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A storytelling tabletop game set in a fallen future America
A storytelling tabletop game set in a fallen future America
108 backers pledged $3,351 to help bring this project to life.

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Harsh Generation: an improvisational post-apoc experience

$3,351

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Have you ever been so frustrated you wanted to just rip the bones right out of your body and stab someone? Or maybe slap some jerk repeatedly with a whip made of pure electric energy? How about suck the power out of a battery pack to get through a Monday when you left your coffee and your will to live at home?

Well lucky for you, Harsh Generation has a whole selection of ways to help you deal with the stress of daily life. From doing backflips up the side of a crumbling building to steal some new tech to using your jet pack to rocket yourself out of an uncomfortable situation, if you can think up a way around an obstacle, you can make it happen. Give your god a high five and save the day, all with one convenient, invasive body modification.

Just remember: there are consequences to your actions.

Harsh Generation is a post-apocalyptic storytelling game inspired by a cyberpunk and deiselpunk aesthetic and by rulesets like Powered by the Apocalypse and Fate Core. 

The goal is a dynamic, self-generating system that allows for on-the-fly scenario creation and ever-evolving plot to be crafted by those playing. Ideally you shouldn't have to do any preparation to play Harsh other than have the materials printed out - although it is conducive to prepared campaign play as well.

In the wake of nearly two centuries of famine and decay, America endures as a loosely-connected smattering of shattered cities linked only by old rail lines and the efforts of the dubiously-benevolent Church of Oruvos. While various groups fight for control of the hearts and minds of its inhabitants, the citizens therein simply struggle to survive in a world run by the ruthless and unkind to the weak.

This game takes place in the city we know how as Philadelphia, but which is lovingly referred to as Delphia in the year 2300. Can you still get a good cheesesteak? Debatable. Are there people who worship Gritty? You better believe it.

"Okay then. I don't really know a lot about Philly, but I want to play. What's important to me?"

Well, a lot of that depends on you, but as a citizen of the City of Nonbinary Love, you are definitely concerned with protecting your companions, maintaining the integrity of the city as a whole, and appeasing your personal gods. Do these sometimes contradict with one another? Absolutely! No one ever said life was easy, so choose wisely.

Some themes you will encounter within the lore:

  • Far-future American theocracy and the struggle between using your gods for good or for evil.
  • Body modification through the use of cybernetics, genetic splicing, or extreme gadgetry.
  • Weighing the needs of your community and companions with the expectations of the gods you follow.
  • Somewhat over-the-top, occasionally-zany scenarios that require a mix of street smarts, your mods, and collaboration to survive.

Harsh was developed as an inclusive experience and contains no real-world racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, or other problematic or commonly-triggering narratives. The world of Delphia may not be a particularly nice one, but the flavor of that conflict is up to the people playing the game. For more insight into our philosophy on inclusive gaming, check out our website.

Harsh operates on a system of goals, narratives, and consequences. Any time a player chooses their action, they must explain what they intend to do and describe how it happens. Goals always succeed, but sometimes they have unexpected results that further the narrative and enrich the story. Harsh can be described as a game based on writing prompts and hurdles that the players have to improvise their way through.

Some of the mechanics you'll encounter during your journey:

  • Crises: Large, customizable experiences that can be played over and over again. They're the framework into which the rest of the game fits.
  • Street Smarts: Skills and savvy your character's gained through hard work, practice, and a life surviving in the city. Anything from a penchant for parkour to an uncanny skill for scaling walls, Street Smarts can be accomplished by anyone, but you're extra good at them.
  • Mods: Weird and wild superhuman abilities you've had crammed into your body as cybernetics, synced with your electromagnetic signature as gadgets, or shocked into your DNA as genetic splices. They're powerful, and give you a considerable advantage over the average Delphian citizen.
  • Features: Modular items, people, or locations to help you build out unique and ever-changing encounters within your Crisis. Consider them like Mad Libs answers for a dystopian urban hellscape.
  • Hazards, Stress, Community Rules, and other flavorful additions to help or hinder your progress in a creative and dynamic way.

All of the mechanics in Harsh Generation are meant to enrich the storytelling experience. You may use some of them all of the time or all of them most of the time, but so long as you're having fun telling a good story with your friends, everyone wins!

If we hit:

$2500: City Hooligans Template Pack: New playable templates including all the regional overpowered jerks of Delphia that you're used to fighting or manipulating. Play as a horned reptilian bully, a stealthy fishperson, a radioactive fanatic, and more! Roll through the city as some of the most fearsome denizens and get ready to make - or break - new friends.

$3000: Into the Overgrowth Expansion! Take your comrades and frenemies into the genetically-enhanced wild forest surrounding the city. Meet reluctant Oruvian rejects, guardians of the inner woods, and a secret ancient cult with unbelievable stores of knowledge and technical prowess the rest of the city only dreams of. Additionally, unlock the first Oruvian denomination: the Covenant of Razed Earth.

$3500: A detailed map of Delphia!

$4000: WAY more art and lore to enjoy, including at least one short story.

Every tier receives the PDF rulebook which includes:

  • The full ruleset
  • All cards and supplemental material (printable)
  • A map of Delphia
  • All funded stretch goals

Primary Lore, Project Management, Marketing: Emily O'Neil - relentlessly queer, covered in rats, unable to sit still, and deeply in love with gamification.

Primary Mechanics: Frisco Cruise - a sapient noodle human, full of love, juggling far too many projects, and almost definitely a 6ft baby.

Video Streaming and Promotions: Geoff Cabrera - an egg so purely good you just want to hug him all the time. Arguably bad for eggs, but not for Geoff!

Logo Design and UX Support: Alannah Grimm - a talented angel marshmallow far too kind and good for a game this messy. Also deserving of hugs; uncertain of egg status.

Art/Editing/Guidance/Support: Kris Kitts, Megan and Sean Jaffe, RC Beiler, Donna, Scott, Frank, Izzy, Tyler, Emrys, Raf, the Changeling crew, and everyone else that playtested, hyped, and without which this would not have ever been completed.

Risks and challenges

Harsh Generation has been playtested and completed. Funds will be going towards art, project management, paying content contributors, and advertisement.

Risks and challenges consist primarily of organizing artist schedules to fit into the projected timeline. Some deliverables are dependent on backers responding to requests from the creators, although these will not likely impact the completion of the final product.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Support Net

    Throw us a dollar or two as a supporter and we'll include your name in the rulebook with a gigantic THANK YOU emblazoned in neon lights!

    Well, probably just a nice black typeface but this is a roleplaying game so we can IMAGINE it in neon!

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Full Rulebook Release

    Get a copy of the complete PDF! Play the game, read the stories, and get weird in a messy urban future.

    Includes:
    • Copy of PDF
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    Special Edition Rulebook

    Get the same rulebook as above, but with a special edition cover only available through Kickstarter!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    Rulebook Art & Lore

    Want more lore? We get it. This tier includes a limited run PDF of full page rulebook artwork including at least 5 short character stories and additional lore not available elsewhere. Get insight into the daily lives of some of Delphia's most nefarious citizens, and maybe even meet your next Crisis villain!

    Includes:
    • Copy of Special Edition PDF
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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Urban Boost Package

    Street Smarts and body modifications are the main ways in which characters navigate the city and survive what it dishes out. Create a custom Street Smart and body mod to have added to the game. You get to name it and determine what it does (we'll help make sure it fits the mechanics properly, don't worry!). Add some flavor to the game for others to enjoy!

    Includes:
    • Copy of Special Edition PDF
    • Additional Art & Lore
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Community Management Package

    Exploit Features are the building blocks of all your encounters as you play through the game and set up new scenes. Create a set of your own three cards to add to the game: 1 Item, 1 Location, and 1 Person. They can be silly or serious - it's up to you! We'll make sure everything fits the game mechanics - you just have to share your beautiful brain thoughts with us.

    Includes:
    • Copy of Special Edition PDF
    • Urban Boost Package
    • Additional Art & Lore
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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    Complete Character Build

    Personality is everything, right? Have a character made just for you, creating a new Social Class, special abilities, a unique mod and a brand new Street Smart developed with your ideal playable character in mind to add to the game proper. Send us the urban explorer of your dreams; the cybernetic robot babe you've always wanted to be. We'll write them into the game world for you to enjoy.

    Includes:
    • Copy of Special Edition PDF
    • Urban Boost Package
    • Community Management Package
    • Additional Art & Lore
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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Custom Crisis

    Help us add more chaos to the game. Have a custom Crisis created to explore any aspect of the world you'd like to experience more of! We'll chat with you about your options and to gather your input to make sure you're getting something fun and interesting. A Crisis is a roughly 4 hour replayable gaming experience.

    Includes:
    • Copy of Special Edition PDF
    • Urban Boost Package
    • Community Management Package
    • Custom Character Package
    • Additional Art & Lore
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The Full Experience

    Get the whole deal! Character, mods, street smarts, Crisis, lore book and all.

    What's more? We'll include the Who's Who of Delphia PDF: an additional pack of most wanted characters, including all custom characters created through this Kickstarter, cameos from our livestreams, and some others you haven't met yet!

    We also have some pieces of the game world we're still working on and YOU get to decide what they are! Have a great idea for a weird future cryptid? Want to build a gang for The Mangle? If you can think it, we can write it, and it will exist in the rulebook for all to see and be tormented by! We'll get in contact you with some options and you can create a new Delphian horror to your heart's content.

    Includes:
    • Copy of Special Edition PDF
    • Urban Boost Package
    • Community Management Package
    • Custom Crisis
    • Additional Art & Lore
    • Custom Character Package
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Funding period

- (30 days)