A lot of games coming out have rules for nearly any situation -
"I want to blow my nose" says the player,
The GM says "Wait a sec., I'll just check the Character Personal Situation Rule Book", GM thumbs through a stack of books a meter high. "Ah!" he says, "it's here on page 279, subsection 3, paragraph 2 - Blowing your Nose. Roll 3-D20. If you get below 40 then the nose is successfully blown, otherwise a point of damage occurs. If you roll 3 20's then your head explodes and all around you take 4 points of snot damage (see Damage Rules 451,623 & 702). Got that?".
"Aaah, Choo!" says the Player, whose head immediately explodes!.
Vacuum Shadows generally does not work that way. We strive to keep head explosions to a minimum.
We're a small team of enthusiastic and dedicated developers who would like to see the rough game system that has been constructed over the last few years come to publication and availability throughout the world.
The two main developers are Dave and Liam (Father and Son), who both take on various roles from writing, illustration, design and programming. Though a few others have helped along the way with helpful ideas and play-testing the rules.
Dave's been playing/running Role-Playing Games, on and off, since the early 80's. Liam also got into RPG's with the same group of RPGer's as his father, but many years later. Although living in different parts of the world at the time, the collaboration to create Vacuum Shadows has been strong and fruitful.
We are hoping to make the game one of the best around that will appeal to current and past generation gamers alike.
This rules system has been designed to be simple, with the least amount of interference in the general 'role-play' part of the games.
The core of it is using a percentage value system which we think is a little easier to handle than having a range of different dice to chose from. The characters can be created from any of the (current) 4 alien races - each with their own quirks and problems - Human, K'Threy, Sroid and Tomarin. Character improvement comes from the use of skills, not a general 'leveling' system, so players can focus their character traits on something they want their character to be able to do well. Limitations are kept to a minimum, but getting overpowered characters is difficult to do - without a lot of hard work.
All the classic elements of Sci-Fi are available - Aliens, Spaceships, New Technologies, Discovery, Combat, Intrigue and so forth. It's open to the GM and Players' imagination (like any normal RPG).
It has mainly a science-fiction type theme, but any good Game Manager (GM) should be able to adjust it to suit other themes quite easily.
The software versions of the rules are meant as reference and tools for the GM and player during the playing of a game.
The main goal is to complete the writing of the rule book and get some nice illustrations and pictures in there to help make it look less boring! Various aspects of the system are still a bit loose and need tightening up. The background and details of the various races need fleshing out and some more technical aspects of the sci-fi future have to be planned.
This will be the master electronic version of the rule system.
We'd like to produce some software for Desktop machines (PC and Mac - maybe Linux too) and Tablet (iPad and Android) computers. This would be an interactive version of the rules with extra tools to calculate characters and auto generate some parts - for example Non-Player Characters (NPCs), Random Items, Vehicles and Places.
(Sorry for the awful sound quality on the above video - I had major problems with background noise. Also - most of the images in the App are not final - only placeholders)
And for the initial release we'd also like to have a few scenarios created to get new players and GM's up and running as fast as possible.
To do all of the above we are going to have to concentrate for a couple of months on the writing and testing of both the book and software. We will use the KS funding to allow us to do this without the distraction of requiring another Job during that period. A large chunk of the funding will be used to pay illustrators - they also need to eat (so I am told!). We have already talked to a few really good illustrators regarding this and they are prepared for the work.
In general though we need your assistance to do this. If you have a bit of spare change then please consider a pledge - every little helps.
One of the main enhanced goals is to be able to get many better illustrations and artwork created by artists who are a lot better than us (almost anyone who can draw with crayons should be ok in that respect ;) ). If we have the means then we can commission a range of professional artists to create high quality artwork to help give a better feel to some aspects of the background. At all levels of of funding we will be adding more artwork - we feel that this is extremely important.
If funding permits, then further enhancements to the rules can be made - available as electronic supplements to the original core rules.
As we get higher take-up of interest in the system then we would like to present some more choices of scenario stories for Game Managers to use.
Once we hit a level that allows it, we would like to get the process underway to publish the rules in print form - either softback or hardback. These would then be made available for sale through retail games outlets all over the world.
The colour artwork that is created for the game we would like to also publish as a book - glossy print version for coffee-table use. This is something that we think many people would enjoy whether it is directly used with the RPG or simply as eye-candy. The impressive artwork could also be done as printed Posters.
Probably the ultimate aim is to produce some software that would allow many aspects of the game to be managed from a server (not internet, but your home desktop machine) wirelessly to player tablet/laptop computers. Dynamic character sheets, experience point distribution, whisper messaging & map displays are already planned and we are still coming up with further uses.
The table below lists the rough levels of funding we will probably require to achieve some of these stretch goals. As you can see we've dropped in a couple of ones at the higher end - though at this point we don't know what those would be precisely! If we get anywhere near that level then we will update this table accordingly.
Note: The images in the above video were gathered from the Internet via sites that had them marked as CC. If this is not the case please let us know and we can remove your image.
Risks and challenges
The current rules are incomplete and time to continue the writing & calculations that are required to complete the core rules is not really available unless we can put aside other work to focus on this. We estimate a couple of good months concentrating on these rules should see them at a stage where we can polish them through getting friends to play test all the aspects and then we can fix them before final release.
Each of the rewards can allow our funders to see the progress of the draft copies of the rules as they are done (4 milestones are planned - we might increase this as work progresses - the backers will receive more draft copies in this case). They can also provide feedback so that we can build an even better system - this will be based on perceived need rather than us just wanting features.
On the software (Interactive Rulebook) side there should be no real problem as Dave is a professional programmer with 15 years experience in Desktop, Mobile and Web development - he already has a couple of Tablet Apps out in the wild.
We will keep everyone informed of the progress through weekly website updates or blog entries on www.vacuum-shadows.com. If anything will cause any delay then everyone will know ASAP - we don't think this is likely to happen though for the basic rules.
In general though - we REALLY want to do this and get it to a complete stage where others can enjoy it - therefore we will try our very hardest not to let anything come between us and that dream.
Tabletop RPG's are a way of being Social. Many people gather together around a table and interact - mainly in their heads. It's a good way for people to develop an imagination and to visualise something without needing to have someone else to do it for them ;)
"Your Character" Level::
reward Level "All the Basics" plus
A Character defined by you who will appear as a major NPC in the created universe - a full bio and stats listing will appear in the main rulebook.
"See That? That's Me!"::
reward Level "Your Character" plus
The Character will have a Line Illustration representation done based on a Photo you provide. This character image will be adjusted to represent Alien racial type.
"See That? That's Me in Colour!"::
reward level "Your Character" plus
A Full Colour Illustration of you as your character in a dynamic action scene. This will feature as Full Page artwork in any printed versions of the books.