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Hardcore Survival Horror Role-Playing Game in a world haunted by the nightmares of dead psychics.
Hardcore Survival Horror Role-Playing Game in a world haunted by the nightmares of dead psychics.
Hardcore Survival Horror Role-Playing Game in a world haunted by the nightmares of dead psychics.
390 backers pledged $13,953 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$13,953

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Suffer a blackened birth into a desolate land of surreal horror. A world wounded by psychic warfare, mind-controlled cities, interdimensional labyrinths, and wasteland tribes. You are the alien here; the last survivor of your species. Your existence must be earned.

The greatest inspirations for this world are Cormac McCarthy's The Road, satanic black metal, and ancient Mesopotamia. This is not another dark fantasy of Tolkien's, Lovecraft's, or Martin's influence. This is a survival horror game at its core.  

When the story begins, the characters wake up naked in a dark maze of intersecting dimensions, spawned by the nightmares of dead psychics. After emerging from ground zero, they must face the ash-laden wastelands as scavengers clad in rags and bones. Eventually, they may become rulers over small settlements, gladiators in one of the slave cities, or explorers that unlock the mysteries of psychic powers.

See FAQ for an overview of the setting.

This game is designed with a hardcore mentality to challenge the players in all aspects. You play against the system, like a board game, and your success is up to you. This is not easy. Either you play intelligently, or the game will destroy you.  

Strain is a hybrid system that blends narrativist story-telling with simulationist combat. The combat is not quite crunchy, but it has a bite to it. Combat is modular, so if you prefer a purely narrative system, you do not have to use the combat rules.  

There are two primary mechanics, Doom and Stress. Players can press their luck to succeed at actions, but risk gaining Stress and Doom. Doom is the character's internal death clock, and Stress is rolled against to avoid Failure.  

There is no skill list. Characters are made with 5 randomly rolled background words. The background words are the rank 1 skills of the character, applying to a broad range of situations. You don't increase skills, you learn new skills that are higher rank, but more specific. High rank skills would be very specific.  

Character advancement is not handed to you, you will have to choose your abilities wisely. There are straightforward options for simple abilities called Masteries, and difficult options for more powerful abilities called Inner Powers, which come with drawbacks. These are heavily inspired by Path of Exile, where theorycrafting character builds through clever use of mechanics can allow for powerful characters. Xas Irkalla is intended to be very difficult, and eventually impossible, if you do not optimize your character carefully.  

The Strain system itself is not chained to the setting, and can be used to play any scenario where characters must struggle against their stress scores, insanity, and a ticking death clock. The system has been broken up into optional systems for different types of games.

 

Backing at any reward level gets you instant access to Strain Basic, the narrative core mechanics of the Strain system - useful for any dark or gritty setting, utilizing the signature Stress and Doom mechanics. Digital format in PDF and EPUB. Click here for instant access.

Modular rules to make combat more intense, complete with adversary templates, injuries, and equipment options. Digital format in PDF and EPUB. Will be available immediately after funding goal is reached.

Aberrant character options and bizarre creature/object generators. Intended for Strain Basic, but useful for any system. Digital format in PDF and EPUB. Will be available immediately after funding goal is reached.

The complete Strain system as intended, though it is removed from any setting. It is the generic version of the full core ruleset. A hybrid system of narrativist storytelling and simulationist combat, including a guide for Game Masters. Digital format in PDF and EPUB. Will be available shortly after this campaign ends.

 

 

Comments from reviewers and players of the early release version of Xas Irkalla:  

"Dark as shit. And better than Fate." - Davae Breon Jaxon, Critical Hit Publishing (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9SXLowwmU4FEBNCStdFCtw)  

"[Xas Irkalla] was so arresting in terms of its fiction, and left a real impression on all three of us." - Brendan Carrion, Full Metal RPG (http://fullmetalrpg.com/)  

"Difficult to play against the game, like a board game. Makes you feel really good when you are successful." - Edward B., player  

"...all the details are incredible. Never seen darkness and horror incorporated on such a high level as this.. especially in a game. It gives off a truly genuine feeling.." - Melinda F., player  

"Just wanted to say I ran a game of this for my friends for the first time at the weekend, we all had a blast. Thanks so much for this great system!" - Ryan P., player

(REACHED) $7500 - Artifacts of the Azerate: 11 anti-cosmic artifacts will be included in Xas Irkalla with artwork, history, adventure sites, and world-changing effects.  

(REACHED) $11000 - Throne of the Plague God: An additional adventure included in Xas Irkalla with 3 iconic set pieces that can each serve as a setting for countless scenarios.

RITUAL SITES

Google+
https://plus.google.com/communities/108898215259221352589  

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/XasIrkalla/  

Instagram
https://www.instagram.com/atramentis/  

Website
www.atramentisgames.com

INTERNATIONAL CUSTOMS AND DUTIES:  

The purchaser is responsible for all customs as when we send out the product as we are not always informed that there will be customs to pay on the purchaser's end. Please be aware of your country's laws on shipping.

Risks and challenges

Xas Irkalla is created by James Vail, with management help from his wife, Mina Korzan. James has worked on Xas Irkalla for 4 years, and there is already enough content for the print release, though he would like to add more artwork. James is able to draw and paint very quickly, but he is designing, writing, and illustrating this project by himself (the only exceptions being logo, border, and layout design). If something were to happen to James, the artwork would not be completed, but Mina would make sure that the book is completed with the layout designer, using all of the material James already created.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Strain Basic

    Narrative rules-lite core mechanics of the Strain system. Useful for any dark or gritty setting.
    Available immediately!

    Includes:
    • Strain Basic (PDF/EPUB)
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    Strain Trinity

    Strain Basic with 2 supplements:
    -Agony: Modular rules to make combat more intense, complete with adversary templates, injuries, and equipment options.
    -Abomination: Aberrant character options and bizarre creature/object generators. Intended for Strain Basic, but useful for any system.

    Includes:
    • Strain Basic (PDF/EPUB)
    • Agony (PDF/EPUB)
    • Abomination (PDF/EPUB)
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    True Strain

    Setting neutral version of the Strain System complete core rulebook: a hybrid system of narrativist storytelling and simulationist combat. (Does not include setting details for Xas Irkalla.)

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    Xas Irkalla Digital

    The digital version of the full book, complete with the Strain system, psychic manipulations, the setting of Xas Irkalla, and the survival-horror adventure: "Nightmares of the Dead Dreamers"

    Includes:
    • Strain Trinity (PDF/EPUB)
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    Xas Irkalla Book

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    Xas Irkalla Book

    The complete 6x9 softcover version of the finished book, approximate120 pages.

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    Xas Irkalla Book + Shirt

    Get the softcover book, and represent at your next convention, FLGS, or metal show with the black metal-style Xas Irkalla logo on a black shirt.

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    Xas Irkalla Hardcover + Poster

    Hardcover book and "Hungerer in Bone and Tatters" 22x28 inch premium glossy poster hand-signed by James Vail

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    Xas Irkalla Hardcover + Poster

    Hardcover book and "Hungerer in Bone and Tatters" 22x28 inch premium glossy poster hand-signed by James Vail

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    Get 5 hardcover books. Ships to retailers prior to full release.

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    Spread corruption with a Softcover Book, Hardcover Book, Shirt, and a Signed Poster

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    Dark God

    Forge a dark artifact to be included in Xas Irkalla. With your concept, I will work with you to design a unique mechanic and story for your item, and your name will be entered in the credits.

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    • Xas Irkalla (Hardcover Book)
    • Xas Irkalla logo on black shirt, your choice of mens or womens
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    Plague God

    In addition to other rewards, I will draw for you a character of your description in my personal dark art style to be included in the final book.

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    • All digital books
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    • Xas Irkalla (Hardcover Book)
    • Xas Irkalla logo on black shirt, your choice of mens or womens
    • Signed 22" x 28" premium poster
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    The Eye on the Throne

    In addition to other rewards, you will receive an acrylic-on-canvas painting of your character in my personal dark art style.

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    • Xas Irkalla (Hardcover Book)
    • Xas Irkalla logo on black shirt, your choice of mens or womens
    • Signed 22" x 28" premium poster
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Funding period

- (40 days)