Cosmic Mirror Games Year 1: Confluence, NuÆther, Generations
Cosmic Mirror Games is a TTRPG game developer. Our first book, Umbra & Mirn, came out last year, and we're back with 3 games this year.
A Kickstarter TL;DR
So what's going on in this Kickstarter? Three games? Three worlds? Three settings? Do they need each other? Let's get the whole thing simply made clear at the start: There are three game books in this Kickstarter. Not a single one needs one another in any way. What we have is Confluence, a 450 page book which will have the core rules and settings of all future settings released in the Cosmic Mirror Games line of books, and then two small games in a separate line of games called the Genesis Engine games. These smaller ones are under 100 pages a piece, and are intended to be standalone products (even from each other) that can harbor faster and less mechanically intensive games, better suited for quickly learning a new system and getting in some smaller games.
Funds from this KS go primarily to Confluence, but a small amount (under 10%) will help fund art for the smaller books. The games are all included here simply to allow people to buy in for whatever looks the most fun for them. You do not need all 3, but you can have them!
End Kickstarter TL;DR
Our $4k stretch goal has been unlocked early, as we just passed the amount raised in the Umbra & Mirn kickstarter! Every backer will receive a free PDF copy of the revised Umbra & Mirn rulebook.
The Cosmic Mirror, a cosmic artifact hanging in empty black space for over 4 million years. Over all this time, 14 distinct eras have come and gone, as god-like beings created matter, mass, space, and time, then life, culture, and death. While the first 3 eras are unplayable in any way we humans would be able to understand, the 11 others are. Lucky us.
Cosmic Mirror Games are entire campaign settings and worlds, as well as unique systems, with new races, powers, items, abilities, and so much more presented in each world. Last year is what we'd like to call "Cosmic Mirror Games Year 0". We released the 12th Era, Umbra & Mirn, through the help of a Kickstarter just like this one. It was our first TTRPG book project, it was big, and it came with many lessons, so here we are, ready to offer so much more.
(Our previous book, Umbra & Mirn, is not exactly compatible with this new book now, but the systems are very similar, making converting information from it very easy. Effort will be made to write up a PDF with updates for that book for free at the $8000 stretch goal, but even without it, an expansion and update book for Umbra & Mirn will be coming about in the next two years. Previous backers of U&M will get at least PDFs of it for free.)
While each of these 11 playable eras will receive a book, we're starting with the biggest and most fun mess of it all: Confluence, the 9th Era. This era saw a massive upheaval in space and time, causing all the denizens, races, cultures, technologies, and more from every era to come to a head, clashing wildly in one epic game world. The undead hordes of the 7th Era being blasted down by the advanced technology of the 11th, the high society political game of the 12th Era meeting the uncontrollable tenants of the 10th-- this game is meant to be nothing less than an exciting adventure.
So what is in this 450~ page book we're calling Confluence? The core rules for every Cosmic Mirror Game setting and world book that comes out hereafter, as well as a look into each of the worlds that are forthcoming. Races from each of the playable eras make an appearance here, making up the 10 core, player races. The 30+ other races from the eras are still in here though, with individual entries in bestiary section, allowing you to delve as deep as you want into all that each world has to offer.
Every era's game book that comes out after this one is backwards compatible, meaning all the in-depth world information, items, spells, powers, gods, and more can be brought into the Confluence core setting, and each of these era books will rely on the Confluence book for all the basic rules. In a way they serve as expansions, but each world will be completely playable on their own. Things only have to overlap as much as you want them to.
The core 10 races are as follows:
Coming from the 6th Era of Dystheis are the Fallen Gods. These beings were once, many thousands of years ago, cosmic beings of endless energy. But now, through betrayal and poor use of their power, they are among the mortals they once ruled over. Retaining elements of their past god-hood, each god has power over particular domains of influence, and have 8 domains to pick from for powers in this initial entry with the core rules, to be expanded in their setting book.
Coming from the 7th Era of Mortalis are the Men. These are humans as we know them, a core and common vanilla race, but they are not the flexible and happy to integrate race from so many other TTRPGs. Their world is filled with danger and hazards, as the dead in their world do not stay dead. Wall-obsessed and xenophobic, these men are all of the "tin-foil hat" variety.
Coming from the 8th Era of Labyrinthea are the Raiths. These rat-folk creatures are wisened and pragmatic. They keep their homes secret and safe from all outsiders, but themselves travel quite often among the cities of other races, primarily for trade. With their unique smoke and vapor magic called Manipulations, they bring a unique and niche smaller race to the game.
Coming from the 10th Era of Teatro Grottesco are the Hollow. These near-humans are a horrid mockery of life. Not truly real, they cling to emotions that they know living beings should have, venturing deep into their own insanity and art to remain safe from the truth: They have no souls. Madly driven by projected emotions, these beings function on a unique system from the other races, giving up points from emotional pools to act, and using their madness to their benefit.
Coming from the 11th Era of Ferrougos are the Chell. These once-enslaved insectoid creatures were genetically modified by a super powerful AI to be a servitor race, able to integrate neurally with their hyper tech. Now in this new world, they hoard their incredibly powerful machinery and scramble to find a new power source so that no one can try to enslave them again.
Coming from the 12th Era of Umbra & Mirn are the soul-joined creatures, Umbrans and Mirrar. Umbrans are a sort of 6-armed centaur, filled with shadowy smoke, and primarily are naturists, believing in the spirits of the natural world. Mirrar are 6-tentacled snake-fungus people, whose natural technologies make them one of the more advanced societies. Moreover, they have a strong desire to engage in politics, and wish to govern this new world. The two share a soul, and as such are present one-at-a-time, swapping places when the other goes to sleep.
Coming from the 13th Era of Diluvia are the Diluvians, a race of psionic creatures who can have up to 7 unique minds and identities, each one tapping into new powers and physical alterations. They also bring with them a host of pseudo-tech, infused with psionic and magical powers, making their tech the most wildly futuristic, to the point of truly appearing to perform acts of magic, defying all laws of physics.
And finally, coming from the 14th Era of Solare are 2 of the very many races in that world, the Hahen and the V'sal. Hahen are a race of sentient colors given body forms, and their abilities to alter color waves cause others to consider them psionic, though it is not true. The V'sal are a race of hollow-souled beings who can be inhabited by spirits and creatures from the outer planes, and as such are raised in captivity to be vessels for these creatures, acting on the behalf of ancient and broken gods.
So much more information on the game, including information on the eras, the races, and more, can be found both on our website www.CosmicMirrorGames.com, as well as our Facebook, where we primarily post information on the game in the days leading up to the Kickstarter, as well as through the campaign.
So what makes this Cosmic Mirror Games Year 1, instead of "Confluence Kickstarter"? Here's the deal: The Cosmic Mirror is not in some far flung galaxy or universe separate from ours, in fact it is in the one we inhabit now, though in the future. It is trapped in a bubble that shrinks time and space, and set to be used with programmed laws of reality that are put into use by a machine called a Genesis Engine. The thing about the Genesis Engine? It's just one of 27.
Genesis Engine games are side-game systems, most of which will be much smaller than the Cosmic Mirror Game books. These will come in at anywhere from 50-100 pages a piece. This makes these games light-weight, fairly easy to run, and generally highly conceptual. They can be used well for one-shots, but are also durable enough to survive long campaigns. We begin with our first two this year:
NuÆther is a game world predicated on the concepts we often see in isometric action RPGs, fast paced and brutal combat, floating landscapes, and more ruins than should be realistically feasible, as well as shops who never run out of items that mysteriously have higher level gear as your character becomes more powerful, and more. NuÆther is being marketed as the Magic - Mutations - Mechanixx system, because it has an array of magical spells and effects that your character can find and gain, a large host of mutations that can replace limbs that your character might lose, and a mechanixx line of options for those who want those awesome rocket legs, or a flamethrower for an arm. Lightweight and built for fast paced combat, this game rewards you for losing limbs and touching that questionable magical looking altar, granting you random (or Story Leader chosen) replacements and magical powers.
Generations is a game world where whenever someone dies, a new incarnation of their genealogy is birthed from their corpse at the age of their very first ancestor's death. More than this, being incarnated also sees characters entering life in an "hour" of something called the Earthly Record, which ties them to an element of its choosing. Once so tied, characters can tap into powers related to controlling or manipulating the element, doing so more powerfully as they rank up their power in the element. Utilizing items that belonged to their previous incarnation, characters in this game can tap into the elements their ancestors once had as well, even fusing them to new ends. With a list of 60 sample elements ranging from fire to quiet to zone, the game offers a host of unique and sometimes abstract element options for players and Story Leader alike to utilize. Perhaps more importantly, this game's world is a near approximation of Earth, and all eras are available to be played in, from the Stone Age into medieval times, the modern day, or even a cyber punk future. This is a game that not only expects you to die, but rewards you for dying.
Note that these three specific games are all unique from one another, using different systems. None of the three is needed to play the others, nor do they build on each other. And, regardless of pledges, all three of these game books, Confluence, NuÆther, and Generations all have free to check out and try playtesting PDFs available on our website, www.CosmicMirrorGames.com. So don't take the word of this Kickstarter, check the books out yourself! Playtest PDFs have some placeholder art, or art in progress, as well as truncated sections in many places that will be offered in full when the game is complete. So consider them tastes of what will be had at the end.
All game physical books and PDFs will be fulfilled through DrivethruRPG. Having used them for our previous game Kickstarter, we know we will have no hiccups in setting up and distributing backer rewards through them.
Where is the money going?
Fair question, and we are seeking to be completely transparent here. We are actually me. Hi, my name is Dane. I am one guy who does all of the work on these games, short of the art. I conceptualize, design, write, layout, and put everything together on my own (though I do have some absolutely wonderful friends who are welcome soundboards for bouncing ideas and offering some of their own). So why do I need a Kickstarter if I'm so good at everything?
Short answer: Art. While I have drawn and designed enough to call myself a visual artist in a very weak sense, I did not have anywhere near a large enough art budget for Umbra & Mirn, and utilized a fair amount of my own art in the book, which I can't help but feel cheapened the incredible art that my artists put into the book. I do not want any of my work in these game books, and as a result of that, have sunk almost all of my spendable income over the past 5 months into getting some early art done for all of these projects. As a writer, I don't make too much, so I simply cannot afford to fund the art for these projects on my own. I need your help. See the great art in this Kickstarter? I want lots more of that, and that is where /almost/ all of the money is going. So what about the rest?
Let's do a breakdown. 10% of the funds are tied up in Kickstarter fees and payment processing, that's a given. 10% of the funds are going to procuring art for NuÆther and Generations. These are relatively small books, and NuÆther already has a fair amount of art put into it from my personal wallet, they don't need a ton more. Roughly 50% (hopefully more like 60%) of the funds are going to art for Confluence. Why such a small amount? There's this pesky thing called "product fulfillment" that I forgot about last time around, and paid for out of pocket. This is printing and shipping all the hardcopy books, and it takes up a good 20-30% of the funds, depending on how many physical books are backed for versus how many PDFs are backed for, as well as how many people offer money beyond the base reward tier costs. Notice that we have another 10% floating there? Did I already mention somewhere that I do all of this work on my own? Beyond the work on the games themselves, I do all the advertising (facebook, tumblr, twitter, reddit, and more), the copywriting, the website (I did have help on this one, thanks Kat!), and everything for this Kickstarter. I also accept that I do this primarily as a passion-- it is something I am driven and love to do, but I sink a lot of money into the projects, both in funding art, and the job I have taken that is super flexible (but pays poorly) that allows me to put all this time into these projects. That last 10% is not even necessarily my way of paying myself for all the work, because most of that will go unpaid for-- it is recouping the money I have personally spent getting preliminary artwork for the games for the playtest PDFs and for advertising, as well as for this snazzy Kickstarter.
I have proven to myself with my last Kickstarter that I can stretch money, making just $1500 for Umbra & Mirn, but I don't want to repeat filling the book(s) with my unprofessional art. In fact, I want no more than 5 or so total pieces of my own in these books, and only the most refined and polished, full color and stress-inducing, time-eating work I can do. This $3500 is a base price of where I believe I can make it all work. This assures that I will have at least one piece of art every 5 pages in Confluence, and gives a decent sum to get some work into the smaller games, which have far fewer pages to fill. But $3500? That's just the start. The more money we earn here, the bigger and better the book can be, the more full it can be with amazing art, and the more I can offer you amazing backers. Enter the Stretch Goals.
Risks and challenges
All the risks and challenges faced by this Kickstarter have been faced before. The primary concern that could be had is how 3 different game books will be finished. We can put that to rest immediately, NuÆther is already near completion, and Generations is as well. These games honestly just need the art to be fully fleshed and nice looking game books. Confluence is a larger project than our previous game book, Umbra & Mirn, by about 150~ pages. To mitigate that work load difference, a great deal more of Confluence was done prior to this Kickstarter than Umbra & Mirn was before its Kickstarter.
Umbra & Mirn was completed right on schedule, and nothing should be different this time around. We learned a great deal from our first Kickstarter, and this time around are coming at the projects completely prepared and aware of all the elements of running one of these successfully.
Potential problems could be centered around stretch goal fulfilment being performed within the given time, but we are completely transparent with our backers, and will inform if there is even a chance of delay, while working as much as possible to ensure that it is done on time.
- (30 days)