I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE
IWATC is a narrative-focused urban fantasy tabletop RPG driven by the Player Characters' Emotions & Tropes, not just what they can do.
I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE
IWATC is a narrative-focused urban fantasy tabletop RPG driven by the Player Characters' Emotions & Tropes, not just what they can do.
I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE is a narrative-focused, urban fantasy tabletop roleplaying game that emulates a young adult paranormal TV show (or movie, or book series, etc.!) such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Teen Wolf, or even the Dresden Files. What keeps fans of this genre coming back for every episode of the show, or book of the series, or film of the franchise? Is it the monster of the week...or the angst and drama of the main characters' lives? An exciting paranormal threat or creature certainly helps, but it's mostly the audience wanting to witness the main characters go through the emotional wringer (and hopefully emerge generally victorious on the other side.) In this game, that's exactly what happens...it's actually the point of the game.
In IWATC, it doesn't matter how strong the werewolf is, or how fast the vampire is, or how beautiful the fae is...what matters is how each of these characters feels, WHY they're doing something, not just how capable they are of doing it. When the monster of the week invades Signal Lakes High School grasping the Hunter guy's mom by the throat, of course he attacks it...but why? Out of LOVE for his mother, or RAGE at the monster for threatening her? FEAR he's about to lose her? Or maybe he's PROUD to have learned the family business well and proves it by saving her all by himself! The Player tells their character's Story in this game, choosing why they do the things they do and how they go about trying to do them.
The I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE core gamebook is the complete roleplaying game, all in one ~350 page book. (Maybe even 400+ pages, if sufficient Stretch Goals are reached and additional art is acquired!) This epic tome of urban fantasy will contain everything needed to tell gripping and exciting young-adult paranormal drama stories with in-depth characters that have built-in emotional backgrounds and motivations. The book includes an introduction and an overview of the mechanics; an extensive character creation section that includes the character's base emotional matrix; explanations of the various Creature Types and their paranormal abilities; the metaphysical "laws" of reality for the setting; the game mechanics rules; GM sections on guiding character creation, running the game, creating scenarios & campaigns, and customizing the game's setting; the base setting of Signal Lakes; and 23 pre-generated characters along with three ready-to-run scenarios or "episodes" of the IWATC "show." The game also includes both a table of contents and extensive indexes to make locating desired information easy, as well as a variety of appendices for looking up point costs, mechanical effects, converting the crunch-light narrative mechanics into reliable dice modifiers, and more!
IWATC uses a simple Success-based d10 system where the Players roll a number of d10s equal to their character's appropriate stat, perhaps plus a few dice for a relevant Skill. There are only four stats, covering ANYTHING a character might try to do: Might, Reflex, Insight, and Codex. Skills are broad categories that can add more dice to any roll, as long as the Player tells their character's story in a way that makes using the Skill make sense. I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE is all about making the characters and their Story as awesome and dramatic as possible, which means that creative story-telling gets well rewarded!
So, the Player rolls some number of dice when their character tries something, but what do their emotions have to do with it? The characters' Emotions are what make their individual levels of strength or brains or speed or whatever else not matter. A Player rolls a handful of d10s when their character attempts something, but the target number to make each of the dice they roll into a Success is determined by their Emotions...how they feel, which specific Emotion is motivating their action. It doesn't matter how _____ a character is, as long as they're ____ enough. On an urban fantasy TV show, the audience knows the Hunter is skilled and the Fae is cunning and the Ghost moves in an eyeblink...it's why they're doing the amazing things they do that counts!
IWATC also has Angst Points, which represent both the fact that adolescence is difficult and that teens use their angst to drive themselves (often to prevent more angst!) Angst Points can be spent both to add dice to a roll or add a single Success after a roll, or as narrative currency to influence the plot. Angst Points are earned when a character faces personal difficulty, or when the Player has their character do something that's probably foolish or a bad idea, but fits the character's Trope or is appropriate to the Story...playing true to the genre rather than trying to be efficient on the meta-level is the best way to make your character awesome in this game!
I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE is set in Signal Lakes, the suburb immediately south of Miami...which happens to be the western tip of the Bermuda triangle. Paranormal creatures and forces are drawn there, with new ones showing up all the time. The Player Characters in IWATC can be any of ten different Creature Types, each associated with one of the game's eight Emotions. There are eight additional Creature Types planned for a future expansion to the game, but they'll be included in the base game if sufficient Stretch Goals are reached! The ten Creature Types included in the base game are:
Character creation uses a point-based system, so Creature Types that start with multiple paranormal Abilities, like Vampires and Werewolves, cost more than those that require customization, like Casters and Fae. Character Creation Points are also spent on Skills, Capabilities, and Feeling Factors, which are aspects of a character's personality or history that affect their starting Emotional State, such as a CHEERFUL character having a lower HAPPY-SAD rating, or a character who has suffered a LOSS having a higher rating.
Like most Kickstarter campaigns, we're crowdsourcing the funding for this project to make it the best it can be. The game itself is complete and has been thoroughly tested through both an ongoing campaign of several years and numerous one-shot convention sessions. IWATC has always been very well received; people have said that this game addresses a niche of the urban fantasy/horror genre that hasn't been done before, and that it's unique in making the characters' emotions a fundamental part of the game. We know we have a good product, but we want to bring it to life in as beautiful and perfect a book as we possibly can.
To that end, we need funding for art and publication. A game inspired by a genre of TV shows certainly needs art to capture and demonstrate those dramatic moments it's emulating, and although photo-realistic art of paranormal phenomena is more than a bit out of our league (and any sort of reasonable budget,) comic book style art can still achieve the desired look. Printing is also exorbitantly expensive, especially for an epic tome of 300+ pages; most of the project's funding will go to physically producing the book. And although black and white art fits the moody tone of an angst-and-monster-filled RPG and has been used to great effect in similar products in the past, IWATC is something different, and getting halfway through our Stretch Goals will make the book full color. We're also hoping to make the book hardcover and add even more content (eight more Creature Types' worth of content!), and more art would always be welcome!
The I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE Kickstarter campaign is offering rewards at ten different levels, with all but the most exclusive ones offering each of the prior rewards, along with something new at each level. The ten different pledge levels are:
This is the simple "acknowledged Thank You" reward...every contribution helps, and even a $1 pledge makes you a backer and gives you access to all updates, etc., but a pledge of $5 or more will get your name in print, both in the core rulebook and on the game's website.
A $15 pledge will receive a fully-playable preview copy of the game as a digital PDF, including ten pre-generated characters (one of each Creature Type) and two Kickstarter-exclusive adventure scenarios (or "episodes" of the IWATC "show".) This preview PDF will include the game's full logo as a cover image and will be semi-formatted in standard game book two-column layout. It will contain the game basics, character creation, Creature Type rules, the game play chapter, and the GM "How To Run The Game" chapter...over half of the core rulebook is in the preview PDF! (Cover logo & pre-gen character images will be the only art.)
The basic $25 pledge adds an additional PDF of 13 more pre-generated characters, making a total of one male and one female character for each of the 10 Creature Types, plus an extra non-teenage Werewolf and an additional male and female Fae (one of each for both the Seelie and Unseelie Court alignments.)
This is the minimum level to include the complete core rulebook for the game; a $30 pledge will receive a PDF copy of the game when layout has been completed.
Limited Reward Level for early backers, this $35 pledge includes all of the above and a physical copy of the game's core rulebook at a $10 discount, limited to only 50 backers. Shipping will be charged separately through BackerKit after the campaign ends.
$45 is the standard pledge for a physical hardcopy of the game's core rulebook and includes all prior rewards up to the $30 Teenage Creatures level. Shipping will be charged separately through BackerKit after the campaign ends.
A $75 pledge includes an additional PDF of 16 more pre-generated characters; one male and one female from the eight Alternate Creature Types that will be released in a future expansion to the game (unless sufficient Stretch Goals are reached to unlock all the Creature Types in the core rulebook.) Shipping will be charged separately through BackerKit after the campaign ends.
In addition to a hardcopy of the game's core rulebook, a $100 pledge will also include a set of twenty-five custom d10s from Chessex, with IWATC's Skull Logo as the 0 face. Shipping will be charged separately through BackerKit after the campaign ends.
This $200 pledge Reward Level is Limited to 13 backers, who will get to work with the game designer online to create their own Teenage Creature, replacing one of the 13 pre-generated characters in the game's rulebook that were included in the Yearbook Club Member Reward Level. The choice of which Creature Type the backer wants to create will be offered on a first-backed, first-choice basis. Backers at this level may include pictures of themself as references for the artist to make their character resemble them if they so choose, but this is not a requirement if the backer is not interested. Shipping will be charged separately through BackerKit after the campaign ends.
The first 15 backers to pledge $300 or more will get to work with the game designer online to create their own Teenage Creature from one of the eight Alternate Creature Types! This pre-generated character will be included in a future expansion to I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE, unless sufficient Stretch Goal levels are reached to include the Alternate Creature Types in the core rulebook. Backers at this Reward Level will also receive a PDF of the Character Creation and Paranormal Abilities rules for their chosen Alternate Creature Type, which will not otherwise be available until the relevant expansion to IWATC is released (or in the core rulebook, if sufficient Stretch Goals are unlocked.) The choice of which Alternate Creature Type the backer wants to create will be offered on a first-backed, first-choice basis. Backers at this level may include pictures of themself as references for the artist to make their character resemble them if they so choose, but this is not a requirement if the backer is not interested. Shipping will be charged separately through BackerKit after the campaign ends.
Although our highest priority Stretch Goal is getting the book published in full-color, doing so is a pricey prospect that will cost half the campaign's original goal! There are plenty of other things we would also love to see included with the game, so we'll spread those out and see how far we can get! As stated previously, there are eight Alternate Creature Types waiting to be added to IWATC, one for each of the game's core Emotions. Since we need to double our budget to include all eight Alternate Creatures as additional content in the core rulebook, as well as to publish the book in color and with a hardback cover, we'll add bonus content for every extra $1,000 the campaign reaches and also reveal one of the Alternate Creature Types. That leaves two increments of a thousand without a bonus Creature Type, so those will be the all-important Full Color and Hardback Cover increments (still with extra Bonus Content!)
For every additional $1000 we reach above our goal, an extra "episode" scenario (or character creation guide) will be included as a PDF with every pledge at the $15 level and above. Each scenario will feature a different Creature Type as the villain of the "episode", matching the Emotion of the Alternate Creature Type that is revealed at that level! Please Note that these PDFs are complete adventures, meaning that if a Player backs the campaign and reads any of the included PDFs, they will be spoiling themself for that particular "episode" if their GM chooses to run it! If we double our target goal, getting all the way to $20,000– —all eight Alternate Creature Types will be included in the core game book...no waiting for expansions! And there will be even more Stretch Goals after that, if the campaign manages to get that far....
The additional scenarios and other extra goodies are as follows:
The first Alternate Creature Type will be revealed at $11,000, with the key Emotion of RAGE! Although not the physical powerhouses and combat predators that Werewolves are, this Creature Type is still more than ready to hold its own, driven ever onward by its RAGE....
Included with all $15 and higher pledges will be a PDF of the "INCURSION" scenario, where the local Teenage Creatures must face a rogue Alpha Werewolf attempting to make Signal Lakes its territory after the local Pack has been killed. The O'Briens protected their city from the various paranormal threats attracted by the Bermuda Triangle for nearly two centuries; will our teen heroes be able to stop a corrupt, power-hungry Alpha from taking their place?
$12,000 will reveal the second Alternate Creature Type, with the key Emotion of PASSION! Even though the fleshly drives of an (Eros)cubus are fairly obvious, people can be driven by their PASSION for a great number of things, especially philosophical or religious beliefs....
This Stretch Goal will add the "FAMILY BUSINESS" scenario PDF to all pledges made at the $15 or higher level, where the local Teenage Creatures' high school is raided by a party of Hunters who want to eliminate ALL the paranormal students! "Wait," you say, "Aren't Hunters just trained Humans, still motivated by Love?" Indeed, most Hunters are, but Humans can be driven by any Emotion...will our teen heroes be able to survive this zealous assault?
At $13,000 the third Alternate Creature Type is revealed, with the key Emotion of HAPPY! Similar to the Fae, this Creature Type is clever and cunning, finding their joy in playing pranks on people. They're also connected to nature, but to an animal instead of an Affinity.
Every pledge of $15 or more will include the "WINTER WONDERLAND" scenario PDF if this Stretch Goal is reached, in which one of the lesser Unseelie Queens has come to our heroes' town, looking to make a powerful paranormal creature her Consort! When she chooses someone close to the local Teenage Creatures, will they be able to keep their friend safely out of the Faerie Realm and prevent the Snow Queen from trapping their town in perpetual Winter?
Reaching $14,000 will reveal the fourth Alternate Creature Type, one that is extremely SAD. Like Vampires, this Creature Type has no soul, eternally depressed because they have a semblance of life without its substance, although this doesn't make them intrinsically unholy....
The scenario "DOUBLE-O DONOR" PDF will be added to all pledge levels of $15 or more if the campaign makes this total, bringing a Vampire problem to town! Bags of blood from the local hospital are going missing, which naturally indicates a vampire as the culprit...but no one has seen anything, and there's more to the situation than there appears to be, of course. Will the local Teenage Creatures be able to figure out what's going on and put a stop to it, or...?
This is the Stretch Goal we really want to hit, publishing the game's core rulebook in full color! Even better, it will actually reduce the time it takes to get the book ready for print, since all of the color art provided by the project's artists won't have to be converted to grey-scale equivalents (which is actually a very involved process, due to the differences between electronic monitor images and printed ink ones; it's not as simple as "change colors to Black & White"!)
Also included with all $15 and higher pledges at this level will be a Character Creation Guide PDF that sums up the Very Extensive Character Creation Chapter so that GMs and Players more familiar with the game can help new Players create a character quickly and join the fun.
The fifth Alternate Creature Type will be revealed at $16,000, with the key Emotion of SHAME! This Creature Type is quite unusual, and unlike Kitsune, they embody their SHAME, rather than inflicting it on others. Similarly to Kitsune, they're connected to something, but not a fox-spirit....
Included with all pledges of $15 or more will be a scenario entitled "THE CHAOS OF VOID", in which a malicious Kitsune is ritually sacrificing paranormal creatures throughout the city. The local Teenage Creatures will have to figure out who (and what) the killer is to understand their motivations, which is the only way they'll be able to predict and protect the next victim and hopefully stop the killer. And one of the teens or their loved ones could be the next victim....
$17,000 will reveal the sixth Alternate Creature Type, that has the key Emotion of FEAR! Whereas Ghosts are trapped in their FEAR, this magical Creature Type actually instills everything from nerves to terror in others, although they have their own reasons to be afraid....
This Stretch Goal will add the "I WALKED WITH YOU...." scenario PDF to all pledges made at the $15 or higher level, where the local Teenage Heroes fall into a very strange trap...they seem to be trapped in the 1980s!? But only partially..? The world doesn't quite make sense, and the teens will have to figure out what's going on before it's too late...before they become the next victims of a serial killer that one of their friends escaped from a long time ago....
The other big publication and production Stretch Goal, $18,000 will give the book a hardback cover, in addition to a full-color interior! Being a large book of over 300 pages (possibly even over 400!) the paper will be upgraded from 70 lb. to 85 lb., the printer's recommended weight.
Also included with all $15 and higher pledges at this level will be a triple-sized scenario PDF of "TRAPPED IN THE TRIANGLE", which does not represent a single "episode" of the IWATC "show"– –it's an entire campaign arc, the equivalent of a whole SEASON of a TV show! Red Herrings, mistaken identities, and mass chaos will all serve to confuse the issue at hand when a paranormal entity trapped in the Bermuda Triangle begins trying to break free into our world....
At $19,000 the seventh Alternate Creature Type is revealed, with the key Emotion of PROUD! Like Casters, this Creature Type can have a bit of an ego, but that's merely the natural outlook of the animal species they share a paranormal (but not shape-shifting!) bond with....
Every pledge of $15 or more will include the "AN EVENING AT ECHO HOUSE" scenario PDF if this Stretch Goal is reached, in which the local Teenage Creatures have a field assignment for their Humanities class, visiting the town's mental hospital. It turns out a Caster founded the hospital to fuel a decades-long ceremonial spell, trapping the ghosts of everyone who dies on the property to fuel the ritual, the final step of which is triggered the night the teens visit....
This is the big one, the Stretch Goal that will not only reveal the eighth Alternate Creature Type, it will also get all eight included in IWATC's core rulebook! This will add 20 to 40 more pages to the book's total count and may increase production times slightly, but it will be worth it to nearly double the number of Creature Types available for both Players and GMs to use in the game!
Reaching $20,000 will reveal the last Alternate Creature Type, one that is motivated by LOVE. Unlike Hunters and Psychics, this Creature Type is only half-human at most, but many of their kind still mysteriously possess the ability to ignore a Red Rowan wood barrier...what are they?
The scenario "THE MOST POPULAR OF THEM ALL" will be added as a PDF to all pledge levels of $15 or more if the campaign makes this grand total, adding a number of new students to our teen heroes' class. Many of them are paranormal creatures themselves, and at least one of them is being affected by residing on the tip of the Bermuda Triangle...to the point where they're losing control of their abilities and affecting innocents, possibly malevolently....
Hmmm...why are the Alternate Creature Emotions in this bizarre order..?
..Guess we'll have to hit some Stretch Goals to find out!
This Kickstarter campaign is also offering a number of add-on items that can be purchased independently from the various pledge levels. There's an extra "episode" scenario, a campaign-style story arc, blank character sheets, a physical GM screen, a GM Secrets guide, the dice sets mentioned previously, even more copies of the book, if you want them! Just increase your pledge level (under "Manage My Pledge" after you've backed the project,) by the appropriate amount; all specific selections will be made through BackerKit or by survey after the campaign.
The available Add-On items are:
The (almost obligatory) Zombie Apocalypse scenario/"episode" PDF! When something affects the Veil all across Signal Lakes, will the local Teenage Creatures be able to figure out who or what is behind it and stop their nefarious scheme before the dead rise? Just add $5 to your pledge level and select "Extra Episode" after the campaign ends.
THE SECRETS OF SIGNAL LAKES is a PDF guide that will help aspiring GMs weave myriad connections between the pre-gen characters included with the game: with one another, with their own and other supporting NPCs, and with plot points in the various pre-gen "episode" scenarios! These details will give any GM ways to create a much deeper and richer campaign for their Players, potentially adding a great deal of drama and intrigue to their group's games. Many of these details and techniques can be applied to the pre-gen characters' base Creature Type, or otherwise easily modified for original Player Characters. SPECIAL NOTE: This PDF is chock-full of SPOILERS that will ruin the surprise of many of the plot points built into the pre-generated characters and scenarios! This is intended for Game Moderators only and will not help a Player Character "figure things out." If you'll be running a game of IWATC and this works for you, just add $8 to your pledge level and select "Secrets Guide" after the campaign ends.
A 2-panel presentation folder in landscape-format, this screen includes commonly-referenced GM information and guides for handling Action Scenes, Angst Points, Growth Points, etc. The screen measures 24" x 12" when laid flat, with a carrying pocket on the interior right side, with gloss coating on 14 pt. heavy-duty card stock and will be delivered shrink-wrapped. Just add $10 to your pledge level per screen and select "GM Screen" after the campaign ends.
"THE AGE OF FOLLY" is another multi-scenario/"episode" campaign-arc PDF, which could easily constitute a "season" of an urban fantasy TV show. The PCs will be caught in the middle when multiple paranormal entities of vast power come to visit their hometown at the same time, one demanding the impossible, another ignorant of the enormous secret they embody, and the rivals of both of those parties are interfering...and all that's before they interact with the teens! Will the local Teenage Creatures be able to figure things out before their city pays the price? SPECIAL NOTE: This PDF is designed to take several sessions of play to complete and can be spread throughout a campaign with B-Plots and "filler episodes." As such, it is intended for the GM's eyes only; a Player reading it to find out who these major paranormal powers are and the secrets they're hiding will only be spoiling the dramatic revelations of these details during play! Interested GMs, just add $14 to your pledge and select "Myth Arc" after the campaign ends.
This is a tearpad of fifty double-sided blank IWATC Player Character Sheets, with faint lines in each section that can be used as spaces to fill in or ignored completely as the Player sees fit. Many people like to use one blank character sheet to jot all their ideas on while they work out their character's details, then copy their final selections onto a new sheet when finished. Just add $18 to your pledge level per pad and select "50 Pack Chr. Sheets" after the campaign ends.
If fifty sheets is more than your group needs, this tearpad is only half the amount of the same high-quality blank IWATC Player Character Sheets, to be used however you like. Just add $13 to your pledge level per pad and select "25 Pack Chr. Sheets" after the campaign ends.
Psychics and Casters have an additional sub-Attribute based on their Insight, their Willpower. This tearpad of 25 double-sided blank IWATC Player Character Sheets has their pre-printed Willpower sub-Attribute included after their Insight, with spaces for both. Just add $12 to your pledge level per pad and select "Willpower Chr. Sheets" after the campaign ends.
This is a special set of ten custom d10s from Chessex, with the 0 face replaced by the Signal Lakes Skull Logo of I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE. The dice are an opaque black with high-contrast pure white numbers (and Skull.) A single set should be enough for most rolls in a game of IWATC, but multiple sets can be ordered if each Player in the group wants their own dice.... Just add $15 to your pledge level per set and select "Dice Set" after the campaign ends.
And if you want another copy of the book for your collection or group, it can be added for the same price as the basic book pledge level! After all, the Character Creation and Paranormal Creature chapters are very extensive, and each Player having their own copy to reference would obviously make things go much quicker and more smoothly! Just add $45 to your pledge level per book and select "Additional Book" after the campaign ends.
Risks and challenges
I WAS A TEENAGE CREATURE faces many of the same challenges most physical-book Kickstarter campaigns do, such as layout and production times taking longer than their estimates, delays in shipping like being held up in port, etc. This project also faces the challenges of being the first campaign for Ninjacat Stories (an extremely tiny company,) as well as the potential delay of acquiring suitable art taking unforeseen amounts of time. Our current artist, who created the campaign's project image for this Kickstarter page, is absolutely perfect for the project, but things will take FAR too long if only one person is producing all the art. More artists are being sought after, but it may take more time than has been allotted to find enough artists with similar enough styles to make all the art in the book work together.
Presuming art can be acquired in a timely fashion, however, the rest of the production timeline has been slated with buffers to account for unanticipated delays. We are using PrintNinja to produce our book, and hope to have it printed in October and shipped to backers by the end of the year. Even if things are delayed, the book should still be shipped out before Chinese New Year 2020, so we'll avoid that all-too-often-encountered setback. The additional physical rewards are all being produced in the US and will merely have to be shipped to our fulfillment center to be packed with the books.
As far as being a first-time Kickstarter project, IWATC is indeed Ninjacat Stories' first campaign, but we have both done extensive research to prepare for the campaign, and Ninjacat himself has backed nearly 50 different projects and seen a wide variety of delays and issues that can occur with Kickstarter campaigns. We've had a half-dozen different sets of eyes doing research on various ways to run and fulfill a Kickstarter campaign, and we've built room into both the budget and the schedule to facilitate things as smoothly as possible.
Hopefully our biggest risk is being far more successful than expected and needing to produce multiple adventure PDFs and additional content for the Alternate Creature Stretch Goals!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)