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A sci-fi sourcebook and megadventure for White Star: Science Fiction Roleplaying
A sci-fi sourcebook and megadventure for White Star: Science Fiction Roleplaying
63 backers pledged $3,000 to help bring this project to life.

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$3,000

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Heart of Varrul is a White Star: Science Fiction Roleplaying™ campaign setting book that details the aliens, factions, and conflicts of the Rul System, Tathkee Station, and the Planet Varrul. The Rul System is on the brink of an interstellar gold rush and the PCs are poised to get involved on the ground floor. How they get involved is up to them!  

Written by Peter C. Spahn and James M. Spahn, Heart of Varrul expands on the foundation laid by the critically acclaimed White Star: Science Fiction Roleplaying™. With illustrations by longtime White Star™ artist James Shields and maps by Just Insert Imagination's Morne Schaap, Heart of Varrul is specifically designed to give Referees a readymade location to run hours of adventures.

OVERVIEW

"They call it varrulium. A lightweight ore that, when refined, shows a remarkable ability to deflect energy. It can be used to protect everything from circuit boards to dreadnaught hulls. Some say that certain alloys can even resist the cutting properties of the mystical Star Swords.  

The ore is found only on the remote gas giant Varrul, which lies deep in the Galactic Beyond, but that’s not stopping anyone. There are too many free credits to be made. Millions. Maybe billions, all just there for the taking.  

The big corporations are sending contractors to locate and strip mine the islands floating through the gas giant’s skies. They are hiring mercenaries to protect their workers from the local fauna. A lot of independent miners have also traveled to Varrul hoping to strike it rich.  

There’s a catch of course. Varrul’s turbulent red skies are filled with clouds of toxic gases, ion pockets, and storms of superheated plasma that can burn through even the thickest bulkheads, so every trip into the planet’s atmosphere could be your last.  

Then there’s the wildlife. Flocks of power suckers descend on anything with an energy signature. Giant flying worms prowl the airways, attacking and consuming survey and mining vessels. And deadly swarms of insectile beasts have already slaughtered more miners than the Trampallan Plague.  

I can see you're not deterred. Safe travels on your trip. When you get there, Tathkee Station is the place to start. It’s an old SkyMall 5000 series that has been converted to a rough and tumble suborbital spaceport. It’s owner, Ingan Tathkee, is an old friend of mine. Mention my name and he’ll set you on the right path to making your own fortune, but watch your back. There are plenty of lawless types at the station ready to prey on newcomers.  

You’d best hurry, though. It’s only a matter of time before the Interstellar Upheaval reaches Varrul---if it hasn’t already. Varrulium ore would be worth a fortune to the war chests of the Galactic Consortium or the Restoration. And some say there’s even more to the planet than meets the eye. Talk among mystics and scholars suggests that Varrul’s swirling gases hide a cosmic secret deep in the planet’s core, in the very heart of Varrul.  

Of course, these could all just be rumors. There's only one way to find out for sure. . . "

Tathkee Station Directory
Tathkee Station Directory

CONTENT 

Heart of Varrul is packed full of usable content. The newly discovered Rul System lies far out in the Galactic Beyond which makes it easy to drop into any existing White Star™ campaign. Descriptions of NPCs, factions, and locations are similarly painted in broad strokes to make them easily adaptable. All NPC entries are fully statted for the White Star™ system. We’re estimating the finished product to be approximately 100-120 pages total. 

The book contains a detailed overview of the Rul System, Tathkee Station, and Planet Varrul including: 

  • Layout of the planets and features of the remotely located Rul System. 
  • History of Varrul. This includes the history known to the miners and other visitors as well as the planet’s darker, more mysterious history. 
  • History of Tathkee Station. A seedy suborbital space station that acts as the hub of commerce and intrigue on the gas giant Varrul and the Rul System. 
  • Security, laws, and punishment aboard the station. 
  • Interesting shops aboard the station and locales throughout the system and planet. 
  • Games and leisure activities (many of them dangerous) to be found aboard the station. 
  • Over one hundred (100) original NPCs of Note. 
  • Twenty-five (25) Factions of Note. 
  • Ten (10) New Aliens and Creatures found on the station and in the Rul System, including the insectile Tikatikatik, a sapient species native to Varrul. 
  • Five (5) New Vessels found on Tathkee Station and Varrul. 
  • Three (3) New Classes. 
  • Various intrigues aboard Tathkee Station. 
  • Random Encounters on Tathkee Station (detailed and fully statted). 
  • Random Encounters in the skies of Planet Varrul (detailed and fully statted). 
  • Guidelines for opening a business on Tathkee Station. 
  • Guidelines for starting an independent varrulium mining company. 
  • Guidelines for working as a corporate mercenary. 
  • Guidelines for meeting (and perhaps joining) the native Varrulians whose lives are being ruined by the constant strip-mining operations. 
  • Numerous Plot Hooks, Conflicts, and Adventure Ideas to be found in the Rul System, aboard Tathkee Station, and on Planet Varrul. 
Hostile Alien Tikatikatik
Hostile Alien Tikatikatik

WHAT'S NEW IN PLAY?

In summary, five (5) all new White Star™ adventures and a softcover copy of Heart of Varrul or a hardcover copy of Heart of Varrul (which contains three of those adventures), along with PDFs of the same. At the higher Backer levels, you get to help design a Personalized NPC (see below) to be included in Heart of Varrul. At the highest Backer level you also get PDF copies of all SNG products as well as links to "at-cost" copies of all SNG print products (softcover and hardcover). Check out the Small Niche Games catalog on RPGNow.

PERSONALIZED NPCs 

One thing that turned out to be hugely popular with past products such as the Guidebook to the City of Dolmvay and the Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall was the inclusion of personalized NPCs for higher-level backers. This really allowed the backers to leave their mark on the product by having their characters "come to life" in the settings (and in some cases, game fiction). 

Heart of Varrul offers the same opportunity, so if you have a sci-fi character you want to see in print (and possibly illustrated), please look closely at the pledge levels. The Rul System would make a great home for your beloved character! 

COMMUNICATION 

Anyone who has backed my previous Kickstarters knows I like to communicate frequently with backers via updates, emails, and comments. Progress reports will be sent out monthly to describe the overall progress and include select pieces of artwork and/or maps. I will also be available to answer questions and respond to feedback. 

Tathkee Plaza
Tathkee Plaza

COSTS 

All money earned from Kickstarter pledges will be put towards writing, artwork, and maps, so the more backing I receive the prettier the product will look and the more content it will contain. 

REWARDS FULFILLMENT 

I'm handling fulfillment with this Kickstarter the same way I did with the Guidebook to the Duchy of Valnwall. Instead of ordering and shipping the books myself, I will be emailing fulfillment links to eligible backers. These links allow backers to purchase their copy of Heart of Varrul from RPGNow "at-cost" and have it shipped directly to their home. This not only helps lower the pledge levels, but also spreads the backer costs out over time, which is helpful for those of us who share bank accounts with our spouses. ;)

 

Risks and challenges

This is my fifth Kickstarter. All four of my previous Kickstarters funded and were fulfilled either on time or after a minor delay. I’ve had nothing but happy customers. No one can account for everything, but I like to think I've gotten a handle on all the common risks and challenges normally associated with Kickstarters.

Let me assure you that if this Kickstarter funds, "Heart of Varrul" will be released. There is no question of that. The writing is about 50-75% complete. I plan to be finished with the entire project by Fall of 2018 at the very latest---quite possibly much sooner.

I have been publishing Labyrinth Lord™, Swords & Wizardry™ and other OSR products (particularly adventures and setting sourcebooks) on a steady pace for the past seven years, so I am no stranger to publishing. For those of you who don't know me, I hope my previous experiences with Kickstarter and my publishing history will help set your mind at ease.

Check out the Small Niche Games product page on RPGNow for a listing of my previous titles, including a number of free downloads that should give you a better idea of my work.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    NEXUS

    Thank you for pointing travelers and entrepreneurs towards Varrul.

    You get your name listed in the backer credits, but there are no other special rewards at this level. Think of this as a donation to show your support for OSR publishers. Thanks!

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    MINER

    You’re a steadfast worker, ready to mine varrulium ore for your company or yourself. If you can keep from being eaten by natives or poisoned by toxic gases, you're sure to leave the planet a wealthy man!

    At this level, you get a PDF copy of the White Star™ class sourcebooks "Star Gods Help Us" and "Gray Nebula: Crewmen, Con-men, and Lawmen". You also receive PDF copies of the adventures "Stuck on Etholk" and "True Life Night" as well as a PDF copy of "Shards of Urfklin", an unreleased one-shot adventure for White Star™ that will be available along with "Heart of Varrul" in October 2018.

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    OVERSEER

    It's your job to keep those miners in check and make sure you get an honest day's work out of them. All complaints of low pay, harsh working conditions, and alien menaces are to be forwarded to the front office.

    At this level, you get all the perks from the previous levels as well as a PDF copy of "Heart of Varrul".

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    MERC

    You're being paid well to defend the miners from the hostile alien Tikatikatik and other fearsome monsters native to the planet. Killing is your business and on Varrul, business is good!

    At this level, you get all of the perks from the previous levels as well as a link to purchase "at-cost" softcover print version of "Heart of Varrul" and the upcoming SNG Star Jumper Adventure Pack containing "Stuck on Etholk", "True Life Night", and "Shards of Urfklin".

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    DEEP SPACE EXPLORER

    You have come to Varrul in search of riches and adventure.

    At this level, you get all of the perks from the previous levels as well as a PDF copy and link to purchase "at-cost" the Rul System Adventure Pack. This adventure pack will contain three (3) new adventures specific to Tathkee Station and the gas giant Varrul.

    In addition, Small Niche Games will work with you to create an NPC to be included in "Heart of Varrul". This can be an entirely new NPC or a former character whose name you'd like to see in print. All NPCs will possess motivations and plot hooks relevant to Varrul. Select NPCs will even be illustrated by a professional artist (likely as part of a scene) and included in the pages of "Heart of Varrul".

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    STAR KNIGHT

    What has drawn you to Varrul? A dream. A whisper. A tremor in the Way. A sense that something is not right. . .

    At this level, you get all of the perks from the previous levels as well as a link to purchase "at-cost" the special edition hardcover version of "Heart of Varrul". The "Heart of Varrul" Special Edition Hardcover will contain the three (3) adventures depicted in the Rul System Adventure Pack as well as an additional adventure entitled "Great Drum of the Wanderer" which outlines the steps necessary to calm the cosmic threat slumbering deep within Varrul's rocky core.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    TIKATREKATIK (VARRULIAN MYSTIC}

    The alien miners and warriors are destroying your world. Your people are dying. It is time to sound the Pipes of Attachin and drive the invaders back into the Great Dark.

    At this level, you get all of the perks from the previous levels as well as PDF copies and “at-cost” links of ALL products on the current SNG catalogue. This includes titles for Swords & Wizardry™, WWII: Operation WhiteBox™, Labyrinth Lord™, and more! Use this option to purchase all SNG products for one low price!

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Funding period

- (30 days)