Demigods: a game about the half-mortal descendants of the gods
Demigods is an action/adventure RPG Powered by the Apocalypse that brings mythology to life in a modern setting. Built from the PBTA framework, Demigods is a fast-action take on mythology, in the style of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Good Omens, or Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. You can play a character from any Pantheon or belief system you can imagine, plotting the arc of your ascension to godhood while you battle mythological creatures and villains in the modern world.
The goal of this Kickstarter is to publish a 6x9 rulebook of about 200+ pages. The manuscript is done, and we're raising funds for editing, layout, and even more art.
The Quickstart rules are available now at demigodspbta.com!
Demigods is designed for epic, heart-breaking, legendary stories. Its rules-light approach streamlines mythic, god-level play so you can get down to the business of epic storytelling without having to worry about a laundry list of powers, pantheons, or game mechanics that don’t drive the story.
Beyond the tales of legend threatening the modern world, your demigod has everyday life to worry about too. They have to live in the mortal world and deal with demanding parents, clueless friends, crushes gone bad, and worse.
Game play is fast and story-focused. The stories will be rich tapestries woven of human experience, and epic moments that will go down in legend forever.
This game is for lovers of mythology, urban fantasy, magical realism, the supernatural, and epic heroes. Heralds (game-runners) who like flexibility, customization, and narrative-driven drama will find a home here, with rules that are easy to learn so you can get on with telling incredible stories together.
- The Twins - a pair of shared playbooks that compliment each other in mysterious ways (2 for 1!)
- The Monster - a playbook based on characters like the minotaur, naga, and creatures from all around the world
- The Spindle - when you include the Spindle as a person, sometimes it's fun to play that mortal who knows what's up, but is still very, very mortal
The book was always going to have some example monsters but now it's going to be chock full! Fingers crossed: we'll even pull in some guest menagerists.
I will invest in the custom molds and order special dice, and a double-sided metal coin with the Demigods sigil to track Fate's Favor and Disfavor. There will be a standard matte "orichalcum" set, and a shiny gold set. The shiny gold will only ever be offered to backers. These will be available for purchase when we wrap!
I'm happy to announce that Dice Envy will be producing this custom order for us! Check them out at https://diceenvy.com/
We're bringing in writers to include EVEN MORE scenarios and fun pantheon information.
Of course, Sam Terry and Minerva Fox will be contributing more too, but here's that roster so far. Believe it or not, I'm still talking to more people! This book going to fabulous.
If you've played anything Powered by the Apocalypse (Apocalypse World, Masks, Monster of the Week, Monsterhearts) then you already know the mechanics. If not, it’s simple to pick up. The core concept is "to do a thing, do the thing". Often you don't even need to roll dice to advance the story. When players take action and trigger a move, they roll 2 six-sided dice (2d6), add the appropriate attribute, and determine the outcome. Rolling a 10 or greater (10+) is a huge success, 7-9 is a success with a cost or complication, and rolling a 6 or less (6-) means the "Herald" will take an action as well, and drive the story forward. The Herald runs the game with a list of their own moves to affect the story, as well as an established agenda for how to keep the game on theme.
Demigods also has a few things that make it stand out from other PBTA games. On top of the large number of playbooks to choose from, and numerous themed moves on each, characters also benefit from a selection of Gifts, a Death Move, and an Ascendance move.
Gifts are epic items and abilities granted to the character, or sometimes "acquired". The latter is usually more fun. In either case, they have a base, static effect as described in the rules, but they also do something special when using the Bend Fate move.
Unique to this game, and to each playbook, this is the action you can take to keep helping your Weave while you're dead. Lots of heroes die and undergo trials to return to the land of the living, and Demigods expects no less. Don't go into the light just yet.
These moves are also unique to each playbook, and describe what your character can do when they shed their mortal coil and unleash the full potential of their divine nature. This is also your character's path to becoming a deity. Use it too much and you won't be able to hang out on the mortal plane anymore.
Witch, Wizard, Sorcerer, Mage: whatever you call yourself, wielding the forces of magic itself is your game, and you’re the best at what you do. You have cold insight into the forces of Fate and are adept at tweaking it to your will. You search the world for lost artifacts and delve for the understanding of what makes magic tick. No mystery is beyond your ken, but are you a force for good, or will your hubris be your downfall?
The Golden Fleece, Mjölnir, and the Chandrahas are all divine creations made for the gods, but it was the Artisan among them who crafted such wonders. You are the one who shapes the threads of Fate into works of art, weapons, armor, and devices useful to you, your Weave, and your Pantheon. Stand back, eye protection on: it’s time to craft.
The Celestial is the huntress, the investigator, the one peeking behind the velvet curtains. Your destiny lies in the heavens. Whether that means the stars, the moon, the planets, or the sun, no one can take the sky from you. Your view from on high also gives insights into the future and the true nature of the people around you. Secrets beware: The Celestial is watching.
The Elemental embodies a specific element and is in a constant struggle between their mortal and primordial natures. Often distant and disconnected from humanity, you occasionally find yourself on the wrong end of a social interaction because you relate better to your element than people. Pick an element to control like Air, Earth, Fire, Water, or something else. You cannot be injured by an element you’ve mastered and can manipulate it in basic ways.
The talent producers, the too smooth seducers,
The ones who take home anyone but losers;
You make everyone look good, especially yourself,
The kingmaker, the shot taker, you invented top shelf.
Death doesn’t discriminate, and no one understands death and dying the way you do. A psychopomp is not a killer, but they weigh, measure, and judge those who have passed beyond. You’ve been consumed with thoughts of the dead for as long as you can remember, either as a morbid fascination, or with a lust for life that fuels endless revelry. Whether they fear you or not, death comes for everyone in the end.
In most cultures Tricksters are teachers and guides. Whether your parent was someone like Coyote, Loki, or Ārohirohi you advise, hint, and cajole to bring these mortals enlightenment. Tricksters are not always funny gods, but you do see the world differently from most everybody else. You will do almost whatever it takes to achieve your goals. This is lucky when your friends want the same things you do, and awkward when they don’t.
The Verdant in every pantheon is the reason things grow. You are the steward of fertility, vitality, and life. As an avatar of nature, you’re very substance is able to grow and change as needed. Whether changing shape, talking to trees, or healing wounds, you adapt and face down any threat. Life finds a way.
A warrior is often many other things as well: a poet, a chef, a parent, or a teacher to name just a few. While always a last resort, in your heart of hearts you know that sometimes violence is the best solution, and you’re the one prepared to carry it out. Your response will be tactical, thoughtful, and crushingly victorious.
Examples of Play
Jason Mills, author and designer of Demigods
Jason is the author of this game called Demigods. His design goals include making games as diverse and widely accessible as possible and is committed to those practices as core beliefs rather than add-ons. He started gaming farther back than he can remember and has played just about every game and game system you can think of, because he's a little weird that way. Demigods is his first publication, and you can look forward to many more games to come. You can find him at @itsProbablyOk on Twitter. (spoiler: he loves talking about mythology)
Amelia Vidal, character portraits
Amelia Vidal is an illustrator and character designer.
She started working in the animation industry in Argentina in 2004. In Hook Up animation studio she worked as a character designer, illustrator, layout designer and storyboard artist; in series, advertisements and films for Disney animation, Cartoon Network, Universal and other local projects. As of 2016, she began teaching digital illustration techniques at La Ola school. And in 2017, start working as a freelancer artist doing character designs for independent projects such as Demigods, commissions and for several animation studios and video games studios such as Dreamworks, Codigames, Powerhouse animation, etc.
Currently, she is working on a development project at Marvel Studios and as a cover artist for comics at BOOM! Studios.
Minerva Fox, cover and interior art
Minerva Fox is a gaming and comic illustrator from the great City of Chicago. She draws influence from manga and western comics alike in her work. You can find her live on Mondays and Thursdays on twitch.tv/blue_troller and her portfolio at artstation.com/mfox151
Adam West, art direction
Adam West is a Choctaw Two-Spirit originally from Oklahoma. He has made a career out of making things look nice on stage and for TV and film. Demigods is his first RPG art collaboration. He is definitely a cleric of the god of art, friendship, and beauty.
Aabria Iyengar, character and scenario design
Aabria Iyengar is a professional TTRPG Streamer, Dungeon Master, and writer based out of Los Angeles. She is also the Head of Marketing for Dice Envy. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @quiddie.
Kimi Hughes, character and scenario design
Kimi Hughes has been producing content for the RPG community for nearly a decade. She is best known for her gaming company, Golden Lasso Games and her participation in the Happy Jacks RPG advice shows and actual plays. She has made many panel appearances at conventions around the US and is an Amazon warrior fighting for diversity in gaming. When she isn’t playing RPGs, she enjoys weight lifting and cosplaying her favorite comic book characters.
GUEST SCENARIO WRITERS
Danielle DeLisle is a gamer, actress, and writer (not necessarily in that order). She has worked with Third Eye Games, John Wick Presents, Modiphius, Cubicle7, and more. She can be found online at www.danielledelisle.com.
Sarah "Sam" Saltiel is a transmedia artist and writer. She's been publishing prose and poetry for the past six years. More recently, she started doing game design, beginning with a large-scale Alternate Reality Game at the University of Chicago. In 2018 she was a Metatopia Sponsorship winner. Since then she's worked on projects such as Pelgrane Press's Bestiary for The King in Yellow, as well as Passing, an ashcan for Magpie Games. She is currently based in Albuquerque as the Director of Marketing and Sales for Magpie Games. Her art and a full list of her publications can be found on her professional facebook page: Sarah Saltiel
Samantha Terry is an artist and designer based in Los Angeles. As a fashion designer, she has created licensed apparel and accessories for Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, Harry Potter, CryptTV, and many more. She also works in graphic design for print, web, and video games; costume design; and jewelry design. When she’s not making some kind of art, she can be found playing tabletop games on HappyJacksRPG podcast or hanging out with her huge dog, Fenris. Follow her on IG and Twitter @redpandroid
Camdon Wright is a game writer and designer that loves to play pretend, tell stories, and share a gaming table with new people. He is the owner of the Unicorn Motorcycle Games, contributor at the ENnie award winning gaming blog Gnome Stew, diversity coordinator for the Indie Game Developers Network (IGDN), and is currently finishing the game One Child’s Heart.
ART EXPANSION ILLUSTRATORS
Allyss Dualan is an illustrator in a variety of mediums, but never forgetful of splashes of color, especially through scratches of colored pencils, her preferred medium as of late. With her work mostly composed of portraits and concept-driven illustrations, details coupled with a medley of colors characterize her work. Allyss wishes to put her feelings across through illustration while evoking emotions kept dormant. With messages brimming in between shades and textures, her color palettes are not always what they seem, as her main influences are animation and horror movies which definitely keep more than they let on.
Kudo M. or Rideth_Mochi is a digital/mixed media illustrator, who draws out of scale creatures of war in a new light. With an obsession with analog textures and mochi. They've exhibited at numerous artist alleys and you can find them @rideth_mochi on twitter or Ridethemochi.com
Aileen is a comics illustrator who has drawn for 1First Comics & Top Cow Productions, among others. Preferring to work traditionally, her favorite tools are brushes & inks. She's currently assigned to 2 game-based comic strips: ChainGuardians (www.chainguardians.io) & LoveMaze (enter.thelovemaze.com)
Sam Tung is a Los Angeles-based storyboard artist whose loves tabletop games and mythology. His work can be seen in feature films including The Jungle Book and The Dark Tower. He recently illustrated and co-wrote the Zine Quest game Escape from Dino Island. You can check out his art and pictures of his dogs at https://www.instagram.com/stung_art/
Ashe is the queer artist behind Ailisi Suli Art. She lives in the Midwest with her three, amazing partners, their two cats, and their dog. She draws pretty much anything and has two comics in progress--one called Mommy Darkside, and a long-time work called Once. Her work can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Demigods will be produced in partnership with Christopher Grey, the creator of The Happiest Apocalypse on Earth. It will be published Print on Demand and fulfilled in house. Once fulfillment is done, I will publish it on DriveThru RPG.
All printing and domestic shipping is free. International backers will be charged shipping based on actual costs.
I’ve done a lot of work learning the ropes and have an excellent team made up of established game designers who have successful Kickstarters, but I feel obligated to say this is my first Kickstarter. While there are potential issues outside of my control, such as shipping costs and the uncertainty around tariffs, etc., there is little else to be concerned about. The manuscript is done and much of the art has already been commissioned. These funds will recoup my personal costs and pay for additional art, editing, layout, and distribution. The game is ready to go and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Risks and challenges
We're raising money to cover editing, layout, and additional artwork. We also won't know how many physical books to order versus PDF copies. We've priced these out as carefully as possible, but I have the help of a team that's done this many times before, with a full success rate.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)