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A tabletop role playing game based on the award-winning video game: Hyper Light Drifter.
A tabletop role playing game based on the award-winning video game: Hyper Light Drifter.
1,046 backers pledged $73,711 to help bring this project to life.
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Hyper Light Drifter: Tabletop Role-Playing Game

$73,711

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Download the playtest

Check out the Online Rules Codex and join the Discord!

Fragments EP by Disasterpiece 

All backers in a pledge tier get the Fragments EP. Never-seen-before tracks and ditties created by Disasterpiece during the development of HLD but were never used. Now cleaned up and purposed to build out our new continent.


 Curious to hear how Drifter plays?

You can listen to the episode on your favorite platform ItunesSpotifyGooglePlay

A few notes of the playtest, since their impression was far more brutal than it should really be. You can read the notes on the Discord Server #Announcements page or on this KS update. All of their decisions resulted in energy loss being quite brutal for the party, but they made it through the adventure, at least by the skin of their teeth.

Flooded Valley (animated art spread)

Hyper Light Drifter: The Tabletop Role-Playing Game (or Drifter for short) is a game of exploration and adventure, as you unearth ancient ruins, defeat the horrors, and discover forgotten knowledge. Based on the evocative and renowned Hyper Light Drifter video game and officially licensed by Heart Machine, Drifter brings this evocative world to your RPG table!

In Drifter, you play as a drifter, one who ventures outside the safety of the sanctuaries, in search technology and answers, whether that's out in the wilderness, or in the depths of a Librarian ruin. You are both a competent fighter and skilled explorer—you have to be in order to survive in the harsh wilderness. You might be a raven wielder, searching for new technology to help stabilize your sanctuary. You might be a hound warrior, fearless when entering the fray of battle. You might be a raccoon versifier, creating relationships and resolving conflicts between close sanctuaries.

Drifter uses its own unique system that is rules-light and is easy to learn, facilitating fast-paced combat, creative exploration, and open role-playing opportunities. Utilizing the famous d20, the system leverages energy management combined with a tiered threshold of success to deliver a rewarding risk vs reward dynamic. With Drifter, you'll be able to tell a broad diversity of epic stories and daring adventures. You’ll create a drifter by  (Identity, Class and, Customization) then, you'll spend some energy, roll, and see what happens.

Drifter creates stories like those you’d find in Horizon: Zero Dawn, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Bastion, and Hyper Light Drifter. Or if you prefer tabletop comparisons, Dungeon World, Ruyuutama, and Numenera.

Important Note: We are creating a new continent and will be staying away from events in the game. This is done intentionally to keep the open-ended nature of the video game open. 


What we're going to create:

  •  Drifter Starter Box: In a SNES themed box, get a copy of the basic rules and everything you need to play.
  •  Drifter Game Book:  A ~156-page Hardcover rulebook that gives you all the mechanical rules you need to play Drifter.
  •  Drifter Setting Book:  A ~164-page Hardcover systemless book, detailing a new continent of the HLD universe. Each zone detailed out containing, points of interest, characters, adversaries, rumors, discoveries and more!
  •  Drifter Online Resource and Community: Need the rules in a pinch? We're making the basic rules available on our website, www.hld-rpg.com! In addition, if you're getting the PDFs, you can access the full rules online as well!
  •  Virtual Tabletop Support: Character and Enemy Tokens, stream friendly overlays, combat board, and maps optimized for Virtual Tabletop environments. 
  •  Fragments EP: Created by the musical mastermind Disasterpiece, we're putting together a Fragments EP! A set of never-seen-before tracks and ditties concepted and created during the HLDs development, but now re-purposed to fit our new continent.

The world has been broken and the remains of a great civilization lie scattered across the land. What remains of society are now concentrated into small, mostly isolated, sanctuaries, built upon the remanents of the past. 

Outside of their relative safety lies a dangerous and unforgiving world. Vast swaths of wilderness have been reclaimed by the wilds, and whatever occurred in the final struggle has created environmental anomalies impacting the environment, ecosystem, and creatures who dwell there. 

Inside of the ruins sprawls vast labyrinthian corridors, reaching high into the skies and cutting into the deepest corners of the earth. Inside these ruins, there is much that can be gained: from useful technologies to aid in survival (yours or the sanctuaries), to knowledge and clues that can glean answers from the past. But where such riches can be gained, danger always lurks. Both forests and facilities are haunted by wild creatures, mutated aberrations, and automatons created from an age long past.  

It is up to you as a drifter to make bring together the sanctuaries, defeat the demons of the past, and rebuild a new future.

 Check out the Online Rules Codexand join the Discord!

Drifter uses its own rule-set, inspired by other rules-light systems allowing for action, wild ideas, and facilitating the story. Let's get started with our core fundamentals, these will get your character up and running first before we dive into other systems.

  1.  Energy: Each character has an Energy Pool. Points from this pool are spent on making actions, or improving your rolls (see Boosting). There are various methods of recovering energy, including when the narrator changes scene, resting, some combat actions as well as some skills. Once you run out of energy, you need to start rolling [Fortitude] or [Resolve] skill saves to remain conscious.
  •  Attributes: Characters have four ability scores, each representing a different facet of a character’s capabilities, including Vigor, Swiftness, Insight, and Presence. When you want to perform an action, it costs you energy, and your ability score tells you how much you reduce the cost of that action by. If you reduce the cost of an action below 0 energy, you can gain a bonus to your roll.
  •  Rolling: If your character wants to perform an action or react to an event, you're going to make a roll to see what happens. When performing what is called a check, you will need to pay the energy cost, if you're reacting to something, known as a save, the action costs no energy. In Drifter, we use a twenty-sided die (also referred to as a d20). Your result is then compared against three thresholds (more below), determining the outcome of your action. If you're not happy with your roll result, you can choose to spend more energy to succeed (see Boosting).
  •  Thresholds: Once you've made a roll, you can interpret the results. There are two key thresholds you need to pay attention to which lead to three possible outcomes.
                          --If your result is an 8 or below, you fail the task (Full Consequence).
                          --If your result meets or beats your skill group’s Discipline value, you succeed (Full Success).
                          --If your result falls between 9 and your Discipline value, you achieved a partial success (Success at Consequence).
  •  Disciplines: All skills in the game are distributed across four disciplines, Survival, Exploration, Combat, and Social. When rolling, your threshold for a Full Success is determined by your Discipline value. When you create your drifter, your Disciplines all start at 18 and you have points to reduce them as you see fit.
  •  Boosting: If you don’t like your roll result, you can choose to spend more energy to increase your roll result, we call this Boosting. To determine how much each additional point of energy boosts your roll result, you need to look at the relevant Boost score of the skill you are using: Grit or Nerve.
                          If your skill uses Vigor or Swiftness, you will utilize Grit, and if it uses Insight or Presence you will use Nerve.

Character Creation

Character Sheet WIP

 So now that you have the core mechanics mastered, let's take a look at the character sheet and creating a character.

Combat Board

 For an action-packed game, we need to make sure combat is smooth, awesome and efficient. With the ability to play it using theater of the mind or at the table with minis. This is where we introduce the combat board, as shown above.

Players start on the left side and enemies on the right. The center is called "heat." This is where most front-line allies and enemies will be fighting.

Each tile represents a short-distance, so several allies and enemies can fit in the same tile. Some attacks will target a single creature in a tile or one tile away, others will target all enemies in a tile.

In combat, you will likely be using your Dashes, a special resource that allows you to move about the battlefield, evading damage and executing special maneuvers. You recover your Dashes after each encounter. 

The Combat board is included in the Starter Box, in addition, we are looking to support virtual tabletops like Fantasy Grounds and Roll20. 

Combat Board at a convention playtest game

We have a lot of plans for the Drifter, but we have three things that we really want to make first. Then, if we hit stretch goals we can improve and expand what we plan on offering.

product mockup

Drifter Starter Box: A snes styled box, this will containing everything you need to get started and play! Containing:

  • Softcover of the basic rules (for backing the Drifter Starter Box you still get the PDF of the setting and full Game Book).  
  • 5x 20-sided die
  • The Combat Board 
  • Reference Sheets
  • 80x Beads for tracking energy
  • 8x Intervention Point tokens
  • A pad of Character Sheets

HLD Game Book: A ~156 page Hardcover book, containing everything you need to play, from character options, extended advancement and being a narrator.

HLD Setting Book: a ~164 page Hardcover systemless book, detailing a new continent of the HLD universe featuring more than 8 unique zones. Each having their own unique story, points of interest, characters, adversaries, rumors, discoveries and more! 

Virtual Tabletop Support: A bundle of character and enemy tokens, maps, overlays, and combat boards specialized for use on Virtual Tabletop (VTT) platforms.

 Fragments EP: Created by the amazing Disasterpiece, composer of the HLD soundtrack. We're getting a series of never-seen-before tracks and ditties concepted and created during the HLDs development.

page mockup
book mockup using the Flooded Valley spread (text not final)

 If you've never seen the video game before, here is a quick overview

 If you are not familiar with Hyper Light Drifter, it began as a Kickstarter project by Alx Preston. To bring to life an evocative, post-apocalyptic, Zelda-like, RPG game, featuring fast and fun combat that is easy to pick up, but difficult to master.

It was wildly successful with its mysterious setting, sharp visuals, and amazing soundtrack. The game was completed and later released March 31, 2016, where it has since received over 9,000 very positive reviews, a Metacritic score of #88 (which is great for any game, especially an indie game), and available on several platforms. That year, Hyper Light Drifter was also nominated both Best Independent Game and Best Action Game at the 2016 Game Awards.


  •  $1 Merchant: FOR RETAILERS ONLY - We'll contact you when we're ready to ship so you can preorder the items you want! You'll get your shipment *before* it hits general distribution. This reward is for verified brick and mortar retail stores only in the US, EU and AUS.

All tiered backers get their name in the Credits Section of the Game Book and the Fragments EP.

  •  $15 Pixel Explorer: Get the PDF of the Drifter Game Book when it releases. 
  •  $35 Pixel Drifter: Get the PDF of both books (Game book and Setting book).
  •  $50 Warrior: Get the PRINT Drifter Game Book and the PDF of both books.
  •  $55 Drifter Starter Box: Get the Drifter Starter Box and the PDF of both books.
  •  $60 Delver: Get the PRINT of the Setting book and the PDF of both books.
  •  $90 Versifier: Get the PRINT and PDF of both books.
  •  $125 Wielder: Get the Drifter Starter Box and the PRINT and PDF of both books.
  •  $300 Sights Unseen: Get the Wielder level and we'll work with you to create a unique boss that will have it's own feature in the setting book. 
  •  $300 Familiar Friend: Get the Wielder level and we'll work with you to create a unique NPC that will have it's own feature in the setting book.


Shipping

Shipping will be charged after the project in a post-project portal. We do everything we can to safely reduce shipping costs, from shipping to our international warehouses directly from the manufacturer. These are estimates, and we'll do everything in our power to keep these as low as possible.

  •  USA: Books ~ $6-8; Box ~$8-12
  •  Canada/Latin America: Books ~ $9-15; Box ~$10-16
  •  Europe: Books ~ $7-10; Box ~$10-16
  •  Oceania & Asia: Books ~ $12-16; Box ~$14-20
  •  50k - REACHED - fully funded
  •  60k - REACHED -  Two short adventures, both published in the Gamebook and one made available for free for everyone on the Codex.
  • 70k - REACHED - Drifter Character Generator (we're not making an app, we're partnering with the Reroll App and will be adding Drifter character generator artwork)
  • 80k - All Backer books will be an exclusive white gloss cover (backers can opt-out if they so choose)
  • 90k - Interior art expansion, we want to make a lot of art for Drifter.
  • 100k - All backers who receive both books, will automatically have their books packaged in the slipcase.
Adventure Cover, illustrated by Nightmargin

Risks and challenges

I have funded and fulfilled over 12 projects on Kickstarter; this is not my first rodeo.
Every project comes with its own complications, and as a project manager, it's my job to mitigate those issues as best I can.
The biggest challenge I foresee this project is working with Alx through the approvals and revision process. This may take more time than we expect, but I think we've added plenty of padding to make what we want and get everything done.
Also, Metal Weave Games is currently fulfilling the Awakened project and working on some final supplements for Atlas Animalia, but these should have no impact on the project schedule.

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    FOR RETAILERS ONLY - Sign up now for $1 and we'll contact you when we're ready to ship so you can preorder the items you want! You'll get your shipment *before* it hits general distribution AND you'll have the option to add other stock for Drifter!

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    Drifter Game Box

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    Delver

    Print Setting Book + both PDFs
    Great for those who just want the art and world-building.
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    • PDF of Drifter Setting Book
    • PDF of Drifter Game Book
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    Sights Unseen

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    • PRINT of Drifter Setting Book
    • PDF of Drifter Setting Book
    • PDF of Drifter Game Book
    • Drifter Starter Box
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    A Familiar Friend

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    • PDF of Drifter Setting Book
    • PDF of Drifter Game Book
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Funding period

- (32 days)