of a Persona’s life. As this connection weakens, a Persona can begin to fracture and crack, possibly to the point of shattering entirely. In the mechanics of the game, this connection is represented by the number of Arcana Cards a player has available to them [both in the hand and played on the table]
In order to get through difficult parts of a trial the players will be required, discard some of their Arcana Cards in order to get a temporary boost.
These gains come in two forms:
- The player can discard a card, and treat a drawn negative entropy card as though it were a positive entropy, and therefore succeeding the action.
- The player can discard an card to invoke the special ability tied to the card’s suit.
Each time a player does this their connection weakens and the Persona fractures. The discarded card is removed from the game and is only returned to them at the end of the trial. If a player is forced to discard all of their Arcana Cards, their Persona shatters and they are no longer able to participate in the trial. It is the goal of the player to use their Acrana cards, intelligently and effectively in order to get through each trials without discarding all of them.
We started working on Trials of the Magi half a year ago, with the game originally being released as an entry for National Game Design Month (NaGaDeMon). The initial launch bore an expiremental game which had some great ideas but didn’t quite live up to our expectations. Since then we have worked tirelessly on the system, developing it into a game we could be truly proud of. After countless revisions and playtests the game has reached this state. Countless playtests and revisions can only take it so far, and we need your help to finish the game.
With your support we will be able to provide an initial print run for the Trials of the Magi core rulebook, in addition to this we are also looking to print the game's Arcana and Entropy Decks. The specifics of each of these items are explained in more details below.
The core rulebook will printed as a 5.5 x 8.5 inch paperback with a full color cover and a black and white illustrated interior.
The base amount need to fund this project is $3500 CAD. With this being our first Kickstarter we wanted to keep the funding goal as low as we possibly could in order to increase our likelihood of funding. However, printing decks of cards and books is a costly process and quickly adds up. In order to counteract this however we at sproutli have chosen to funnel all of the profits made from the first 100 game's sold into lowering our stretch goal to the $3500 needed.
*Funding at any tier will add your name to our website's list of backers.
$1 - Thank You: Thank you for supporting us!
$7 - Digital (Basic): You'll be emailed a PDF version of the rulebook upon release.
$10 - Digital (Complete): You'll be emailed a PDF version of the rulebook as well digital copies of both the Arcana and Entropy Decks.
$15 - Print (No Digital): You'll get a printed version of the rulebook shipped to you anywhere in the world.
$20 - Print (Basic): You'll get a printed version of the rulebook shipped to you anywhere in the world. In addition to this you will also get digital versions of both the rulebook and both decks of cards.
$30 - Print (Plus): You'll get a printed version of the rulebook and a deck of dry erase Arcana Cards shipped to you anywhere in the world. In addition to this you will also get digital versions of the rulebook and both decks of cards.
$40 - Print (Complete): You'll get the printed version of the rulebook,a deck of custom dry erase Arcana cards, and a deck of custom Entropy Cards all shipped to you anywhere in the world, In addition to this you will also get digital versions of the rulebook and both decks of cards.
$75 - Witchsona (Single): You'll get a 4 inch by 5.5 inch inked drawing depicting yourself as a witch or wizard created by Trials of the Magi's lead artist, Kayleigh Allen. You'll also get everything in the Print (Complete) tier.
$140 - Witchsona (Group): You'll get 2-4 inked drawings depicting yourself and your friends as witches and wizards, everything the Print (Complete) Tier, and even have an online game session run for you and your friends by the creator of the game, Patrick Lapienis. [One group witchsona drawing can be chosen rather than multiple individual drawings]
When requesting a witchsona, backers will be required to provide the following:
- Photo of backer
- a description of the types of powers they would like their witchsona to have
- Any additional comments or requests for their witchsona [character stance, type of clothing ect.]
The first four stretch goals for this kickstarter will each add a one session trial to the back of the core rulebook. Each of these modules will be fully illustrated and mapped, allowing for the game to be easily picked-up and played.
$4000 - Archimedes' Sunken Temple: Outwit the puzzled contained in this flooded temple in order to get Archimedes' blessing of water.
$4500 - Joan of Arc's Fiery Gauntlet: Fight your way through these underground magma tunnels in order to get Joan of Arc's blessing of fire.
$5000 - The Wright Brother's Open Skies: Fly through the air and prove yourself to the Wright brothers to earn their blessing of wind.
$5500 - Newton's Cradle: Conquer this gravity defying labyrinth to gain Newton's blessing of earth.
$6000 - Additional Art: Reaching this tear will allow us to put additional pieces of art in the core rulebook.
$6500 - Character Card Sheaths: Reaching this tier will allow us to make printable card holders can be used to store a player's hand of Arcana cards between sessions. The sheaths will also display helpful information about the game to the play, acting as a form of cheat sheet. If funded these holders will be made available for free on our website and will also be included with ever backer shipment.
$7000 - "How to Play" Video Playlist: A series of short how to play videos will be uploaded on to Youtube, each explaining an important aspect of how to play Trials of the Magi.
$8000 - Phone and Tablet App: If this tier is reached an app will be released for free on both apple and android mobile devices. This app will act as a player aid and simulate a virtual hand of Arcana Cards.
The primary features of the app are as follows:
- Create Arcana Cards and group them in hands.
- Cycle through cards in their hand.
- Play and pick up cards to and from a played position
- Allow the player to draw and track entropy cards
Risks and challenges
Trials of the Magi is the the first printed game we have ever released and growing pains are expected and already planned for. If however, we unexpectedly fall behind due to a developmental complication, our backers will be the first to know. We at Sproutli Games strongly believe in communication and will keep the community up to date on any schedule changes.
With that said, Trials of the Magi has already come a long way in it's development and has passed most of the the project's major hurdles. however, unforeseen problems can still arise from the game's art and printing. In order to account for this, everything about the project will be managed locally so that any mistakes or complications can quickly be resolved face to face. It is with the help of our backers that this game can be made a reality and we have no intention of disappointing those who were willing to support us.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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