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Durance's video poster

Durance is Jason Morningstar’s take on life in a far-future penal colony. It's a fast-paced, low-prep, collaborative tabletop game. Read more

Chapel Hill, NC Games
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pledged of $5,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on July 3, 2012.

Durance is Jason Morningstar’s take on life in a far-future penal colony. It's a fast-paced, low-prep, collaborative tabletop game.

Chapel Hill, NC Games
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About this project

Thanks to your support, we've reached our primary goal, as well as all of our stretch goals! You guys are really fantastic!


Stretch Goal ZeroOutstation Lima: The game will include more sketches by Brennen Reece!

Stretch Goal One—Perimeter Tower #6: The game will include a new two-page color illustration by Jesse Parrotti, and we've added a new reward level to allow for even more art!

Stretch Goal Two—Mycoculture Dome: We'll be releasing a short story set in the Durance universe, written by Jason Morningstar and edited by the legendary Will Hindmarch!

Stretch Goal Three—Oxygen Plant: We'll be releasing a digital supplement to all backers featuring a set of ready-to-play settings (a planet and colony pair) written by ourselves and a handful of fantastic guest authors!

Durance is Jason Morningstar’s unique take on life in a far-future penal colony. The game is a fast-paced, low-prep, highly collaborative tabletop game in the tradition of Fiasco.

Durance is designed for 3-5 players and can be played over one or more sessions with very little preparation required. Players assume the dual roles of Authority and convict colonists trying to survive on an outrageously hostile planet. The thin veneer that separates the two classes tends to erode during play, raising questions about corruption, justice and mercy.

One cool thing about Durance is that, like Fiasco, you generate the setting and characters as part of play. This step takes half an hour and results in an exciting, unstable collection of characters mired in a grim and equally unstable setting you helped to devise.What will your colony be like? What dismal horrors does the planet it is carved out of have in store? And, most importantly, who are the people who are marooned there? 

The hierarchy of status and position, called the Ladder, is central to the game. Players will author and control two characters ("colony notables"), each one from a different class and station. 

Gameplay is fast and loose. You'll take turns in the role of Guide, asking questions about the cast of miscreants and ne'er-do-wells you've created and seeing them answered by your friends around the table. Those answers are always flavored by savagery or servility or some drive unique to your colony, like harmony or control. In the end, your friends will always surprise you.

Durance is a fun game, deeply rooted in the dystopic far future setting you build. It's full of real human drama mixed with brutal action and thought-provoking moral dilemmas.

Durance was designed and edited by Jason Morningstar and Steve Segedy respectively. Together, we are Bully Pulpit Games, and we've been creating and publishing games such as the Shab-al-Hiri Roach, Grey Ranks, and Fiasco since 2006. 

Jesse Parrotti created a beautiful full-color cover image that captures the feel of the game perfectly.

Brennen Reece did all the interior sketch art, each drawing a portrait of one of the colony Notables, as if the work was torn from the sketchbook of an artist in the colony.

Fred Hicks of Evil Hat is doing the layout for the book, and it's fantastic. You might know Fred as the multiple Origins award winner and graphic designer behind such visually striking titles as Don’t Rest Your Head and the Dresden Files RPG

Our goal is set relatively low for the project because we already have a solid track record for putting together funding and publishing games. We need your support for Durance because we want you to be involved in the process from the beginning, helping us to shape the sci-fi vision for the game. Our experience with Fiasco taught us that getting smart, enthusiastic people involved makes the game better, and so that's exactly what we hope to do with Kickstarter.

If we meet our initial goal, your contributions will be helping us print the game in full color and pay our artists for their excellent work. If we exceed our goal, we'll use the additional funds to secure more artwork for the game, add enhanced features to the PDF, and possibly create supplementary content for the game. More details on all of this will be available as we go forward.

When completed, the game will be available as a full-color, 6x9 perfect-bound book and PDF, with roughly 130 pages of rules, examples, and excellent artwork.


Every contributor will get early access to the unfinished PDF, and we hope that you'll give us your feedback. The game is very tight and the rules are complete, but it's always helpful to have extra eyes to help make sure the text is clear. With your help, we're hoping to eliminate any potential errata before we ever go to print!


as an exclusive for this Kickstarter project, the book will also be available as a signed, limited-edition hardcover version.


This high quality deck of cards includes all of the colonies and planets, as well as the planet/colony survey assessments, putting everything you need in easy reach. The deck is a set of poker-sized, full-color cards with rounded corners and a glossy finish, making it an attractive addition to your tabletop game.

A prototype design for the Surveyor Cards
A prototype design for the Surveyor Cards


This is the part we're really excited about! Everyone who backs the project at $75 or above will have the opportunity to help us define the details and color for the twenty planets and twenty colonies in the game. Everyone has their own vision when it comes to science fiction, and this gives us the chance to collaborate to create the best setting material for Durance right from the start.

If you choose a reward level that involves creative contributions, we will contact you as soon as you pledge with details on how to submit your content. We'll need your submissions no later than July 1st. If your submission does not reach us in time we’ll write one for you and it will be awesome.

Your contribution needs to be in English or Authority Uniglot, in the format and length we indicate when we contact you. We reserve the right to edit your entry however we feel necessary or reject it entirely for any reason. We will absolutely do this if it doesn’t fit the tone of the game or the criteria we provide.

You grant us a permanent and non-revocable but non-exclusive license to use your contributions in BPG products. This means we can use them in Durance and other work, with credit to you, but you can also do whatever you like with them.

All Durance backers will have their name included in the book, categorized by their position on the Ladder according to their chosen reward level. The highest level backers will choose from a limited set of unique titles from the Ladder ("The Governor" for example) on a first-come-first-choice basis.

Thank you for reading about our project, and for considering backing Durance! We're very excited about the game, and we hope that you will be too.

Thanks also to all of our playtesters and friends who've given us feedback and ideas to help make the game the best it can be. The Governor appreciates your efforts and assures us that you will all be free men and women... soon.

Our video uses the track "Polaroid" from the album The Crowd by Jahzaar. This music is available from the Free Music Archive under a Attribution Share-Alike license.


  • Due to popular demand, the answer is yes! Backers can now increase their pledge to get additional copies of Durance as part of their reward. For each additional $20 pledged by anyone at the Lag reward level and above, we'll send an additional softcover book. For each additional $30 pledged by anyone at the Bolter level or above, we'll send an extra hardcover book. You can mix these extras in whatever quantities you like, but please send us a message to let us know what you have in mind.

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  • We forgot to include that line in the Swell reward description, didn't we? Yes, if you can, please include an extra $10 for International shipping. It's optional, of course, but it will make it easier to get your books to you before they're available elsewhere. Thanks!

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  • The Surveyor cards are a high quality set of cards intended to help speed the game's initial setup. They are not required to play but they sure are cool! There are 52 cards - six planetary survey findings with "true" on one side and "false" on the other, six colonial record cards that are similar, 20 planets with individual descriptions and elements (some authored by you!) and 20 colonies with the same array of descriptions and elements. In play, you'll set the 12 planet/colony cards out and take turns flipping "true" to "false" until your choices reveal themselves. Then you'll grab the appropriate planet and colony card and you're good to go.

    The Surveyor cards are intended to be a backer-only exclusive, and we don't plan to print enough to make them generally available through retailers.

    Last updated:


  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    158 backers

    EMANCIPIST: Get a pre-release copy of the Durance PDF along with our thanks. You'll also receive credit for your contribution in the book, with your name listed in the roster according to your position in the brutal colony hierarchy.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $25 or more

    150 backers

    LAG: Get the pre-release PDF, credit, and a full-color softcover edition of the book sent to you before it is available to the public. Shipping is included, although we ask that non-US backers contribute an additional $10 ($35 total).

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $45 or more

    142 backers

    MARINE: Get the pre-release PDF, credit, and softcover book. In addition, you'll get a limited-edition deck of Surveyor Cards for use in play. International backers, please add $10 ($55 total).

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $60 or more

    123 backers

    BOLTER: Get the pre-release PDF and credit as before, along with deck of Surveyor Cards for use in play. Instead of the softcover book, however, we'll send you a signed, limited-edition hardback copy of Durance. International backers, please add $10 ($70 total).

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    37 backers Limited (31 left of 68)

    SWELL: Get the pre-release PDF and credit as before, along with a signed, limited-edition hardback copy of Durance and the Surveyor Cards. In addition, you can make your mark on the game by authoring two details for a colony or planet, which will be included in the finished book.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    17 backers

    RESUPPLY SHIP: A colony needs supplies like gamers need books! This reward level is ideal for retailers. We'll send you six softcover copies of Durance to start. Increase your contribution to get additional copies of the softcover (+$12.50 each) or the hardcover (+$15.00 each). Domestic shipping is included. For non-US backers, please contact us to negotiate the shipping arrangements.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    4 backers All gone!

    MINION: As the right-hands of the colony leaders, you have your pick of the rewards. You'll receive the pre-release PDF, a signed, limited-edition hardback, the deck of Surveyor Cards, and credit in the book as the JUDGE ADVOCATE or the CAPTAIN OF MARINES (Authority) or as CAPTAIN SHARP or the ABBOTT (Convicts).

    In addition, you can contribute four details for a colony or planet, which will be included in the finished book.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $300 or more

    2 backers All gone!

    LEADER: As the natural leader of your faction, all of the rewards are yours! You'll get the PDF, the signed hardback edition, the Surveyor Cards, and credit in the book as either the GOVERNOR (Authority) or the DIMBER DAMBER (Convicts).

    In addition, you'll have the opportunity to author all six details for a planet or colony, as well as its name and description, with your name credited on the page.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    Pledge $400 or more

    2 backers Limited (2 left of 4)

    WRECKER: You were sent here because of your beliefs, and you never backed down. They think you are a threat to the social order - and they are right. From the bottom of the Ladder, you see everything. In addition to getting the PDF, the signed hardback edition, and the Surveyor Cards, you'll have the privilege of providing direction for one full-page, full-color illustration by our cover artist, Jesse Parrotti. You’ll also get credit for sponsoring the work and listed in the book as a WRECKER. Want to see a Bolter on the run? Curious about what a planet with periodic “stone rain” looks like? Maybe we can find out together. UPDATE: We'll also send you a large, high quality poster print of the art you sponsor!

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (20 days)