Liminal is a new tabletop roleplaying game about those on the boundary between the modern day United Kingdom and the Hidden World- the world of secret societies of magicians, a police division investigating Fortean crimes, fae courts, werewolf gangs, and haunted places where the walls between worlds are thin.
The players portray Liminals - those who stand between the mortal and magical realms, with ties to each. Examples of Liminals include:
- A magician who acts as a warden to protect unaware mortals from supernatural menaces;
- Someone of mysterious birth who is perhaps half Fae. In any case they are caught up in Faerie politics whether they like it or not;
- A burglar who steals supernatural relics;
- A werewolf who still has many ties to ordinary people;
- A dhampir, striving to do good despite their vampiric infection;
- A mortal detective who knows some of the real strangeness out there.
The magical world has a basis in British and Irish folklore and legends, along with ghost stories and modern day popular takes on the supernatural in fiction. Inspirations from fiction include the "real world" fantasy novels of Ben Aaranovitch, Jim Butcher, Emma Bull, Susanna Clarke, Harry Connolly, Neil Gaiman, Benedict Jacka, and Helene Wecker.
Crews and Factions
The player character Liminals form a crew, sharing knowledge and assets, with common goals. Together, the crew take on cases, dealing with the affairs of the hidden world, especially as it affects the ordinary world at large. These cases further both the goals of the crew and the drives of its individual members.
The crew has relationships with more powerful groups - the factions of the setting. The cases a crew take on affects these relationships, with knock-on effects on the challenges the crew faces in the future.
Major Factions include:
- The Council of Merlin, Britain's oldest, richest, and most traditional magical order. It dates back to just after the end of Roman rule in Britain, and regards other magical groups as unworthy of note.
- The Court of the Queen of Hyde Park, who claims to rule over all Fae in London, and to be influential in other Fae Courts throughout Britain. And her chief rival, The Winter King, exiled in the highlands of Scotland.
- P Division, an obscure division of the UK police force handling paranormal crimes in the mundane world. Those in the mainstream police regard P Division as cranks, and a posting there as a career dead end. But P Division knows how vital their work is.
- The Sodality of the Crown, a cabal of vampires who work behind the scenes to influence both national and international politics.
- The Order of St. Bede, a church organisation who not only act against supernatural threats to ordinary people, but labour to cover up all evidence of the supernatural, especially magicians who perform their magic too blatantly.
Liminal uses a new simple game system designed for the setting. It is a "traditional" roleplaying game with several players, each with their own character, and a game master. Characters are described by their drive, which anchors their involvement in both the mundane and hidden world, along with skills and traits which may give bonuses and extraordinary supernatural abilities.
The crew the player characters belong to is also important. The players design the crew together, along with its relationship to different factions, and hooks leading to possible cases the crew might take on. The gamemaster has rules and tools for fleshing out the world around the crew, and for quick design of cases, whether individual scenarios or those contributing to a continuing story arc.
Magic has many different styles, including geomancy, divination, and wards. A skilled magician will know several styles, whereas a dabbler might know just one. Supernatural creatures such as the Fae have their own forms of magic. Most magical styles are subtle. After all, most people aren't aware of the Hidden World.
Player characters can spend their Will to succeed in tasks where they would otherwise fail, but Will is a finite resource, which can be lost in social conflicts and used up by casting some forms of magic. A character can to a limited extent replenish Will by following their Drive.
Character advancement comes from learning more about the world and members of the crew, from succeeding in a case or suffering complications, and by engaging with your character's Drive and the crew's goals. It is in the hands of the players rather than the game master.
The £3,500 Kickstarter funds are to produce a gorgeous 200 page 6.14 by 9.21 inches (234 by 156 mm) colour book, available in PDF and print on demand. We will be using DriveThruRPG.com's Kickstarter fulfillment program to distribute all Kickstarter rewards. Some rewards are digital products (the PDFs) as well as the option to print the books at the same cost it costs us. We collect no further money from you printing the book.
Estimated print costs are:
- Black and White: £3 or $5 (US).
- Premium Colour Hardcover: £18 or $27 (US).
The higher tiers (Werewolf and upwards) already include printing and sending the books to you at no extra cost beyond your initial pledge.
Each of the stretch goals will take the form of a short (10,000 word or approximately 40 page) supplement, with art again by Jason Behnke, available in PDF and print on demand (where you pay the costs of printing and shipping for the supplements you want) at the Changeling level of backing and all higher levels. So what are these supplements? I'm very glad you asked.
- £4500. Neil Gow will write a supplement on Liminal London, giving much more detail on the capital city from the point of view of a particular crew. FUNDED
- £5500. Our expert werewolf consultant, Becky Annison, will write about Werewolves of Britain, detailing werewolf lore, different werewolf gangs, and places where werewolves roam. FUNDED
- £6500. At this level, the Case Book is funded, gathering together a number of Case Notes- outline adventures in the Liminal setting. Contributors include Paul Baldowski, Guy Milner, Newt Newport, and me. FUNDED
- £7500. At this level, Newt Newport, author of numerous adventures, will write a detailed 10,000 word scenario for Liminal. FUNDED
- £8500. At this level, I will write a supplement, Fae and Folklore, going into more detail about different faerie and folkloric monsters, more Fae nobles and courts, and fae places. FUNDED
- £10,000. Paul Baldowski will be writing a 10,000 word supplement on magicians, including the Council of Merlin and the Mercury Collegium. FUNDED
- £12,000. Neil Gow returns with his take on fantastic Newcastle, with his supplement Novocastria. FUNDED
- £14,000. The Case Book expands! Currently a 10,000 word supplement with 8 to 10 cases, it will become a 20,000 word supplement with twice as many cases. FUNDED
- £16,000. Guy Milner will be writing a supplement on vampires, delving into vampire mythology and bringing a few twists to the well-known monsters. FUNDED
- £20,000. At this level we fund The Liminal Kingdom, a 20,000 word book of locations. The core book already has a gazetteer of places; this will let us publish a major expansion to it. FUNDED
- £25,000. For this final stretch goal, I will release a creative commons version of the Liminal rules, along with an SRD.
The following items are available as add-ons. If you would like an add-on, add the relevant amount of money to your original pledge. When the Kickstarter ends, I'll send a survey to confirm any add-ons you've purchased.
- Exclusive branded dice tray from All Rolled Up: £14 plus postage (£2.50 UK or £4.00 to the rest of the world).
The following add-ons are digital products including both PDFs and the option to print the book at cost.
- Age of Arthur (my Fate-based Arthurian dark ages RPG, written with Graham Spearing): £8 (approximately 11 US dollars)
- Time of the Wolves (the campaign supplement for Age of Arthur): £4 (approximately 6 US dollars)
- Starfall (the 1950s alien invasion RPG): £4 (approximately 6 US dollars)
- Paul Mitchener. That's me. I'm the game designer and writer behind this Kickstarter. My recent RPG products include Age of Anarchy, Far Havens (with Graham Spearing), Logres: Land of the Saxons, and Starfall.
- Becky Annison is here for a stretch goal on sexy werewolves. She is the award winning designer of When the Dark is Gone and Lovecraftesque (the latter with Josh Fox). She's currently working on Bite Me!, a game of werewolf pack dynamics. You can find Becky's work at http://blackarmada.com/
- Rich August has worked for Modiphius on their Conan and Infinity games, and has written Necromancer, an urban fantasy setting, for Cortex Prime.
- Fil Baldowski (aided and abetted by her husband Paul) is the creator of the All Rolled Up gaming accessories such as roll up dice bags with many designs and fabrics, and dice trays, such as the one available as an extra for Liminal. You can find All Rolled Up here: http://www.allrolledup.co.uk/
- Paul Baldowski is the mind behind the Cthulhu Hack, and has made contributions to several game lines including Paranoia and Night's Black Agents. He also writes and produces resources for the game Symbaroum at the Iron Pact.
- Jason Behnke is the artist behind the beautiful pictures on this page. He will be the artist for Liminal. His previous work in the field of RPGs includes the art in Age of Arthur and its supplement Time of the Wolves, and many pictures in Legend of the Five Rings. You can find Jason's work at https://jasonbehnke.com/
- Neil Gow is on board for a stretch goal supplement about Liminal London. His RPG designs include Duty & Honour and Beat to Quarters and he is a veteran of the CCG industry. You can find Neil's work at www.omnihedron.co.uk
- Stephanie McAlea is an established cartographer, cover layout and logo designer, and the woman behind Stygian Fox Publishing. You can find her maps in a variety of books, including numerous Call of Cthulhu publications, Age of Arthur, and 2300AD. She's responsible for the Liminal logo here, and will be our map artist for the book. You can find some of Stephanie's cartography and design work here: https://sjworthington.wordpress.com/
- Guy Milner will be responsible for the onerous task of editing. He will also write some Case Files for a supplementary book to be released in the future or as a stretch goal. Guy has a blog on running RPG one-shots at https://burnafterrunningrpg.com/
- Newt Newport is the head honcho at d101 games, and the writer and producer of many fine games, settings, and adventures, including OpenQuest, Crypts and Things, and Monkey. I've worked with him on some of these. You can find d101 games here: http://d101games.com/
Risks and challenges
The core of the book is complete, but there is still work to do. The book still needs most of its art (this is partially what the Kickstarter is for) and will need external editing. I've allowed enough time based on previous experiences, but there are delays in any project.
I'm experienced in seeing RPG projects through to completion, both self-publishing and freelancing. I know about layout and art direction, as well as writing. I don't anticipate any problems.
That said, the main risk is me. Should I become ill or experience real life issues, there will be delays. If this happens, I will keep you all honestly up to date with what's happening and the project's progress.
When the Kickstarter is completed, I will post progress updates at least once per month. I will post a text only beta version of the game as soon as it is available. I want you all to enjoy the game and the Kickstarter experience, and will do my best to make that happen.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)