(This project is an extension of a Stretch Goal unlocked in a previous Kickstarter.)
This Kickstarter will produce two things: the Book of Time, and Prior Lives Adventure Books.
The Book of Time is a mammoth supply of comprehensive, flexible, and fun time-travel adventure rules, plots, hooks, spells, feats, and other immensely useful GM resources.
The Prior Lives Adventure Books provide dozens of standalone adventures exploring the past of richly-detailed NPCs, both new and already published.
All rules and content are designed to be ready-to-run in any campaign setting, and scale to gaming groups of any level.
One of the best things about the Dark Obelisk mega-adventures is the characters. Dozens of novel-caliber NPCs, each with backstory, motivation, quirks, and dialogue... they're instantly usable, not just in the context of the rich stories they're a part of, but can be easily inserted into any RPG campaign.
Prior Lives takes you back in time, to explore the early-life backstories of some of the most richly-detailed characters in these adventures.
Although users the adventures and books in the Realm of Aquilae will get the most out of Prior Lives, the adventures, characters, and rules in the books are meant to be immediately useful in any adventure setting or campaign.
Each Prior Lives Adventure Book is a ~300+ page, full-color PDF and hardcover book.
Content consists of two parts:
- Part One describes a quick framework for time-traveling adventures in Pathfinder and 5E. It contains new rules, hooks, spells, effects, artifacts, and so on to enable fun, easy-to-run adventures involving time manipulation. The Book of Time has this in much more detail; this introduction to Prior Lives serves as a stripped-down version that's relevant to the adventures in the book.
- Part Two is the real meat of the tome: An assortment of richly detailed NPCs, each with tons of description and a standalone, ready-to-run adventure which takes place in their past. Each NPC's backstory adventure gets ~20-50+ pages unto themselves.
There are five Prior Lives Adventure Books planned as a result of this Kickstarter:
- PL1 explores characters are taken from the Dark Obelisk 1 mega-adventure.
- PL2 uses batches of characters from the Dark Obelisk 2 mega-adventure.
- PL3 references NPCs from the Druid Enclavemega-city-setting.
- PL4 will incorporate characters from the upcoming Western Realm Gazetteer book.
- PL5: Artifact Origins contains adventures from the origins of potent magical items from the Artifacts & Artifice series of books.
Prior Lives is hardly the first or only attempt to write time-travel rules for an RPG. It may be, however, one of the most flexible, creative, easy to implement, and downright fun frameworks for creative GMs to run time-travel adventures within.
In broad strokes:
- An artifact, the Libra Tempora, transports those who read it back in time to observe and live past events that are written about in its pages.
- Upon returning to the present, characters experience the benefits--and drawbacks--encountered and incurred in their adventures in the past.
The approach Prior Lives takes to these rules is a combination of several somewhat obscure references, but if you happen to be familiar with all of them, it'll serve as an exciting shorthand to what to expect!
- Those who have played the Anchorage DLC pack for Fallout 3 will immediately understand the approach.
- It's something of a merger between the mechanics of that "flashback adventure", and the "live the past as it happened" approach that the Assassin's Creed games take.
- Finally, the giant, padlocked tome that Destiny carries around in the Sandman graphic novels shares some similarities to the Libra Tempora.
Each NPC's backstory adventures comprise an entire chapter, truly a mini-book unto itself.
Each character receives the following detail:
- Introduction & Summary (1-2 pp)
- NPC Profile: Present Day (3-5 pp)
- NPC Profile: Past (3-5 pp)
- Adventure Hooks & Framing (~1 p)
- Rumors and Lore (~1 p)
- Standalone Adventure in the Past (6-20 pp, including maps)
- Historical Dramatis Personae: Other NPCs from the adventure in the past (4-30 pp)
The "profiles" mentioned above consist of four (4) complete statblocks, in the vein of IGS' approach to Quadded Statblocks. Grab a free PDF which describes the approach, or grab a free PDF of a sample monster, the Skelettin, which contains quadded statblocks.
The goal here, aside from being interesting reading, is for each NPC to be an instantly-runnable series of gaming sessions that any GM can drop into her campaign world and gaming group, at any level of difficulty and player level!
A good GM can bring even a basic, plain statblock to vibrant life, emotionally engaging the players. But even the best GMs can also get really, really busy! Infinium Game Studio designs NPCs with this fact in mind.
A good NPC has the opportunity to become an entire multi-session story arc in and of themselves. A well-designed NPC can be immediately dropped into any gaming session with zero additional preparation or thought.
A well-designed and implemented character, simply put, provides a wealth of resources to help GMs and players: crunch and description in equal measures, to help fuel a perfect balance of gaming mechanics and storytelling opportunities.
Caught in the midst of a bloody power struggle between her merchant family and advisers who sought to overthrow them, Elena escaped the conflict at a young age through a mixture of cunning and bloodthirst.
Vengeance, planning, and a careful thirst for power play in equal balance with this present-day merchant queen.
Beautiful and sad, Maghana has tried to devote herself wholly to the spiritual life of late. However, temptation rages, for though she shares a church with her colleague High Priest Cannock, she finds herself yearning to share much more with the charismatic leader.
In the events of the Dark Obelisk 1 adventure, her inner turmoil is thrown into an external conflict, as she struggles to save her would-be, star-cross'd lover from a sudden disaster.
What love, loss, and other forces from her history drive her current conflict? What led this powerful woman to choose a life of religious service and relative isolation? Only a journey into the past can fully answer these questions.
The Book of Time spins the concept of time-travel adventure rules into its own book, and expands the rules and options with more items, more spells, more adventure scenarios and hooks and starting points, and more characters. The rules governing time manipulation, summarized in the first piece of each Prior Lives book, are expanded and spun off into their own, separate, full-color book. Feats, skills, spells, rules, hooks, rumors & lore, and much more relating to the topic of time travel, for use as an expanded element for Prior Lives books, or in your own completely unrelated adventures!
Each pledge level involves one or more books, in either PDF and/or hardcover format.
Any PDF pledge gets you all of the following, for all books you select:
- Full-color PDFs in both Pathfinder and 5E/Fifth Edition rules formats.
- Full-color Atlases, containing both GM-only and Player-redacted versions of the maps in the source book.
- Ultra-high-resolution image files of each and every map, in 4K+ resolution, for use in VTT apps or other digital gaming aids.
- Full-color Players' Guide of the book, containing largely redacted or generalized content from the source book itself as a means of acquainting players.
- Tablet-friendly versions of all PDFs involved.
To be amended once we reach out initial funding goal. However, here's a sneak peek:
- $X: Dark Obelisk 2: The Lost Quests: DO2 was, and still remains to the best of my knowledge, the single largest adventure ever published. This addendum will cement this milestone, and bring it well over 1,500 pages. DO2 as published contains massive amounts of maps, lush detail, and excellent characterization... but was a bit leaner than its predecessor when it came to Quests. The Lost Quests PDF and full-color softcover adds dozens of Quests to the open environment of Dark Obelisk 2: The Mondarian Elective. If we hit this funding target, DO2: TLQ will be a FREE PDF for all backers of this project, as well as for everyone who already has a copy of Dark Obelisk 2.
- $Y: Echoes of Time Forgotten: This adventure is already planned as part of the unlocked Stretch Goals from the Dark Obelisk 2 campaign. Hitting a future funding total will grant this book as a freebie to all backers of this campaign. As time travel plays a very heavy role in the adventure, it only makes sense to include it in our discussion of Prior Lives. :)
Following the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign, I'll send out BackerKit surveys, which will help collect information about shipping and other options.
Part of that process will allow you to Add On other IGS products to your pledge. If you know what you want now, you can simply add to your KS pledge so it'll count early against Stretch Goals.
To be expanded as we progress through the campaign!
FlexTale Encounter Generator
- $35 hardcover
Good news: You get more stuff for free, if you're already entitled to Prior Lives via another Kickstarter or pre-order.
- If you are entitled to Prior Lives as a result of involvement in any former Kickstarter, you will automatically get digital stretch goals from this project in PDF form for FREE.
- That includes PDFs of the Book of Time, all 5 Prior Lives books, all 5 Atlases, and all 5 Players' Guides. All free; no pledge to this KS required at all.
- If you want hardcopies of books unlocked in Stretch Goals, I've added a special pledge level called "Entitled Hardened Completionist". That will get you hardcopies of Prior Lives 2, 3, 4, and 5, plus the Book of Time.
Master Progenitor Pledge Level
You may notice the big pledge level all the way at the bottom of the list of options. This level, "Master Progenitor of the Ebon Mobius", was added due to backer request.
The short version is, you get everything I make. Everything that's on my radar, and a future-proofing guarantee of getting everything that I'll announce, be inspired to create, or asked to add for the foreseeable future.
Everything from the inception of Infinium Game Studios, to the completion of the content that is unlocked and on the radar as a result of the Dark Obelisk 2 campaign... Well over 150 PDFs and hardcopies, all told.
If you want everything, not just from this campaign, but from my company and what we create and will be creating going forward, this pledge level is the best, easiest, and cheapest way to get it.
What Do You Get?
You'll receive every single digital reward of every product we produce, from now until the completion of the "DO2 Era" product cycle. Everything from Dark Obelisk 1 all the way through to the "Bridge" module that will connect DO2 to DO3. That's every book, in every format, for years to come.
In addition, you'll receive at-cost discount codes for every single physical product. (This includes cards published through DriveThruCards.)
All in all, it's some obscene discount over retail.
What Does Future-Proofing Mean?
It's a simple reality that each time I launch a Kickstarter, I end up producing or unlocking more than I'd originally announced. Small books become enormous, and single small books can become multiple books.
Each major "adventure kickstarter" campaign I announce will likely expand upon things a bit in this regard. As things grow, Master Progenitors need not worry: if one book becomes two, they automatically receive everything.
This pledge level is a new concept that I've started to include as of this Prior Lives kickstarter; going forward, it'll be offered as part of future campaigns... but as the value of the Master Progenitor pledge increases, so will its price. It's a huge commitment, and I appreciate that--but it'll never be this cheap again.
What's the Catch?
Well, although the amount involved is a savings over what the equivalent Kickstarter pledges will be, and a huge savings over what the published books will be at retail, it's expensive.
And, although I stand by the quality and the enormity of what I produce, I don't do it overnight. To get everything that's included, we're talking years, plain and simple.
But I'm not going anywhere. I've finally found my calling, and I have never ever enjoyed working on anything the way I enjoy this. I'll be doing this for decades into the future.
- Dark Obelisk 1: Berinncorte
- Dark Obelisk 2: The Mondarian Elective
- Berinncorte Basecamp
- FlexTale Encounter Generator
- FTEG Context Books
- FTEG Solo Adventuring Toolkit
- Aquilae: Bestiary of the Realm
- Monsters of Aquilae
- Gauntlets & Gaslight
- Artifacts & Artifice 1-3
- Library Vitae
- Dark Harbor
- Echoes of Time Forgotten
- Druid Enclave
- Northern Mountain Adventure
- Fire & Gold
- Highest Form of Flattery
- Prior Lives
- Aquilae: Pantheon & Tribute
- Western Realm Gazetteer (10 books)
- Sin Furnace of Arghastar
- Mistdelve City
- Greatsnake Compound
- Pit of Hope
- Grim Tokens
- Villainous Compendium
- Ultimate Character Compendium (11 books)
- DO3 Bridge Module
As I say elsewhere, Infinium Game Studio is a one-man shop, with occasional work with artists and collaborators. That one man has three young children and a full-time job. That one man dedicates, quite literally, every spare second to producing indie roleplaying content, and is quite proud of and thrilled at what is produced.
That said, the timelines involved are conjecture. Some are fine with that; others dislike it. I respect both positions. If you're time-sensitive, I'd encourage you to pledge at Lurker level to have awareness, but no further; I don't want to disappoint you!
So, with all of that said, here's my policy on this topic.
- As of this Kickstarter for Prior Lives, if you are entitled to Product X via a previous Kickstarter, if there ends up being a Kickstarter project for Product X, you are automatically entitled to receive ALL DIGITAL REWARDS unlocked via Stretch Goals for that project.
- To put it another way: if you're already owed Prior Lives, you now are automatically entitled to Prior Lives 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and the Book of Time, in PDF format, along with all associated Players' Guides and Atlases. (Wow!)
- If you back Project X, and Project Y is delayed, and causes a resulting delay in Project X, then you get a discount on Project Y. So, for example: Western Realm Gazetteer comes BEFORE Prior Lives. If WRG takes longer than anticipated, and ends up delaying Prior Lives, then you get a discount on WRG.
- Any and all Players' Guides, to ALL products I publish, are FREE in digital form to ALL backers of ALL Kickstarter projects.
Risks and challenges
The good news is that the characters are largely already done, at least their present-day crunch and descriptions. They're already in DO1 and DO2. So figure that's like 30% of the total work, already accomplished, at least for PL1 and PL2. PL3 and PL4 will have the same phenomenon as I work toward completing the Druid Enclave and Western Realm Gazetteer books.
Time. IGS is almost entirely a one-man shop, and that one man has three young children and a full-time day job. I devote literally every spare minute of downtime to IGS, and to making our products the absolute best, most impressive, and most valuable/usable books I can conceive of, but that devotion to quality amidst other demands takes time.
I will deliver. And I hope you agree that it will be more than worth the wait and pledge dollar. But my estimates as to when are just that: estimates. If you're comfortable with getting what I try to make world-class indie RPG books for a significant discount, and don't mind waiting a bit, then please consider pledging, supporting, and helping to make the results even more awesome!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)