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We want to print Early Dark, our innovative, all-original role-playing game that takes place outside the typical European-Medieval fantasy setting!
We want to print Early Dark, our innovative, all-original role-playing game that takes place outside the typical European-Medieval fantasy setting!
143 backers pledged $6,590 to help bring this project to life.

About

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$6,590

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Early Dark is our first RPG title, and we want it printed and out the door. There is a lot of information here, but the gist is that you should pre-order your copy of Early Dark today. Read through each section, skim the highlights, or just listen to the video and look at the pretty pictures. Whatever the method, choose a pledge PACK and hop into our world.

The world of Early Dark quakes with human conflict, fearsome natures, and uncertain magicks. Civlization flickers at the edge of chaos in a forgotten time, centuries of lost history that exist in every culture, an age set between the cosmic events of myth and the quotidian happenings of the remembered past.

Where would heroes come from in such a world and how would they live? Instead of seeking inspiration from modern fantasy, we went back to the myths themselves. How did people in antiquity describe their heroes? What mattered to them? It turns out the lives of heroes were both mythic and mundane, and so Early Dark set out to capture both the common and the cosmic elements of a world where morning fog lingers late, and dark falls early.

  • Heroes embedded in culture
  • Abstract alignments replaced with concrete responsibilities and duties
  • Experience counted in 'Pages' written about the hero
  • Realistic, immersive human ecologies
  • One mechanic for battle, arguments, searching, and learning
  • Players level up by constructing and earning Epithets and Social Ties
  • Heroes with both strengths and weaknesses
  • Character creation starts in medias res and creates a story

Early Dark has no elves, no orcs, no metahumans. But we have quite a collection of legendary critters. Following ancient myth, most monsters in Early Dark do not represent species of fantastic creatures so much as individuals. The Minotaur of Crete was not a species at all, but a single monstrous being. In the same way, we have families of Fell and Fae creatures in Early Dark that each cover a range of unique magickal beasts.

  • Ogres, for example, take the shape of what they eat
  • Fae spirits age by moving through space, not time
  • Many of our animal species resemble Pleistocene megafauna
  • Dragons are of a race older than humans, almost Lovecraftian in scope
  • Environments are dangerous, alive, and aware

What would societies with dark, uncanny magick really look like? How would this magick work and who would believe in it? Early Dark represents magick as dangerous for the caster, unpredictable, and a little unnerving. Above all, we wanted it to be consistent and fit in the world.

  • Two different, but related systems of magick
  • Most spells are effect-based and open-ended
  • Spellbooks are powerful tomes each with its own language
  • Nods given to both logocentric and practical magickal traditions

We really want to get a solid print run of Early Dark out to the public. This is where you come in. Most of the PACKS to the right are ways to pre-order the game, giving us a chance to gauge interest and build some funds to cover upfront print costs. I've put in almost $6000 of my own money on this project over the last two years, and I've tapped my meager resources dry. If we can print 300-400 books, we'll break even. The profit, really, is getting the game out there and being able to share a world with you all. We're planning supplements, a totally innovative living campaign to bring all our players together on the web, and a host of events across the US, Canada, and the UK.

  • ALL pledge money goes directly to printing the books
  • Spread the word at Facebook, Twitter, local gaming stores, and slumber parties
  • We've talked to retail stores in over a dozen cities
  • 200+ pages, fold-out world map, color and B&W art

We have testers all over the place trimming the fat and sharpening the edges of Early Dark as we speak. It's been great seeing so many interpretations and styles of play take shape. The plan is to keep playing and adding content through the summer, shooting for September or October to have things ready to send to the printers. We'll ship the T-shirts and art prints earlier, but the game itself will probably be out between the big American holidays.

We just need some creative, open-minded gamers to come along and get things moving with us. The best part of this experience has been meeting all the artists, players, writers, and new friends. We've made contacts all over the place, and it has been encouraging to see so many local gaming stores support indie games.

We tried to put together a great set of pledge PACKS for you. We are open to suggestions as well, so let us know what you'd like to see or receive.

  • Most pledges are pre-orders
  • All backers get access to playtesting and development forums
  • First 20 hardcopy pre-orders get a Kickstarter-exclusive artifact for their characters
  • HERO PACK lets you role-play your part online, leading others and making history

There's a lot to choose from because there are a lot of different gamers out there. We are sure one of these PACKS is right for you. Not too hot. Not too cold. But just right.

Check us out on the web. Fan us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $2 or more About $2.00

    CURIOSITY PACK - You get access to the Backers Only posts on Kickstarter as well as our own closed-to-the-public playtesting and development forums. You'll be right there with us as we design and layout the book, haggle with printers, and decide on the cover.

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    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    PATRON PACK - All of the above, and your name appears with a "Patron" credit in the printed Early Dark rulebook. This is your time to make your mark in a new world. Right here. Feel it? I do.

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    5 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    DIGITAL PACK - All of the above, and you receive a digital copy of the finished Early Dark rulebook (either directly from us or as a download code for a popular online retailer). This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to pre-order the first Anthropos Games title available to the public! Plus, your name will already be in it. Sweet, huh?

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    14 backers
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    Pledge $29 or more About $29

    HARDCOPY PACK - All the above, and you receive a personal hardcopy of the Early Dark rulebook. This includes free shipping. Our top priority is to get this book in your gamey little hands! We are pitching a new kind of world for roleplaying, and we want you and your friends living in it.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    CLOTHING OPTIONAL PACK - All of the above, and you receive the soon-to-be-infamous Early Dark launch T-shirt. The quality, black T-shirt features the Anthropos Games logo on the front and the official list of all the shops and cities we are launching in on the back. Think of it as the official T-shirt for our book tour. AND, if we ever see you wearing this shirt at a convention, at a Radiohead concert, or on the street, we'll buy you a drink. No strings attached.

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    12 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $69 or more About $69

    DELUXE PACK - All of the fabulous items celebrated above (your credit in the book, digital PDF copy of the Early Dark rulebook, hardcopy, infamous launch T-shirt) and more! Yes, more! You will receive in total two hardcopies of the Early Dark rulebook, both signed by the creators. These will come to you with free shipping. Give one away, share it with your group, or donate it to a library in your area. It's yours. Also, YOUR gaming location and hometown are featured on the already-infamous launch T-shirt! Give a shout out to your FLGS, your mom's basement, or your ex's garage. Wherever you play, it's on our shirt. This is over $90 worth of Anthropos merchandise plus your place on our infamous (i.e. more than famous!) shirt.

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    13 backers
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    CHARACTER PACK - All of the above, plus you and an Early Dark character you design will be featured in the rulebook or a forthcoming supplement. You get the digital copy, the two signed hardcopies, the T-shirt with your hometown on it, and now a place in the Early Dark world of your very own. All of the examples we use in the book to explain rules or showcase our setting are taken from real gamers: our friends, players, and playtesters. Why not join them inside these hallowed pages? Your persona and the hero you design will introduce readers to our world and help people learn the game.

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    6 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $139 or more About $139

    VILLAIN PACK - Can you believe there's more? Believe it. You get everything in the CHARACTER PACK above except your featured character is a major villain in the continuing Early Dark saga. We are hosting a living campaign that will take place after the events chronicled in the rulebook and involve the entire Early Dark world. Forget a mere cameo in the rulebook; your character is a mover and shaker in the grand narrative. Behold, you are Early Dark canon. Local gaming groups will not only see your character in print but have a chance to engage with him or her through our online portal and later supplements as the events of the campaign unfold. We'll even offer a THIRD hardcopy of the book, just so you can prove to friends near and far how "in like Flynn" you are with Anthropos Games. Check out our website for more information.

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    7 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $249 or more About $249

    HERO PACK - You have arrived. Here you get a prominent character in the ongoing narrative, a PDF of the completed tome, three signed hardcopies (one for you, one for that special someone, and one for that kid in your group who never gets his own), a T-shirt so infamous it's wanted by the law in 49 states, AND a way to immortalize yourself on said apparel of infamy. Additionally, you become an active part in our inaugural living campaign: We have five central characters that need players. Basically, this is your chance to role-play one of the most powerful cats in the game in a meta-campaign written by us. The decisions you make will ripple through the entire Early Dark world, even affecting those playing at home. Will the king of Lokod raise an army to invade a neighbor? Will a Neferatha prince seek out the missing Anu Empress for his own gain? You get unequaled control over major events of the Hara Sea. Check out our website for more information on how you can single-mindedly shape the Early Dark political sphere.

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    Limited 3 backers
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $399 or more About $399

    BEHIND THE SCENES PACK - This is an added bonus for those who really feel committed to the project. Or, you could just do the math and realize that you're getting a sweet deal. Here it is: A weekend of glamor in Austin, TX, with the creators of Early Dark. If you can find your own way to the live music capital of the world, we'll help you party like a jolly ol' tourist should. You'll receive a guest bedroom in a luxurious condo just south of the lake for two nights. A rooftop patio gives you a crystal view of the downtown skyline. Sit in on a class at the University of Texas. Enjoy the balmy climate on outdoor adventures. Take part in a creator-run Early Dark campaign. Or just run amok along 6th St., where bars debatably more infamous than our T-shirt await.

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Funding period

- (46 days)