About this project
Synthicide brings the following to your game table:
- A dark, hostile sci-fi setting where humans are worthless and money is everything
- A galaxy full of noir adventures and high technology
- The ACTIONS Rule Codex (ARC), an attribute-based rule-set designed for imaginative role-play and full-throttle combat
- Automated GM Tools to quickly build NPCs, traps, and mission ideas – all on demand
- A Plot Twist system with surprises for players and game masters alike
- Optional rules to up the grittiness and depth of the game, including Faction Heat, Mental Trauma, and Shock Damage
Humanity collapsed having failed to quarantine a mutant plague. Centuries later, mankind clings to civilization on the rim of the Milky Way. You are a Sharper, a free agent performing criminal missions for gangs and corporations alike. A corrupt and powerful machine cult, the Tharnaxist Church, makes no effort to hinder you. But that changes when you’re hired to terminate one of their holy automatons – a crime known as Synthicide…
- Scarcity: You start out broke and starving, though you have plenty of bullets and a ship to fix that.
- Violence: Murder is not a crime. However, showing a little mercy might just make you a friend in this crazy galaxy.
- Corruption: Almost every institution is looking out for itself, and sees humans as disposable pawns. If you can raise up the ranks, you could change this or sway it to your advantage.
- Mystery: You may have a spaceship, but you don’t know much about what’s left of the galaxy. As you and your allies make names for yourself, you will get caught in a mess of faction intrigue and ancient discoveries.
- Synthicide: It’s the name of the game, and it’s inescapable. A robot will oppose you at some point, whether you’re hired to kill it or not. In order to survive, you will have to commit the one crime that still counts.
All players in Synthicide are human, but come with varying degrees of cybernetics and genetic deviance. You could be:
- A weak human scoundrel surviving on wits alone
- A cybernetic thug hired to “take out the trash”
- A stealthy mutant scorned by society but valued by criminals
Read and play the full beta rules for Synthicide. Available here: SYNTHICIDE BETA 2.0 RULES
Read the test pages for a graphic novel set in Synthicide game world! Available here: SHADOWS OF SUNRIDER CITY (COMIC)
The above links will take you to the Misdirected Mark podcast network where you can listen to a two part play session of Synthicide.
If you want to pick and choose your backer rewards, the following items are available as add-ons, but are also included in higher backer levels.
Five uniquely sculpted metal d10s in a custom bag.
A 6-panel GM screen with information to help improvisation and quick rule adjudication.
A soundtrack with music composed by David Stone Hamilton. Each song is an original track made to fit a specific mood such as a high-energy battle, or calmer moments like resting at the spaceport.
More pledges means better book art, and it also unlocks new content. The following will become available when funding goals are hit:
- $10,000 "Story Strings" are added to the core book. These are 12 custom mission outlines you can plug and play in your existing campaigns.
- $15,000 We make In Hiding, a sequel to the Synthicide Preview Adventure. This becomes the first entry in the Game Companion book. $10 PDF, $35 paperback.
- $22,000 We finish the graphic novel! 30 pages of art telling a story set in the dark, dangerous Sunrider City. Added FREE to the Game Companion.
- $30,000 Synthicide expansion Kings of Darkness. We write and produce a short character folio providing deeper information on all game factions and their prominent members. Added FREE to the Game Companion.
- $41,000 Synthicide expansion Nests of Vipers. We write and produce a world book that provides higher detail about urban settings found around the galaxy. Added FREE to the Game Companion.
The Companion Book is the new compendium of all unlocked stretch goals. When first unlocked, it will contain a brand new 26-page adventure for characters on the run from their previous crimes. It can work as a stand-alone mission, or work as a sequel to the level one preview adventure available here: PREVIEW ADVENTURE
When stretch goals are reached, the Game Companion will also include the graphic novel, Kings of Darkness, and Nests of Vipers content.
Synthicide uses new 1d10 system called the ACTIONS Rule Codex (ARC). It's a simple, roll-over system that stays out of the way while you play. The system is named after its seven core Attributes:
- Awareness (A). Awareness is used to glean sensory information. Noticing hidden enemies, concealed weapons, or picking up on suspicious body language are uses of Awareness.
- Combat (C). This Attribute represents your character’s skill at harming opponents, either through brute force strikes or finessed attacks. Combat increases both your attack and damage modifiers.
- Toughness (T). This Attribute represents your character’s health and physical prowess. You use Toughness to resist physical damage, as well as perform athletic feats such as jumping and climbing.
- Influence (I). Deception, negotiation, and coercion fall under Influence. Influence also affects the strength of psychic powers.
- Operation (O). Operation represents hard knowledge and training. It's not how smart your character is, but how educated. This is used when dealing with computers, piloting craft, repairing equipment, or other highly technical tasks.
- Nerve (N). Nerve describes the level of willpower your character has. This applies to resisting social pressure, intimidation, and even psychic attacks.
- Speed (S). Speed represents a character's agility and dexterity. It also determines how many actions you get in battle.
Rather than a traditional skill system, characters can learn Knowledge Powers that immediately grant special moves, such as hacking computers or crafting weapons. All Knowledge Powers rely on your Operation Attribute as explained above.
Imaginative, smooth, and tactical; that's the focus of Synthicide combat. Here are the basics:
- On a Grid. Battles take place on a square grid to determine line of sight and any spatial relationships needed for character powers.
- Attacking. Attacks are simple – just roll 1d10. Add your attack modifiers to see if you hit. Next, add your damage modifiers to the same die result to total your damage. This keeps things intuitive; low-scoring hits deal low damage and high-scoring hits deal high damage.
- Gain Advantage. This rule brings flexibility and creativity into battles. Players can imagine any method to get an edge on an enemy, such as kicking them in the stomach, throwing dirt in the eyes, or the classic "Look over there!" If the action is successful, you can choose to force enemies to move, take penalties to their defenses, or even lose their next turn.
For game masters out there, Synthicide is fun to run. Automated tools take care of the heavy lifting so you can focus on storytelling. But the generators keep the game mechanics concrete, so you can get as deep and gamey as you want. Try it out! Check out following links:
NPC Generator. Select a level, character type, a power, and then you’re off! You created a unique NPC that can help or harm the players. Try it here:
Trap Generator. Need a trap? Set a level, affected attributes, and what knowledge is needed to overcome it. No longer must you dig through pages of trapped doors and whirling blades to surprise your players. Try it here:
Mission Generator. If the players want to pick up a quick job for some easy cash, use the Mission Generator! It will provide a randomized outline for objectives, challenges, and fair payment. Try it here:
More to come. Before release, more tools like PC maker tools and automated planet generators will be added.
Synthicide already has great art from Mike Nash, but we need more from him and other artists. Money will go toward more art and a beautiful layout, as well as the printing of the RPG manual itself. The final product will be available in the following formats:
- DRM free PDF ($20)
- 200+ page hardcover & PDF ($60 + $20 if shipping internationally)
Some special things are available to backers who pledge $85 or more.
- Hardcover & PDF, five metal d10s in a custom dice bag, and a limited edition GM screen ($100 + $30 if shipping internationally)
- As above, plus a signed copy of the book, a digital copy of the Synthicide Session Soundtrack, and automatic inclusion on all physical stretch goals ($200 + $40 if shipping internationally)
- As above, Patron credit in the book, limited edition dice bag with customized name tag, a signed art print from Mike Nash, and 5 silver-plated d10s, ($500 + free shipping)
- As above, Designer credit in the book, and we co-design a new character or faction ($1000 + free shipping)
Risks and challenges
We are working with Montgomery Markland, producer for great titles such as Wasteland 2 and Torment: Tides of Numenara. With his help, we have secured gap financing so there are no budget risks.
However, one meaningful risk is timeline: will we exactly hit our targeted ship date, or will we be off by a few months? Managing the creation of final artwork and writing unlocked stretch goals could take longer than predicted.
Another risk is for the pledge levels of Signature, Patron, and Designer. These levels are priced to include free printed copies of stretch goals. If stretch goals remain locked, these levels receive fewer rewards. However, if all stretch goals are unlocked, these levels provide a great value to the backer.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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