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An immersive dungeon sandbox designed for the Adventurer Conqueror King System and other D20 OSR RPGs.
An immersive dungeon sandbox designed for the Adventurer Conqueror King System and other D20 OSR RPGs.
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466 backers pledged $26,252 to help bring this project to life.

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For three thousand years, the secrets of the Nethercity have been hidden. Now the delving of man has breached the ruins, and the lore and treasures of the ancients wait in the darkness below for those bold enough to seize them. But an inhuman evil slumbers in that darkness, and the time of the Awakening is at hand....

We’re excited to announce Autarch’s eighth Kickstarter project: The Secrets of the Nethercity™, an immersive dungeon for the Adventurer Conqueror King System™ and other D20 fantasy role-playing games.

With Secrets of the Nethercity you get:

  • An epic "kilodungeon" with 240 location entries spread across 20 different dungeon sub-regions that can be explored in a nonlinear fashion over the course of your campaign 
  • 12 new monsters, including the chryselephantine statue, faewyrd, hydropian, and terror of death
  • 30 new magic items, including the bag of faerie seeds, the funerary barge of the cults, horn of the eagles, scepter of sacred power, and shadowcowl robe
  • 4 new character classes, including the elven cultist, hierophant, and warlord
  • A special appendix providing step-by-step worksheets to adapt the Nethercity to your favorite campaign setting
  • A home base (the city of Cyfaraun) for use by your adventurers in between dungeon delves. The city is presented in summary format in the adventure itself, and the city and the sewers below it are presented in more detail in a supplement called Capital of the Borderlands (available at $20 and above pledge level). With every bonus goal, we'll expand the city and sewer levels!

The Nethercity, the city, and the sewer level in between are all beautifully mapped by the incredible cartography of Dyson Logos and Simon Forster. You get maps of the city, sewers, and Nethercity, as well as zoomed-in sectional maps of each major area. With every bonus goal we hit, we'll add more maps.

We've tapped artist Michael Syrigos to create rich, gorgeous full-color art for the adventure. Not every image will be full color at the base level, but all of the backer-supported art will be.

The entrance to the nethercity lies hidden in the sewers of Cyfaraun
The entrance to the nethercity lies hidden in the sewers of Cyfaraun

Full color, you ask? Yes! This will also be our first product developed for and printed in full-color. We're working with layout artist Todd Crapper to update our house style for full-color presentation. Below is a sample full-color layout he prepared as a demo for Heroic Fantasy Handbook. (The final layout for Nethercity is, of course, still being developed - partly through this Kickstarter!)

A Sample Layout of a Full-Color Page
A Sample Layout of a Full-Color Page

What do you mean by kilodungeon?

The Nethercity is bigger than an ordinary dungeon (like Sinister Stone of Sakkara) but not as big as a megadungeon (like Dwimmmermount). Get it? Kilo instead of mega... Let's just read on.

What levels is the adventure for?

Secrets of the Nethercity is designed for a party of experienced mid-level adventurers and is stocked with sufficient monsters and treasure to advance them by four to six levels. As such it serves as a mid-level environment in which the adventurers can acquire the wealth and power they need to advance into high-level play. 

Where is the adventure set?

The adventure takes place in the Auran Empire campaign setting, the default setting for ACKS. The eponymous Nethercity lies below the city of Cyfaraun, just fifty miles northwest of Türos Tem, making it a perfect sequel to our introductory adventure The Sinister Stone of Sakkara. But if you don't play in the Auran Empire, don't worry - a special appendix in the book offers advice on how to adapt the adventure for use with our Kanahu setting or with your own favorite campaign world. The Nethercity can be placed under any long-inhabited urban settlement that's changed hands between law and chaos over the centuries.

How much detail is offered on the city of Cyfaraun?

In the tradition of classic TSR adventure scenarios such as The Keep on the Borderlands and The Village of Hommlet, Secrets of the Nethercity gives you the information you need to use Cyfaraun as a home base for adventurers in your campaign. The level of detail in the city itself will be similar to that provided for the city of Harat in our Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu supplement. But as we unlock Bonus Goals, Cyfaraun will get even more detailed, with the sewer level below the city transformed into a whole additional play area.

Cyfaraun: The Capital of the Borderlands
Cyfaraun: The Capital of the Borderlands

What are the Bonus Goals?

If we raise more than our target, we'll expand the amount of information we provide on the city of Cyfaraun and flesh out the extensive sewers and ruins directly beneath it. 

The Cyfaraun Sewer Level - Unlocked with Bonus Goals
The Cyfaraun Sewer Level - Unlocked with Bonus Goals

$20,000 - Kingpins of Crime: The Argollëan Brotherhood controls a vast smuggling ring from the sewers below the Mink in the Old City center. We'll add detailed maps, location keys, and character write-ups of the thieves and their hideout to the Capital of Borderlands supplement (available at the $20 and up level.)

$25,000 - Tower of Knowledge: The Tower of Knowledge offers alchemists, sages, and spellcasting services to aid in exploration. But some of its mages have taken an...unhealthy....interest in the Nethercity. We'll add detailed maps, location keys, and character write-ups of the Tower of Knowledge and its underground vaults to the Capital of the Borderlands supplement.

$25,000 (was $30,000) - Amphitheater and Gambler's Row: Like all Auran cities, Cyfaraun has an amphitheater devoted to gladiatorial battles, circus shows, and more. This bonus goal adds all the details you need to participate in arena battles, wager on gladiators, or start a gladiatorial school in Cyfaraun. It also covers the operations of a second thieves' guild and the underground blood sports they hold below Gambler's Row. The maps, location keys, and character write-ups will be added to the Capital of the Borderlands supplement.

$25,000 (was $35,000) - Temple of the Empyrean: The center of Cyfaraun's religious life, the Temple of the Empyrean encompasses shrines and chapels to all of the gods and goddesses of the Empire, along with an underground catacomb where the ashes of the city's ancestors are kept. The maps, location keys, and character write-ups will be added to the Capital of the Borderlands supplement.

$40,000 - Rats, Ruins, and Renegades: A vast network of sewers runs below the city of Cyfaraun. These sewers were constructed into and through the ruins of an older city built after the Nethercity but before the current city. If we hit $40K, we'll flesh out a number of points of interest in the sewer level, with antagonists including a cult of warlocks, a sinister clan of wererats, a beastly band of escaped gladiators, a guild of assassins, and sewer monsters of all sorts!  The maps, location keys, and character write-ups will be added to the Capital of the Borderlands supplement.

$45,000 - The Imperial Presence:  When it's time for your adventurers to seize power (for the greater good, of course), the statesmen, soldiers, and sycophants of the Prefect's Palace, and Solar Citadel will come in handy. The maps, location keys, and character write-ups will be added to the Capital of the Borderlands supplement.

$50,000 - A Fine Day in the Forum: We'll detail the Merchant Guildhouse, the Mercenary Guildhouse, the Imperial Charter Inn, the Agora, and the Merchant Roadstations. There'll be a business to buy and run (for you venturers out there!) and lots of random tables to help simulate a busy day in the market. The maps, location keys, and character write-ups will be added to the Capital of the Borderlands supplement.

$60,000 and up: We'll announce these if we get to them!

The Terror of Death Awaits!
The Terror of Death Awaits!

Thank you for checking out our Kickstarter! We'll hope you'll support our crowdfunding effort so we can make Secrets of the Nethercity. 

Risks and challenges

This will be the eighth Kickstarter that Autarch LLC has run. All of our prior Kickstarters have funded successfully, and have delivered well-received products to our backers, including the platinum best-selling Adventurer Conqueror King System and the enormous Dwimmermount.
In our first four Kickstarters, however, we encountered substantial delays in product development and delivery, which put us well behind schedule in getting them to our backers. These delays resulted from either (a) unexpected challenges in product development; (b) complexities in fulfilling special backer rewards or bonus goals; or (c) logistical mistakes.
Having learned from past experience, we developed a new approach which we have used since. Backer rewards have been streamlined into a small number of tiers with clear-cut rewards without a large number of special cases that can complicate and confuse our logistics. Bonus goals have been carefully plotted out to be delivered within our overall framework without causing delay.
Nevertheless there are three possible risks that may cause delays to this Kickstarter:
1. There are a large number of bonus goals associated with this project. The design with these goals has not been done in advance, as it can only be funded if we meet these goal levels.
2. Many of our reward tiers invite the creative input of high-level backers. The need for close collaboration with these backers means that we cannot strictly control every aspect of the design and production. We consider this a worthwhile risk to accept in order to gain their input and insights.
3. This will be our first full-color product. This may cause the art to take longer than we are used to.
We are very thankful for the support to all the backers who supported us in our prior Kickstarters!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 10 or more About US$ 10

    Hireling

    You get a PDF copy of Secrets of the Nethercity with your name in the credits. Note that you do NOT get the Capital of the Borderlands supplement.

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    • Secrets of the Nethercity PDF
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    Adventurer

    You get a PDF copy of Secrets of the Nethercity with your name in the credits. You also get a PDF copy of the Capital of the Borderlands supplement with all bonus goals.

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    • Capital of the Borderlands PDF
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    Conqueror

    You get a PDF and softcover copy of Secrets of the Nethercity with your name in the credits. You also get a PDF copy of The Capital of the Borderlands supplement with all bonus goals.

    Includes:
    • Secrets of the Nethercity Softcover
    • Secrets of the Nethercity PDF
    • Capital of the Borderlands PDF
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    Prince

    You get a PDF copy of Secrets of the Nethercity with your name in the credits and a PDF copy of the Capital of the Borderlands supplement with all bonus goals. You also get an at-cost print-on-demand voucher for both books. Before then, you'll also get the opportunity to participate in playtesting with the early-access version (fall 2018).

    Includes:
    • Secrets of the Nethercity POD Voucher
    • Secrets of the Nethercity PDF
    • Capital of the Borderlands POD Voucher
    • Capital of the Borderlands PDF
    • Early Access Version PDF (Fall 2018)
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    King

    You get a PDF and softcover copy of Secrets of the Nethercity with your name in the credits. You also get a PDF and softcover copy of the Capital of the Borderlands supplement with all bonus goals. Before then, you'll also get the opportunity to participate in playtesting with the early-access version (fall 2018).

    Includes:
    • Secrets of the Nethercity Softcover
    • Secrets of the Nethercity PDF
    • Capital of the Borderlands Softcover
    • Capital of the Borderlands PDF
    • Early Access Version PDF (Fall 2018)
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    Pledge US$ 65 or more About US$ 65

    Adventurer Joining the Party

    This is a special pledge level for newcomers to ACKS. In addition to the perks of an Adventurer you get PDF copies of our core ACKS line.

    Includes:
    • Secrets of the Nethercity PDF
    • Capital of the Borderlands PDF
    • ACKS Core Rules pdf
    • ACKS Player's Companion pdf
    • ACKS Domains at War: Complete Set pdf
    • ACKS Lairs & Encounters pdf
    • The Sinister Stone of Sakkara pdf
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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    Early Emperor Gets the Empire

    A limited-time-only Imperial offer. You get all the perks of a King. In addition, you'll get access to an alpha "sneak preview" as soon as we fund. Finally, you will collaborate with our art team to envision a quarter-page full-color illustration of a location, character class, monster, or item based on your specifications, and it'll be included in the product! But act fast, this backer reward level expires soon.

    Includes:
    • Secrets of the Nethercity Softcover
    • Secrets of the Nethercity PDF
    • Capital of the Borderlands Softcover
    • Capital of the Borderlands PDF
    • Add a Quarter-Page Full Color Illustration
    • Alpha Version PDF (Upon Funding)
    • Early Access Version PDF (Fall 2018)
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Emperor

    You get all the perks of a King. In addition, you'll get access to an alpha "sneak preview" as soon as we fund. Finally, you will collaborate with our art team to envision a quarter-page full-color illustration of a location, character class, monster, or item based on your specifications, and it'll be included in the product!

    Includes:
    • Secrets of the Nethercity Softcover
    • Secrets of the Nethercity PDF
    • Capital of the Borderlands Softcover
    • Capital of the Borderlands PDF
    • Add a Quarter-Page Full Color Illustration
    • Early Access Version PDF (Fall 2018)
    • Alpha Version PDF (Upon Funding)
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    King Newly Crowned

    This is a special pledge level for newcomers to ACKS. In addition to the perks of a King, you get a printed copy of our core ACKS line with free shipping. (Only available in US)

    Includes:
    • Secrets of the Nethercity Softcover
    • Secrets of the Nethercity PDF
    • Capital of the Borderlands Softcover
    • Capital of the Borderlands PDF
    • Early Access Version PDF (Fall 2018)
    • Alpha Version PDF (Upon Funding)
    • ACKS Core Rules hardcover
    • ACKS Player's Companion hardcover
    • ACKS Domains at War: Battles softcover
    • ACKS Domains at War: Campaigns softcover
    • ACKS Lairs & Encounters softcover
    • The Sinister Stone of Sakkara softcover
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    Demigod

    You get all the perks of an Emperor with free shipping worldwide. In addition, you'll get access to an alpha "sneak preview" as soon as we fund. Finally, you will collaborate with our art team to envision a full-page full-color illustration of a location, character class, monster, or item based on your specifications, and it'll be included in the product!

    Includes:
    • Emperor-level Rewards
    • Add a Full-Page Full Color Illustration
    • Alpha Version PDF (Upon Funding)
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    Patron Deity

    You get all the perks of an Emperor with free shipping worldwide. In addition, you'll get access to an alpha "sneak preview" as soon as we fund. You will collaborate with our art team to envision TWO full-page full-color illustrations of locations, character classes, monsters, or items based on your specifications, and they'll be included in the product! AND you will work with our design team to create a super-scientific techno-gadget or legendary magic item for inclusion in the adventure, alongside a quarter-page illustration of your item!

    Includes:
    • Emperor-level Rewards
    • Add a Full-Page Full Color Illustration
    • Add a Custom Magic Item or Gadget
    • Add a Quarter-Page Full Color Illustration
    • Alpha Version PDF (Upon Funding)
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Cosmarch of the Logos

    You get all the perks of a Patron Deity. In addition, you will work with our design team to create an adventurer that belongs to Cyfaraun's most annoying NPC adventuring party, The Imperial Vanguard. He or she will become a rival and nemesis for future players, with stats and a quarter-page illustration in an appendix to the book. You'll then get prints of ALL the artwork you helped fund, signed by the artist, and a special collector's edition hardcover compendium, signed by the designers, that encompasses both Secrets of the Nether City and Capital of the Borderlands!

    Includes:
    • Patron Deity-level Rewards
    • Add an Adventurer to the Imperial Vanguard
    • Add a Quarter-Page Full Color Illustration
    • Signed Prints of Artwork
    • Signed Hardcover Compendium of SOTN/COTB
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Funding period

- (31 days)