They told us that some people are born to be hammers, others are born to be nails.
Our place in the world was to be lined up, beaten down, and put to work until we were broken. For generations the nobles of the Great Houses have looked down on us from high up in the Citadels, growing fat and rich off our sweat and toil.
When the stars fell and burned the sky, they profited while we perished.
When the spore plague came and blighted the land, they feasted while we starved.
But when the Titans came to destroy what little we had left, they fled while we stood firm.
In the past, we have allowed them to rule us, to oppress us, to exploit us - but each time they struck us down… we learned. The world is about to change - and only those who change with it will survive.
In the midst of an industrial revolution, a strange new metal falls from the stars that changes everything it touches. As faith in the old ways fades and society struggles to adapt to the new steam-powered economy, a mysterious Spore Sickness starts to spread from city to city. Even the Imperial Army is forced to retreat from the frontier when Titans, huge monstrosities forged from natural and elemental forces, begin to rampage throughout the Empire.
The players must shed the chains of the past and change themselves to survive in this evolving world, but the blue-blooded aristocracy will do everything they can to hold onto their power.
Only a few brave scholars have dared get close enough to study a Titan. They appeared mysteriously about a generation ago, each one leaving a path of terror and destruction in its wake.
Titans have been known to start out small but expand rapidly as they consume living matter. Once one reaches the size of a person, it starts to hunt and eat almost anything it can to continue fueling its growth. Titans can grow larger than trees, buildings and eventually mountains as they continue to rampage. And as the Titan grows, so does its hunger.
There is much debate over a Titan's level of intelligence. Younger Titans behave similarly to the animals in the area they were found - some have been observed to migrate seasonally like deer or to patrol their territory like hyenas. Most Titans appear to be driven solely by hunger, tirelessly hunting their prey and moving on when everything in the area has been devoured. However, the colossal Titans of legend seem to show patterns to their behavior - learning to avoid and even ambush the hunters sent to repel them.
The first Starfall was the largest and most devastating natural disaster in the history of the Empire. A massive storm of stars rained down from the heavens, turning the night sky as bright as day.
Hundreds were killed, thousands were injured - their bodies peppered with tiny shards of shrapnel from the exploding meteors.
But when the dust cleared, the Imperial guilds and scholars discovered that the Star Metal had some surprising properties. This metal, known as Nexos, was able to create some fantastic technologies and gadgets – it was more powerful than coal and stronger than iron. Nexos has since become highly valued and now whenever a star falls hundreds of would-be treasure hunters rush towards the site in an attempt to make their fortune.
Not long after the first Starfall, reports of the Spore Sickness began to emerge.
The earliest accounts came from The Frontier: the wild, untamed lands on the fringes of the Empire. This deadly blight infects crops, livestock and even humans, twisting their bodies and minds into grotesque monsters.
Panic began to spread as the Spores ravaged the farmlands of the pioneers, forcing thousands to abandon their homes and migrate inwards towards the safety of the Citadels. Yet the nobles and aristocrats turned their backs on them and retreated further into the shelter of their towers and palaces - leaving the common folk to fend for themselves in overcrowded cities and shanty-towns.
Flashback is a next generation Roleplaying Game with simple, fun and innovative rules, where players develop their character by adding to their backstory and building personality traits. The key difference between Flashback and other RPGs is the eponymous advancement system: using storytelling techniques inspired by TV and film ‘flashbacks’, players reveal events and characters from their past to enhance their skills and abilities in the present.
This makes every situation an opportunity for roleplaying and encourages interesting and complex characters to develop through gameplay. Players are rewarded for being creative and engaging with each other - not just the GM.
Flashback is a game for players who love D&D but want their game to have a stronger focus on roleplaying, character growth and storytelling.
Flashback is a narrative driven, skill-based RPG set in an original Steampunk/Fantasy world that rewards players for weaving a detailed backstory and making choices that are consistent with their character's motivations.
Character creation is simple and quick - players choose personality traits that represent their nature and then derive their physical attributes from their persona. Flashback's unique advancement system lets players build their backstory as they play - to improve a skill a player must tell the story of how their character became proficient. Other players can help to add details to the tale and connect the player characters to each other and the world.
Flashback is skill-based and classless, using a simple d10-based resource system (stamina) to power all rolls and conflict resolution. The mechanics are very easy to learn so that players spend more time roleplaying and less time looking up rules and abilities.
All spells, weapons and advanced actions are presented in the form of item cards. These provide more varied and engaging mechanics for players to enjoy as the game advances, without burdening new players with unnecessary complexity.
Every encounter should be epic and dramatic, and Flashback’s action system is designed to make each combat varied and interesting. Titans: the huge, fearsome beasts that ravage the land and demolish cities are both a map and a monster!
Don’t just stand in front of your enemy and strike their ankles: Climb up their legs, leap onto their back, and scale their limbs to strike at their weak-points and defend the Empire!
Flashback has a unique character creation system with a strong focus on character development and roleplaying. Instead of choosing physical stats, you define your character through 12 personality traits, based on real-world psychological models:
Physical attributes are derived from your character's personality:
- Charm can be authentic and natural when it flows from someone with a forthright nature. Yet many find an alluring, seductive and deceptive approach can be equally effective.
- Vigilance can come from a faithful belief in one’s own senses and instincts. On the other hand, those with a skeptical outlook are more likely to spot out-of-place details.
- Judgment is the ability to make critical decisions from past experiences, and a cautious personality will tend towards safe and reliable choices. Others are of a more curious disposition, and will judge that many risks are acceptable when it comes to gaining knowledge.
- Strength can be derived from inner focus, training and self-discipline. Alternatively, there is a wild and reckless power that comes to those who can push themselves past their limits without regard to the harm they might cause themselves or others.
- Agility is a mix of the grace and balance that comes from a calm and steady disposition and the speed and impulse from one’s more aggressive tendencies.
- Fortitude is displayed by those with a flexible, dynamic nature as they roll with the punches and bend but never break. On the other hand, some people are just so stoic, tough and stubborn that seemingly nothing will cause them to yield.
Fighting is deadly and dangerous business, so Flashback includes a unique and innovative system for handling Social Conflicts. Wear down your opponent’s Confidence score with your words and actions - negotiate with your foes, persuade them to surrender, inspire them to join your side! Wounds acquired from loss of Confidence represent serious psychological trauma and must be healed and treated as if they were physical wounds. A character might develop a genuine limp or a twitch from extensive bullying, or they might become nervous and clumsy after repeated intimidation.
To the character, these scars are real.
No matter what your playstyle is, the Flashback mechanic ensures that your character’s personality and backstory will grow as you advance. At any time, a player can choose to reveal an element of their past to the group in order to gain an advantage on a skill roll.
The advancement system allows everyone at the table to participate and weave their own stories together, creating a single intertwining narrative that enriches the world and gives the GM an endless source of ideas for future campaigns and adventure hooks!
Although the Flashback RPG system can be used to run games in any setting, we have provided a rich, vibrant and comprehensive 'canonical' Fantasy-Steampunk world for you to explore. The world of Flashback is specifically written to work in conjunction with the advancement system - players can use the organisations, locations and characters to give colour to their backstories and still have the freedom to combine their own narratives with ongoing world events. Our writers and artists have spent a lot of time on creating a rich and vibrant world for you to experience:
Under the rule of Marquis Octavius II, the cities of the empire are bastions of culture, art, industry, and commerce. Or so those in the Aristocracy would have you believe...
For the vast majority of the working class daily life is an endless cycle of debt and drudgery. New steam-age technology has made most agrarian jobs redundant, forcing many to compete in overcrowded cities for work in mines, workshops or manufactories. This oversupply of unskilled labour drives down wages and enables the proprietors to simply replace workers when they are injured or maimed.
Advancements in technology have brought great prosperity to those who can afford to invest in them: railroads, steam-engines and ingenious clockwork devices for all manner of applications can generate incredible wealth for the rich and elite. But those that cannot afford these luxuries are left behind, often turning to crime or piracy simply to survive.
Criar is the trading and merchant capital of the Empire. By some estimates, more than half of all ships, caravans, steam trains and railcars in the empire pass through Criar on their way to their destination. It has since become one of the most affluent and prosperous locations in the empire, despite not actually producing any goods of significant value.
Reychester is the second largest city and regarded as the beating heart of the Empire's steam-powered economy. Home to the largest industrial centre: the Reychester Ironworks, the city is fully powered by steam energy from The Core - a massive steam engine built by House Atwater atop a natural underground magma chamber.
Ironpoint has grown significantly since House Wintermain constructed the adjacent Citadel of Nerestang Terrace. The Copperhead Trading Company (LLC) has invested heavily in harvesting timber from the ancient forests nearby. However the spore sickness has recently spread through the region, leaving many citizens of Ironpoint facing an uncertain future.
Beaumont is home to the most senior hierophants of the clergy, including Supreme High Priestess Aurora the Radiant and her acolytes. Here, behind closed doors, concealed by arcane rituals and ornate ceremonies, the acolytes of the Light command the endless battle against the dark horrors of the Void: the nothing that has existed since before the world was created and the nothing that will endure when it ends.
Bellesea is the site of Merclaire Citadel and Lavendar Palace: residence of His Majesty Marquis Octavius Adolphus II. Officially, the Marquis is the highest office in the Empire. The ruler has the power to enact laws, impose taxes, grant or rebuke land rights and conduct military operations. Unofficially however, Marquis Octavius II does none of these things. Instead, like other regents before him, he awards these responsibilities to the Great Houses, the Church and other members of the Aristocracy in exchange for expensive gifts and lavish favours.
Far, far away from the bright, thundering, steam-powered heartland of the Empire is the Frontier.
Life is tough out there: folk live by their wits and die by their own stupidity. No titles, ranks or houses - they say that when you live out on the Frontier, you leave your name behind.
Many of these pioneers are outlaws, pirates, rebels or revolutionaries - driven to the very fringes of the Empire by the Coldstream Guards or the Imperial Navy. It's a lawless place where only the strongest survive. If that doesn't make life hard enough, these wild and savage lands are home to many dangerous creatures - Titans, Void-Creatures and worse...
Anchorhead is one of the largest free settlements in untamed lands of The Frontier. As a port town, most of Anchorhead's inhabitants make a living off the various trade routes in Cobb's Cove, selling services to the ships and sailors of the archipelago, black market trade with Criar and Steamport... and, of course, piracy.
The Sporelands are areas so badly corrupted by the spore sickness that only the infected twisted, and mutated abominations can survive there. The air is thick with choking yellow dust that poisons the body and the mind, and the land is parched, dry and barren.
The Void is a different kind of threat to the Empire. The Void is not evil, nor is it darkness or shadows or night. It is simply nothing. It's the nothing that has existed long before the world was created and it's the nothing that will endure when it ends.
Just as how the cold of night sucks away the warmth of the day, the Void is always pulling, draining, feeding on the Light of the living. As we age, get sick and eventually die... It is the Void that endlessly beckons us to return to the infinite nothing.
And yet, this nothing is not empty. There are beings that live, or cease to live, in the Void. Invisible, insatiable, alien forces that invade our reality to feed on our light and drag us back to their cold and lifeless plane. Nightmares, doubt, fear, insanity... That shiver that runs down your spine when you know that something is watching you from just out of sight...
We've smashed our initial target, so it's time to look at some of the cool ideas we can add to Flashback if we can get even more support! Unlocked goals will be added to all pledge levels, so make sure you share, retweet and invite your friends to the campaign!
Release The Kraken - AU$8,300
- +3 Unique aquatic themed Titans for nautical/coastal encounters!
Alchemist's Guild - AU$8,700
- +30 Curious and exotic ingredients to craft your own spells, potions, tonics and concoctions!
Inventor's Lab - AU$9,000
- +50 Crafting components and recipes to customize spells, weapons and items!
The Goliath Project - AU$9,500
- +Rules, artwork and lore for giant steampowered robot construction and combat!
SUPER Stretch Goals
24 hours to go and we've gone further than we ever hoped to dare! Here are two more SUPER STRETCH GOALS for even more rewards!
The Call of The Void - AU$10,200
- +12 Horrifying Eldritch Void Creatures to terrify and tempt your players!
An Assassination at Anchorhead - AU$12,000
- An exciting murder-mystery campaign: A high-ranking aristocrat with House Blackspring has been assassinated, and it's up to the players to track down the killer!
- Beginner friendly: Character creation is short (you start playing immediately and shape your personality as you go) and new players don’t need to read volumes of class options before they start. The game also uses TV and movie terminology (Director, Scene, Conflict, etc) to make it approachable for non-RPG players.
- Interesting Decisions: Conflict uses a dice pool resource mechanic (Stamina) so that players have control over the odds of their actions. Players always need to ask themselves “do I want to succeed now or save my stamina for later?” - this means that players are always considering resources even out of turn.
- Player Interaction: The Flashback advancement mechanic distributes the storyteller role over the whole group instead of just the GM. Player backstories easily intertwine, leading to dramatic moments and theatrical entertainment. Player interaction is rewarded directly rewarded in game which encourages more introverted players to participate.
- Unique Experience: Roleplaying games have the potential to open our minds in ways that no other games can, but most of the time we stick to the same old one-dimensional archetypes that fill every uninspiring fantasy setting. Flashback provides a framework that breaks down the classic RPG stereotypes and lets players see the world through different eyes.
Risks and challenges
We set out to make Flashback because we want to introduce more players to RPGs and the joy of social roleplaying. This is a project we believe in and we hope you will help us make it a reality.
Our team has delivered on crowdfunding projects before and we have a strong background in industry project management, product development and delivery. Because of this, we are very realistic in with our budget and schedule. We know from experience that delays can happen - but if they do, it will be to ensure that we end up delivering a quality end-product that exceeds your expectations.
Flashback has already been in development for three years, and the core rules are 100% finished. Your support will help us deliver as many spectacular locations, items, spells, characters and creatures as possible! Everything we raise will be used to fund writers, artists and designers to add high-quality content to the book, cards and other rewards.
This is a project driven by passion, love and dedication to a hobby - we hope you can help us make it a reality.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)