$3,634
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84
backers
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Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jul 28 2014
Hard Luck WorkshopBy Hard Luck Workshop
First created
Hard Luck WorkshopBy Hard Luck Workshop
First created
$3,634
pledged of $10,000pledged of $10,000 goal
84
backers
0seconds to go
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Jul 28 2014

About

Note: more extensive information about all aspects of The Lost Territories is available at LostTerritories.com, and a quickstart PDF is right here. Help us spread the word! Start a forum thread. Tweet about us. Like us on Facebook. You've got share buttons right above this text!

Update: We've got new add-on rewards available now. See below for details!

In the sprawling metropolis of Lillenheim, a thin veneer of stability and safety hides the fact that society is on the verge of a great transition: a golden age or a total collapse. The city and its surrounding regions provide a place of refuge in an otherwise inhospitable world, one in which a substance known as celestia causes unpredictable and often dangerous effects on flora and fauna—creating both abominations and heroes, the line between which is often blurred. Those who have come into contact with this dangerous phenomenon and retained their humanity are known as touched, and with this unique condition can come unique power.

Not that Lillenheim itself is an uncomplicated place. Powerful families and trade consortiums form the major links in a tenuous democracy, each of them vying for power through the normal channels, both overtly and covertly. In the Goldwell Slums, a massive tower sits half-finished and abandoned, the remnants of a vain man's failed attempt at curing poverty. Its skeleton of stone and iron has nonetheless become home to thousands of slum-dwellers, with their own shifting factions, alliances, and rivalries. Elsewhere, the sciences flourish. Alchemy, crafting, and research rule the day. And in the private workshops of one particularly wealthy family, someone has secretly developed a technology that may change the face of society forever: a celestia engine, a device that may at last harness this mysterious force. Monastic communities cloister themselves behind ancient walls, contemplating the riddles of the world they live in, a world that for all its recent technological advances still remains a mystery to those who live in it. Beneath the city, a network of tunnels sprawls like an octopus; its tendrils play home to criminals and paupers, spies and assassins, and things much, much worse than these.



And beyond the walls and outskirts of the city? Well, things get more complicated. The further one travels from The Greater Lillenheim Region, the more dangerous—and unpredictable—everything gets. Those who travel outward—or worse yet, make their homes there—are seen as foolish or suicidal.

Add-Ons: 

If you click "Manage Your Pledge," you can simply add in the amount for the item. Upon the campaign's conclusion you can tell us which items you're paying for in the comments box.

  • Additional copy of Core Game Book: $30 (available to those already receiving physical items.)
  • Dice: $20* 
  • Design a Monster/NPC/Location Add-on: $50** 
  • Design an organization/faction Add-on: $100**

* Set of 12, including one customized with the insignia of Lillenheim. 

**Some backers at the DESIGN level have wanted to help develop more than one idea—now, you can up your pledge accordingly to develop the number of things you want to!

The Core Game Guide (full color, illustrated, at least 250 pages) is the main offering (unless we're lucky enough to receive funding and hit stretch goals.) At the same time, we'll also release a digital Player's Guide. The Player's Guide will be more concise (and available in a pay-what-you-like format online.) It's meant to be an easily-digestible way for players to access the game without having to buy the books or slog through a 300-page tome if they don't want to. How often have you sat down at the game table with a group in which every last person both owns the books and has actually read them? Right: rarely, if ever. But wouldn't it be nice if you had an attractive e-book to send your players, ready to roll, to get them hooked on the idea and ready to play? Finally, the third item everyone at $5 and up gets is a Kickstarter-exclusive adventure.

About stretch goals: Look further down for more detailed information, but the short version is that the magic of this project lies in the stretch goals. Two more fully-illustrated print books, plus a bucket of adventure modules and other expansions that everyone at or above the $30 level can cash in on. Each adventure will be written by a guest writer, including such amazing people as Kris Straub, Michael "ThriftyNerd" DiMauro, David Crennen, and others (to be announced!)

Hard Luck Workshop is made up of authors, publishing professionals, editors, and artists—all people who, in general, have some literary publishing industry experience. We know how to produce books and how to do it on a deadline. But we're also used to doing a different kind of writing (novels, not games), and that should have refreshing results in terms of the finished product.

As far as the art goes, so far we've got work from Joshua Calloway and Vladamir Petkovic. If the project meets its goal, there are additional artists ready to start producing work on a freelance basis—this is probably one of our largest projected expenses, actually. I love the RPG book as an artifact in and of itself, something beautiful to look at. As a kid, I could look at those early D&D Monster Manuals for hours.

The writing for the Core Game Book, the Player's Guide, and the Kickstarter-exclusive adventure will be done in August. During that time, a number of other things will be happening concurrently: art production, layout, playtesting, etc. September should see most of that coming together, including the review of the first print proofs. If all runs smoothly, we'll be able to send along digital copies and begin shipping hardcopy products in October or November. That's a pretty tight schedule, and we may have to make a few changes along the way, but we've done similar books in the same amount of time multiple times before.

For much more extensive and detailed information, see our website. A condensed preview PDF of the current quickplay ruleset is also available here. In the meantime, here are some highlights and a few bullet points:

  • D20-based, with a set of skill die for modifiers.
  • Personality System that affects character interactions with other PCs, NPCs, and various other situations.
  • "Nerd" skills—things like Astronomy, Meteorology, Sewing, and Chemistry—matter a great deal.
  • Intuitive but solid crafting rules.
  •  Vehicles, as well as rules for vehicle-to-vehicle combat. If you've ever wanted your party to roam the world as an airship crew, this one's for you.

You'll find fantasy elements here, as well as a touch of steampunk, but by and large our guiding principle is to do new things, not old ones. In terms of the game's mechanics, a more detailed preview is available here.

Sure, you'll be able to create characters that fit the same old molds if you want to, but things get much more interesting when you start playing with unique combinations of skills and abilities, as well as employing some of the more bizarre character aspects we've developed (like this one, or this.) We're already discussing some of these as we create and test them over at our blog. There's something here to please both the players who love experimenting with the structure of character builds, as well as those who prefer to create a concept and pick skills and abilities that complement their idea. 

While combat is going to be especially fun in The Lost Territories given some of the game's unique ability sets, the game is ideal for groups that prefer the stuff that happens between fights—the puzzle solving, the exploration, the crafting of plans to overcome challenges. We want players to lose themselves in a world, not spend the entire session waiting for their turn to swing a sword to come up.

Click for full size.
Click for full size.

Stretch Goals:

Here's where things get real. Yes, right now we're focusing on one main printed book and some accompanying digital supplements. But if there's demand, we're ready to release an entire line of offerings. For more information on the guest writers and other stretch goal specifics, see this page.

Risks and challenges

There's no part of this process that we're unfamiliar with. While this is our group's first Kickstarter campaign, we're all coming from backgrounds in publishing, editing, and writing. There's no reason at all that we can't complete every aspect of the project on time. That said, things happen—artists and collaborating writers have lives, and unexpected events occur. Art production may be slower than anticipated, which could push things back. Or, playtesters may overwhelmingly dislike some aspect of the system, which would definitely persuade us to revisit it. However, flex time is built into our production timeline to account for that very sort of thing. We want give and take. We want community collaboration. Personally? I consider this a contract like any other—and I've done hundreds of contract jobs—only with many clients instead of one. We'll make it happen.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Your name will be listed in the credits of the Core Game Guide as well as on our website as a supporter of the project.

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    You'll get the PDF of a Kickstarter-exclusive adventure. For those who want a taste of the game without springing for the books themselves.

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    You'll get the digital Player's Guide as well as the Kickstarter-exclusive adventure. It's enough to dip your toe into the water, and hopefully it will encourage you to pick up a copy of the Core Game Book.

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    DIGITAL DABBLER: You get the PDFs of the Core Game Book, the Player's Guide, and the Kickstarter-exclusive adventure. Everything you need to run or play the game.

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    DIGITAL EVERYTHING: You'll get access to the digital versions of everything produced as a result of this campaign: the Core Game Book, the Player's Guide, and any adventures produced as a result of stretch goals. We estimate you'll start receiving the goods in October, but of course you'll receive later expansions as they finish production.

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    ENTRY-LEVEL PAPER FAN: You'll get a copy of the printed, illustrated Core Game Book in beautiful color—this is really going to be a pretty book—as well as the PDF of the Player's Guide. You'll also get access to digital versions of any and all expansions that are unlocked via stretch goals.

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    PERSONALIZED PAPER: A signed, personalized print copy of the Core Game Book, the PDF of the Player's Guide, and digital versions of all expansion adventures unlocked from stretch goals.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    TESTER: You'll get everything in the ENTRY-LEVEL PAPER FAN level, plus access to the early playtest materials and accompanying updates. Of course, you won't be required to give us playtester feedback, but we'd really love it if you did. We want to make a game that players have a hand in creating.

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    BROADCAST PLAYER: You get everything in the ENTRY-LEVEL PAPER FAN and DIGITAL COLLECTOR tiers, plus something cool: one of the game's creators will run an online game session utilizing the Roll20 app that you're invited to. If you like, we'll livestream the game via TwitchTV.

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    DESIGN: Everything in the TESTER level, and in addition: you may work with a member of our team to design an enemy, NPC, or location for either the Core Game Book's campaign or one of the supplemental materials. You will be credited as a designer in the book for your contribution.

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    CUSTOM CHARACTER: You get the everything in the PERSONALIZED PAPER TIER. To kick off your game, you'll be given a unique character designed by Christopher, complete with a unique background.

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    FREELANCE CONTRACTOR: Everything in the PERSONALIZED PAPER tier, plus Christopher will contribute approximately 5,000 words to the project of your choice. If you've got your own game, comic, anthology, or whatever else you're working on, Chris will write for it. If you'd just like him to write a personalized campaign for your gaming group, that's fine, too. They're your words to spend: whatever you want, he'll write it.

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    RETAIL KIT: (Available only to brick and mortar store owners.) You'll get five copies of the printed Core Game Guide as well as eight printed copies of the Player's Guide.

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    ART AFICIONADO: Everything in the DESIGN tier, with a twist: whatever character, monster, or location you design will be illustrated by one of our artists and used in one of the books. You'll receive a signed, quality print of the illustration, and all of your printed materials will be signed and personalized.

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    MEET THE CREATOR: Everything in the PERSONALIZED PAPER tier, plus Christopher will meet you for a one-on-one discussion about whatever you like, whether it's writing, game design, or the weather. In-person meetings may occur at PAX or GenCon if both of you are going, or in your hometown (or Memphis) if that's feasible. If not, you may also meet via Skype or Google+.

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Funding period

- (35 days)