About this project
The World Wide Wrestling RPG has been in training for years, has taken bumps, falls and injuries, learned from every one of them, and is now ready for it's big debut! This is your chance to give it the reception it deserves!
Thanks to Joseph, Matthew and Stras for joining me in this exhibition game!
"There’s a lot of good stuff. You just read some of it. There is more. This game is packed so full of wrestleicious flavor that it’s ridiculous. Everybody always has something to do, and most of it even moves the story forward. The end goal is to collectively be really entertaining, and in my experience this is a winning formula for an extremely good night of gaming."
SMART PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT WRESTLING ACHIEVED: We hit $7500, the following wrestling fans will contribute a short essay on what they love about professional wrestling, to be included in the final book as well as a stand-alone PDF download! See Update #6 for details.
- Aubrey Sitterson, host of the Straight Shoot and Straight Shoot Retro talk show/podcasts
- Black Cat, co-host of the Old School Wrestling Podcast
- Ian Williams, WWWRPG editor and fantastic critical essayist (he's written for Salon, Jacobin, The Guardian, Paste Magazine and more)
Epidiah Ravachol, friend of the game and game designer (Dread, Time & Temp, Vast & Starlit and Swords Without Master) and publisher of the Worlds Without Master sword & sorcery fanzine.
- And maybe more!
MORE COVER ART ACHIEVED: We hit $5000, so cover artist Eric Quigley will extend his artwork into a full cover wrap piece. More art for everyone!
World Wide Wrestling is a tabletop pen-and-paper role-playing game that enables you to create your own professional wrestling franchise. You and your friends create iconic wrestling characters, throw them together into feuds and storylines, play out the in-ring action at the table and go behind the scenes to explore the relationships and power struggles that drive the kayfabe decisions made "on screen".
- Quick character generation that ties your wrestlers together through their history together in the promotion!
- Fast-paced, satisfying play - play out a single wrestling show in two hours, then link Episodes into an ongoing series!
- Wrestling matches that channel your creativity to create the iconic pageantry and skill of the great wrestling performers!
- Rules that enable your wrestlers to swerve their booking without tanking the ongoing storylines Creative has planned!
- Rules for ongoing feuds, getting Over and gaining more Audience, changing Gimmicks over time, and much more!
This game is Powered by the Apocalypse, with significant changes to support playing a game of professional wrestling. If you're familiar with other PbtA games, you'll recognize many of the terms and the general approach to how the game works, but this knowledge is not required to play. Check out this interview for more details on how I modified the Apocalypse World Engine.
Hi! My name is Nathan. I'm a role-playing game designer and independent publisher, and a big wrestling fan! If you're interested in my previous work, take a look at my website. I've designed and published 3 similar full-length stand-alone games (Annalise, carry. a game about war and Timestream), as well as a number of short, weird games and game experiments (the ndp microgame series, Haunted, Fate's Fickle Winds).
I started watching pro wrestling as an adult in the early 2000's, and I took a break from about 2006-2010. When I came back to it, it was the dawn of the WWE "Reality" Era, which pulled me in hard. Since then I've watched the main shows, immersed myself in different eras of historical wrestling, and enjoyed the independent promotions I'm able to see live here in Chicago. You can see a video interview where I discuss in detail about what I like in wrestling right here (along with editor Ian Williams and friend-of-the-game and Gimmick contributor Bret Gillan)!
As a game designer, I started mentally distilling my favorite wrestling moments into their basic elements, and those elements were the beginning of World Wide Wrestling. It turns out that the role-playing game medium is a great fit to capture the scripted-yet-impromptu pageantry of my favorite live-action entertainment!
I've been making games since 2005, and I can honestly say that this game, World Wide Wrestling, is one of my absolute favorite projects.
The game has gone through a lot of playtesting, and I'm totally confident that it delivers an exciting play experience that feels like watching a great wrestling show. Now I want to make the product the best it can be. The funds from this kickstarter are going towards:
- Original cover art from artist Eric Quigley
- A full cycle of Gimmick portraits from comic artist Ramon Villalobos
- Spot illustrations of common and iconic wrestling moves by game designer and artist Gregor Hutton
- Editing from writer, long-time friend-of-the-game and erudite wrestling fan Ian Williams
- Compensating me for my time on the project as a layout artist and graphic designer
- Covering the production costs for all rewards: great books, high-quality shirts, and lovely graphic prints
My ideas for stretch goals are modest and centered around providing more value for all backers, not adding more workload to my plate. As we hit them they will be added to the top of the project page.
The basic book will be a 6"x9" softcover, with black-and-white interior. I'm anticipating the final page count to be around 100 pages, but the details depend on finishing up the text, going through editing and working in the art.
Once the text is done, I will produce a digital edition in PDF and ebook formats.
Finally, no wrestling promotion is complete without a Championship Belt! The Pan-Oceanic World Wide Wrestling Championship ("The POW Belt") will be produced by a company that specializes in championship belts for independent wrestling promotions.
UPDATE FOR INTERNATIONAL BACKERS: Check the FAQ for a note about combining multiple books into one order to save on shipping.
I've already put a bunch of work into additional material for this game throughout the playtest process, which will be combined into what I'm calling "Season One". These are cool extras for you, my Kickstarter backers:
- Five Limited Edition Gimmicks, not included with the basic game (will be delivered as PDFs)
- Five in-universe shirt designs, based off of wrestling characters from the playtest process. These will be printed by the folks behind ProWrestlingTees.com, and happen to be local to me here in Chicago!
- 8x10 full-color poster prints featuring the Gimmick Portraits
Once all rewards are delivered and I have a chance to evaluate how well the game is doing, Season One may become a standalone for-purchase package of content - but none of it will be available for non-backers until ALL Kickstarter rewards have been delivered.
Also, check out the $65 Reward Level to see how you can get added to Season One! If you support at this level, you send me a description of the wrestler you want added to the roster, they'll go in the book, and Gregor will illustrate their finishing move to go along with it!
WWWRPG is for a group of 3 or more players, with one player taking the role of Creative (the Game Master role), and the others each playing an individual wrestler (called Talent). Each Episode of play takes around two hours (or a little more for more than 4-5 players), enabling quick sessions or multiple Episodes in an evening of play.
Gameplay focuses first on the in-ring action, dramatic pageantry and operatic melodrama of pro wrestling, with glimpses of the behind-the-scenes drama to bring it back to earth. Over time, the legit agendas and power struggles backstage end up being just as important as the elbow drops and blood feuds in the ring!
This game plays very well with large groups (I've run games for up to 8 players), and with groups that have revolving attendance (it's really easy to for characters to "disappear" for a session without disrupting the ongoing storylines - after all, not every wrestler is booked for every show!)
Creative books each episode ahead of time, and then sets up each segment of play according to their plan - but the Talent can do what they want, say what they want and almost always end up overriding Creative's booking! The rules of the game enable the results of in-the-moment play to seamlessly swerve Creative's plan. Play ends up being a blend of order and chaos, plans and swerves, that really reflects the experience of watching a televised wrestling show where anything can happen!
To make a character, the player selects one of the Gimmick archetypes, decides on their character's particular look and overall deal, and makes a series of quick choices. The Gimmicks:
- The Anti-Hero
- The Golden Boy
- The Hardcore
- The High Flyer
- The Jobber
- The Manager
- The Monster
- The Technician
- The Veteran
- The Wasted
As you narrate your character's actions, you'll make Moves, the basic element of play. Some are general Moves that every wrestler can use (like Cutting a Promo, Running In on a match-on-progress or Working the Audience), and some are unique to a wrestlers Gimmick (like the Monster's Intimidating or the High Flyer's Human Highlight Reel). Whether you hit or botch your Moves effects how popular you are, how much control you have over upcoming matches, your relationships with other wrestlers, and otherwise create the next step in your wrestlers story.
Over time, you can transition from working as a Babyface to Heel (and vice versa), gain a manager or valet, start a stable, and eventually evolve through other Gimmicks as your character's career grows and takes them to new levels.
Creative, the game master role, gets to do all the cool stuff that you want to do as a wrestling writer - plot out storylines, book matches, decide on who to push, all of that. You have a plan. The players of the wrestlers, however, can always make whatever in-the-moment decisions they want, which means the events of play will end up swerving your booking.
The game provides advice and templates for planning out storylines and managing the ongoing growth of the promotion. You get to bring in your favorite style of wrestling and play it out at your table. You and your friends can make as weird, classic, hard-core or comedic a promotion as you want!
Matches are about who gets the audience on their side and the story being told in the ring, not the mechanics of who can hit who harder or last longer. Your wrestling characters are working together to entertain the audience, just as the players at the table work together to entertain themselves and each other.
When one competitor has control of the match, they narrate the back-and-forth of the in-ring competition, culminating in one of the big, memorable moments of the match; the results of the Wrestling Move can shift control of the match, among other things.
Creative calls for the finish of the match (though this, like everything else, can be swerved by the players actions); the wrestler who's booked to win makes their Finishing Move, which tells us whether the Audience pops and who, if anyone, gets more popular as a result of the match.
The results of matches feed right into the ongoing storylines, and the storylines call for certain matches in order to make them compelling.
As the Talent gains in popularity, the overall promotion also can gain more audience, resulting in bigger arenas, more lucrative TV deals, and more interesting and evocative production values! One of the things your whole group develops together is the details of their World Wide Wrestling promotion, the style of wrestling it highlights, the kind of audience it attracts, and so on. The game will include guidelines for toning your promotion towards different styles of wrestling.
This game is really fun. One of my favorite things about it is that it's a great way for a wrestling fans to share your love for wrestling, and also a great way for a role-playing game fan to introduce your wrestling buddies to the hobby.
I can't wait to share it with you! Thank you!
Risks and challenges
I've been self-publishing role-playing games, in print and digital, since 2005. I am confident that I can handle the logistics of preparing a game text for publication, working with printers and other vendors, and maintaining clear communication with backers.
I have completed and delivered two, smaller, Kickstarter projects in the past. While this campaign is larger in scope, I already am familiar with how to use the tools and how to keep backers in the loop with my process.
I've already published a fully playable playtest version of this game, so I would consider the risk of the game itself not being finished on schedule is minimal.
The main challenges for this project are the logistics of working with my freelance contributors. Thankfully, they are all professionals I have good personal relationships with. I've already been working with Gregor, Ramon and Ian for almost a year on the first stages of the project. I am confident in everyone's ability to hit deadlines. In the event any of the artists are unable to make their commitments, I have a strong network of other publishers and artists, and will find as high-quality replacements as possible to complete the job.
The books are being produced by a company I've used before and has a strong track record of delivering on time. All of the other rewards (other than the title belts) are being produced in Chicago, enabling me to be physically involved and minimizing shipping times and the associated risks and costs. While it will certainly take up a lot of my time, I am confident that I can make it work!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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