This Kickstarter is to fund the color art, layout, continued writing and editing for Riders, a Game about Cheating Doomsday. You play a mortal servant of the Horsemen of the Apocalypse (or other interested parties) trying to avert the End of Days, all while Heaven and Hell want you dead. Through the use of the Rite of Ea, an ancient ritual, the events which will cause Doomsday are revealed to you before they happen; fix what will happen and the Metatron, God’s scribe, will not notice your meddling. Do this enough and the Horsemen, reading the Metatron’s altered view of the world, will retreat, confident that it is not yet time to ride.
Our resolution mechanic, The Element Engine, isn't just a matter of deciding what to do or what ‘skill’ or ‘attribute’ is appropriate, but what’s motivating you to do it. Why are you taking a swing at someone?
Is it because you are a Martial Artist and you are confident in your prowess?
Is your Pride not going to let some angel think he is better than you?
Do you regret Not Stopping A Homeless Person’s Beating Death and have vowed to never let such a thing happen again?
Each of these indicates an important Element of your being and can inform any number of actions, from a footrace to talking down someone in a hostage situation. Each Element has a modifier to indicate how central it is to your character as well as Element Dice, a resource for dramatically increasing the chance of succeeding in actions you believe are important. Spend your Element Dice before or after a Task roll, roll the dice and determine your success based on a Target Number.
Each character has access to Unearthly power. Tapping into this Unearthly Element of their being means they can accomplish feats few mortals can hope to achieve. Meanwhile, unique Gifts grant each character a variety of powers. From supernatural motorcycles to the ability to conjure hellfire, each character type possesses fantastic abilities which they will need to survive.
The Doomsday Clock, a very real metaphysical presence, tries to move ever forward to the End of Days. Actions you take and the Unearthly powers you command have the potential to doom the world. Due to the Rite of Ea, this is not set in stone; you will have a chance to fight the Doomsday Clock itself and maybe even push it backwards precious seconds. This framing device at the end of every chapter of play will give you a battle with an adversary as powerful as you let it be. Abusing your powers potentially strengthens the Clock, while taking actions which reaffirm humanity and the reasons for the world to exist give you strength to oppose the Doomsday Clock. Don’t be afraid to call upon your Unearthly Gifts when you need them; you won’t stop Doomsday if you are dead!
And for good reason: they think you want to end the world and they aren’t sure who is winning. You’ve got a big target on you. Sure, you could tell them what you are really doing… but they probably won’t believe you, and what if the Horsemen find out?
In addition to Riders of Conquest, War, Famine and Death, there are some interested parties who also want the world to keep on going. From a love of humanity to just being sick of The War between Heaven and Hell driving them, these playable characters include:
Shepherd - the classic guardian angel, you get to protect others, strike fear into your enemies and swing a flaming sword.
Understudy - so someone died, and your demon self slipped right into their job, their family, their existence. You've gotten used to the sweet life on Earth and don’t want it to end.
Nephilim - a child born from a mortal and an angel, you've only recently realized you are more than human.
Cambion - a child born from a mortal and an demon, hellfire burns in you, driving you to save the only world you know,
True Chronicler - what happens when an ordinary person finds one of the Metatron’s notebooks and absorbs the wisdom within?
With the four Riders, there are nine playable character sets in total, all ready to save the world.
Riders will be a 6"x9" color book printed through OneBookShelf, approximately 150 pages in length. The base book will be softcover using their high quality standard printing option. There will be a higher pledge level which will include an option for a hardcover book in addition to the extras provided by the pledge level.
As you can see by the sample layout, this is not a traditional game book with orderly columns and sidebars but an experiment in design. It is a combination of art project and fully playable game, with easy breakout of sidebars to go along with readable text, all to represent an in-game notebook left to the characters.
Should we significantly pass our funding goal, we have a number of additional goals to encourage people to keep on riding:
$3500 - The Oathbreaker Character Set
A former Sworn of the Fallen or The Host, you have broken your oath yet managed to claw power from your defiance. The Oathbreaker adds a tenth character set to Riders.
$3750 - Form-Fillable Character Sets
All the character sheets in a form-fillable PDF format, suitable for printing.
$4000 - Digital Goals Open to Everyone
When we hit $4000, all PDF backers will also get access to the Oathbreaker Character Set and the form-fillable character sheets. From this point forward, they will get access to all the rest of our digital stretch goals as well!
$5000 - 'Will Be Played By...' Fiction by Caias Ward
Caias Ward will write "Will Be Played By...", a short story set in the Riders universe, where a suburban guy notices his next-door neighbor is acting strangely just as he finds a half-filled notebook at a local coffee shop....
$6500 - To be Announced
We have a few more goals planned out but those revelations will come out as we approach them...
Delivery of certain stretch goals may take longer than the estimates in the pledge levels. We'll be sure to add more stretch goals as we ride along...
Caias Ward has contributed to over a dozen RPG projects as diverse as Continuum: roleplaying in the Yet; PEG’s Path of Kane, Pyramid Magazine, Strike Force 7 and his latest work Trigger Happy which was successful Kickstarted in 2013. He is also the author of two novels.
Keith Olexa started his career chasing fantasy, science fiction and horror stories in STARLOG and FANGORIA magazine, and he’s been nose-deep in the genre ever since. He’s currently editing for Kevin J. Anderson’s WordFire Press, when not developing his own fictional worlds.
Some of you might recognize Chris from his work on Trigger Happy; we got a hold of him again to focus on mechanics editing and review.
Alida is a Canadian artist living in New England. She has been working for decades as a freelance artist, with over 10 years in the RPG industry, producing illustrations and cartography for a number of titles.
William, an artist located in Sweden, is a designer for The Artivist Collective. Some of his previous work includes pieces for the Trigger Happy RPG.
Jennifer is an artist from New Jersey. Although this is her first RPG project, she has extensive experience in working in different mediums, from sketches to oil painting.
We've learned a great deal about fulfillment from our last Kickstarter. Even though we did a pretty good job printing books and sending them out ourselves, we've realized that using OneBookShelf (OBS, the folks behind DriveThruRPG and RPGNow) is a better option for printing and shipping at this scale. It will allow for a much less expensive proofing process and will mean we won’t have to double up on prepping files for OBS after we do our initial run for backers.
By pledging at $20 level or higher, you will have access to Print on Demand at cost. When the book is completed you will get a link to the print on demand copy of Riders at cost, then you pay OBS (most likely through DriveThruRPG) about $5 (softcover) or $11 (hardcover) + shipping based on the projected size of the book (this might change a bit depending on final layout, but not by much). They will print and ship to you. This has several benefits, including improved turnaround times once the book is approved for printing and helping to insulating both of us from shipping increases since we’ll never have as good an arrangement as OBS. This especially holds true for international shipping as people will be able to take advantage of OBS' multiple printing locations, as well as consolidating their shipping of Riders with other books.
Some of the higher pledge levels will have us ordering and shipping books due to special requirements. Those pledge levels will be clearly marked.
Risks and challenges
Other than the end of the world?
In the interest of due diligence, we’ve identified some possible areas of risk as well as how we are mitigating them.
Production: a major portion of the game is already written and playtested. We may make some minor adjustments as some stragglers come in with playtesting, but we’ve had excellent results with our rounds of playtesting, including the blind playtesting groups. We still need to add backer contributions, but will be sure to have a set schedule for getting them to give their ideas so we can develop them. The art is nearly complete, which leaves layout in my hands. The book will need to go through editing, then to layout, then back to the editor. Should there be a major issue with my involvement in the project, my wife is skilled in layout and would be able to, with my direction, continue the project.
Higher Pledge Level Fulfillment: Fulfilling some of the higher pledge levels, including the alternate layouts, may have certain considerations to make. I've got a good handle on how long layout will take me. Some of the specialty levels may take longer due to possible errors and the hand-crafted nature of some of them.
This is the second print product for TaleSpinner Holdings in the RPG area (the first being Trigger Happy, a Kickstarter-funded project now available on DriveThruRPG), and would be the fifth product in total as we have one card accessory and two electronic releases. Beyond RPGs, we have experience in dealing with vendors, sourcing print on a B2B basis and wrangling artists and other contributors to complete projects successfully. As well, I have written or contributed to over a dozen RPG products for such companies as Super Genius Games, Pyramid Magazine, Abstract Nova and Pinnacle and I personally released the game DreamSide at GenCon back in 1999, selling out the short print run in three days.
My personal background is both as a stationary engineer in a data center and as a partner in a private equity company. Both have given me the resources to put out fires (in some cases, literal fires) which come up in a project. We are confident with our forward-looking statements in this regard even as we mitigate risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (34 days)