In the Time Before. . .
In the time before, there was darkness. Within that darkness there was at once nothing, and everything. Among all of the endless possibilities, one became manifest. This manifestation we call WhatMoves.
WhatMoves created the capacity for all that is, fashioned the Great Hoop, and set existence into motion. WhatMoves is the font of creation. From this font came the Spinner and Weaver who fashioned the weave of the Great Web that fills the Hoop and separated what is real from what lies in Twain and from what lies Beyond.
Within the Weave dwell the Songs who fashioned the world Ehdrigohr and the peoples. For ages the Songs, their companions, and the peoples lived in relative harmony. But one of the Songs, Ok'O-Wi, had become broken and her peoples resonated with her dissonance. They shattered the peace and brought war, fear, and suffering to the peoples and the land. She brought into the world the Sorrows who would seek to break the balance and sow chaos and suffering.
So great was the discord that WhatMoves returned from Beyond the Twain to end it. WhatMoves brought forth the Upheaval, broke the lands, scattered the people, and cast Ok'O-Wi into the Twain. From that point the people have remembered her as WaitsBeyond, or the TwistedOne. WhatMoves then invoked the Withering so that what dark things remained would burn by the light of the sun.
Ages have passed since that great Upheaval. The people struggled to come together but from the bowels of the earth erupted the curse and legacy of WaitsBeyond - terrible, colossal, monstrosities called The Woe. They would break the land time, and time again, and keep the people scattered. Their leavings would be the shivers that wandered the darkness looking for people to tear their flesh, crack their bones, and drown the world in blood.
And so the people only survived in small groupings that stayed close to the light. Again and again, they would form the Nine Tribes. Each time the Woe would break them. In recent times, great heroes, who could wield the Mysteries, walked the "Trail of Dream and Shadow". Guided by the Graces, who oppose the Sorrows, they brought back the Rites of Peace and Stillness. These rites were enacted to bring about The Still, and the Woe were put into deep slumbers.
Now, with the Still at hand, the people have been able to gather, and the Nine Nations have formed. A new age is upon us and some say the Scattering is coming to an end, and the “Time of Gathering” is at hand. No peace will come, however, until the horrors that stalk the night are brought to an end.
These are the new days of the people. The Owls guide us, The Doves console us, The Jays celebrate us, and Crows protect us as we strive to return to center. This is Ehdrigohr. All are woven in the weave of the Web, but only those schooled in the Mysteries can change our destiny.
What's all this about?
Ehdrigohr is a tabletop role-playing game where you get to play a character struggling to survive in this recovering world. It is a fantasy game of high heroics, myth and culture, powerful magic, and survival horror. The tides of darkness are overwhelming but this is not meant to be a game of nihilism. It is about hope. Your characters are the mythic heroes who do impossible things that push back the tide.
There are multitudes of paths to greatness.
• A warrior, imbued with mystic martial arts who fights on The Line?
• A storyteller who keeps the peoples' spirits up and empowers their hearts to fight another day.
• A wandering peacekeeper that ferrets out the infiltrators and hatemongers who work to break the nations.
• A reality weaving Way-walker who travels the wild places seeking the breaches where the creatures trapped in the Twain have broken through the pale into the world.
Culturally, Ehdrigohr is a non-traditional fantasy world. Rather than fantasy seen through a Euro-Medieval lens, Ehdrigohr is instead crafted to take inspiration from the myth and folklore of tribal, and indigenous, cultures around the world.
Though it is a human-centric world, each of the cultures of Ehdrigohr promises to have its own flavor steeped in magic. These are not “primitive” cultures but nations that have chosen their own interesting paths and traditions in their effort to survive the ravenous hordes that come in the night. Though it presents a different flavor of fantasy, there is a point of entry for many styles of play. There is high adventure, political intrigue, delving, social plays, secret societies, monster bashing, monster fleeing, and so on.
Mechanically, Ehdrigohr relies on the FATE game system to deliver most of its fun. The mechanics have been tailored to the ideals of the setting, though you can still expand on it with ideas from other FATE-based games out there in the market. More about the FATE system can be found at www.faterpg.com.
As far as playtesting goes, one of the benefits of working with a proven game system is that you get to start with a solid foundation. The various tweaks to the system are mostly minor. The magic system, Traits and their power tiers, and some adjustments to how skills are ranked are where the biggest changes have gone. The greatest amount of testing will fall on those areas as I strive to ensure things start accessible and grow to be deep and interesting.
Who Am I?
Oh that's right, I neglected to introduce myself. My name is Allen Turner and I'm a game designer and teacher. I teach game design at DePaul University and have been in the video games industry for well over a decade. You can find out more about what I've done on the Council of Fools website (www.council-of-fools.com/blog).
As much as I love video games, my first love is storytelling and role-playing games. There's nothing quite like the face-to-face intimacy of crafting adventures and doing the impossible around a table with friends. Unlike video games there are no tech ceilings or graphical limitations or sfx budgets. You get access to the most awesome rendering engine ever – the human imagination.
I want Ehdrigohr to be my offering to this fine hobby in hopes of providing a platform that excites imaginations and brings generations, new and old, to the table to create memories.
Where does my money go?
Funding will go towards paying for art, printing and shipping the main book and any incentives. The book is mostly done. I'm beginning the play test phase and still tweaking those little bits that don't quite hit the mark yet. The primary focus is getting a black and white printing done and out the door. However, additional monies (if any) will go toward color printings of the book and paying artists (with hopefully more art) and some adventure modules and supplementary resources.
I will post samples of the book here on Kickstarter and on my website so folks will get a better idea of what they're getting.
All incentives are oriented around helping you to immerse yourself in the fantasy and folklore of this wonderful and dangerous world.
*UNLOCKED! The Harrowing: This is the basic goal of $4500 and the first big hurdle we have to cross. This is basically the book in print and PDF format.
*UNLOCKED! "A Tale for All" at $7000 and gets the book published in pdf, mobi (Kindle) and Epub formats. Those at "Child of the Owls" level ($15) and higher will get access to all formats.
*UNLOCKED!" "Sun Paints the Sky" at $10000 this means we're now printing a color softcover book!. You can get a hardcover color copy by adding $20 to your order. "Collector of Secrets" defaults to a hardback BW printing (upgrade to hardback for $10). I will also be creating a music score for use with your campaigns. The first music tracks can be found here. Also a special BACKERS ONLY gift has been posted in Update #10 as thank you for all the support.
*UNLOCKED! "The Sky Grinds Blood" at $13000. This unlocks a new adventure centered around the Salduun Empire as tensions between the Elder's Council and the Council of Gears comes to a head. A renegade "FreeMaker" has created a contraption of Weave and Space that has the capacity to breach the barriers to the Twain. It's a race to find the inventor before more sinister forces claim her and her invention for themselves.
*UNLOCKED! "Mothers Lament" at $16000. This unlocks a new adventure centered in the badlands and prairies of the Shil. This Dove- centered adventure focuses on bringing new life into the world while dealing with the consequences of sorrows run amok. A small village in the Shil has mostly faded to "sorrowstain", Only a handful of women are left, and all are mothers close to childbirth or with newly born children. A group of Mourning Doves, and their companions, have come to lead these women to a new village. The ever encroaching cycle of night, the threat of imminent childbirths, and something else stalking their every move makes for a harrowing flight to a new home.
NEXT STRETCH GOAL: "The Trail of Slumbers" at $20,000. This unlocks a campaign focused on the Trail of Slumbers. Players will play heroes who must travel all of the lands and main/perform the rights at the Temples of the Woe to keep the Woe from awakening. Terrible forces are allied against them.Can the heroes maintain The Still or will this be the return to chaos?
So here are some other options to add to your pledges.
- Add a hardback (B&W) add $35 to your pledge
- Upgrade from softcover to hardback (Color) add $20 to your pledge per book. (unlocked at 10,000)
- To add a hardback (color) add $45 to your pledge
- 24"x18"" canvas print of map add $45
- 24"x18" poster print of the Wu Town turtle image $30
- 24"x18" canvas print of the Wu Town turtle image $45
- Have your character included "Line in the Snow: A Celebration of Sacrifice". More details on this option can be found here. +$10
As we pass these goals I'll continue add new stretch goals incentives to further sweeten the pot. See Update 3 for more details on forthcoming Stretch Goals.
So please help Ehdrigohr become a reality so that you can play with us. Discover your own legends and tell us your story. Come sit with the Owls, weep with the Doves, sing with the Jays, and dance with the Crows in the sun. When the sun falls, and the fire fades, may you be preserved from the shivers in the night.
Lila Pilamaya! (Many Thanks!)
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk is that I've never, single handed, published a pen-and-paper roleplaying (or even a digital rpg for that matter). I have worked on multi-year game projects from concept to completion and shipped on time. This means I am no stranger to the process of working with groups of artists and writers and pulling all the pieces together.
I know how the processes go for video games but for something a little fuzzier, like a table-top RPG, I'm not yet quite sure of the best practices. This could slow me just a bit as I figure out how to get over obstacles inherent to this field of design.
Working with narrative to tell an extended story is certainly not new to me. My most recent project was designing Marvel XP for Marvel/Disney where I worked with great writers on established IP.
Ehdrigohr, however, is new IP. Though it is inspired by a wealth of real-world cultural myth and folklore, most of the source material is relatively unknown outside of academia and cultural storytellers, so I have to do a lot of narrative building and storytelling to do to help people figure out how best to access the experiences that lie within.
I've got no doubt I can do this. I teach students every quarter how to build abstractions into tangible ideas and meet with good results. I follow a Scrum process for organizing tasks and getting pieces of the work done.
For now, the manuscript is mostly done. Playtesting and layout are in progress. Layout will be heavily affected by the kind of art I'm able to gather from artists which is dependent on the money that gets raised.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)