Welcome to the Mad Lands
It seems you're not the only brave fool to leave the safety of your village. Other reckless folks travel west. As far west as anyone has ever traveled is a ruined nameless stronghold, carved into the mountainside by giants. At the base of this ancient fortress is a new and growing settlement. The folks there call the settlement Westhold. It is the last civilized place before the Mad Lands.
The West Marches Experience (How I break Kickstarter)
Let's play a fantasy role-playing game online, you and me and other backers. We'll figure out the schedule as we go along. I will GM the sessions using Roll20 and Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts(?!).
This is a West Marches gaming experience. Think MMORPG but much more analog. We play online with other backers of this project and me as the GM for a limited time. Expedition passes get you sessions in the game world. When all the passes have been used the story has been told and the game ends. The Mad Lands game sessions will be played using the Forbidden Lands RPG or the B/X Old School Essentials RPG. You can choose later what game system you're in. Both coexist in the same world at the same time. Game sessions will run @3 hours, some may go a little longer. When the last expedition pass is used the season ends. The story has been told.
For this to be successful and fun. We must be able to be kind to each other. We will make use of tabletop game's IRL tool, the X-Card, and we'll have a code of conduct.
But what is the West Marches?
The West Marches concept was made popular by Ben Robbins, designer of the popular game Microscope and Matthew Coleville made a great video on West Marches.
- There is no regular game time. Game sessions are scheduled by the players with the GM, that'll be me, and my available is pretty flexible.
- There is no regular party. Games have players drawn from a pool of people. That'll be you! You pick what expeditions to go own and which parties to join or form one of your own.
- No plot. The players decide where to go and what to do in advance. It is a sandbox game.
- Game sessions start and end in town or a PC controlled stronghold.
- Session reports are always shared.
- There is a shared world map, that's likely unreliable.
- All discoveries are placed on the shared map, which players can use to decide where they want to explore.
- This is not a PvP competition. This is an exploration focused experience. We play to find answers.
The Reward Tiers!
Choose the Westhold stakeholders if you want to lurk! You'll get to name a vendor in the Westhold town and you will be listed in the credits of each Mad Lands newsletter. (This is you, Mom!)
The Pawn, Magus, Knight, Rook, Marshal and Arbiter reward tiers are for playing. They come with expedition passes that include:
- An introductory play session @1-2 hours. This orients you to the world and West Marches play style as well as a few other players.
- Character creation workshops via Discord.
- 1 or more passes to schedule adventures out into the Mad Lands that you set up.
- Access to the website, discord and the 'Owed' list.
- The Mad Lands digital monthly newsletter and credits in the newsletter -and if it happens, an obituary in the newsletter!
Expeditions. Each Expedition Pass is a ticket to join an expedition into the Mad Lands alongside other players. There's no meta-plot, no railroad. Join one already on the books or start an expedition, schedule it and play. You'll be able to go on as many expeditions as you have Expedition Passes - and maybe more, if you end up on the 'Owed' List.
The 'Owed' list is for when you've used your passes. It's a list of players available to go on expeditions and characters "Owed" another expedition earned through exploits. When an expedition comes up short on players we pull from the Owed list.
The Mad Lands website. You'll have access to the Mad Lands website, hosted by SquareSpace, it will have game event data, character bios and the expedition calendar where you'll schedule your expeditions. You'll also get access to moderated forums for communicating with other Mad Landers!
A monthly digital zine will go out with news about game events and details. Backers will be listed...and an obituary for the fallen. If I have my druthers, it'll be an interactive digital zine taking advantage of some really neat InDesign features. A good friend of mine is taking on the challenge, you might know him! There will be a starter issue #0 and an epilogue issue once the last dice have fallen.
Social media is part of this experience. Sessions where everyone opts-in may stream on Twitch. I'll run live sessions at RinCon 2019 and Big Bad Con 2019 for backers that are at those cons. The Diceology podcast will interview some of the players and provide game coverage on the podcast shows.
Choose the Pawn, Magus, Knight or Rook to jump right in and play from 1 to 7 expeditions that you schedule. Rooks may be Mad Lands veterans and will have options to start at higher levels (or advances).
Choose The Marshal or the Arbiter for characters with history and a story in the Mad Lands. Most folks have heard of you by deed at least. These characters have gravity but are not immortal. You'll have options to start play at higher levels, like the Rook and you'll have personal/character stakes in the game. We'll work together on what that detail is. The Arbiter will start with a keep which acts as a safe-point to return from expeditions. These are also useable by Marshals and are PC controlled strongholds.
There will be side games --because that's what we do as gamers. If you're a backer these are all open to you as life permits. I've got a Powered By The Apocalypse West Marches game I'm designing that I'll offer up play-tests for.
✅ Adventurers. When we have a total of 50 player-backers (Pawn tier or higher) every player-backer tier gets an extra expedition pass. ACHIEVED!!
🔲 $2500. This stretch goal is to bring on an artist to create original pieces for the game, and player handouts, PC sketches(portrait) --and renderings of the Mad Lands based on the player's shared map of the explored areas.
I'm your huckleberry. I run Burning Wheel one-shots at conventions often for newcomers. I take an incremental hands-on approach to teach and play the games I run, RAW. I've run a West Marches Mutant year Zero game across several game conventions for Free League. I've run games online for The Gauntlet Hangouts and at Gauntlet Con - which is online (GauntletCon2019!!). I'll be a fan of your character, even while we're digging a plot for them. I'm already running the pilot version, the Raven Lands with our starter newsletter. I've got a few writing credits under my belt and several play-testing credits. I'm also up one successful kickstarter. This here ain't my first rodeo. 😜
Risks and challenges
I've already cleared this with my boss. I'll have time to run these games throughout the week and not just on weekends or after work. My schedule will be public for folks to see (FYI - I'm self-employed). I'm working with NDPDesign to publish the digital newsletter. Any gremlins pop up, you'll be the first to know from me.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)