Josiender Rulebook and The First Saga
Josiender Rulebook and The First Saga
Josiender, a fantasy Tabletop RPG featuring multilayer puzzles, rich ecosystems, ever-progressing timelines, and the Discipline System.
Josiender, a fantasy Tabletop RPG featuring multilayer puzzles, rich ecosystems, ever-progressing timelines, and the Discipline System. Read more
About this project
The Josiender Rulebook provides everything needed to play Josiender, including all Rules of Play, and Character Creation instructions. It has everything Game Masters (GMs) need to host sessions or create their own campaigns, including environment details, world lore, creatures, sentient species and cultures, both friendly and enemy NPCs, event and dungeon locations, and guidelines for various play styles. Special features include multi-layer puzzles, a crash-course in the art of storytelling, and tips for GMs on how to craft an individualized experience for each player. The hard copy version will be an 8.5” by 11” book, approximately 350 pages in length.
Josiender: The First Saga is a complete campaign, totaling over 200 hours of play time. That adds up to over a year of sessions, given one 4-5 hour session a week! It features numerous plot lines, which unfold simultaneously and continue regardless of how the adventurers spend their time. Large and small plot points depend on the players’ choices and performance (both what they choose to do and how successful they are). Some of the larger possibilities include: whether the adventurers’ home Empire of Rosadon remains united, or crumbles into smaller countries; whether or not the High Dragons are brought from their hibernation; whether or not a world war is sparked; and how strongly a new and dark religion takes hold of the peoples of the Empire.
Your generous backing through Kickstarter will allow me to commission art for the game, to pay for webhosting, and to print and ship these two books.
Each character is created with Attributes, Skills, and Powers. Attributes are the broadest of abilities, such as Strength and Intelligence. Skills represent levels of aptitude in specific endeavors, related to combat, movement, social interactions, professions, and more.
Powers are individual techniques or spells, organized by Discipline. At the start of the game, the Player chooses two Disciplines to define their character. Each character begins with two Powers, gaining more from these two Disciplines as the game progresses. The character’s “class” is thus uniquely shaped by the Disciplines and Powers chosen. Each Discipline also contains enough Powers to make a Single Discipline Character a viable option, resulting in over 100 possible combinations!
Furthermore, the same combination of any two Disciplines can result in characters with vastly different play styles, since Powers are hand-picked and have multiple applications. For example, Blood and Steel combined with Ribbon and String could yield a character who immobilizes their target with trip lines, lassoes, or razor cord, while preparing to land a singular, all-out strike. Alternatively, the combination could generate a character who opts for sustained damage, relentlessly attacking their target from any range with strong melee blows, seamlessly followed up with thrown, tethered attacks from the same weapon.
The 15 Disciplines:
Ambition and Fury
- A Discipline that draws power from emotion. Includes berserking.
- A Discipline that finds strength in devotion to ideals, and purity of mind.
Blood and Steel
- A Discipline about focus. Devoted to the weapon and the edge of the blade.
Cheating the Dead
- A Discipline which exploits the bodies of the deceased. Corpse animation.
- A Discipline of sound and song, both vocal and instrumental.
Precision and Grace
- A Discipline married to movement. Ideal for fencing and close combat archery.
Ribbon and String
- A Discipline of spinning blades, tangled webs, and cord-aided movement.
- A Discipline which allows one to maintain and exploit an undead existence.
Singing Through Air
- A Discipline to augment projectiles, magical and physical. Embellished archery.
- A wizarding Discipline of distraction, illusion, and escape.
Spells of Contained Design
- A wizarding Discipline to invoke spells which are bound to objects.
- A Discipline of grotesque transformation, from muscle and fangs to animal from.
- A wizarding Discipline of raw and directed energy, both absorption and release.
- A Discipline to change, animate, and control one's hair.
Wind and Smoke
- A Discipline of stealth and cunning. Highly targeted attacks.
Tier 1 - The first tier includes an exclusive Backer-only Poster with beautiful, full-color art on one side and a Dry-Erase Hex Grid for gameplay on the other! It will be approximately 22" by 26", a great size for combat. $10+
See Update #5: Backer Poster Photo Shoot.
Tier 2 - The second tier includes the Josiender Rulebook PDF. This reward level has all you need to play the game. $15+
Tier 3 - The third tier pairs the Josiender Rulebook PDF with the 22" by 26" Backer Poster, for those who want some snail mail to complement their download! $20+
Tier 4 - The fourth tier includes both the Josiender Rulebook PDF and Josiender: The First Saga PDF, as well as the Backer Poster. Experience massive turning points in the world of Josiender and well over 60 sessions of playtime, through this first major campaign! A great purchase for the digital GM. $31+
Tier 5 - The fifth tier includes the physical copy of the Josiender Rulebook along with the Backer Poster. Great for GMs running their own campaigns, and perfect for Players who want a reference as they adventure! $45+
Tier 6 - The sixth tier is ideal for the GM! It includes physical copies of the Josiender Rulebook and Josiender: The First Saga as well as the Backer Poster. Immerse your players in the grand adventure of the First Saga as they discover the world of Josiender! $65+
Tier 7 - The seventh tier is The Collector's Pack. Along with everything from Tier 6, it includes a set of 6 Custom, 3D-Printed, Josiender-themed, Backer-only DICE and a 30" by 24" MAP of Rosadon! The 6 sides of the dice each depict a different constellation from the skies above the Empire of Rosadon, including the famous Stars of Josiender. $95+
See Update #8 Josiender Backer Dice.
Tier 8 - The eighth tier pairs perfectly with Tier 9. It includes five physical copies of Josiender: The First Saga! $105+
Tier 9 - The ninth tier is a must-have for our beloved Local Game Shops! It includes five physical copies of the Josiender Rulebook. $170+
Tier 10 - The tenth tier is Andy’s Tier, perfect for the friends who want to jump in full force, and don’t want to share! It includes five physical copies of the Josiender Rulebook and one physical copy of Josiender the First Saga and the Backer Poster! $205+ Upgrade to The Collector’s Pack (Tier 7) plus 4 additional physical copies of the Rule book by pledging $231+
Tier 11 - The eleventh tier, known as the “First GM” reward, includes Tier 7: The Collectors Pack. In addition, I, Jeremiah, designer and writer of Josiender, will Skype in for your first session of Josiender. I will gladly GM the session or play, your choice! Limited 4: $260+
Tier 12 - The twelfth tier: Custom Art, includes Tier 7: The Collectors Pack. In addition, Scriptkittie, the artist who did all the wonderful art for for the Kickstarter, will digitally paint you a customized graphic of your own character! Limited 2: $300+
Tier 13 - At the top lies the dramatic and rare High Dragon Lorekeeper Edition of the Josiender Rulebook! This is a Custom, Handmade, Leatherbound, %100 Cotton Paper, 18" by 15 1/4" edition of the book! It also includes Tier 7: The Collector's Pack. Limited 3: $5,000+
Cipher languages are a prime example of the many puzzles woven into the world and story of Josiender. One of the foremost ciphers that will challenge you is an ancient language, which only remains on the walls of ruins and the tongues of the High Dragons.
One of the first dungeons you will encounter in The First Saga contains a door that is only passable after deciphering this particular ancient text. Even then, it reveals riddles that must be solved before actually unlocking the door. Samples of the language are provided throughout the world, allowing the players themselves to decipher it over time. Breaking the ancient language not only unlocks new areas of the world, but also gains adventurers more reputable accounts of ancient history!
Other cipher puzzles in the game include: messages sent by way of knotted string (a cost-efficient medium for mail, as parchment is highly valued), other ancient and foreign texts, and encoded correspondence between members of the aristocracy.
The game is hosted by a Game Master (GM), the storyteller, who guides the players through the world and plot. While a Player controls their own character, the GM controls the environment, such as natural effects and non-player characters (NPCs). Josiender is built, ideally, for play sessions of four or more hours that are part of a much larger campaign (a collection of stories and overarching plot) and is designed to comfortably fit one GM and three to six Players. However, it can be played in episodic, stand-alone sessions or in smaller sections, such as individual dungeons and events.
The tools for the game consist of the Josiender Rulebook, a campaign (either custom created or Josiender: the First Saga), a handful of six-sided dice (d6s), and pencil and paper. For encounters that necessitate movement strategy, and for "boss" fights, simple tokens and a hexagonal grid are recommended. Conveniently, the Backer Poster features a Dry-Erase Hex Grid on one side!
I chose d6s for their beautiful bell curve of probability. Also, since d6s are plentiful and cheap, robbable from many board games, this results in fewer costs to the player.
The Josiender Rulebook is built to encourage and inspire the creation of unique campaigns, and it contains all the elements needed to do so. Josiender: The First Saga delivers an even deeper experience, engaging players and GMs, alike, in the immediate and crucial events unfolding in the world.
For more on Combat as well as Attributes and Skills, see the COMBAT Example and Use of Skills Update.
In the world of Josiender, reading and writing is a rare skill. A common education enables one to read a mere two hands’ worth of numbers and a couple of road signs. However, reading and writing are powerful tools used by nobles, priests, guild masters, and their employed scribes to hold dominion over their circles of influence. Nobility keep records in short-hand scripts, which have characteristics unique to their Kingdom within the Empire, or even to a single family line. Priests mix and mingle old lengthy words from foreign languages into their writings and speech. Guild masters create documents with coded phrases specific to their profession, to protect the secret processes of their craft. So, while one can get along without the Skill, Scription, it will surely come in handy on an adventure!
14,000 Art Increase
While the books will already contain a hefty amount of art, who can argue with more? At $14,000, the budget for art will be significantly increased, enriching all reward levels that include the Rulebook or The Saga, PDF or hard copy.
26,000 The 16th Discipline is Added
Each additional Discipline adds more possible Discipline combinations than the last, and requires a significant amount of extra game testing and balancing. At $26,000, a 16th Discipline will be added, enriching all reward levels that include the Rulebook, PDF or hard copy.
46,000 Josiender: The Second Saga
The Second Saga is already in its developmental stages. At $46,000, all reward levels that include The First Saga, PDF or hard copy, will also receive The Second Saga in PDF form! Enjoy an entire second campaign for the price of one!
“Engulfing Fluids” is a Power in Cheating the Dead. This Power requires the caster to choke down rotten meat, in preparation for dealing a devastating attack. The ritual produces a vile black liquid, which the caster vomits up, gushing regurgitated slime onto their target. Once it has coated the target, the slippery, putrid substance bursts into momentary flame. When the fire dissipates, a black tar remains fused to the target. This excruciatingly painful process replaces skin and clothing with a flexible and durable surface.
The attack itself requires the caster to be within melee range of their target; a successful grapple or surprise attack guarantees success. Dealing a killing blow with Engulfing Fluids allows the caster to instantly use an appropriate Cheating the Dead Power to raise that target from the dead, at half energy cost. A minion raised in this manner gains tar armor that covers most of its body. The resulting creature is known as a Smolderin.
Projectile Vomit Upgrade: “Engulfing Fluids” can now be performed up to 10 feet away from the target.
Tempered Skin Upgrade: This allows for the successful use of “Engulfing Fluids” on a target that is already a Smolderin. It adds to the undead creature's armor value, but reduces its movement capabilities.
To see "Engulfing Fluids" in action, read Tanabraun: Engulfing Fluids.
For another Power Example visit the COMBAT Example and Use of Skills Update, featuring Memorable Execution, a Power of the Discipline, Blood and Steel.
The Viscountess Fercolis is the valiant Lady of Lorie, a small town with surrounding farmland and villages. She cares deeply for the welfare of her subjects, and defends them expertly in court and in battle.Fercolis wields Powers similar to those found in the Disciplines, Blood and Steel and Precision and Grace, favoring a two-handed broadsword and acrobatic maneuvers in combat. Like many rulers before her, she has foregone suitors and personal pursuits in order to best fulfill her ruling duties. As a result, she has amassed a growing network of trusted contacts in other counties and Kingdoms of the Empire. Serving also as the Mayor of Lorie, she enjoys seeking out new and interesting entertainment for the town’s harvest festivals.
She insists on function over form in her attire, wearing fitted pants under her dress for comfort and versatility in battle, or when training on her fortress' grounds. Her preference for dark blues, embellished with silver or gold, equally conveys her high noble status, and her sober, constant nature.
For samples of my writing, check out my Wordpress site, Pages From A Fresh Tome.
Risks and challenges
The main possible setback is the estimated date of release. The game needs a lot of art to accompany it as well as a fair amount more game testing. If the workload turns out to be more than estimated, I am prepared to resign my current employment completely (I am already drastically cutting my hours) and we will gladly rely on my lovely wife's income until the project is seen through, putting off a possible move to a new house and planning for children, in the process.
Concerning the High Dragon Lorekeeper Edition Tome: If it reaches a point where it looks like Under the Mango Tree, my preferred book crafter, will not be able to be the maker of the leather cover or the paper, I know more than one leather worker who is highly skilled and creative, who is more than willing to do the job for me.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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