Funded! This project was successfully funded on November 5, 2012.

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A pen & paper RPG that blends the best parts of fantasy & sci-fi into a world that is exciting, fresh, and yet strikingly familiar.

From Dusty Crosley...our iconic heroes doing battle with a possessed Infernalist in downtown Haven.  It is the first in what will be a series of action scenes illustrating the adventures one can experience in Emergence.
From Dusty Crosley...our iconic heroes doing battle with a possessed Infernalist in downtown Haven. It is the first in what will be a series of action scenes illustrating the adventures one can experience in Emergence.

Check out our podcast interviews!

With Devon at Shark Bone

With Chris, Lyal, and Wayne at Idle Red Hands

Concept art by Dusty Crosley- A glimpse of Emergence: cliffside view of the traditional fortress of Marac’Tun and the contemporary city of Haven
Concept art by Dusty Crosley- A glimpse of Emergence: cliffside view of the traditional fortress of Marac’Tun and the contemporary city of Haven

In the year 1982, Earth’s destiny was forever altered by the swing of a hammer. A simple mining operation led to an unprecedented discovery: the Infinity Stone, a stone with an impossible number of facets, emanating an intense inner glow and inscribed in an unknown language. This beautiful, alien object changed everything, for it was a window to other realities, allowing glimpses of what might be or could have been. Years of exhausting--and sometimes disastrous--experimentation culminated in a discovery beyond imagination: the stone opened a portal to a mystical world teeming with life, full of clean air and azure skies. In this world, our fantasies were reality. Legendary creatures roamed the land and sky while elves, dwarves, and orcs inhabited the land in place of humans.

It is in man’s nature to explore the unknown, to know what lies beyond, and so blindly humanity plunged...

Welcome to the world of Emergence.

Concept art by James Krause- Khal, full orc mage with runescribing, a cybernetic hand, and a bad attitude
Concept art by James Krause- Khal, full orc mage with runescribing, a cybernetic hand, and a bad attitude

On Kython, multiple genres intermingle to create a world that is exciting, fresh, and yet strikingly familiar. Sections of Kython are nearly indistinguishable from the world in which we live. There are cars, houses, trains, cell phones, and even the internet. This creates a comfortable starting point to begin your explorations on this foreign planet. However, within this unassuming framework exist all of the elements of science fiction and fantasy that make those genres exciting. Magic, power armor, and advanced weaponry fill the world with new possibilities around every corner.

As you venture into the world of Kython, the line quickly blurs between science fiction and fantasy. Castles, wooded fortresses, skyscrapers, and industrial complexes cover the landscape, while smartphones, cybernetics, and flying beasts are part of everyday life. The world of Kython boasts a rich diversity of settings to satisfy nearly any game style preference. Whether you prefer gunfights while blasting down the highway at 100 mph, fighting demons in a corrupted ruin, battling savage hordes to defend a village, or storming a skyscraper fortress to defeat an evil necromancer, all of these adventures and more are waiting for you. On Kython, these traditionally separate game styles come together in a way that is exciting, intuitive, and fun. The only limit is your imagination.

Find additional information about the world of Emergence, including a history of the world, on the playemergence website.

Concept art by James Krause- Among the most technologically advanced characters in Emergence, Codename: Vixen is an assassin equipped with advanced power armor, a collapsing a war scythe, and a heavily customized submachine gun.
Concept art by James Krause- Among the most technologically advanced characters in Emergence, Codename: Vixen is an assassin equipped with advanced power armor, a collapsing a war scythe, and a heavily customized submachine gun.

Be sure to visit our UPDATES page, where we highlight the newest additions to our Kickstarter!

Want your hands on some awesome Emergence artwork FAST? We have  a new $1 pledge benefit! Receive a high-res desktop background by Dusty Crosley, the Kython landscape or fight scene, in November!  (Of course, this is part of all higher tier benefits as well.)

As a reminder, each backer at the “Tester” pledge level and higher will receive beta test materials, and we’re excited to say that the first of these packets will go out November 10th.  Beta testers will have access to a new packet by the 10th of each month, from November through May.

The first beta test packet contains Quickstart Rules and the Housecleaning playtest adventure, including maps and premade characters.  Future beta test packets will include a variety of additions to November’s release, such as rules updates and expansions, art and fiction previews, and additional adventures.  (Not every packet will include all types of updates.)  Once you have the packet, we greatly appreciate your feedback to help us make Emergence the best pen and paper RPG on the market.

What do YOU want to play?

Emergence uses a classless, point-buy, skill-based character creation system.  However, unlike a lot of games with similar formats where your character can quickly become a bland collection of numbers for your skills and weapon damage, Emergence uses a tiered talent system to help you further define your character and make it unique and fun to play.

Selecting from hundreds of available talents, you will construct a robust set of abilities for your character to use.  Think of talents as your class, spell lists, and feats all rolled into one.  Through these selections, you will create exactly the character you want to play.

Here are a few other examples of talents you might take:

  • Withering Suppression (Automatics, Tier 3): When you use suppressing fire on an area that contains terrain features that provide cover, at the conclusion of the suppression you may choose to permanently reduce the grade of that cover by -1/-1.  Multiple uses of this talent on the same terrain feature will stack.
  • Neck Snap (Wrestling, Tier 5): You gain access to the Neck Snap wrestling maneuver. Neck Snap (-20 Stamina): Overpower a vulnerable opponent, causing 3x normal damage. If the opponent is knocked unconscious by the damage, the opponent dies instantly.
  • Mana Shield (Enchantment, Tier 3): You gain access to the Mana Shield spell. Mana Shield (-12 Stamina): Range personal; reaction cast.  When hit by an attack, make a conjuration effect check.  Increase all defenses by the amount listed in the Effect Result Chart until the end of your next turn.
  • Brute Strike (Savagery, Tier 2): You gain access to the Brute Strike maneuver.  Brute Strike (-8 Stamina): Combat action. Make a melee attack.  On a hit, re-roll all 1s on your damage roll. You may continue to re-roll each die until there are no more 1s.  If your weapon is vicious, you may also re-roll a number of 2s up to the weapon’s vicious property rating.

For those of you a little less interested in full-feature customization, Emergence will also let you choose from a large array of templates designed to get you into the action faster.

Emergence uses a dynamic race system.  The humanoid races that inhabit the world are alternate evolutions of the Human, such as Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, and of course, from Earth, Humans themselves.  All races are capable of breeding with each other, and over time they have done so.  This means that you, as a player, can select from pools of racial traits that allow you to create exactly the race you want to play, be it a ¼ orc ¾ elf, ½ dwarf ½ human, and so on.  Remember, the character abilities are also dynamic, so you have the ability in Emergence to create a character that has never been played before or mimic one of your favorite characters from another role playing game.

Concept art by Heidi Schwartz- Eva Shaw, 1/4 dwarf 3/4 elf jack of all trades equipped with a variety of tools, hunting equipment & her trusty sidearm. Grella Morien, 1/2 elf 1/2 orc classically trained knight equipped with enchanted shield, sword & armor
Concept art by Heidi Schwartz- Eva Shaw, 1/4 dwarf 3/4 elf jack of all trades equipped with a variety of tools, hunting equipment & her trusty sidearm. Grella Morien, 1/2 elf 1/2 orc classically trained knight equipped with enchanted shield, sword & armor

Emergence boasts an assortment of ways to permanently and temporarily augment your characters and NPCs.  Augmentations in Emergence take a number of forms, offering something for every type of character.

One of our design goals from the beginning has been to avoid creating a game where you are defined by your augmentations or where the goal is to acquire as many items as possible.  Every augmentation you apply to your character has a cost.  This cost has an actual effect on every character in the game, which means that more equipment and augmentation does not automatically make a character better. The goal is to allow players to use augmentations as another way to customize their characters without skewing the balance of the game toward the characters who have the best gear.


  • Cybernetics:  Most forms of cybernetics in Emergence take the form of powered prostheses.  They are most commonly used to enhance strength, increase durability, replace lost limbs, or install weapons.
  • Runescribing: Magical runes carved into the flesh.  Usually runescribing is used to augment spellcasting, but the runes can have other uses as well.
  • Enchanted Items: Taking the form of everything from boots to bracelets, enchanted items impart a wide variety of effects on the wearer.  They have the advantage (and disadvantage) of being removable when the situation requires, providing a great deal of versatility.
  • Arcane Tattoos:  These tattoos sit dormant until they are activated.  When they activate, they literally burn themselves off of the user’s body throughout the duration of whatever effect they create.  Like enchanted items, arcane tattoos have a diverse selection of abilities.  The are popular for being cheap and nearly undetectable to casual observation, but they have the disadvantage of being single use.
  • Fleshcrafting: Ritualistic scarification, used most often by orc Fleshweavers.  When activated, they twist bestial features into the user to increase the physical prowess of the recipient, often to the detriment of their mental acuity.

Emergence uses a customizable equipment system that allows for incredible versatility.  All equipment, including armor, weapons, and vehicles, come with a variety of base models and a large array of modifications from which to choose.  Using this system, players and GMs can create literally thousands of different pieces of equipment, making sure characters and NPCs are equipped with exactly the gear they want.

Concept art by James Krause- Dylania, traditional elven scout with great bow and enchanted great sword
Concept art by James Krause- Dylania, traditional elven scout with great bow and enchanted great sword

The world of Emergence is filled with a wide assortment of gear.  You can find and build more traditional fantasy items (magic swords and armor, enchanted boots and cloaks, etc.) as well as modern devices like explosives, assault rifles, energy weapons, and power armor. These normally disparate elements exist side by side because the more modern, technologically advanced equipment was only introduced 100 years ago, when humans came through the Infinity Stone.  Coupled with the extraordinary performance of this world’s magical enchantments, this means that your classical fantasy equipment is equally as effective as your modern technology..

The reason that the most advanced, futuristic technological equipment in Emergence exists is simple: the Magecell.  The Magecell is a device that was created approximately twenty years ago.  It is a blend of technology and magic, storing concentrated magical energy and converting it to electricity.

Concept art by Dusty Crosley- This Magecell is about the size of a pint glass. It is capable of powering a high energy weapon or suit of powered armor.
Concept art by Dusty Crosley- This Magecell is about the size of a pint glass. It is capable of powering a high energy weapon or suit of powered armor.

Essentially a magical battery, the Magecell creates a stable, portable, moderately high output, long lasting power source.  Since its creation, the Magecell has rapidly worked its way into all manner of devices.  Magecells come in a wide array of sizes, from the size of a pack of gum to as large as a motorcycle.

They power everything from vehicles to buildings, personal electronics to cybernetic prostheses. In the twenty years since their invention, Magecells have made possible advancements in technology that far outpace what would have been possible by science alone.

Concept art by Dusty Crosley- A variety of different Magecells
Concept art by Dusty Crosley- A variety of different Magecells

While the invention of the Magecell has made certain technological advancements possible, they are very expensive and therefore still rare.  Standard technological equipment is still very dominant as it is significantly cheaper, more accessible, and reliable.

In the world of Emergence, you will be able to equip a single character with a variety of equipment from a wide range of genres.  In addition to the large array of equipment types, you can completely customize each individual piece of equipment by filling its available slots with an extensive assortment of modifications.

When the time came to roll the dice, we decided to create a system that was unique and versatile, like the game itself. We are proud to introduce the Tri-Die System. Three six-sided dice are used for all rolls made in the game.

The Tri-Die system is the core mechanic for the Emergence roleplaying game.  In the Tri-Die system, all checks are made by rolling 3D6 (three six-sided dice). The reason we decided to use three dice instead of a single die is twofold.

First, the probability of results when using three dice follows a bell curve. Thus, while very high and very low rolls are possible, they are far less likely to occur than a roll somewhere near the middle of the range. The random element of the roll is more predictable, which in turn inspires confidence when making character choices without removing the possibility for unexpected failure or longshot success.

Second, because we are using multiple dice for each check, we can attach additional game mechanics to the result of each of the six-sided dice in the roll. This mechanic opens many options for interesting effects related to all types of rolls. Examining the results of the individual dice is also how we created our multiple stage critical success and fumble system.

In our crit and fumble system, 1s are fumbles and 6s are critical successes (“crits”). To determine whether or not your roll has resulted in a crit or fumble, look at the results of each die in the roll and compare the number of 1s to the number of 6s. If the total number of 1s is greater than the total number of 6s (or vice versa), the result is a fumble (or crit). For instance, if I rolled two 1s and a single 6 on my 3D6 roll, I would have a stage 1 fumble, because one of the 1s and one of the 6s would cancel each other out, leaving a net of one 1.  Stage 1 crits and fumbles usually amount to minor adjustments to damage or (in)conveniences with whatever task you were attempting, while the higher–and much less likely–stages have far more significant effects.

Our crit and fumble system is just one of many examples of using single-die-specific mechanics.  This idea turns every roll into an opportunity for excitement.  It is not just the total that matters; every die has the chance to affect the outcome of whatever the character is attempting.

Thank you for your support!

We look forward to bringing this game to life with you!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

We need to continue to test, refine, and format our ruleset. Exciting fiction that helps paint a proper picture of our world needs to be compiled. Additional art needs to be created, and regions of Kython defined in greater detail. Once all of this is done, we have to get Emergence into the hands of eager players. Our team’s collection of gaming and professional skills is more than up to the task of completing Emergence. The truly daunting hurdle is the funding for printing, shipping, and marketing. That is where you come in.

FAQ

  • We're willing to ship internationally, but the backer levels only include domestic (U.S.) shipping. Please contact us to determine pricing if you would like something shipped outside the U.S. Thank you!

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    A high-res Emergence RPG desktop background by Dusty Crosley. Choose from the Kython landscape or the fight scene. Download in November!

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    Contributor: Name printed in the Contributor's section of the core rulebook, posted to Facebook page and website, plus our eternal gratitude ***Please note: International shipping available but not included on all shipped materials from all pledge levels. Please contact us for pricing.***

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    Starter: PDF copy of the core rulebook for personal use (plus "Contributor" reward)

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    Developer: Access to the developer forum on www.playemergence.com and exclusive Emergence t-shirt (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Friend of Emergence: Hard copy book from "Player" reward is signed by creators (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Game Master: Quick-start rules with pre-generated characters and an exclusive set of Emergence Tri-Dies (set of three exclusive Emergence 6-sided dice) (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Native: Your name (or an approved character name of your choice) is included as an NPC in the core rulebook (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Art Aficionado: Limited edition print of the cover art, signed by the artist (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Magecell Expert: Limited edition core rulebook with a personalized intro page, an exclusive work of short fiction, and a "concept art" gallery (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Adventurer: You help us design a prominent NPC for the core book. You decide its name as well as help make design choices regarding the character’s abilities, lineage, and background. Additionally, the attached character-canon will be written with your input. (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Celebrity: We create artwork in your likeness or a likeness of your choosing for the NPC you helped create, as well as provide a signed copy of the printed artwork (in or out of the book, donator’s choice) (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Emergence BFF: Hard copy of all Emergence books--forever--signed by creators and shipped to your home (plus all previous reward levels)

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    Founder: Choice of two options: 1. A 6-hour game session in Indianapolis during Gen Con 2013 with the creators of the game; or 2. A 10-hour game session at your location (anywhere in the 48 contiguous US states, dates to be negotiated) for you and up to 4 friends (plus all previous reward levels)

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- (30 days)