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SPLINTER RPG: Players delve deadly dungeons of infinite size to entertain Earth's masses. Help us add more monsters and more magitek!
SPLINTER RPG: Players delve deadly dungeons of infinite size to entertain Earth's masses. Help us add more monsters and more magitek!
SPLINTER RPG: Players delve deadly dungeons of infinite size to entertain Earth's masses. Help us add more monsters and more magitek!
88 backers pledged $8,214 to help bring this project to life.

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SPLINTER: Surprising Things

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SPLINTER RPG: Surprising Things  

  • SPLINTER is the most awesome, craziest, most out there fantasy roleplaying game that you have likely never even heard of. 
  • SPLINTER is like D&D meets "The Running Man" meets Blame! meets Dark City
  • SPLINTER is a roleplaying game within a roleplaying game, where you control a Player who inhabits an Avatar. 

At I-Con 31 in 2012, SPLINTER launched without any publicity or marketing campaign, and though the stand-alone rulebook is fully available here and includes all the rules you need to play, it also launched without its accompanying "Monster Manual" and "Dungeon Master's Guide" equivalent. 

This Kickstarter asks for your help to fix all of that now, in 2015. 

 "Now in the dark world where I dwell, ugly things, and surprising things, and sometimes little wondrous things*, spill out in me constantly, and I can count on nothing.
- Philip K. Dick, "A Scanner Darkly" 

SPLINTER's "Monstrous Manual" was to be called "Ugly Things", whereas its book of treasures, magic, and technology will be called "Sometimes Little Wondrous Things". If you guys fund this bad boy, we'll be able to publish both. 

 -A Little More About SPLINTER- 

 YOU ARE THE PLAYER.

 Earth, 2471 AD. The only thing that matters is The Game. Whether you are a trained Professional--part A-list actor, part Major League athlete--or an unlucky Amateur, a conscripted gladiator sentenced by a corrupt totalitarian government, you are a Player. With an audience of millions watching your every move, you must Port into The Splinter, an emergent Virtual Reality mega-dungeon of nearly infinite size. There you will struggle in conflicts dire, for your very life, and for the entertainment of the masses. 

 YOU ARE THE AVATAR. 

The Splinter is an ever-expanding, ever-changing megastructure that takes the form of a labyrinthine dungeon of infinite size. At any moment, a passage, wall, or an entire level of the Splinter can transform, move, or disappear entirely. The inhabitants of the Splinter--taken on by Players as their Avatars--are equally strange; powerful shapeshifters gifted with the innate ability to alter reality through will alone. As one such demigod, you will make your mark. ON DYSTOPIAN EARTH, only the rich and famous can afford personal freedoms. And the only way to get famous is to put on the best show you can...or die trying. IN THE SPLINTER, everything is out to kill you. Even fellow Avatars. And when you die in the Splinter, you die on Earth. 

 Will you kill your way to wealth and fame, or fight the losing battle for freedom against a corrupt dictatorship? 

 Will you become a star, or a smear on someone else's highlight reel? 

The SPLINTER System and Gameplay

SPLINTER is an RPG that can be played in various ways, depending on the time you have and the inclination of your group. SPLINTER runs the gamut between short one-offs, and long campaign play. You can have a cohesive party, or a PVP showdown - it's all up to which game style you pick. Several different game types are explained within the core book, with the rules for each.

SPLINTER is also played in two worlds. On Earth, the resolution mechanic is a simple 1d6 roll with bonuses against a target number. In the Splinter itself, things get a bit more complicated, with a d6 dice pool success counting mechanic.

The two worlds intersect mechanically, however - your Player's stats bolster the abilities of their Avatar, and both Player and Avatar must vie for control while traversing the Splinter. 

SPLINTER also introduces a mechanic that directly rewards roleplaying - Color Commentary. When you use color commentary to perform an action - in combat or otherwise - you can use your roleplaying to add extra dice to your action within the Splinter. The viewers are watching, you know, and the more they like you, the more they want you to succeed.

If you want to know more about what kinds of things you can play in SPLINTER, check out this update about the Bloodlines of the Realm!

"Hey, this premise reminds me of a crazy version of Battle Royale/The Hunger Games/Series 7: The Contenders/The Maze Runner/Other!" 

Cool, us too, although we actually didn't know about most of those things (and many of them didn't even exist yet) when SPLINTER was first published. 

The major influence that informed the core premise itself was the relationship between Earth and Overworld in Matthew Woodring Stover's AMAZING Acts of Caine series. 

The major difference between SPLINTER and, say, Heroes Die is that while Heroes Die's awesome premise is "What if a D&D-esque fantasy world was the setting for an ultra-violent reality show on Earth?", SPLINTER's premise is "What if SOMETHING REALLY WEIRD was the setting for an ultra-violent reality game show on Earth?". 

Influences on the "SOMETHING REALLY WEIRD" (i.e. the SPLINTER itself) include Tsutomu Nihei's BLAME! Manga, the 1998 film "Dark City", and a lifelong fascination (dare I say obsession?) with the concept of "randomly generated dungeons".

SO IF THE GAME IS ALREADY A THING, WHAT ARE WE BACKING HERE? 

 The SPLINTER (as it's called on Earth; its inhabitants call it The Realm) is a "virtual"* reality with a "procedurally generated" history millions upon millions of years longer than the history of Earth. This means that it has seen the rise and fall of hundreds or thousands of inconceivably advanced civilizations, and still contains the sprawling ruins they left behind. This vast and epic history means that to do its premise justice, SPLINTER needs enough "Random Treasure Tables" and "Random Monster Tables" to make your favorite edition of D&D blush.

 * Or is it??? 

  • "Ugly Things" will be Splinter's long delayed monstrous manual, including a huge menagerie of weird and terrifying and dangerous and fascinating creatures to challenge players from green Ascension Level 0 rookies to Ascension Level 10 Superstars. 
  • "Sometimes Little Wondrous Things" will include a huge treasure trove of weapons, equipment, gear, "magic items" and "technology" from all five of SPLINTER's tech levels, along with a grimoire of new magic spells and other goodies. Remember that The Splinter is a dimension in which sufficiently advanced magick is indistinguishable from technology, so the line between "magic" and "tech" is blurrier than you may think. 

Each of these will be a 150-250 page softcover book with color cover and B&W interior, forming a matched set with the Splinter core book.  These sourcebooks are in-line to be written by a team lead by myself (taking the lead for Little Wondrous Things) and Mikaela (taking the lead for Ugly Things) and including cool cats such as Allen Farr (Earthdawn, Elite: Dangerous Anthology), Chris Lites (Dust Adventures, Mutant Chronicles) and John Kennedy (Call of Cathulhu,Werewolf: The Forsaken).

For curious would-be backers, here is a simple pie-chart showing the percentile breakdown of the funding we're seeking for this project.

Budget Pie Chart
Budget Pie Chart

SPLINTER is already on the cusp of being the "kitchen sink fantasy" RPG to end all RPGs, boasting a megaweird and unique game setting with everything from the steampunk, cyberpunk, and sci-fi kitchen sinks that we could think of thrown into the mix too. With your help, we can expand this already far out premise to include a menagerie of creatures so bewildering and an arsenal of magitek items so overwhelming that it will be like the sink of every kitchen in the world, combined.

 Art by Amy Nagi (www.amynagi.com), J. S. Park, Jason Strutz (strutzillustration.com), and Jes Cole (www.jescole.com).

Risks and challenges

The last Kickstarter we did, we promised far too much and we asked for too little. Usually when a KS creator does that, it means that rewards are delivered years late if at all. However, with Psionics, we managed to overcome our mistakes by putting our noses to the grindstone and keeping them there until the game was a reality, and the books were sent out damn near right on time.

We're learning and growing as a company. This project is, in a way, a more modest proposition: the game system already exists, and the sourcebooks will be black and white interior, not color. But the initial ask for this is actually quite a bit higher.

The reasons for this, besides that we are aiming to publish two books here, not just one, are the lessons we learned from our last KS campaign. We're going to make sure we have the funds on hand to stock these books with plenty of the highest quality art, to print enough copies to cover all backer demand, and to cover shipping costs and all the other incidental costs and expenses we learned about on the last go-round.

Besides that, the usual risks and challenges exist. Flaky freelance artists or printers dragging their feet might slow us down if those problems arise, but as long as we're alive, nothing's going to stop us.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Subscriber - Like subscribers to The Game, your support helps us gain power! You receive the "Splinter Superstar Profile: Kade Merek" PDF, a short fiction supplement that will tell you more about SPLINTER. Also, your name will be included in both supplements with a big thank you!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    AL0 - Voormis: You get your choice of a PDF of "Ugly Things" or a PDF of "Sometimes Little Wondrous Things". Also, your name will be included in both books with a big thank you!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    AL1 - Proliferator: You get both the PDF of "Ugly Things" and the PDF of "Sometimes Little Wondrous Things". Also, your name will be included in both books with a big thank you!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    AL2 - Atlach-Nacha: You get both PDFs and a physical copy of either "Ugly Things" or "Sometimes Little Wondrous Things", your choice! Also, your name will be included in both books with a big thank you!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    AL 2 - Ophidian Lorescale: Completely paperless, all-content reward tier. You get PDF copies of the SPLINTER Core Rulebook, Ugly Things, and Sometimes Little Wondrous Things. Also, your name will be included in both new sourcebooks with a big thank you!

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    AL3 - PT2600 Robot guardian: This tier is perfect for backers new to SPLINTER. You get both PDFs, PDF and physical copy of the Splinter Core Rules, and a physical copy of either "Ugly Things" or "Sometimes Little Wondrous Things"! Also, your name will be included in both supplements with a big thank you!

    The physical copy of the Splinter Core Rules will be sent as soon as funding is complete, but you'll have to wait until publication for the supplements.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    AL3 - Spire Gargoyle: You get both PDFs, a PDF of the Splinter Core Rules, and physical copies of both "Ugly Things" and "Sometimes Little Wondrous Things"! Also, your name will be included in both supplements with a big thank you!

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    AL4 - Chrome Hulk: For just $10 more than the AL3 - Spire Gargoyle tier, you get PDF and physical copies of everything. You get both PDFs, both physical books, and a PDF and physical copy of the Splinter Core Rules. Also, your name will be included in both supplements with a big thank you!

    The physical copy of the Splinter Core Rules will be sent as soon as funding is complete, but you'll have to wait until publication for the supplements.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    AL4 - Living Wind: You get both PDFs, both physical books, and you get to work with the design team to create either a monster or a piece of equipment of your own invention that will appear (with an illustration by one of our wonderful artists) in the upcoming sourcebooks. Also, your name will be included in both supplements with a big thank you!

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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    AL5 - Shooting Starfly: You get PDF and physical copies of the Splinter Core Rules, "Ugly Things", and "Sometimes Little Wondrous Things". You get a limited edition SPLINTER poster and you get to work with the design team to create both a monster and a piece of equipment of your own invention, that will appear (with illustrations by our wonderful artists) in the upcoming sourcebooks. Also, your name will be included in both supplements with a big thank you!

    The physical copy of the Splinter Core Rules will be sent as soon as funding is complete, but you'll have to wait until publication for the supplements and poster.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    AL8 - Maelstrom Elemental: You get all of the physical rewards from the Shooting Starfly tier, an extra copy of the Splinter Core Rules, and a set of six custom Splinter Dice. Also, your name will be included in both supplements with a big thank you!

    The physical copies of the Splinter Core Rules will be sent as soon as funding is complete, but you'll have to wait until publication for the supplements and custom dice.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    AL9 - Cat of Ulthar: You get all of the rewards from the Maelstrom Elemental tier, plus an extra set of custom dice, early beta access to the new rules content, and the opportunity to work with the design team to design up to nine monsters or pieces of equipment of your own invention for inclusion in the upcoming sourcebooks (with illustrations by our wonderful artists). Also, your name will be included in both supplements with a big thank you!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    AL10 - True Dragon: You get all of the physical rewards from the Cat of Ulthar tier, plus an extra copy of each sourcebook, early beta access to the new rules content, a monster and a piece of equipment of your own invention in the sourcebooks (with illustrations by our wonderful artists), and a special Producer Credit in each new sourcebook.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Reality Architect - The reward tier for anyone with too much money and not enough SPLINTER. You get all the swag: two copies of every book, two posters, two sets of custom dice. You get early access to the beta rules and you get to invent as many monsters or pieces of new gear for the upcoming sourcebooks as you wish, within reason (with illustrations by our wonderful artists). You get a special Executive Producer credit in the upcoming sourcebook.

    Additionally, I will personally (and in person) run up to 12 hours of SPLINTER for you (or if you prefer, PC through devious dungeons of your own design) anywhere in the continental United States. Gaming conventions and FLGS are probably the best places for this meeting of minds to transpire, but if you have me over to your house, I will bring the beers.

    Your generous pledge fully covers my travel and accommodation expenses, but not your own if we have to meet 'somewhere in the middle'.

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Funding period

- (30 days)