About this project
You are about to enter a savage and brutal world of dark sorcery, a world where the five Witch Kings of Abalahn slew the very gods and have reigned for a thousand years. Blood Red Sands is a game of competitive role-playing, where powerful heroes confront the terrible might of the Witch Kings of Abalahn. Only one hero will reach her goal. Will she throw down the Witch King, and if she does, will she take the place of the defeated tyrant on his throne? Blood Red Sands is a game for four to six players set in a brutal world of swords and sorcery. In each round, a hero is eliminated until only one remains. Will it be yours? Blood Red Sands is written by Ralph Mazza.
About Blood Red Sands:
This Kickstarter is to fund the print run of Blood Red Sands, a competitive fantasy role-playing game. Blood Red Sands is a game where Sword and Sorcery meets 1980s heavy metal album covers and players compete to create characters and scenes that could have stepped off of a Frank Frazetta canvas. Blood Red Sands takes place in a savage and brutal world of dark sorcery, a world where the five Witch Kings of Abalahn slew the very gods and have reigned for a thousand years.
The world of Abalahn is stark, violent, and completely over the top. It’s a world ruled by sorcerers whose foul magic is fueled by human souls. Legions of the soulless Unliving now exist in half-lives of servitude and torment. Beyond the alabaster towers of the White Princes, scattered settlements of people struggle to survive and remain free in the midst of a desolate landscape. Beset by foul beasts of every description and buffeted by devastating soul storms, the people are desperate for a hero. Can you rise up above the oppressed masses and survive in a world seeking your destruction?
Blood Red Sands is a game that you play to win. You may find allies among the characters of the other players for a time, but in the end there can be only one winner. You can win as a mighty hero surviving a series of harsh ordeals before finally confronting your nemesis, one of the dread Witch Kings. Or, your own hero having fallen along the way, you can win as the Witch King destroying the mortal foolish enough to confront you.
Blood Red Sands is played in a series of four to six hour-long scenarios called Ordeals, adventures for a single hero. One of you will play your hero for the Ordeal; the rest will play one of the factions caught in a crucible of conflict primed to explode. The hero will wander into the midst of this perilous situation to be solicited as an ally or targeted as an enemy by the other players. If the hero manages to survive, their legend will grow until one day they are worthy of facing the Witch King. A complete game spans 10 Ordeals. In the Final Ordeal the last remaining hero faces one of the five Witch Kings. As a player, you must be comfortable with the notion that, other than your hero, all characters are essentially disposable pawns to use and discard on your way to victory.
During the Ordeal players take turns owning the role of Chronicler, representing an unnamed storyteller in ages hence who is relating the Saga about to unfold. As the Chronicler you will control the flow and pacing of the game and exert significant authority over the fiction. You will use your turns as Chronicler to maneuver your characters into position, hinder and harm the characters of the other players, and essentially ensure that it’s your version of the story that gets remembered by posterity. Other players may Challenge the integrity of your tale. Or they may Contest your version of events and try to take the role of Chronicler for themselves. Or they may Clash with you and resolve the conflict with dice rather than accept the way you’ve told it.
Play continues in this way until the Ordeal finally comes to an end when the hero has earned enough Victory Points to walk away. The more points they earned the more favorable the Epilogue will be for the forces of good and the stronger the hero’s legend will grow. Too few points and the Ordeal will end in tragedy. Get enough points and you’ve managed to push back the darkness and bring hope to the people, at least for a little while. If your hero is killed or retired, you will no longer have that avenue of victory available to you. You will now only be able to win as the Witch King. One by one the heroes will fall, until only one remains.
Ralph Mazza played his first RPG at the age of 8, free form because the DM had forgotten the dice, and was hooked for life. He designed his first RPG a week later, banging away on an old manual typewriter, when he discovered he couldn't afford to buy them on a $2/mo allowance. His most successful early design, played in the school yard at recess, was 64 hand written pages staple bound between two pieces of cereal box cardboard and sporting a full color crayon art cover of an alien with tentacle arms and a football shaped head. Since then he's played every game he could get his hands on: RPG, wargame, Euro, or computer strategy and never stopped designing.
Ralph published his first commercial RPG, the critically acclaimed Universalis, with co-author Mike Holmes in 2002. Universalis went on to win the Indie-RPG Most Innovative Game of the Year Award and now entering its 4th printing 10 years later remains one of the seminal indie-rpg designs. Active on many independent publishing and story game forums over the years, Ralph is thrilled to be part of a renaissance in RPG publishing that has seen an explosion in innovation, creativity, game theory, and outstanding design; truly an exciting time to be a game designer or a fan of great games.
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