Lights flicker on a deserted street. A stray cat hisses as it runs for cover underneath a windowless, wrecked car. You see the safehouse ahead, the neon bar sign glowing red in the darkness. Your heart races, gripping your pistol in sweaty hands. One bullet left. If you run, you can make it. Maybe. You kick through the door and sprint down the street as fast as you can.
That’s when you hear it. Moans. Shuffling. Growling. Two figures behind you become four. Then ten. Then fifty. They gain on you from behind. Soon more appear to your sides down darkened alleys. The zombies are coming. Just as you reach for the safehouse door, three of the snarling undead crash out of the wooden frame. They have taken the bar too, and now nowhere is safe. You back up, pointing your gun feebly as the zombie hoard surrounds you. Trembling, you raise the pistol to your head. A gunshot goes off - but it is not yours. Sniper fire rains down, and a moment later an armored truck barrels through the street, and as the side door slides open three soldiers pour out. They lay out suppressive fire, cutting down the zombie hoard. As the commander checks you for injuries, the calvary rushes you to safety. Watching the undead fade into the distance, you nearly collapse with relief as you are saved by the living.
The Living is a tabletop roleplaying game (RPG), which is a social game of imagination and creativity. You help tell a story though the actions and dialogue of a character that you create. The world is yours to explore through their eyes. In order to survive, you must work together as a team. The Narrator keeps track of the rules, stories and secrets – but it is the players who drive the game. Together the Narrator and players share laughs, screams and pouts to create a rich story and a great time.
Although set against the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse, The Living features a plethora of skills and abilities specifically designed to be used with and against living characters. From persuasion to resources, hacking to leadership, medicine to religion, there are nearly limitless situations and areas of expertise in which zombies are the least of your concerns.
Using a distinctive skill and character creation system, the versatile campaign setting has many unique features that set it apart from others in the genre:
- No classes or races. All characters are human and have the potential to be anything they strive to be.
- No statistics. Attributes such as strength, speed, and intelligence are incorporated into the skills system, eliminating modifiers to the dice rolls.
- Open-ended customization. With 9 skill trees with 4 branches each, there are 126 skill specialties possible. Considering there are 5 levels per branch, that's over 167,000 possible combinations!
- Simple game mechanics. The Living uses at most 2 twenty-sided dice (or d20s). Various skills can raise or lower the target number you must meet or exceed on those dice, and can be applied in different situations.
- Dead or Alive. Choose to focus on fighting the undead or subverting the living, killing zombies or making living allies.
DALE EASTERLING - WRITER
Having begun with a 10 page comic strip, Dale has been writing for over 25 years. He has covered a wide range of mediums from plays to movies to poetry - and now branches out into gaming books. He has always sought to bring story to the forefront of any project, and to paint a vivid picture using words and drawing from emotions. With the launch of The Living, Dale hopes to further develop and explore the game world as well as expand upon it in future releases.
TORO DIEGO - ARTIST
Diego has spent 22 years working in illustration, comic books, graphic pieces, and music for video games for countries like England, Italy, Spain, Canada and USA. He also has many years working for the educational publisher Didac-tic in Canada and doing illustrations for the book "Chronicles CW" by Silvano Williams. Recent comic book titles include: "One Must Break" for Beyond Reality Media (New Zealand), "Mechanical Knight" for Winter City (Australia), and "Clusterf@#k" for Alterna.
KOTE CARVAJAL - COLORIST
Kóte Carvajal lives with his lovely wife in Santiago City downtown in Chile. Since 2008, he works as Comic Book Colorist for many different projects from USA, New Zeland, UK and Chile. Besides of his coloring work Kóte is finishing his first comic strip book and writing two comic book projects: one of romance style and the other one is a sci-fi adventure for teenagers.
BRITTANI-PEARL MACFADDEN – ARTIST
Brittani-Pearl MacFadden, aka Vylkira, is an illustrator and lifelong gamer based in Connecticut. Her artistic background is mainly self-taught, but includes the Roth School of Art college preparatory program and the 2016 Illustration Master Class in Amherst, MA. As a long-time player and DM of tabletop RPGs, she is excited to be a part of the team bringing The Living to life. You can follow her on social media @Vylkira.
WENDY EBERHERDT - EDITOR
Wendy is a lifelong gamer of many kinds, but her first love is role playing games which emerged while playing AD&D in the late 1980’s with her Dad and sister. Wendy has played in dozens of systems and also runs a plethora of independent games. She is the proud face of the Denver RPG meetup group and Vice President of Gamers Giving Inc. a charity organization that runs table top gaming events. Her goal is to expand, uplift and unite the gaming community in part because it felt so fractured in her youth. She enjoys attending gaming conventions, hosting gaming events, teaching people how to play games, riding her bicycle, visiting historical sites, photography, creative writing, and hiking. Wendy lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Brian and their cat Zuul.
Many years ago I played what has since held a place in my heart as the greatest MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game) or all time: Star Wars Galaxies. Their skill tree system, in which there were no true classes but more of a collection of similar talents, has inspired me to this day. Sadly the development team completely changed their system, leaving many players such as myself with only the memory of a wonderful system. Years later, I was discussing the prospect of creating a post-apocalyptic or zombie themed game, and immediately that premise of free-form character development became the center of what would become The Living.
Instead of having large amounts of cash on hand or trying to find an investor to borrow from, crowdfunding is, I think, one of the best models for investing in small projects and making people's dreams come true. I think that the minimal risk investment model and all-or-nothing payment structure is perfect for so many projects. Having backed several projects myself on Kickstarter, I firmly believe in it and that is why I brought my project here. Join me in fulfilling my dream by backing my little project and making this project successful! In doing so, we will be laying the foundation for supplements and additions. This includes the first full campaign for the game - Quarantine!
TOP PRIZE: LIVING CHARACTER!
For our top contributor we have an additional gift. We will work with you to create your own character - complete with backstory and character sheet - to use as a sample/pregenerated character referenced throughout the handbook. The character will also receive a full design image from our fabulous artist Diego Toro and will be featured in future materials, such as the upcoming Quarantine campaign module.
The funding for this Kickstarter campaign is broken down as follows:
- $600 - Writer's Fees
- $400 - Art Commission #1
- $300 - Colorist Commission
- $300 - Art Commission #2
- $300 - Editing and Development
- $100 - Web Hosting
- $200 - Kickstarter
Total: $2,200 USD
Unlike traditional hardcover printing, The Living will be printed via DriveThruRPG.com. They do not charge upfront fees; they take a portion of the book sales for printing. This is how we are able to keep the funding goals so low!
If by the good graces of you Backers we reach $3000, BTD Press will immediately begin work on Quarantine. The inaugural publication after the book itself, Quarantine is a full-length campaign that will be ready for gameplay. Save yourself from work, and enjoy a captivating adventure of explosive action and subtle deceit.
What's more? Every Backer who has contributed to the Stretch Goal - whether it's $1 or 100 - will receive a complimentary color PDF of Quarantine once it is completed!
In the near future, the steady drum of daily life is shattered when a rage-inducing disease begins to spread. The infected refuse to rest in peace as their undead bodies spread like the virus they possess. Ten years later, sanctuary comes with great irony. A walled town built to contain suspected diseased is now clean, but the rest of the nation crawls with vicious hordes. You have made your way to Quarantine, the oasis of hope. Yet it the hungry eyes and shifty whispers of the nearly insane residents make you wonder if you might prefer to take your chances with the zombies.
Risks and challenges
Being our debut book project, the prospect of development and risk involved may seem a little daunting for some contributors. I would like to address and hopefully alleviate some of those concerns.
1) Aside from the artwork, which is awaiting funding for proper commissions, the majority of the book is done. The text is written in printing format and digital copies are ready to be sent to the printers.
2) Our editor, Wendy Eberherdt, is well connected in the gaming community as an events coordinator. She has been very supportive and eager to share both this Kickstarter listing and the finished products for more widespread distribution.
3) As I am writing this, I have backed at least 7 successful Kickstarters and have access to all of the notes, updates, and campaign information. I have been going through some of the more successful ones and taking notes as to what worked and what didn't.
This may be my first time on the other side of the campaign, but I have a wealth of resources and access to people with Kickstarter success that will help me make this a success.
If any unforeseen problems should arise, I will make sure to let everyone know as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (47 days)