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A Powered-by-the-Apocalypse RPG of mission-based action in a gritty neon-and-chrome cyberpunk future.
A Powered-by-the-Apocalypse RPG of mission-based action in a gritty neon-and-chrome cyberpunk future.
A Powered-by-the-Apocalypse RPG of mission-based action in a gritty neon-and-chrome cyberpunk future.
675 backers pledged NZ$ 18,487 to help bring this project to life.

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The Sprawl: Cyberpunk Roleplaying, Powered by the Apocalypse

NZ$ 18,487

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..Additional Mission parameters Unlocked //

Stretch Goal 002 // Touched // $15,000 NZD

When the project hits $15,000 NZD all backers receiving the PDF reward (so everyone at the $20 level and above) will receive Touched, a 50 page setting supplement introducing magic and supernatural to The Sprawl. Touched will be written by Steve Wallace and will include touch mechanics, magic, moves, and a framework for the Touched setting. You can read more about the setting in Update #8 and more about Steve in the Team section below.

..//

Stretch Goal 001 // The Mission Files // $10,000 NZD

When the project hits $10,000 NZD, all backers receiving the PDF reward (so everyone at the $20 level and above) will receive a collection of at least 10 Missions for The Sprawl. Each Mission will comprise a 2-4 page (1000-1500 word) treatment of a Mission ready for use in The Sprawl. See Update #5 or full details. You can find a sample mission (not one of the 10) here: The Kurosawa Extraction

..End Update //

..Begin Original Mission parameters //

Deniable, professional, and ultimately disposable. In The Sprawl, you play the extended assets of vast multinational corporations, operating in the criminal underground, and performing the tasks that those multinationals can’t do, or can’t be seen to do.

The Sprawl takes the framework of Vincent Baker’s award-winning Apocalypse World engine and focuses it on creating stories about badass professionals living outside the law, struggling against the man, sometimes winning, sometimes losing, and often being double-crossed. Stories like Case’s run against Villa Straylight in Neuromancer, Cowboy’s panzer-drive across America under the eyes of the Orbital corporations in Hardwired, or the background jobs that Turner talks about in Count Zero.

The Sprawl has been in development for almost three years and open playtesting for two. My playtesters have helped me refine and polish the rules and now it’s time to take the game to publication.

Like any good Fixer, I know when I can do a job alone and when I need to call in some specialists. That’s why I’m kickstarting The Sprawl. I’ve recruited a specialist fiction writer to write snippets of short cyberpunk fiction to add a different voice to The Sprawl (Lilian Cohen-Moore), a graphic designer to give the text a cyberpunk look (Aaron Brown), and an editor to take a hatchet and a file to my manuscript (Gerald Cameron). You can read more about the team below.

Now that I’ve assembled them, I need to make sure they get paid for their skills. That’s where you come in.

I'm asking for your support funding my international team of creative professionals. My goal is to raise $2500 New Zealand Dollars (NZD) – that’s a little over $2000 USD – to pay for graphic design, editing, and fiction. Around 50% of that money will go towards graphic design, 25% will go towards editing and 20% will go towards fiction. That will leave 5% to cover Kickstarter and paypal fees, and to pay Plate Mail Games for audio rewards. The goal I have set for this campaign doesn't quite cover the total cost of the project.

Draft Access: All backers will receive access to the current draft manuscript of The Sprawl and be thanked in the final book. If you just want to take a look at the text, see any backer-only updates, and comment on the kickstarter, choose The Legwork level. If you like what you see, you can raise your pledge. If you don’t you can drop out.

PDFs: We will produce two PDFs of The Sprawl. The first will be full colour and optimised for reading on a tablet or screen and the second will be in a traditional black and white suitable for printing. If you back at the Hacker level ($20 NZD) or above, you get both. You’ll also get access to any additional PDF products that might be produced as stretch goals if the project funds quickly.

Print-Access: You will get access to a print-on-demand copies of The Sprawl at cost through DriveThruRPG. At the current estimated page count, this will cost you about $5+shipping for a black and white softcover copy. If there is demand, a colour hardcover copy would cost about $15+shipping.

Audio: You will get a bundle of five new cyberpunk background loops created by Wes Otis at Plate Mail Games. We’ll keep you updated on the exact loops, but provisionally, we have:

  • Corporate Office
  • Secure Facility at Night
  • Virtual Reality
  • Cyber-Slums
  • Small-unit Gunfight

Image: You get to contribute a name and base image for a playbook in The Sprawl. All the playbooks will be illustrated with a black and white image like this:

Photo credit: Rebecca Watts. Image manipulation: Aaron Brown
Photo credit: Rebecca Watts. Image manipulation: Aaron Brown

After the kickstarter has funded, I will email you a list of available playbooks, you will select from that list, then send me a picture of yourself in a playbook appropriate pose. We’ll add some cyberpunk notes to the image as necessary (and in consultation with you), convert the image into the style illustrated above, and include the altered image in the text of The Sprawl and on the playbooks. You will also work with me to name the resulting image as a character in The Sprawl which I will use for example text and include in the list of name options for the playbook.

Chapter Image: You contribute a base image (either of you or of your city) to be converted into a chapter heading image for The Sprawl.

Convention Game: If you back at the Driver levels I will run a private game of The Sprawl for you and three friends at the selected convention. If there's a convention you'd like me to come to, shoot me an email and we can discuss a funding level.

Photo credit: Medleyview. Image manipulation: Aaron Brown
Photo credit: Medleyview. Image manipulation: Aaron Brown

Hamish Cameron is a classicist and historian, a sci-fi and fantasy fan, and a gamer and game designer. He has been playing, designing and hacking games since primary school and thinking about cyberpunk for almost as long. Most of that designing and hacking has involved tabletop roleplaying games and miniatures wargames, but a few free-form larps and multiplayer team strategy games have snuck into the mix along the way. Ardens Ludere is his story game imprint and he is part of the creative team at Cheeky Mountain Parrot Games.

Lillian Cohen-Moore is an award winning editor, and devotes her writing to fiction, journalism and game design. Her stories have appeared in 365 tomorrows, Growing Dread: Biopunk Visions, Dangers Untold, By Faerie Light, Steampunk World, Bless Your Mechanical Heart, and other publications.

She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Online News Association.

Aaron Brown has been working professionally in graphic and web design for fifteen years. He was a founder of NerdNYC, where he oversaw a t-shirt line, website, and all promotional materials during the first several years. He currently lives in Columbus, OH and helps organize weekly and quarterly game events, primarily focusing on indie role-playing games.

Gerald Cameron is a freelance editor from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. In addition to The Sprawl, Gerald has edited for indie publishers Dark Omen Games (Dirty Secrets and A Flower for Mara) and Kallisti Press (the forthcoming release Renegade Jennys and Boilerplate Jacks). When not editing, Gerald likes to think about games, play games and otherwise geek out. You can follow Gerald on Twitter @Linnaeus and also on Google+.

Plate Mail Games creates high quality professional background loops and adventuring hook PDFs  for your role-playing games. The goal is to enhance your tabletop role-playing experience with ambient soundscapes and great plot hooks. Wes Otis is a professional sound designer with 15 years experience. He recently burst into the gaming world with a host of sound loops on the back of three successful kickstarters. You can hear his professional sound reel and samples of many of his tracks at Plate Mail Games website.

Steve Wallace is a writer and comic book artist living in Columbus, Ohio. His comics have been published in multiple anthologies like Reading With Pictures and Omega Comics Presents. He is currently working on a Dungeon World hack called No Country For Old Kobolds that will be kickstarted in October 2014.

Risks and challenges

While this is the first kickstarter I have run on my own, I have helped run and fulfill one previous kickstarter (a deck-building game of fantasy pirates called Conquering Corsairs). I have witnessed a lot of successful (and unsuccessful!) kickstarters as a backer, and read advice from and spoken to a lot of kickstarter creators, so I have a good idea of what I’m getting myself into!

One important lesson I learnt from Conquering Corsairs is the cost in time and money of fulfilling a project yourself. Because of this, and because it’s thematically appropriate for a Cyberpunk project, most of the rewards for The Sprawl will be fulfilled digitally through DriveThruRPG. In particular, using DriveThruRPG for print-on-demand means that I don’t need to over-estimate shipping costs at the launch of a project in order to protect myself from postal price fluctuations, and gives the backers access to DriveThruRPG’s distributed shipping locations. This should save everyone money, especially international backers.

A common cause of delays in kickstarters is that the rules are unfinished when the project launches. I have tried to complete as much as I could before launching this kickstarter. As of the launch date, Lily’s fiction is interfacing with the text, Aaron is programing the layout, and the manuscript is zipping through the datasphere to Gerald's server.

Of course, no mission plan survives contact with the corporations. If the plan encounters complications, I will keep you all informed of the mission’s progress.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 1 or more About $0.84

    Legwork. You're just here to watch and make up your mind. You get Draft Access.

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    Pledge NZ$ 20 or more About $17

    The Hacker. Draft Access + PDFs (one colour screen-optimised, one black and white for printing)

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    Pledge NZ$ 25 or more About $21

    The Infiltrator. Draft Access + PDFs + Print Access: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals and a coupon to buy a print on demand copy of The Sprawl at cost from DriveThruRPG.

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    Pledge NZ$ 30 or more About $25

    The Pusher. Draft Access + PDFs + Audio: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals and a bundle of five new cyberpunk background loops from Plate Mail Games.

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    Pledge NZ$ 35 or more About $29

    The Fixer. Draft Access + PDFs + Print Access + Audio: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals, a coupon to buy a print on demand copy at cost, and a bundle of five new cyberpunk background loops from Plate Mail Games.

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    Pledge NZ$ 70 or more About $58

    The Reporter. Draft Access + PDFs + Audio + Image: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals, a bundle of five new cyberpunk background loops from Plate Mail Games, and you provide a sample name and the base image for a playbook in The Sprawl.

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    Pledge NZ$ 80 or more About $67

    The Hunter. Draft Access + PDFs + Print Access + Audio + Image: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals, a coupon to buy a print on demand copy at cost, a bundle of five new cyberpunk background loops from Plate Mail Games, and you provide a sample name and the base image for a playbook in The Sprawl.

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    Pledge NZ$ 80 or more About $67

    The Tech. Draft Access + PDFs + Print Access + Audio + Chapter Image: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals, a coupon to buy a print on demand copy at cost, a bundle of five new cyberpunk background loops from Plate Mail Games, and you provide a base picture for a chapter heading image in The Sprawl.

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    Pledge NZ$ 200 or more About $167

    The Driver (Gamex 2015). Draft Access + PDFs + Print Access + Audio + Image + Convention Game: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals, a coupon to buy a print on demand copy at cost, the cyberpunk background loop bundle from Plate Mail Games, a sample name and the base image for a playbook in The Sprawl, and I will run a private game of The Sprawl for you and three friends at Gamex 2015)

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    Pledge NZ$ 250 or more About $209

    The Driver (Big Bad Con 2014). Draft Access + PDFs + Print Access + Audio + Image + Convention Game: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals, a coupon to buy a print on demand copy at cost, the cyberpunk background loop bundle from Plate Mail Games, a sample name and the base image for a playbook in The Sprawl, and I will run a private game of The Sprawl for you and three friends at Big Bad Con 2015)

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    Pledge NZ$ 350 or more About $292

    The Driver (GenCon 2015). Draft Access + PDFs + Print Access + Audio + Convention Game: PDFs of the game and any stretch goals, a coupon to buy a print on demand copy at cost, the cyberpunk background loop bundle from Plate Mail Games, a sample name and the base image for a playbook in The Sprawl, and I will run a private game of The Sprawl for you and three friends at GenCon 2015)

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Funding period

- (30 days)