A re-energized version of the award-winning sci-fi RPG, using the brand new Fate™ Core rules by Evil Hat Productions.
The human spirit shines greatest during the darkest of times. Never was this proven more fully than in the year 2196. With certain doom hurtling toward our planet, the free countries of the world united and prepared for a mass exodus aboard a score of gargantuan transports. But our escape was just the beginning of the adventure. By some freak occurrence, our ship, the Dawning Star, was sent shooting across the galaxy. We found ourselves alone, cut off from the fleet, in alien territory. It was not in our nature to give up. We found a habitable planet and began our new life. In the intervening years, we have encountered strange new species, overcome dire threats, and taken the first few steps in building a new life.
We wrote those words in 2005 when we released the first full-scale sci-fi setting using the d20 Future rules from Wizards of the Coast. We followed this up with the largest sci-fi setting book ever published, Helios Rising. Dawning Star enjoyed both critical and commercial success. More importantly, people were having fun with it, creating amazing stories at the table with their friends. Freedom League scrappers plumbing the depths of mysterious ruins for alien artifacts; saurian monks beating back the emperor’s Blood Guard at the gates of the monastery; heart-stopping space battles with the merciless vaasi horde.
“As a setting, it’s utterly fascinating – once I started reading it I was glued to it until I finished.” – Jeremy Reaban
When the d20 era faded out, we began looking for the perfect way to bring the setting back, and we think we found it in Fate™ Core. We’ve always been fans of this versatile system. When they recently revamped it with a wildly successful Kickstarter of their own, we knew we had a good match. This new version of Fate™, in its own words, is about “proactive, capable people who lead dramatic lives.” That’s Dawning Star in a nutshell.
Now, when we say “re-launch”, we mean it literally. For this new version of Dawning Star, we’re not merely swapping out statblocks. We’re keeping the core but rebuilding the setting with the new system in mind. We’re advancing the timeline and unleashing some shockwave-inducing events. Fans of the original setting will be thrilled to know that Dawning Star: Fate of Eos will see the first maneuvers of the vaasi invasion and the sudden appearance of one of Earth’s other evacuation ships. Just when the settlers of the Dawning Star seemed to have a handle on things, we decided to ramp up the threats--both domestic and alien.
Dawning Star is a sandbox sci-fi setting that supports a variety of sub-genres. If your tastes bend to the pulpish end of the spectrum, explore the ancient ruins on Eos in search of alien artifacts. Want something political? The Saurian Courts of C’thalk are dripping with intrigue. Space Opera? The Helios System is teeming with strange ships and natural hazards. Military? You could run an entire campaign on the vaasi conflict.
Despite its flexibility, we’ve taken great pains to ensure that the Helios system is a cohesive place. Each component has a purpose. The high concept for the setting is grounded in firm science. And the book will be brimming with ideas to launch an exciting campaign.
“Ancient artifacts, strange alien races, warring political factions, and the raw struggle for survival that many colonists face every day create a setting filled with adventure opportunities.” – Christopher W. Richeson
We are thrilled to finally find a system suited for the setting. Our friends at Evil Hat Productions have done some astounding work on Fate™ in the past few years, culminating in one of the most successful RPG Kickstarters of all time. Beyond its success, Fate™ is a system years in the making, honed and polished to a finely-tuned engine.
If you’re not familiar with Fate, . You can check out the game by downloading directly from their website on a “pay what you like” model, so you can “try before you buy”, or you can look at the Fate SRD website online. Short version: It’s a quick system, using four Fate dice to resolve conflicts and a unique economy that encourages players to get their characters into trouble and to be awesome getting out of it. (Fate dice are readily available at most game stores and on the Internet.)
If you are familiar with Fate™, you’ll be interested to know that we’re making a few tweaks to tailor it perfectly to Dawning Star. In particular, we’re focusing on four primary components of the setting to get special attention in the rules. For the numerous xenomorphs that populate the Helios system, we’re tweaking the skill system. Navigating a coqui gravelmaker isn’t the same as tooling around in your EDF APV–unless you’re coqui of course. Dawning Star incorporates a host of tech, and we’re amping up its significance in the rules. The difference between a haimedian thorn cannon and a Star Confed nanite sprayer isn’t merely a matter of narration. Similarly, we'll have expanded rules for starship creation and combat, so you can take the helm of a Republic frigate or a yaom star rider. Red Truth is our scientific take on psionics, something along the lines of peeking behind reality to see the raw code. It gets the full extra treatment with detailed powers along with the significant risk posed by exposure to raw information. Yes, you might be able to identify the molecular structure of that door just by looking at it, but you also might be stunned as you absorb the memories of every being that ever touched it.
At Gen Con this year, we ran a sneak peek scenario: “Freight with Peril”. A train carrying an alien artifact is ambushed by Freedom League operatives. As EDF special forces escorting the shipment, it’s your job to fend off the attackers and protect the shipment, but things get hairy when the artifact spontaneously activates. If you back this project at any level, you will immediately receive a link to download a copy of the scenario and characters and give it a try for yourself.
"Very fun. Great use of Fate for a riveting, fast-paced scenario." - Ben Plopper, "Freight with Peril" player, GenCon 2013
The Eos Defense Force and Offworlder backer levels (and higher) get you a copy of the final book. As we've hit our first two stretch goals, our current plans for Fate of Eos are for a 320-page, 8.5”x11”, hardcover book with a full color interior. We’re using a US printer, which we believe in for ethical reasons and will also reduce the risk of shipping snags found with foreign printers. If we reach our next stretch goal at $25,000, we'll include a DS-branded flash drive card with every physical book. The more backers we get, the better everyone’s reward gets. So get the word out!
But that’s not all! If you get the book, you also get all the digital goodies available at lower levels. This includes: an electronic copy of the book, desktop and phone wallpapers, a fillable pdf character sheet, pdfs of all of the existing Dawning Star setting material, and “Freight with Peril”, our Gen Con scenario using the Fate™ Core rules, so you can get started right away.
For our Super-Backers, we’ve got a few unique bennies.
We've created some custom Fate tokens. These are casino-quality, ceramic poker chips, with the image infused into the material. Each side represents the different ways to use Fate points, invoking and compelling.
We've created these sturdy, dry-erase cards to handle situation aspects. You can write on them, note whether it is a boost or has free invocations, modify them as needed, and erase and reuse them when done.
We've created these slim, credit-card sized, 2gb flash drives to hold all of the digital material.
At the RELIC HUNTER level, you get the book, a set of 30 of our custom Fate tokens, and 10 dry-erase aspect cards.(International backers, please choose OFFWORLD RELIC HUNTER.)
At the ALIEN ARTIFACT level, you get a full kit for your whole game group. This will include two copies of the book (one for you and one to pass around), a flash drive with all of the digital material, a complete set of 24 Fate™ dice for your group, 30 of the custom Fate tokens, and 10 dry-erase aspect cards. It all fits neatly in a spiffy carrying case. We will also work with you to create a unique character or xenomorph that will be featured in the final book with a custom illustration and your name, recognizing your unique contribution to the finished product. This backer level includes shipping anywhere in the world.
And for one of you, the ultimate: As Clan Lord Oraton, you will get ALL THE STUFF: two copies of the book, 24 Fate dice, 30 custom tokens, 10 dry-erase aspect cards, the flash drive card with all of the digital content, and the carrying case. Plus, your books will be personalized and signed by Lee Hammock and myself. Plus, we will work with you to create a unique character or xenomorph that will grace the back cover of the book along with your name on a credit line. Plus, you will have the pleasure of a personal session run for you and up to four of your friends by the incomparable Lee Hammock in person either in the Seattle area, at Gen Con, or via Skype or G+. Dawning Star fans everywhere will speak your name in hushed reverence. Who wants to step us as the ultimate force in the Helios system?
“For players and GMs looking to run a planet-hopping sci-fi campaign, you never need look anywhere else again: The Helios system is where you want to be.” – Shane O.
Thanks to our great backers, we've hit our initial goal, which allows us to pay the talented crew for their hard work and to print a top-quality book in the USA.
We are happy to announce some stretch goals, and if we can hit these, we've got some more lined up. Our approach to stretch goals is not to offer different items to buy, but to add value to our existing tiers. So, the more money we raise, the better everyone's deal gets.
UNLOCKED! Well, we got to $15,000, so we're adding 40% more awesomeness to the book. Most of this material will be dedicated to bringing you more of what makes Dawning Star unique. So, more xenomorphs, more tech, more spaceships, and more of the people, places, and secret history that bring the setting to life. For the visually inclined:
I've had the pleasure of working with Danilo Moretti since Dawning Star's inception, and he is one of the most talented artists I've ever worked with. Since we hit this stretch goal, we'll have enough funds to cover a full color interior to show off Danilo's incomparable work.
We think it's only appropriate that a setting that features such advanced tech, shows off some advanced tech in our rewards. If we get to $25,000, we're going to push the boundaries. For starters, we will deck out the pdf version of the final book with every amazing feature a pdf can have: a separate layout optimized for landscape view, internal and external hyperlinks, and an interactive character sheet. Remember: Everyone who backs at $10 or above gets the VIRTUAL REALITY awards, including the pdf.
Now, here's the exciting news: If we hit this mark, we've decided to add a physical flash drive to all physical book rewards, that's $35 and up. I was concerned about what adding a physical item would do to the shipping profile. But one of our crew came up with the neat idea of using slim card flash drives like these:
I can stick the card inside the book and still ship it as a standard book.
But this stretch goal can be so much more. It's really a catchall for whatever we can think up. Scratch that. Whatever you can think up. We've already had requests for token sheets for the various xenomorphs and NPCs. Sounds good. Custom, fillable character sheets, alternate ebook versions, pimped out pdfs. All doable. We've got a couple of gbs of memory on those flash drives, and we intend to use up every last electron. So tell us what you want to see.
Well, this is never going to happen, right? We'll never get this thing this high, right? Right? Let's just say we do. Let's just say these last 24 hours are nuts, and we hit $30,000. What then?
In our original run, we undertook a periodic, recurring supplement called TERRAFORMER, in which we offered additional setting and game material--everything from aquatic xenomorphs to invisibility tech to an entire encounter featuring nanite "zombies". We also announced but were never able to publish our massive event supplemental called Shadow War, which was to introduce the Helios System to the full terror of the vaasi invasion. We had big plans for this product, all of the materials to run an engrossing, epic campaign in which the PCs' actions made a difference between winning and losing, between victory and annihilation. Linked scenarios, where the results of one directly impacted the ones that followed. Fail to hold Thres one session, and the vaasi gain a tactical advantage in the next one. All combined in a stunning boxed set.
If we hit $30,000, we will reintroduce TERRAFORMER for regular publication and also commit to publishing Shadow War next year. What's in it for you? Every backer at the EOS DEFENSE FORCE level and above will get the first three issues of TERRAFORMER and a digital copy of Shadow War when it is released. Absolutely free. A special thank you to everyone who made this relaunch such a huge success.
But that will never happen. Right?
The most exciting part of this endeavor is that we managed to get the old gang back together. Lee Hammock is the lead designer and writer, bringing the same imagination and technical chops that made the original Dawning Star a hit. Danilo Moretti provides the Art Direction, crafting an amazing array of graphics from maps to technical schematics to character portraits to the so-good-they’ll-blind-you cover pieces. RJ Grady is back as our technical advisor. Sean Masters is assisting with the design and generally serving as an awesome idea generator. And yours truly will steer the ship.
Kurt Wiegel did a thorough review of Dawning Star for Game Geeks:
"Underclocked (underunderclocked mix)" by Eric Skiff (http://glitchnyc.com/). Fate™ is a trademark of Evil Hat Productions, LLC. The Powered by Fate logo is copyright Evil Hat Productions, LLC and is used with permission.
Risks and challenges
Riskier than kicking back with a murcow burger, not as risky as insulting Clan Lord Oratan. Blue Devil Games and the Dawning Star team have a proven track record of putting out top-quality products, and we’ll do so again. However, in any endeavor involving third-parties, there are always risks. The most likely of any such challenges is a delay with printing or shipping the final product. More likely, if history is any indicator, the real risk is that we decide to make the book bigger and it takes a little longer to get out. See, Helios Rising.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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