Spark is a roleplaying, storytelling game about building worlds and challenging your Beliefs within them.
Challenge your Beliefs
You tell a story about a group of individuals with their own firmly held convictions. These characters struggle with each other and the world to uphold their Beliefs. These Beliefs are declarative, subjective controversial statements, such as "Absolute power corrupts absolutely" or "The needs of the many outweight the needs of the few."
The more you challenge your Beliefs, the more Influence you gain and the more Conflicts you can win during play. By changing yourself, you can change the world. It is a game about self-reflection and personal growth, where you can explore real life issues and maybe even learn a little bit more about yourself.
Build a World...
The Spark Roleplaying Game is about imagining, building, and exploring fictional worlds. It gives you all of the tools and guidance you need to create an evocative and engaging Setting. It shows you how to work together, how to find inspiration, and how to structure this fictional world.
The game is purpose-built to foster creating dynamic, custom Settings. You can work together to create a world that interests all of you, one that gives you a context for rich stories. The GM plays the setting, directing the major factions and portraying the potent NPCs within.
... or play in one of ours!
The book contains three playable Settings that you can use and customize.
Initial Goal ($4000) - FUNDED!
The initial goal of $4000 should be enough to get a small print run of the book. If we only reach this level of funding, then I will personally fund all of the art, editing, and layout costs to get this game produced.
The current version of the book has a word count of about 33K, not accounting for the contributions of Kickstarter backers.The book will be printed as a softcover 9"x6" trade paperback, approximately 200 pages long.The book will be printed on EcoLogo certified and Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, to make it as environmentally responsible as possible.
Each copy of the physical book includes electronic copies of the book in PDF, Epub and Mobi formats.
If we meet our initial goal, the game will be released under a Creative Commons, non-commercial license (CC BY-NC 3.0) for ten years. Ten years after publication, I will release it into the public domain.
If you back this Kickstarter, you will be able to download the current draft version of the text in (this backer post).
Stretch Goal 1: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword ($6000) - FUNDED!
Creating a clear, well organized, and entertaining RPG text is a major challenge, and one that I overcame with the help of my four excellent editors. I managed to save up and pay for their services out of my own pocket, and they were collectively very generous with their rates due to my limited budget.
If we reach $6,000 stretch goal, not only will I be able to pay off the editing costs, but I will also be able to give David, Queenie, Gus and Mark a little extra compensation for all their hard work.
In appreciation to you fine backers, I would also put together Quickstart Bundles for each of the three settings. These bundles would give you everything you would need to sit down and start playing immediately. They would include a pregenerated GM sheet, Faction Sheet, Belief Sheet and Character Sheets, along with the rest of the relevant setting information to get started.
Stretch Goal 2: Art is Priceless ($8000) - FUNDED!
Just as my mighty editors have revised the text, my tireless artists have brought the game to life. I paid for their professional services out of my own pocket, and it was worth every penny. I am likewise also very grateful that they only charged me a fraction of what they really deserved.
If we reach this stretch goal, not only will I be able to pay off the artistic costs, but I will also be able to give Gabriel, David, Gregory, and James a little extra compensation for all their hard work.
I will (likely) also be able to commission a new and improved version of the cover art. You see this beautiful piece that Gabriel produced back in 2010? Apparently, his skills have improved and he can do even better. I would like to pay him to do just that.
As an extra bonus, I will also release the Digital Campfire MP3, as featured on the Kickstarter video, to all backers.
Stretch Goal 3: Education is a Right ($10 000) - FUNDED!
An alternative title for this stretch goal was “Information wants to be Free”.
If we can reach a total of 10K of pledges, we will send free copies of the Spark RPG to libraries or schools. Anyone who pledges at the LEGEND tier or higher will get a chance to identify a particular school or public library to whom I will donate a copy of the Spark RPG. I will also write up a short teachers guide to help educators use Spark in a classroom environment.
Additionally, I will change the game’s license from Creative Commons Non-Commercial, Non-Derivative, to a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Attribution license (CC BY 3.0). What his means is that everyone will have an open license to change Spark and to sell any derivative works commercially if they would like.
David A. Hill Jr. of Machine Age Productions is cross-promoting with us, offering backers of the Spark kickstarter a setting if his own Kickstarter hits 20K and we hit 10K of pledges. Apotheosis Drive X is his high-action and high drama Mecha game setting that explores what it means to be human, and the points where humanity and technology intersect. The factions of ADX believe that sufficient technological warfare will end war forever. They believe that nationalism, expanded to the superlative, will end human struggle. They place their faith in weapons, of which you are the pilots.
Last but certainly not least, I will devote some additional time and expense to expand the “A Spark in Fate Core” article and release it to the world as a free PDF. This stretch goal will give me the funding necessary to expand on the content, get it professionally edited, and possibly commission a little art to jazz it up.
Stretch Goal 4: System Matters ($12 000)
This one is for all the game designers, hackers and GM’s in the audience. There’s a lot of different systems and procedures in the Spark RPG, and I want to explain them all to you.
If we reach this goal, I will write up a detailed hackers guide for the Spark RPG. I will explain how each of the rules work, and why I chose them. I will explain exactly which games inspired which portion of the game. I will provide some alternate rules that didn’t fit in the corebook, and point out some areas that could be easily adapted. This Hacker’s Guide will in PDF format (CC BY 3.0), for all backers pledging $10 or more.
Remember that we announced that the previous stretch goal changed the games license to allow for commercial publication and derivative works, so this will give you everything you need.
Stretch Goal 5: Everyone is the Hero of their own Story ($16 000)
This is the big goal and the one I most want to hit. If we reach this level, we will produce a professional fiction anthology of short stories about challenging your Beliefs. Every story in the collection will explore a different setting, including one set in each of the three settings in the core book.
Putting this together will be a lot of work, so I asked Matt Forbeck to take the role of editor for the anthology. Matt has an incredible amount of experience in the RPG industry, having worked for pretty much every gaming company in the industry. His fiction credits are equally impressive, having successfully completed his ambitious 12 for 12 project to write a dozen books over the course of 2012. Matt has the skills to see this project to completion.
Who will be contributing to this anthology? Our current roster includes in no particular order:
- J. Daniel Sawyer (Author of The Antithesis Progression)
- Mur Lafferty (Parsec Award winning Host of the “I Should be Writing” Podcast)
- Alasdair Stuart (Host of the “Pseudopod” and co-host of the “Escape Pod” podcasts )
- Greg Stolze (Game designer of the “Unknown Armies RPG” and prolific author)
- Mike Resnick (5 Time Hugo Award Winner)
Everyone who backs this project at the $10 level or greater will receive a copy of the book in PDF, Mobi and Epub formats.
Thank you very much for your time, attention, and help. Let’s make some noise and hit these goals!
I'm excited to publish this game and I want it in as many hands as possible. I want to get the game finished and printed this spring, so backers can run some games during the 2013 convention season. As backers, I consider you my vanguard, and I will need your help to spread the word.
The game is almost complete. I intend to send out the copies to the Kickstarter backers in the early summer of 2013. If I have sent out all of the kickstarter backer copies of the game, then I hope to formally release the game to non-backers at GenCon 2013.
I won’t sell a single copy of the game myself before I have shipped out all of your copies. It’s in my best interest to get the book in your hands as quickly as possible, without sacrificing quality.
Who am I?
My name is Jason Pitre, a game designer and professional ecologist from the wilds of Canada. Some of my past credits include work for Evil Hat Productions (Don't Hack this Game) and Pelgrane Press (Hillfolk RPG). I am also the host of the RPG Design PanelCast, where I distribute excellent seminar recordings to help people improve in game design and publication.
I have been working on the Spark RPG for about four years at this point and I'm proud to have it finally finished. It's been fully playtested (mechanics and text alike), professionally edited (multiple times) and filled with amazing art from my contributors listed below. The game itself is complete, and available for you to download under this backer post.
Many people have come together to help create this book so far. Their contributions have helped make the game what it is today.
My Developmental Editor is David A. Hill Jr., of Machine Age Productions, who has tightened the text and helped me keep the game as inclusive as possible.
My Copy Editor is Queenie Thayer, an experienced horror writer and editor who has helped me omit needless words.
Gabriel Verdon is my lead artist for this project. He has produced the stunning cover art for the game, and the vast majority of the interior illustrations.
David Sondered created some of the first excellent illustrations for the game.
The stunning chapter icon illustrations, helping you navigate through the game, are courtesy of Gregory Puzon Jr..
The evocative soundtrack for the kickstarter video was produced by James Durham, creator of the award-winning future-noir audiobook. FETIDUS: The Damned Heir. Check him out!
Special thanks to my tolerant and supportive better half, for keeping me (mostly) sane and helping me with the project.
You will need some dice and tokens to be able to play a game of Spark, so I have partnered with Jacey over at Sink or Swim Stitching to produce some stunning dicebags for backers. All of these reversible bags are artisanal and hand-crafted and made in Canada.
She has been working hard to produce three different kinds of dice bags, available at different backer tiers in addition to the book.
The Halfling Burrow is the smallest of the three dice bags, with a soft and gorgeous purple velvet fabric. It holds about 50 dice, perfect to hold all of your influence tokens. It’s a traditional dice bag with high quality material, embroidered with “Spark RPG”.
The Human Keep is the next next level up and can hold 150 dice. The interior is the same purple velvet as the Halfling, while the exterior is a tough waterproof nylon. It has a carabineer that does double duty; ensuring that the bag stays closed at all times and allowing you to attach it to a belt or backpack. This is the perfect way to carry your dice bag at game conventions. This bag comes embroidered with “Spark RPG”, your name, and/or another short piece of text.
The Dragon's Hoard is top of the line. It’s a larger version of the Human Keep, holding up to 250 dice. The velvet lining has 6 pockets that help you organize your dice making for easy access while you're playing. Each pocket is embroidered with the size of die (4, 6, 8, 10, 12, and 20) and has an elastic edging to ensure your dice stay safe and sound.
The amazing thing is that you can reverse the bag, while keeping all the dice in the pockets. The pockets are available on the outside, leaving space in the middle to hold other things like your Influence tokens. This bag also comes embroidered in golden thread with with “Spark RPG”, your name, and/or another short piece of text.
The Preorder Initiative
Want to support a friendly local gaming store? So do we, which is why we have a pre-order system set up. The following retailers have already joined in the Kickstarter campaign and are happy to take pre-orders. If you order from them while the campaign is going on, you can get all the exclusive benefits as if you had backed at the $30 HERO level.
- Modern Myths (Northampton, Massachusetts, USA)
- Modern Myths (Mamaroneck, New York, USA)
- Sphärenmeisters Spiele (Herzogenrath, Germany)
- The GameShelf (Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada)
- The Adventure Game Store & Dragon's Lair (Davie, Florida, USA)
- Leisure Games (Finchley, London, UK)
- Trollune (Lyons, France)
Want a local retailer on the list? We have you covered! Print this sheet and give it to your friendly local game store. If they are interested in joining in, they can back the kickstarter at the retailer level and offer pre-orders in store.
I want to support brick and mortar retailers as much as possible in the kickstarter. You do an invaluable job supporting your local communities of play, and I want to help you do the same for Spark.Here’s what I can offer you.
- The retailer tiers are priced at 50% MSRP, shipping included.
- You will be able to offer pre-orders for Spark while this kickstarter is going on, allowing those customers to gain all of the benefits as if they pledged at the HERO tier.
- I will promote your store on the Kickstarter campaign page and on my website, as well as giving you exclusive direct sales opportunities for the game for a period of time.
- I am a part of the Bits and Mortar Initiative, meaning that each book comes bundled with a free digital version (PDF, MOBI, EPUB) for your customers.
If you back the Kickstarter campaign at any amount, you can gain access to the current draft of the rules in (this backer post).
Podcasts and Actual Play
You can listen the game in action, thanks to the generosity of The Walking Eye podcast. They playtested the game for me, and you can find one of those sessions right Here. Warning: there are plenty of giant sloths.
Jenn Stein, designer of Project Ninja Panda Taco, was kind enough to interview me on The Jennisodes where we discuss at length about the design process for Spark.
If you want to see the world building in action, I had a fun time over on the The Accidental Survivors podcast.
I’m happy to answer any questions. Please feel free to ask them in the comments and I will do my best to give you answers as quickly as possible. I’m also available on Twitter under the name of @Genesisoflegend, where I am watching for any discussion of the #SparkRPG .
If Facebook is your thing, you can find me here!
Looking for community discussion? Check out the Google Plus Spark Community
Risks and challenges
I am a relatively new publisher and I have never attempted a project of this magnitude. There a variety of different risk and challenges that I am attempting to overcome.
There might be delays in art and layout, should a surprise accident or sudden illness strike. Most of the art is already in hand and I have created the layout template, but this is always a potential risk.
Some of the stretch goals involve the contributions of other professional writers and artists. These stretch goals will be worked on after the physical book has been printed and shipped, so there may be some delays in getting some of the extra content.
It's possible that we will have unexpected success and a massive demand for dicebags, which might cause some challenges for the supplier. Should that come to pass, I will ship out the existing dicebags, along with all of the books, and ship the remaining bags seperately.
The biggest risk is likely to come from printers. While I have chosen a reputable commercial printer for this project, there might very well be unexpected delays or errors on their part that would delay the production of the book. There might be some supply shortages, or some other manufacturing error. I do have a back-up printer in the case of major problems. In the rare case that you receive a defective book, I will be happy to replace it at no cost.
Shipping is one of the other risks. We will replace lost packages. We won’t put the book on sale until we have shipped out all of the backer copies. We are absorbing all of the shipping costs, including replacement shipments if copies are lost in international mail systems.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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