This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
Broadsword: A Game of Legendary Heroes and Epic Adventure
Broadsword: A Game of Legendary Heroes and Epic Adventure
A high fantasy adventure game of Heroes on an epic Quest, infused with modern design principles and a shiny new veneer.
A high fantasy adventure game of Heroes on an epic Quest, infused with modern design principles and a shiny new veneer. Read more
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .
About this project
I'll put here a summary of updates for people who may have missed a past update (each heading below links to that update for your convenience). Although it would still be worth your time to check out the updates since they will have all the details, you can get a broad idea about them here.
Alternate tiers have been added to the Paragon, Conqueror, and Legend pledge tiers: Paragon Plus, Conqueror Plus, and Legend Plus, respectively.
These "Plus" levels allow you to get everything included in the lower tiers without the exclusivity of that tier alone. For example: The Paragon tier has an exclusive reward to design a monster. However, Paragon Plus also has that in addition to writing a line of Dungeon Graffiti (the exclusive from the Veteran tier).
Here is an updated pledge tier chart to let you see exactly what each of the higher tiers include.
WE FUNDED! HOORAY! Also, the secret unlockable was revealed to be that everyone at the $25 Champion level and higher would be able to opt in to receive a free physical set of basic Combat Dice (blank white dice with stickered faces) and a standard red d6 for a Movement die.
Or you can add $20 to your pledge to upgrade your dice to fully custom engraved Chessex dice in fancy colors. You can still opt in for the basic set, if you like, and have both sets.
Almost achieved funding. And the announcement for demos of the game on Roll20 livestreamed on Twitch.
Achieved 50% funding in 24 hours!
Find a link to the preview of the Rulebook here.
What a great first day! We hit a full third of the funding goal in just the first eight hours.
Broadsword is a high fantasy tactical adventure game that seamlessly marries elements from classic boardgames with elements from tabletop roleplaying games to result in something novel — much more than a simple boardgame; not quite a full RPG.
This hybrid "roleplaying boardgame" takes place in areas as varied as underground caverns, dense forests, hidden catacombs, and other wild places of the world.
The King has summoned you, a valiant HERO, and other Heroes like you, to fight for the forces of good. Your noble QUEST: explore these untamed or reclaimed locations, do battle with the forces of the Abyss that have overrun them, and restore honor and glory to the Kingdom!
A game for 4 to 6 players, Broadsword is played in sequential game sessions called Quests. Each Quest is detailed in a Quest Book. Each Quest Book usually, but not always, conforms to a themed story or adventure.
A Quest may take from one to four hours to play. During a Quest, Heroes acquire valuable riches. These treasures may be used between Quests to purchase powerful weapons, protective armor, or useful equipment and potions from the many stores in the Armory, including hiring trained Mercenaries.
The Heroes must work together to defeat the forces of the Abyss. Individual winning is not the goal. United the Heroes stand; Divided they fall.
One player assumes the role of the Game Master, or GM, and controller of the game; the other players assume the role of Heroes – cunning adventurers, brave warriors, and wily spellcasters.
Create your Hero by choosing a race and class. Each of the four core races (Dwarf, Elf, Halfling, Human) comes with a selection of two racial abilities, which adds an extra level of customization.
Then, select from twelve diverse classes, broken into three categories:
- Five Fighter classes (Berserker, Hunter, Paladin, Ranger, Warrior) cannot cast spells, but make up for it with a distinctive talent unique to that class.
- Five Caster classes (Aeromancer, Geomancer, Hydromancer, Necromancer, Pyromancer) aren't suited for the front lines like their Fighter counterparts, as they prefer to stay at range and use their impressive array of spells, each tailored to its respective class.
- Two Hybrid classes (Cleric, Druid) are acceptable fighters who also dabble in some magic. They can't use the very best armor and weapons like Fighters, or cast as many spells as often as Casters, but their best-of-both-worlds approach makes them equally deadly.
Your chosen class determines your starting weapons and armor, your starting Body Point and Mind Point amounts, and if applicable, what spells you can cast. Your class's category also determines what equipment you can or cannot use, based on a system of keywords.
Did you kill a monster that dropped a sweet Crossbow you want to use? Better make sure your Hero isn't restricted from using an item with the Cumbersome, Ranged, or Two-Handed keywords.
On each turn, a Hero may take an Action then move, or move then take an Action. An "Action" is one of nine possibilities:
- Cast a Spell
- Search for Treasure
- Search for Secret Doors
- Search for Traps
- Disarm a Trap
- Use an Active Skill
- Use a Special Action
- Switch Items
Heroes move around the map with a combination of a static move rate of 4 squares plus one six-sided die (1d6) added to that - commonly denoted as 1d6+4. Actions that require dice to be rolled, like attacking or defending, are handled with a unique pictographic die, called a Combat Die.
At the top of each round, players decide among themselves their initiative order. After all the Heroes have had their turn, the GM gets to unleash the Abyssal hordes and move and attack with all the monsters currently activated in play.
Many types of killed monsters will drop items of varying rarity upon death, determined by a roll on that monster's unique "loot table." Each monster's loot table is unique to that monster and will contain 1 to 3 items.
Heroes with spells to cast must weigh their options carefully; once cast, spells are discarded and cannot be used again in the current Quest. Unless, of course, the player decides to expend some of their character's mental vitality, known in the game as "Mind Points," to keep the spell to cast again on another turn.
That doesn't mean melee characters are let off the hook so easily, however. The dice may turn on you at any time. Roll poorly enough and risk damage or even breakage to your weapons and armor!
Adventuring is no walk in the park, either. Monsters are everywhere, and they aren't the only things to be wary of. Different traps are also waiting to catch and hinder careless Heroes. Thankfully, traps can be disarmed with a Toolkit or attempted to be jumped over.
Between Quests, players can spend their acquired gold coins to outfit their Hero with better equipment, repair damaged gear, hire specialized Mercenaries (Arbelist, Cavalier, Halberdier, Scout), or stock up on potent potions and elixirs. Players can also sell back items to the Armory to receive more gold with which to buy even better gear!
After completing enough Quests, Heroes can grow in power, learning new Spells, Skills, and being able to hire additional Mercenaries.
Broadsword draws inspiration from varied sources, including beloved boardgames such as HeroQuest, Warhammer Quest, Talisman, and Descent, tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons, and even some videogames like the Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda series.
These inspirations can be felt in both the flavor and the grit of the game, being something both comfortably familiar while also wholly new in its design.
Broadsword was designed primarily to be played on a Virtual Tabletop (VTT). Therefore, all the rewards in the pledge tiers will be digital files - not meant for printing. No physical goods will be shipped with this campaign.
However, because it feels so nice to hold a book in your hands and smell its pages, a higher resolution Print-On-Demand (POD) version of many of the game's components - Rulebook, Quest Book, character sheet, tokens, and cards (if their stretch goals are unlocked) - will be included at base manufacture cost for backers at certain tiers.
Since no physical products will be shipped, the solution for Combat Dice will be handled with a printable die template. More on this further down the page.
The POD components will be redeemable through DriveThruRPG/OBS.
NOTE: For the POD cards specifically, it is important to keep in mind that DriveThru's POD card printing service is only done in the United States, and shipping is likely to make this option prohibitively expensive for international customers.
Upon meeting the funding goal, the base game will include the following:
The Rulebook contains everything you need (except the adventure) to run a game of Broadsword. It's even possible to play the game without cards if you only have the Rulebook!
The Rulebook will feature a Foreword by James M. Spahn (Barrel Rider Games; White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying; The Hero's Journey Fantasy Roleplaying).
The Quest Book, titled "Conquering Despair," is a series of 14 Quests that revolves around the acquisition of magical Gems of Power for a special purpose involving an evil lich named Outh'velok.
It features a Choose Your Own Adventure-style organization, where a campaign running through from start to finish will only run through any of 8 Quests. Many of the Quests have more than one exit, so seeing all the available Quests requires multiple playthroughs!
Everything you need to organize your Hero as he or she progresses through the game.
When I began this project - before it was named Broadsword, Devin Night caught wind of what I was doing and volunteered to work with me to produce the tokens the game would require to be played on a VTT. He loved the concept of the game so much, he did this FOR FREE! I was blown away, to say the least.
In my humble opinion, Devin is one of the most prolific names in VTT tokens. He has graciously provided all of the game's 112 tokens:
- 31 male tokens of various race/class combinations
- 31 female tokens of various race/class combinations
- 29 monster tokens
- 10 NPC tokens, both named and generic
- 4 mercenary tokens
- 7 trap and environment tokens
As mentioned earlier, Broadsword uses custom pictographic d6 dice (called Combat Dice) for most of its Actions, as well as a standard d6, of which you likely already own many. The game will include separate image files for each of the die faces (Sword, Light Shield, Dark Shield) ready to be uploaded to your VTT of choice. While the POD version will include a die template to be printed out and assembled. Note how the Combat Die is weighted for each icon.
In a word: Art!
To be clear, this campaign is not to get the game finished; it has already been completely written and almost done being laid out, with placeholders for where images are to go. I'm just waiting for art to make it whole and complete.
That's where you come in! With your help, we'll make Broadsword a beautiful success.
In order to do that, I started by tapping illustrator Gary Chalk (HeroQuest, Talisman, Redwall, Lone Wolf). I felt Gary's work was both iconic and a perfect fit for Broadsword. After contacting him, he agreed to license some of his prior work for me to reuse in this game.
In addition to Gary, I also knew the game needed a couple of really sweet covers for the Rulebook and Quest Book. I asked artist Eric Quigley (BareBones Fantasy; Hero Kids; Blue Rose; Numenera Bestiary; Strange Stars) to handle this.
The Kickstarter goal will pay for these two sources of art, just to ensure backers have something delightful to look at while reading the books.
PLEASE NOTE: In order to minimize initial costs, I've broken the art development down so that this primary funding goal only covers the most basic game artwork. This lets me get the core game out in a decent presentation, and then add in more expanded artwork as the stretch goals are unlocked. Each stretch goal will only make the game even more awesome to look at!
At this $1 tier and above, you will receive updates from Kickstarter as the campaign proceeds. This tier is for backers who want to follow along to potentially increase their pledge later down the road, or for those who just want to support this project.
At this $8 tier and above, all backers will get a Dropbox link to access the Rulebook - immediately, before the campaign ends! The link will most likely go out during the first week of the campaign's launch.
At this $12 tier and above, all backers can get their names listed on the Backers page of the Rulebook. A survey will be sent out after this campaign ends to give you a chance to specify exactly how you would like your name to appear.
At this $25 tier and above, backers will receive PDFs for components of the core game (Rulebook, Quest Book, Character Sheet) - perfect for uploading to play on your favorite VTT. Tokens and die faces will be organized as individual images in folders in a ZIP file.
Backers will also have the option to use DriveThruRPG's Print-On-Demand (POD) service to print and ship physical copies of the Rulebook, Quest Book, and Character Sheet at base manufacture cost, ideal for playing in person around a table. Tokens will be organized as individual images in folders in a ZIP file. The Combat Die will be a printable template page, with 3 templates on the page.
Plus, backers will also receive any stretch goals that become unlocked.
At this $45 tier and above, backers can have included in the game a short, one line text of "Dungeon Graffiti," which is a random thing adventurers might find carved or chalked on dungeon walls. Each line of graffiti will be found somewhere in one of the Quest Book's 14 Quests. The Quest Notes will display the text and include names of the backers.
At this $60 tier and above, backers will work with Alex to design a custom monster, making sure its stats are compatible with the game. Backers can design either common or Elite monsters, with special abilities where applicable. Once finalized, each monster will also be illustrated by Gennifer Bone (SAVE: The Eternal Society; Swords & Wizardry, 3rd Printing; Lusus Naturae), with a note in the Bestiary with the backer's name.
At this $100 tier and above, backers will work with Alex to create lore for a unique Artifact card, making sure it is compatible with the game. The Artifacts will appear in a future expansion, with a note of the backer's name.
Become a member of the King's elite Honor Guard! Backers at this $200 tier and above will have the chance to have their likeness included in a group photo illustrated and colored by D.L. Johnson (Eternal Lies; Slumbering Ursine Dunes; Scarlet Heroes; The Dracula Dossier)!
If we reach goal, the base game (Rulebook, Quest Book, Tokens, and Character Sheet) will continue life beyond Kickstarter - and backers will forever be part of the story of Broadsword.
Plus as a special bonus, there will be a secret that will be revealed if we reach the funding goal.
If we reach this goal, I'll be able to pay Devin Night for all the work he's graciously put in to provide tokens at no charge, making the game as fantastic as it is. It's only fair.
If we hit this goal, ALL the interior art needed to fill out the placeholders in the Rulebook will be included. The new art will be illustrated by Jenna Fowler (Ars Magica; Barbarians of Lemuria; Farewell to Fear), Gennifer Bone, and D.L. Johnson.
The world of Broadsword is nebulous and undefined, only as specific as the Quest Book describes. But if we hit this stretch goal, illustrator and cartographer Thomas Novosel (Wormskin; Uldridge City; Dust, Fog, and Glowing Embers) will help solidify the greater world area and bring it to life with an illustrated map of the region, using specific locations from the "Conquering Despair" Quest Book to better visualize the setting!
Here's a sample of Thomas's style of cartography that you can expect with this stretch goal.
At this stretch goal, new card backs will be drawn and colored for 20 of the 22 decks - Skills deck, Chaos Spells deck, 11 decks of Advancement Spells, and 7 decks of Class Spells for Caster and Hybrid classes.
The remaining 2 card backs will be reused from Gary Chalk's card art for HeroQuest.
PLEASE NOTE: This stretch goal only unlocks half the art for the cards to be complete. Gary Chalk has licensed some art to be reused for the card fronts, but it only goes so far. We still need art for the rest of the card fronts. Don't leave those cards blank. Help get us to the final Art Wave to complete all the cards!
If this goal is met, master of the hidden art of unboxing and renowned HeroQuest advocate The Bard ("Why HeroQuest is so great" on YouTube) will set quill to paper (and fingertips to keyboard presumably) and pen thrilling introduction and conclusion pieces in the Quest Book to bookend your mighty adventures.
If we reach this stretch goal for the third and final wave of art, any card front images that aren't going to feature Gary Chalk's work will have all new art for all the decks. At this amount, the base game will consist of: Rulebook, Quest Book, Character Sheet, 112 Tokens, and over 200 cards (22 different decks).
Here are what some of Broadsword's card fronts might look like using Gary Chalk's repurposed art.
Quick! What's more impressive than a single front cover on a book? If your answer was a back cover, you'd be right!
If we hit this stretch goal, Eric Quigley will double the size of the color covers for the Rulebook and Quest Book from single page to wraparound covers. Your printed books will look extra fancy now!
Give your players additional verisimilitude and immersion in the game by listening to a professionally produced voiceover track, complete with added environmental effects, if applicable. If we hit this stretch goal, actor Graydon Schlichter (the voice of the King from the video above!) will produce a high-quality voiceover reading of the Introduction and Conclusion!
Here are a couple other samples of Graydon's previous work. The first is a clip with a major focus of his vocal work and a little background music.
This second, shorter clip is heavier on the production and effects.
Here is a bit more information about the artists and contributors involved this project. In their own words:
Alex Hakobian: Alex is the creator of Broadsword and the owner of Bloody Eye Games, Inc. An avid gamer on almost every platform, he cut his teeth on adventure boardgames like HeroQuest, whose influence has clearly stuck with him ever since. Chicago is where he currently calls home, but his heart will forever belong to Los Angeles.
Gary Chalk: Gary should need no introduction, having illustrated fantasy books and games for many years. He is best known for work on the Talisman board game, the Redwall stories and the Lone Wolf series of gamebooks. Currently drawing mice wearing trousers somewhere in Normandy, France.
Gennifer Bone: Gennifer is an artist hailing from Las Vegas. When she isn't making artwork, working out, or playing games, she rules from on high as a Vampire Queen. Or at least that's what she tells people.
Jenna Fowler: Jenna is a queer American freelance artist that has been producing illustrations and graphic design since 2010. She loves to create fantasy art that lets unique characters shine and tells diverse stories. Jenna has been an artist for Atlas Games, Growling Door Games, and a variety of indie RPG games and anthologies.
Eric Quigley: Eric is a freelance illustrator working predominately in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He has worked with a growing list of clients that include Monte Cook Games, Green Ronin Publishing, DwD Studios, Hero Forge Games, and many more. He currently resides in Portland, Oregon with his beautiful girlfriend and cat, though he strongly considers himself a dog person.
D.L. Johnson: D.L. Johnson is a professional illustrator and concept artist working and living in Montana. He's illustrated for Pelgrane Press, The Hydra Collective, In Search Of Games, and many other publishers. He's also written and illustrated Gathox Vertical Slum, a transdimensional gangland setting for Swords & Wizardry: Whitebox.
James M. Spahn: James is the owner/operator of Barrel Rider Games, a small press RPG company. He has written over 100 supplements for OSR-based games such as Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, OSRIC, and Dungeon Crawl Classics. His other credits include White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying and The Hero's Journey Fantasy Roleplaying. In addition, he has served as a freelance author on The One Ring Roleplaying Game by Cubicle 7 Entertainment, the Star Wars: Force & Destiny Roleplaying Game by Fantasy Flight Games, and several supplements in the Lost Lands line of products for Frog God Games.
Devin Night: Devin spends a lot of time thinking about games. Either playing games or creating art for them, it's one thing that always makes him happy. He's been lucky enough to find a niche creating overhead tokens of characters and creatures for virtual game tables. When he's not working, he's spending time with friends and family.
Joe & Sarah Bilton: Joe and Sarah are the team behind Heroic Maps. They produce battlemaps and tiles of fantasy and sci-fi locations, and have done so for over 4 years. They love producing maps that are usable, imaginative, and give GMs lots of ideas for adventures.
Thomas Novosel : Thomas works on art that is gameable, and erases then pours ink on paper until it is evocative or at least a wizard. He has done art for a variety of tabletop gaming zines (including Wormskin, his own adventurer's equipment zine, Uldridge City, and a supplement for the upcoming Dust, Fog, and Glowing Embers), and spends most of his days trying to understand other people's art.
The Bard: Renowned HeroQuest advocate and a master of the hidden art of unboxing, the Bard wanders the land in search of secret wisdom and cracking yarns. Recently, great oaths have been undertaken in ancient halls and the Bard has sworn to bear witness to the forging of the Broadsword. Will he lay his lips in reverence upon its naked blade? Will he have a hand in the etching of the runes that line its fuller? Tradition demands a vague answer. But the answer is yes.
Graydon Schlichter: Graydon has been an actor for almost 30 years, loving every minute of it. With his first professional radio gig at the ripe old age of 16, he's been a voice over artist almost as long. Sound Design & Engineering started a little later in college both on the academic side, studying theatrical sound design, and the practical side, wiring and engineering live concerts all over town. These days, he engineers his own audiobook recording sessions, other voice over work for a diverse client base, as well as for theatres and festivals around Los Angeles.
My goal with this fundraising campaign is to keep it as simple as possible and to pay the artists a fair wage for their work. This will end up with a better game overall, and ultimately, that's what it's all about - putting a beautiful game into people's hands.
As stated before, this campaign is to raise money to pay the artists that will be making the game gorgeous and complete. Kickstarter invariably takes its share, plus an additional fee per pledge backer. On top of that, there's always the tax man that'll come knocking. The remainder will all go to the artists!
I'm not looking to add unnecessary complexity by including physical shipments or gimmicky doodads like t-shirts or stickers. That's why I've stuck with all-digital rewards.
If this campaign exceeds its funding beyond the stretch goals listed above, additional money will go into making future Broadsword products and expansions - I've already got some neat ideas in the pipeline ready to be worked on. But first things first!
Risks and challenges
Of all the possible challenges that may occur, three that I can see are at the forefront. First, the art may take longer to deliver than originally estimated, which will push back the game's release.
Second, due to the nature of Kickstarter's all or nothing approach to fundraising, if the project fails to achieve its goal even by a dollar, then NONE of the raised money will be able to be used toward art.
Finally, there may be some people who may be skeptical (or may outright refuse) to pledge solely based on the fact that this is my first Kickstarted project. To those people I say, fear not! This project is, again, only to pay the artists. If we are not successful here, it does not impact the game's state of release. It will still be playable and complete, but I will either a) find another method to get art in the game, or b) release it without art.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter