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THE Superhero RPG you've been waiting for! A standalone, modern ruleset to take superhero gaming to a whole new level! Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on May 12, 2014.

THE Superhero RPG you've been waiting for! A standalone, modern ruleset to take superhero gaming to a whole new level!

About this project

Comic book stories and characters like you've always wanted them! Worlds in Peril combines descriptive, creative and flexible powers with a narrative structure that encourages players to take control of their stories and build worlds together. Powered by the Apocalypse World system (2d6+ modifier), Worlds in Peril is a standalone RPG that will produce compelling super hero action in any world with little-to-no preparation. Play to find out what happens, be the hero you want to be!

Check out an early draft of the game here, or visit the Google+ community for the latest draft, character builds and more!

The Apocalypse World engine has already been hacked and adapted into various games, many of which have been successfully funded through kickstarter and crowdfunding.It's been adapted to the award-winning Dungeon World for dungeon crawling adventures, Tremulus for lovecraftian horror. Sagas of the Icelanders for playing Icelandic settlers. Monsterhearts for playing teenager monsters. Monster of the Week for monster hunting, and many others! We've spend the last year and a half designing, hacking, playtesting and writing to introduce superheroes into the already incredibly diverse and amazing Apocalypse World system.

Worlds in Peril is powered by the Apocalypse World engine. At its heart, it uses 2d6 to determine success and to help determine in which direction the story heads and with how much difficulty a character accomplishes, if at all, what they set out to do. When a character does something that triggers a move in the fiction of the game world (when we need to go to the dice to see what happens), 2d6 (+ a modifier) is rolled and if the roll results in 10+ then the character does what they set out to do, on a 7-9 they do it but at cost, and on a 6 or less, the GM decides what happens.

We recently did an interview over at the Misdirected Mark podcast, so if you'd like a run down on the systems in the game and how they work, be sure to head over there to check it out!

So what’s changed? What’s different from Apocalypse World or Dungeon World?

Powers are descriptive and flexible. Worlds in Peril focuses on what you do with your powers rather than what exactly they are in order to account for any and all possible powers and combinations. Powers are rarely static and are continually expanding and growing as you use them to do more things. When you create your character you have a Powers Profile to fill out in which you describe what your character can do with your powers at varying levels of difficulty (simple to do, difficult, borderline, theoretically possible). As you move outside of those defined areas moves are triggered depending on the situation and your Powers Profile may change.

Descriptive Conditions that have tracks instead of hit points. Damage and combat works differently and is designed to be even more no-prep and less hassle for the Editor in Chief (MC/GM) and has the additional benefit of descriptions to ground everything in the fiction of the game world. An enemy will have a number of Conditions they can take before they lose their agency in the fiction or before they are taken down. Conditions have descriptors so we know when they're dealing with and what they look in the fiction. When dealing with damage, dice are rolled to determine the severity and staying power of a Condition rather than a value of hit points which helps to influence and determine what is going on in the game world along with the descriptor.

Your playbook/character is made up of mini-playbooks:

1) An Origin playbook is the reason why you became a hero and possible how you get your powers (I became a superhero because of..). The books are called things like "The Accident" or "My Alien heritage", "A Death in the Family, etc. They make up the important core of a character and each playbook has a couple moves unique to that book.

2) A Drive playbook is the current motivation and drive of your hero (It is my goal and drive to...) things like "See Justice Done", "Push the Boundaries of Science", etc. These books help set a direction the character is going and outlines requirements for advancing and taking more moves in that book so a character always has something to do and pursue during those few moments where they have control over their own life. Since a drive book expresses a character's current motivation and goal, a character might have multiple drive books open and working towards multiple goals as events unfold in the fiction. A character might start off with "Pushing the Boundaries of Science" but if their neglect leads someone important to them dying they might switch to the "See Justice Done" vigilante playbook. The drive book provides a goal and direction for a player and their character to work towards and also shows the overall outlook and history of a character over time as well!

Advancement is all tied to what you do in game via Achievements. For example, you can't unlock the "Relic of the Past" drive playbook until your character's inability to cope with an aspect of modern society gets them in trouble. As you show your characters goals and motivations by working towards new moves or new playbooks by having them fulfill prerequisites through roleplaying and story in the game world you earn Achievements. Achievements are used as currency to advance and show your character change. In short: in addition to unlocking new moves naturally through play via the fiction of the game world, you also earn Achievements which you can spent to make your hero tougher, change or further define their powers and much, much more.

Bonds are relationships characters have with other characters or institutions in the game. They have them with other player characters in the game as well as other important non-player characters or institutions like "The City" or agencies like "Law Enforcement". They all have numerical values to indicate the nature of the relationship and they also act as an in-game currency that can be spent (or "burned") to get bonuses to rolls when players want their character to succeed. When Bonds are burned, the nature of the relationship changes and the player is responsible for showing the nature of the change at some point - most likely during downtime.This forces a character to reconcile and create conflict with other characters and important people in their lives (Peter Parker missing a date with Mary Jane to protect the city and having to deal with the fallout, for example).

For the GM (or Editor-in-Chief in Worlds in Peril), we have rules for creating enemies and villains at various levels of difficulty and that vary diversely in scope. From mobs and henchmen to heavy hitters or a character or team's arch-nemesis, we've got it all along with simple, easy to follow steps for no-prep, ready-to-go creation of enemies or ones prepared in advance as the Mastermind with a nefarious plot to advance their own agenda and that puts the world in peril! 

If you'd like to see what about an hour of play might look like, we filmed a bit of one of our playtests. This is with our regular group who had never played any games that use the Apocalypse World engine and we jumped into play right after character creation. I hadn't prepared anything and I was the Editor-in-Chief (GM, or MC - in the green hoodie) so it was pretty spontaneous but it was a lot of fun, check it out!

 Here's an example of one character that Adam whipped up for play in the game above but I kind of forgot about him once he got behind the camera!

Jonathan's concept work for one of our heroes
Jonathan's concept work for one of our heroes
CHARACTER SHEETS NOT FINAL
CHARACTER SHEETS NOT FINAL

Here is some concept art for Sentinel's greatest foe, Litost!

Concept art for Litost (#1)
Concept art for Litost (#1)

 And here is one last character example for Quell, a more guardian-type character.

Concept art for Quell
Concept art for Quell
Character sheets not final!
Character sheets not final!

And Quell's greatest foe, Saudade!

Saudade (#2)
Saudade (#2)

If you've played any games that use the Apocalypse World engine, you know that players have a lot of agency in them so have a pre-planned adventure, scenario or even game world can sometimes be detrimental or just less fun in general. There are no assumptions made in the game book about a time period or locale to play in but there are rules and moves – both player and GM facing – that allow for all the world building a group could ask for. That said, there are examples of play and locales in the book that assume an urban environment like New York City along with other areas more fantastic and far-reaching.

All of us have been reading comics since we were kids, mainly Marvel but some DC sneaks in every now and again and a fair amount more Indie stuff. So, whether consciously or not, we are definitely influenced by all the comics we read but we've all been Marvel fan boys since we could read.

Kyle Simons – I'm the writer and one of the co-designers of Worlds in Peril. Despite having designed various games, my only other published work was made possible by a massively successful kickstarter campaign for a roleplaying game I designed to teach you the Korean language as you play it! The project was so successful and encouraging that I roped in some friends to help write and publish the superhero roleplaying game  that we'd all been wanting to play since finding out the joys of playing Apocalypse World, Dungeon World and Monsterhearts. I live in Korea and will both publish the game and handle fulfillment of kickstarter orders, as I did with Magicians, from here in Korea (hence the pledge level for a cheaper level if you're in Korea, and then one for anywhere else in the world).

Adam Bosarge –One of the co-designers of Worlds in Peril that was roped in by long-time gaming buddy Kyle Simons. A veteran gamer for well over 26 years. He enjoys RPG's of all sorts from OSR, Traditional, and Indie games. (Particularly Apocalypse World and Dungeon World). Though he has designed  a lot over the years for private use, this will be his first foray into the publishing world. After spending 6 years in Korea he is moving back to the U.S. and will oversee the Kickstarter from there.  

Jason Faulk – Failed super villain released to the custody of Kyle and Adam to use his vast comic book knowledge for good. Jason has lived, ate, and breathed comics since the late '80s and played tabletop rpgs for about that long. With a passion for storytelling and character advancement, he has homebrewed epic super hero campaigns for the last 10 years- always dreaming that if his plans for world domination fell short he could one day help craft an amazing new gaming system for superheroes based on the Apocalypse World engine.

Jonathan Rector - I'm the artist for Worlds in Peril. Kyle reached out to me over the internets, and asked if I could lend my comic book art style to the art assets. Since I love tabletop roleplaying games, I just HAD to jump on! I've had published work through Blue Water Prod., Arcana, ComixTribe, and others. Titles include Kord & Harley, Scamthology, Oxymoron Anthology, The Hero Code and most recently The Standard. I hope you enjoy the artwork, and feel free to check out my website to find out more information (and see more pretty pictures) at www.jonathanrector.com

Jonathan Walton – Has been helping out with development editing for Worlds in Peril, lending us insights he’s gleaned from extesnive hacking of the Apocalypse World engine - including the Dungeon World supplement called the Planarch Codex. He has opened his brain to the world’s psychic maelstrom and we have benefited greatly from all the wisdom and experience he brings to the table.

Daniel Solis – Graphic designer and layout whiz extraordinaire,  Daniel worked on Magicians with me but is perhaps better known for some of the other amazing games he has designed and self-published or done graphics and layout design for like Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Do: Pilgrims to the Flying Temple and the upcoming Firefly RPG. Daniel will be doing layout design and helping us out with art direction as well as we try and make Worlds in Peril as inclusive and as well laid out as we can make it. You can check out some of the work he's done over at his site.

The book is going to be a high quality Graphic Novel/Comic Book Size, full color hardcover and will be at least 150 pages. The text for the book is completed, minus some text for examples, and is currently in development editing.Despite being a larger size book, it is being designed to be digitally friendly as well and in a single-column format. We’re going to set the estimated delivery in November to allow for a bit of breathing room in case there are any delays or more content ends up being added.

We've got a couple months built in for buffer allowing for any hitches or delays hopefully and to cover all our bases just in case so a deadline for getting some superhero roleplaying done for the holidays or as Christmas gifts is more than doable!

Additional hardcover copy of Worlds in Peril - $35

Copy of Magicians: Language Learning RPG (PDF) - $10

Copy of Magicains: Language Learning RPG (Book+PDF Combo) - $20

$9,000 - Art Upgrade, more of that sweet, sweet art! *UNLOCKED*

$12,000 - Comic in the beginning of the book designed to teach and show how the game is played. *UNLOCKED*

$16,000 - Epub/mobi formats to make the digital experience even better. Also, even more art AND lay-flat binding. *UNLOCKED*

$18,000 – THE LEGACY & BACK FROM THE DEAD - From the mind beneath the Evil Hat, Fred Hicks brings us TWO brand new Origin Books! One for playing characters that are taking on a legacy, and one for characters who are back from the dead! *UNLOCKED*

$20,000 – GIVE BACK - The man behind Red Box Vancouver and designer of Adventures on Dungeon Planet, Johnstone Metzger brings us a Drive Book designed around building and giving back to a community.

$21,000 - PERILOUS WORLDS a mini-supplement by J. Walton to add the option of a streamlined ruleset and perilous new settings!

$22,000 – IDENTITY CRISIS - A new Drive Book for superheroes just starting out or characters wrestling with their identity!

Risks and challenges

My first kickstarter for Magicians (http://kck.st/TuOkPa) was an overwhelming and epic success but it definitely made me realize that I should have been better prepared. I'll be using the same printer as I did last time most likely (they're an hour from my house) but there are a few things I'm going to a bit more careful with:

Timeline: While I got Magicians out without a problem, with months to spare actually for the PDF and most book orders, it was a pretty intense schedule for everyone involved. This time I've opened up the schedule a bit more to allow for any hiccups!

Stretch Goals: I went a bit crazy with stretch goals for Magicians so this time the goals are going to focus on the book itself - mostly for more artwork. Extra content could definitely happen but it will be digital and separate from the main book so as not to hinder development or wreak any havoc with our timeline.

This time I've got friends helping me as well and I'm totally going to buy a label maker. Writing out addresses by hand for over 800 people was not my favorite part of the Magicians campaign.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $1 or more

    13 backers

    Innocent Bystander- Our thanks to you citizen! You will be able to read a draft of the game and we will send you psychic high-fives! Your name will appear in the book as an Innocent Bystander, thank you!

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    285 backers

    The Chosen: You have answered the call....to get a pretty sweet PDF. At this level you will be able to read a draft of the game as soon as it is available. You will also receive a finished PDF copy of the game. Your name will appear in the book as one of the Chosen, thank you!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $15 or more

    27 backers

    Sidekick: Not only do you receive a PDF copy of the book

    also.... You've been right beside the heroes through thick and thin and have earned only your name in the book, but your origin story as well. Your name will appear in the book as a Sidekick and you will have a short sentence to describe how you came into your powers, thank you!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    4 backers

    Home Grown Hero: For those who live in the Land of Morning Calm. (South Korea) This pledge level gets you a beautiful copy of Worlds in Peril in print and PDF format. We will ship it to you anywhere in Korea! You will also have access to the early draft version of the game. Your name will appear in the book as a Home Grown Hero, thank you!

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    3 backers

    Freedom Fighters- The World is in Peril, suit up 3 of your friends to help in the battle against evil! Give us three more names and email addresses and we will send you and your friends each a copy of Worlds in Peril Digital PDF, via DrivethruRPG coupon code or otherwise. You and your friends will be listed in the book under Freedom Fighters and will each be given a short sentence to detail your origin story, thank you!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    150 backers All gone!

    Golden Age Hero: This is for all our friends around the world and is the same as the Hero tier at $40 except it's a bit cheaper as a thank you to those who jump on early! You will receive access to a draft version of the game. You also get Worlds in Peril in print and PDF format! Your name will appear in the book as a Hero, thank you! (This reward includes shipping anywhere in the world, including the US.)

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    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $40 or more

    195 backers

    Hero: This is for all our friends around the world. You will receive access to a draft version of the game. You also get Worlds in Peril in print and PDF format! Your name will appear in the book as a Hero, thank you! (This reward includes shipping anywhere in the world, including the US.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    36 backers

    Veteran: You've tested your mettle and it's held true. You've earned your place and your history must be known; Not only your name, but your origin story will be engraved in the book as well. Your name will appear in the book as Veteran and you will have a short sentence to describe how you came into your powers, thank you!

    (This reward includes shipping anywhere in the world, including the US.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $125 or more

    3 backers

    World Protector: You receive the benefits of the Hero level along with an awesome character bust drawn by our fabulous artist Jonathan Rector! The artwork will be included on the front page of the DIGITAL copy of your book.. Prepare to have your faces blown off by ART! Your name will appear in the book as a World Protector, thank you!

    (This reward includes shipping anywhere in the world, including the US.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $130 or more

    5 backers

    Sentinels of Liberty: $130 The Multiverse is tearing itself apart yet again! Put a team together as you are humanity's last, best hope. Give us three more names and email addresses and we will send you and your friends each a copy of Worlds in Peril Digital PDF, via DrivethruRPG coupon code or otherwise AND a total of 4 hard copies of Worlds in Peril. You and your friends will be listed in the book under Sentinels of Liberty and will each be given a short sentence to detail your origin story, thank you!

    (This reward includes shipping anywhere in the world, including the US.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    2 backers Limited (1 left of 3)

    Playboy Billionaire: You receive the benefits of the Hero level and artist extraordinaire Jonathan Rector will draw your likeness as bystander in artwork that will be used in the book! Your name will appear in the book as a Playboy Billionaire, thank you!

    (This reward includes shipping anywhere in the world, including the US.)

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  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    3 backers

    Headquarters-For confirmed retailers only. 6 copies of Worlds in Peril shipped anywhere in the world. We will also put your store and contact info in the back of the book so that anyone looking to support an awesome FLGS that supports kickstarters like ours can find you!

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  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    Cosmic Guardian: For the collector - a one-of-a-kind cover, penciled and inked for the digital copy of your game done by our very own Jonathan Rector. What do you want YOUR cover to look like? Work with us and Jonathan to make your very own cover for WORLDS IN PERIL. Your name will appear in the book as a Cosmic Guardian, thank you!

    (This reward includes shipping anywhere in the world, including the US.)

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    1 backer All gone!

    Beacon of Hope- For confirmed retailers only. 6 copies of Worlds in Peril shipped anywhere in the world. We will also put your store and contact info in the back of the book so that anyone looking to support an awesome FLGS that supports kickstarters like ours can find you! Not only that, but we will work with you and Jonathan Rector, our artist, to have your store featured in the background of one of our double-page spreads.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (32 days)