Frankenstein Faktoria is a tabletop horror roleplaying game unlike any you have seen before. It might well contain the usual dead bodies, corpses, and demonical villainy, but in this case you are the corpse, or at least an amalgam thereof.
In Frankenstein Faktoria you and your friends play a Frankensteiner. One of the tortured creations of Doctor Victor Frankenstein, created out of a composite of body parts from cadavers and reanimated through science and electricity.
(Fun Fact: Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" novel was first published 200 years ago on 1st January 1818! Happy Anniversary Frankenstein!)
The Doctor, Doctor Victor Von Frankenstein, has constructed a small Factory in the town of Shalleymouth. Here in his infernal facility, unnatural Creatures, denying nature’s laws, Frankenstein’s children, are produced on an assembly line, endlessly, day-by-day.
Why does he do it? Nobody knows. The Doctor appears to have gone completely insane. He has severed his ties with the world outside and has shut himself up inside his crumbling castle alone with his experiments. He does not give his “children” much attention, instead he spends his time endlessly experimenting, synthesising chemical solutions, scribbling labyrinthine formulae on blackboards, and tinkering with mysterious devices. He is manifestly uninterested in the operation of the production line. Instead a hunchbacked servant, Igor, adopted by Frankenstein many years ago, oversees the day-to-day operation of the Factory.
During a Frankenstein Faktoria game, the players take on the role of the tortured monsters created by the Doctor. His hideous Frankensteiners...
PRODUCTION (AKA CHARACTER CREATION)
Every Sunday the loyal Igor brings lovely, “fresh” bodies to the Factory as raw material. These unfortunate corpses are usually collected from the local mortuary, either by Igor himself or the itinerant grave robbers Mr. Alexander & Mr. Dry, but if the need arises, “meat” is collected directly from nearby villages or delivered, fresh from burial in the cemeteries, or even killed to order.
Bodies, from which the brains are cut out first, are thrown unceremoniously into an enormous metal funnel, dragged through by gigantic cogs and torn apart into their various sections by the ripping action of the machinery. Limbs thusly prepared are transported on a rattling, creaking conveyor to the next station on the production line. Here Igor selects the least damaged parts with a keen eye, disposing of the worthless ones in great, stinking bins of flesh. Only then does a group of “Frankenstein’s children,” labouring in the Factory, put everything back together again. With makeshift sewing machines, they try to rearrange limbs and torsos into some semblance of humanity. Finally when all the parts are stitched together, as best as they can manage with fumbling fingers, Frankenstein himself arrives. He personally inspects and inserts the new brain into every body, reviving the dead tissue with the electrical means of his diabolical reanimation.
Igor, supervising the conveyor belt, chooses the least damaged limbs and throws them into huge containers, which are then transported to the sewing room. Will the Player Character be created from “high quality” limbs or from the torn and decaying parts that miss his eye? That depends on sheer chance.
Every Frankensteiner is composed of four basic elements: head, torso, arms, and legs. The player rolls a d3 four times and assigns the resulting values to their chosen Traits.
The value assigned to each area determine the following:
Legs = Speed
Head = Mind
Arms = Agility
Torso = Strength
During the game, when players undertake an action, they will need to make a Trait roll to see if those actions are successful. These rolls are made using a number of d10s equal to the value of the Trait involved with a target number required, depending on the complexity of the task.
Sometimes, when appropriate limbs are lacking, Igor constructs makeshift prosthetics of various kinds from whatever he finds lying around the Factory. These might be a pair of scissors, a piano leg with a wheel, or something even more peculiar. Because of this the next step in character creation is determining the origins of specific body parts.
Each player can choose three types of characteristics, from the lists in the book or ones that their GM invents, and roll on the tables to find out what special abilities, or drawbacks, their Frankensteiner has.
Characteristics are split into the following:
General Characteristics - such as Natural Smell, Loud Roar, or Additional Brain.
Head Characteristics - such as Intelligent Face, Missing Eye, or Sewn-Up Windpipe.
Hand Characteristics - such as Thief's Hands, Mechanic's Hands, or Long Arms.
Torso Characteristics - such as Tattoo, Fish tank Torso, or Subsutaneous Armour.
Leg Characteristics - such as Sprinter's Legs, Wheeled Feet, or Monkey Toes.
Example: Malicious Stare - The eyes implanted in the Frankensteiner’s head once belonged to someone terribly cruel, and now their wild, lunatic stare induces fear even in Igor, who strengthens the grasps on his iron club when speaking to the character. A Frankensteiner with malicious stare adds an additional d10 to his dice pool when making all Persuasion rolls.
Skulls do not come in one size. Some brains are larger, some are smaller and still others are missing little bits. In this situation there is no guarantee that the brain will be fully co-ordinated with the body and to solve this problem Frankenstein devised the bolts. An iron band is fastened inside the empty skull and then connected to electrodes. Next, the brain is placed inside the band. The temples are drilled and threaded, and finally the bolts are pushed into the holes.
When the bolts are tightened, Mind Trait is reduced to 1. The Frankensteiner is not able to think clearly or perform complicated tasks. Only when the bolts are loosened is the ability to think restored, sadly at the expense of bodily control. Agility, Strength and Speed are then, in turn, reduced to 1, as the character becomes clumsy, weak, and unbalanced. During a game session the players will be forced to tighten and loosen the bolts constantly to ensure the best possible performance of their minds and bodies.
The Doctor's Castle and Factory are situated on a hill overlooking the town of Shalleymouth.
The town has never been the same since the Factory appeared on the hill. Murders, mysterious disappearances, strange incidents... all of it made the atmosphere in this town of several thousand souls tense and very troubled. Life still goes on, but it is hardly normal. The people are afraid to leave their houses, venturing out only with great reluctance and then only to walk along the main streets. The school and the church are still open, of course. The stores still prosper, but most of the alleys winding among the old houses are empty and silent. The ghastly howling of the wind and the constant pour of rain streaming broadly down the paving are the only distraction.
Figures stalk the darkness.
People shut doors and windows and lock them tight.
Mothers can be heard crying, “Come back home this minute!”
The anxiety is palpable.
Shalleymouth is the nearest town to The Factory. Indeed, the Factory and Castle are built on a hill overlooking the town, its presence casting a cloak of malevolence, suspicion and dread across the townsfolk.
Whilst Shalleymouth is spoken about in the original game there isn't a lot of information available. As part of this campaign we are also looking at producing a new Shalleymouth supplement for Frankenstein Faktoria, which you can pledge for in certain tiers (Visitor of Shalleymouth and above).
Some of these tiers will allow you to leave your mark on the town... become a citizen or dignitary or maybe even help establish one of the establishments there. Landlord of a pub? The local Undertakers? Matron of the Orphanage? Or maybe a simple Tailor? There are also opportunities for an illustration based upon your likeness to appear in the Shalleymouth book.
We will be release two short PDFs (@ 2-4 pages each in length) a month from April 2018 until March 2019, with each looking at a new establishment. Then, once the series has finished, we will compile all of them and send the Shalleymouth backers a PDF containing all 24 establishments plus a voucher to order a physical copy at cost + postage through DriveThruRPG.
Most of the Creatures revived by the Doctor do not have any driving goals in their new lives, they just meander around the Factory and do whatever Igor tells them to do. The Player Characters are an exception, they happen to have flashes of Free Will. What are they to do with it, though? The characters may remain in the Factory. This gives them a chance to take part in the guerrilla war being fought between Bonobo and Frankenstein. The character of the Factory itself lets the Games Master introduce interesting logical puzzles, in which case the players will face the villains of the place: queer machinery, mazes of pipes, and dozens of flashing buttons. It might also turn out that they will be forced to fight for their home. The spell of fear under which Shalleymouth townsfolk live can break at any moment...
Frankenstein Faktoria not only provides the rules and setting information but also includes a selection of Adventure Hooks. Ideas for the Games Master to use as they desire. All the original Adventure Hooks appear in the core rulebook but we hope to bring you more as stand-alone PDFs through the use of Stretch Goals.
ABOUT THE BOOK/PRODUCTION HISTORY & KS TIMELINE
Frankenstein Faktoria was originally published in 2000 by Polish games company, Portal Games. Portal have produced a number of their own RPGs such as Neuroshima, Monastyr and De Profundis - the latter of which I published a second edition of whilst at Cubicle 7 - as well as having translated a number of English language RPGs into Polish. These days Portal are much better known as a board games publisher having designed and produced games such as First Martians: Adventures on the Red Planet, Cry Havoc, Imperial Settlers, Robinson Crusoe, and Stronghold.
Frankenstein Faktoria was developed as a 'New Style' game. A game which was quick and easy to pick up, rules light and whose rulebook was not overly long. Whilst the book has yet to be laid out (thus the reason for this campaign) I would imagine the final page count will be around 40-48 pages.
The game has been fully translated, edited, proof read and all the artwork has been completed. With a colour cover and black & white interior illustrations all produced by David Allsop. This campaign is to raise money for the layout and printing. I already have a layout person, and a back-up layout person, ready to go and printing will be handled through DriveThruRPG. We also need to finalise the character sheet.
As soon as the campaign is finished, if successful, all backers at Electrified level and above will be sent the manuscript as a Word document. Thus enabling you to start playing the game straight away if you so wish.... so book your Halloween games now!
Once the funds clear from Kickstarter layout will start and we predict the book will be finished and available in PDF and Print sometime in April.
All Stretch will be available to backers of Electrified level or above. These will be supplied as PDFs. Where appropriate, backers will also receive coupons to print copies of any stretch goals that are also available in print at cost plus postage through DriveThruRPG.
UNLOCKED! £1000 - FRANKENSTEIN FAKTORIA FUNDED!!!!
UNLOCKED! ADVENTURE HOOKS: For every £250 over our funding goal, until we reach £5000, we will create a brand new one-sheet Adventure Hook, complete with new art! We'll keep track of how many have been unlocked and will update the below as we go:
Total Adventure Hooks Unlocked: 4
Next Adventure Hook Unlocked : £2250
LOCKED! £6000 - Alexander & Dry's Grave Robbing Catalogue of Parts - we will create a brand new customizable character sheet along with a PDF featuring multiple body parts to choose from! Your choice of legs, arms, heads and torsos! This will be available as a PDF which you can print out, cut out the body parts you want and stick to your new character sheet to create your own even more unique Frankensteiner!
LOCKED! £9,000 - Frankenstein Faktoria was created for short one-shot games but, like the good Doctor himself, we're going to push those boundaries! If we hit £9,000 we'll develop a complete 32 page adventure for you! Available in print and PDF.
LOCKED! £12,000 - Well, like Mr. Alexander and Mr. Dry's night job, you're all obviously really digging Frankenstein Faktoria! So how can we resist not giving you another complete 32 page adventure to keep your Frankensteiner's animated!
LOCKED! £16,000 - Moreau Island - A brand new stand-alone setting, complete with rules, that can be used to expand the Frankenstein Faktoria universe! Play one of the hybrid Beast Folk that Doctor Moreau has created through his experiments!
Risks and challenges
Frankenstein Faktoria has already been fully translated, edited and all the art work completed for it. The only things we need to finish the book is to finalise a character sheet and also complete layout. We have two layout people lined up already (core + backup) who will start laying out the book once the funds clear. The character sheet is also currently being sorted so should be ready by the time the funds clear, or very shortly afterwards.
A word document of the text will be sent out to all backers (or appropriate levels) as soon as the campaign (successfully) finishes.
Fulfilment and printing will be done via DriveThruRPG who have a long track record helping hundreds of Kickstarter campaigns and a fantastic customer services department if any issues arise.
If anything crops up that I haven't predicted I will always be open and communicative about the state of play with clear and honest communication through updates.
- (14 days)