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Undying is a diceless, vampire roleplaying game of predation and intrigue. Your world is blood, debt, humanity, and status.
Undying is a diceless, vampire roleplaying game of predation and intrigue. Your world is blood, debt, humanity, and status.
Undying is a diceless, vampire roleplaying game of predation and intrigue. Your world is blood, debt, humanity, and status.
820 backers pledged $31,233 to help bring this project to life.

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Last Chance to get the Limited Edition Hardcover!

My goal for the hardcover is to produce the hottest RPG book that a Kickstart can buy. Why? Take a look at the art by El Tío Drake and Nate Marcel that graces Undying’s Kickstarter page. There are over 40 full and two page spread pieces in all. The art is fantastic and it deserves special attention. So that’s the idea, the hardcover captures the rich art and polished game design in a drop-dead gorgeous collector’s edition.

So, how does this work? Starting with hardcover backer number one, you will get a premium hardcover RPG. As the number of hardcover sales increase, the unit cost of each hardcover goes down. Instead of just pocketing the difference, I’m going to re-invest my savings back into the book to improve the print quality or add extras. The hardcover stretch goals will be based on number of backers at hardcover tiers and the rewards, instead of the total value of the Kickstarter.

The Kickstarter also features stretch goals unlock upgrades to the hardcover book. To reap the reward of these stretch goals, you must back at a hardcover tier of PRINCEPS or higher. Unlike the PDF stretch goals, the hardcover stretch goals are tied to the total number of hardcover books backed.  

100 Hardcover Books - Paper Upgrade (UNLOCKED!!!)

Paper stock is upgraded to 80#. Check out these gorgeous samples I just received from the printer this morning!

150 Hardcover Books - Black Cloth Cover with Silver Foil Stamp (UNLOCKED!!!)

The hardcover will be bound with black cloth and a sliver foil label of Undying's diamond logo, designed by John Harper! Here's a preview of the foil logo!

Draft Foil Stamp Title by John Harper
Draft Foil Stamp Title by John Harper

I'm hoping to get samples of foil stamped cloth covers from the printer soon that I can share. Until then, here's what a cloth cover and foil stamp look like on a book from my collection.

Example of cloth cover with foil stamp
Example of cloth cover with foil stamp

200 Hardcover Books - Smyth Sewn Binding (UNLOCKED!!!)

The hardcover will be bound with a cloth cover and the signatures (pages) will be sewn into the binding, rather than glued. A special treat for print buffs!

Example of sewn book binding
Example of sewn book binding

Undying is a diceless, vampire roleplaying game of predation and intrigue. You are a predator - a blood-sucking monster of the night. Your world revolves around four things: blood, humanity, status, and debt. These four traits are tightly interlocked with the game play.

Undying contains mature content, including explicit language and illustrations that include nudity and graphic violence.

I’m a firm believer in openness in indie RPG game design. I want you to see what you’re getting and, if you like what you see, I’d love you to back my Kickstarter! Please check out this text-only copy of the game and decide for yourself!

Undying (NSFW) This is the free text version of the game. When you back the Kickstarter, you will get the full version with beautiful art and layout!

Undying Playbooks This is the set of play materials, including playbooks and move sheets.

Undying cycles between periods of intense action and drama where conflicts come to a head and periods of tense quiet where wounds are licked and plots are hatched. During the course of one or two sessions, the PCs experience tumultuous events initiated by a galvanizing crisis. The story unfolds hour-by-hour, night-by-night until the conflict resolves with a new status quo. This is nightly play. When a new status quo is achieved, the time scale of play changes to months, years, decades, or even centuries. This is downtime play. When chaos is once again unleashed, predators make their gambit; through another one or two sessions of nightly play, we see who comes out on top and how the predator community is changed.

Game play in Undying revolves around four traits: blood, debt, humanity, and status. These traits are tightly integrated into a dynamic and suspenseful diceless game.

Blood is your all-consuming passion. It is the object of your deepest desires and most primal needs. Your free will, your self-determination – however you choose to look at it – is a façade: a skin-deep veneer of civility gilding the lifestealer within. You can fool the prey and you can fool yourself, but you cannot fool the murderous beast inside you.

Humanity is sympathy, compassion, self-restraint, decency and understanding. Your humanity is forever tarnished by the stain of your curse and holding onto its tattered shreds is crucial.

Status is your place in predator society. Among predators, there is a hierarchy and you have a place in it, probably not near the top and, ideally, not at the very bottom. Predators jockey for better position, embroiling you in their shadowy machinations.

Debt is the only measure of wealth that truly matters to predators. It is both what you owe a predator and your promise to repay them. A predator is powerful, but a predator supported by other predators has power. That power has a cost and debt is its currency.

Predator Lore is a guided toolkit that helps you get exactly what you want from the game. Undying gives you a great framework and then helps you to dial in the exact setting and mythology you want for your story.

Diceless game play is achieved through blood, debt, status, humanity and snowballing moves. For example: hunting leads to feeding, feeding leads to blood, feeding spotlights your humanity because of the hard choices you make when you feed and compromising erodes your humanity, then spending blood leads to needing blood, needing blood leads to hunting and feeding, and then your eroding humanity makes your hard choices harder. 

For moves like Meddle and Fight, you bet blood. Betting and bluffing makes these moves an exciting game of brinkmanship, rather than a dull game of blood accounting. Meddle works like poker - each round you raise, call, or fold and the winner takes all. Fight makes violent conflict between predators decisive and lethal - everyone bets blood in secret and when the bets are revealed, the winner decides who lives and who dies. Combat at the table is resolved as quickly as combat between the predators in the fiction.

The moves in Undying all work together to focus game play on blood, debt, humanity, and status.

Undying Hardcover Edition

The hardcover is a limited edition, Kickstarter-only printing. Don’t pass up this opportunity!

Blood Tokens

The blood tokens will be red glass beads delivered in a fabric pouch. If volumes are high, I may be able to offer stretch goals to customize the blood token offering.

Undying Softcover Edition

I know the hardcover is a big investment and, if that’s too much but you still want to get your hands on a physical book, I totally get it. That’s why I’m offering a print on demand (POD) softcover through Drive Thru RPG (DTRPG)! 

Why POD? Cost. DTRPG has both domestic and international print shops that serve the world with affordable printing and shipping. When you back the softcover, I'll send you a code from DTRPG's website. You redeem that code and pay the cost of printing and shipping. I know that's an extra step for you, but by leveraging DTRPG’s logistics network, I can pass the savings straight to you.

Undying PDF Edition

Save a tree! If you want to upgrade from the free plain text to enjoy John Harper’s stunning layout and to get El Tío Drake and Nate Marcel’s art too, then the Undying PDF is right for you. If you back a physical book, you will also get a complimentary PDF of the book!

The PDF will be distributed to you via a free download code from DTRPG. You just follow the link to their website and download it. If you have an account on DTRPG, then you can add Undying to your library!

Portraits

You will be immortalized in the form of a custom illustration by El Tío Drake. This illustration will be used as character art for Seattle Flesh and Fire Quick Start. The Quick Start is a set of pre-generated characters and other play aids that you can use to get your game off and running. The Quick Start is set during the Great Seattle Fire of 1889 and will be featured in all versions of the book as well as a separate letter sized PDF for easy printing.

You'll send me a photo and it will be transformed into a portrait of a 19th century, wild west predator. You'll get to name the character and provide background details about them, if you want to. I will work with you to ensure that your photo and character description fit with the tone of the setting. I reserve the right to reject all or part of your submission (I don't have any reason to believe I will need to do this).

Fine Print: You will need to send me a photo of a single person in a common, electronic format (such as .jpg). I'll send a release form to you after the Kickstarter ends and I will need you to get it signed by the person in the photo, scan it, and send it to me. To keep on schedule, I need to get the photo and release form as soon as possible. You will have two weeks after the Kickstarter end date to provide the photo and release form to me, after which point I reserve the right to send you a refund instead, less all fees. By submitting your photo, you grant me permanent and non-revocable but non-exclusive license to use the resulting portrait in my products. This means I can use them in my work but you can also do whatever you like with them.

Painting

The Great Seattle Fire
The Great Seattle Fire

Nate Marcel created a beautiful oil painting of the Great Seattle Fire on commission and I am pleased to offer it for sale! If you back this, you win the grand prize!

The painting is an original 36" x  24" varnished Black and White acrylic painting, not framed. The painting will be shipped to you separately from the hardcover and the bag of blood tokens, because they require different packaging. You will get access to the Undying PDF and PDF stretch goals as soon as they are available.

Here's a picture of Nate Marcel and me with the painting at Go Play NW!

But wait, there’s more! I am so lucky to know a bunch of great game designers in the indie RPG scene and they’ve graciously offered their time and talent to produce stretch goals for Undying.

These stretch goals are available to everyone who backs at the PLEBEIAN level or higher and they are unlocked based on the total dollar value raised by the Kickstarter.  

All PDF stretch goals will be bundled and distributed to you via a free download code from DTRPG.

$10,000 The Grind - an Undying hack by John Harper (UNLOCKED!!!)

A diceless game about killers and cars in the post-apocalypse — inspired by the recent Mad Max film. Players trade blood for fuel, fuel for hope, and hope for freedom as they grind it out in the wasteland.

$12,500 Connections - an Undying expansion by Paul Riddle (UNLOCKED!!!)

Connections brings the drama between predator and prey. Your connection is a person who means as much to you as unlife itself. Connections is inspired by the vampire TV genre. This expansion adds a completely revised set of moves, based on a early playtest edition of Undying, that give you the tools to explore a predator's emotional connection to prey.

$15,000 Plague Empire - an Undying playset in English and Italian by Federico Totti  (UNLOCKED!!!)

Rome, 165 AD, the Roman Empire is ruled by two emperors, Marco Aurelio and his adopted brother Lucius Verus. Lucius Verus and his armies return from a campaign in the Middle East, bringing home one of the most devastating plagues in history. The disease reaps thousands of victims every day. The people of Rome are reduced to a few, anemic, survivors and starving predators are at each others' throats. To harness the anarchy Princeps and Patricians seek advice from the Sybils (a new playbook created for this setting).

L'impero della piaga - un'ambientazione per Undying in italiano di Federico Totti  

Roma, 165 d.C. L'Impero Romano è governato da due imperatori, Marco Aurelio e suo fratello adottivo Lucio Vero. Quest'ultimo torna con le sue armate da una campagna in Medio Oriente, portando in patria una delle più devastanti pestilenze della storia. Il morbo miete migliaia di vittime ogni giorno. Il popolo di Roma è ridotto a pochi, anemici, sopravvissuti e i predatori affamati si saltano alla gola l'uno con l'altro. Nel tentativo di imbrigliare l'anarchia Principe e Patrizi cercano il consiglio delle Sibille (un nuovo libretto creato per questa ambientazione).

$17,500 Hungry and Hopping: Spooky Encounters with Mister Vampire - an Undying predator lore supplement by Jonathan Walton (UNLOCKED!!!)

"Hungry & Hopping: Spooky Encounters with Mister Vampire" is a custom set of Lore for Chinese vampires and hungry ghosts, inspired by classic Hong Kong horror and horror-comedy cinema, from "Encounters of the Spooky Kind" and "A Chinese Ghost Story" to more recent entries like "Rigor Mortis." Using the existing Undying rules, this new set of Lore reskins predators and their rivalries for the bright lights and labyrinthine alleys of modern Chinese cities.

$20,000 The Tiffany Doctors - an Undying playset by Jason Morningstar (UNLOCKED!!!)

Baltimore, Maryland, in 1885 is the cradle of American medical education, with more teaching hospitals than any city on the continent. The brutal, rough-and-tumble world of nineteenth-century medicine provides a perfect cover for those who would prey on the hot blood of humanity, and Baltimore's Princeps long ago issued an edict - if you want to hunt in Baltimore, you first find a place in medicine. You may be a professor, physician, pharmacist, clinician, prosector, nurse, anatomy assistant, scientist, surgeon, dentist, corpse-finder or surgical theater scut, but you'll work toward the health and betterment of humankind. Like a shepherd tending his flock. 

It keeps things simple. And in this fever-plagued port town, so few things are simple.

$25,000 Cursus - an Undying Hack by Hamish Cameron (UNLOCKED!!!)

After Magnesia, the Res Publica has no rivals, only rivalry. Senatorial families of noble lineage vie with each other and with and Novi Homines of recent wealth in the curia, the forum, and the domus for the choicest commands and the greatest honours.  

In Cursus, coin and debt are the lifeblood of politics; the elite are predators and the rest are prey.  

Cursus strips the supernatural from Undying and lays bare the naked greed that fuels the human struggle for power in the Roman Republic.

$30,000 Sanguine Stars - An Undying Playset by Sage La Torra (UNLOCKED!!!)

Sanguine Stars Humanity has spread beyond its Earthly cradle, and with it, the scourge of vampirism. The great Sol Empire holds dominion over the many fiefs and guilds claiming planets as their own, and it has one edict before all others: a vampire cannot be suffered to live. You, bloodsucker, may have a world as your hunting grounds, but if so much as a rumor of your presence spreads to the Empire they'll nuke the surface to glass. It's the only way to be sure.

Sanguine Stars takes Undying into the future, providing a playset and extra rules to play vampires in an ancient future of god-emperors.

$35,000 Expanded Lore - an Undying Supplement by Shannon Riddle

Shannon Riddle vows to watch hours and hours of vampire TV and movies to bring you custom predator lore! Predator lore is the vampire mythology part of Undying - like a stake through the heart does "X." Expanded Lore presents a sampling of vampire factoids from popular media that you can reference when you run your game.

Game Design and Writing: Paul Riddle - http://www.enigmamachinations.com

Interior Artwork: El Tio Drake - https://mauromussi.artstation.com/, Nate Marcel “Seattle Burns” - http://nates-notes.blogspot.com

Layout and Design: John Harper (@john_harper). http://www.onesevendesign.com. https://plus.google.com/+JohnHarper.

The Video

The Undying Kickstarter video was created by Ryan Dunleavy. Music for the Undying Kickstarter video was created by KPKVIII - www.KPKVIII.com.

Risks and challenges

Undying, as far as the art, design, and writing are concerned, is finished and paid for. All that's left to do is layout, printing and shipping, the portrait backer rewards, and stretch goals. This reduces the cost risk of the project and gives me confidence that the project will deliver on the promises of high quality and do so in a timely fashion. I have several mentors who are accomplished RPG designers with past Kickstarter experience helping me every step of the way, so I firmly believe in Undying's success.

Probably the biggest challenge in front of me is that my wife, Shannon, is beginning her ninth month of pregnancy. She's due at the end of July and that means I could become a new daddy at any point during or immediately following the Kickstarter. To mitigate disruption to the project, I've already finished everything I personally need to do in order to bring Undying to life. So, aside from finding out whether Little Riddle is a boy or a girl, I don't expect any surprises.

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    PORTRAIT: PLEBEIAN (DEVIL PLAYBOOK)
    You get everything at the BLOOD CULT level. You also get featured in the book in the form of a custom black and white illustration by El Tío Drake, Undying's artist. This portrait will illustrate the Devil playbook for the Seattle Flesh and Fire Quick Start. See the Portraits section for a full description of this reward tier.

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    PORTRAIT: PLEBEIAN (NIGHTMARE PLAYBOOK)
    You get everything at the BLOOD CULT level. You also get featured in the book in the form of a custom black and white illustration by El Tío Drake, Undying's artist. This portrait will illustrate the Nightmare playbook for the Seattle Flesh and Fire Quick Start. See the Portraits section for a full description of this reward tier.

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    PORTRAIT: PLEBEIAN (PUPPET MASTER PLAYBOOK)
    You get everything at the BLOOD CULT level. You also get featured in the book in the form of a custom black and white illustration by El Tío Drake, Undying's artist. This portrait will illustrate the Puppet Master playbook for the Seattle Flesh and Fire Quick Start. See the Portraits section for a full description of this reward tier.

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    PORTRAIT: PLEBEIAN (SENSUALIST PLAYBOOK)
    You get everything at the BLOOD CULT level. You also get featured in the book in the form of a custom black and white illustration by El Tío Drake, Undying's artist. This portrait will illustrate the Sensualist playbook for the Seattle Flesh and Fire Quick Start. See the Portraits section for a full description of this reward tier.

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    PORTRAIT: PLEBEIAN (WOLF PLAYBOOK)
    You get everything at the BLOOD CULT level. You also get featured in the book in the form of a custom black and white illustration by El Tío Drake, Undying's artist. This portrait will illustrate the Wolf playbook for the Seattle Flesh and Fire Quick Start. See the Portraits section for a full description of this reward tier.

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    PORTRAIT: PATRICIAN
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    PORTRAIT: PRINCEPS
    You get everything at the BLOOD CULT level. You also get featured in the book in the form of a custom black and white illustration by El Tío Drake, Undying's artist. This portrait will illustrate the Princeps NPC for the Seattle Flesh and Fire Quick Start. See the Portraits section for a full description of this reward tier.

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    PAINTING: SEATTLE BURNS
    You get everything at the BLOOD CULT level. You also get Nate Marcel’s beautiful, original painting of the Great Seattle Fire that was commissioned for the Seattle: Flesh and Fire quick start in the book. See the Painting section for a full description of this reward tier

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Funding period

- (30 days)