Hit the Streets: Defend the Block [HtS: DtB] is a street-level supers tabletop Role-Playing Game (RPG) inspired by comics like Marvel Knights and Daredevil, the web novel Worm, the CW Black Lightning TV show, and the amazing Marvel Netflix series: Luke Cage, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, The Punisher, and the Defenders.
HtS: DtB core mechanics are based off the excellent 1%er: The Outlaw Biker Game by Creepy Doll Studios. At its core, the game features simple d6 system where you build a pool of dice based off who your character is and how they want to get things done, then you roll against a target number set by the Game Manager (the GM). When things get tense, even successes can and will hurt. That's because the engine of this game puts a price on your efforts. How can you survive? By building up your neighborhood and relying on your team, that's how.
Plus, HtS:DtB has an exciting system for mapping out your own neighborhood together with all the players live at the table. That map, your home, will be critical to play. Plus, it's seriously fun to see things grow and change as you play together.
Hit the Streets: Defend the Block's focus on street-level supers means you're playing gritty, hard-working characters who are seeking to better their neighborhood any way they can. You won't find your character's squeaky clean mug on school children's lunchboxes in the fall. You're not making appearances at galas to sign autographs. You don't get a call from the President when aliens invade. Instead, you are in the thick of crime and corruption that affects the neighborhood where you live and work every day. The question is: what are you going to do about it?
Hit the Streets: Defend the Block is a rules-lite narrative game. To tackle conflicts in the game, you build a pool of 6-sided dice and roll them all together and look for evens, which are "Pows". Success is achieved if you meet the target number or difficulty set by the Game Manager, or GM.
This book includes all the resources you need to set your game up for success and keep it chugging along with instructions for creating your neighborhood, customizing your Super-Powered Being (we call them SPBs), building your team, and establishing dynamic Rivals. It also features step-by-step instructions on how to play, with coordinating examples throughout. This isn't a book filled with reams of fiction, it doesn't come with a pre-built world of superheroes and villains. This is a game manual that is chock full of the tools you need to make your own world OR to jump into existing comics universes easily with just a few notes to be ready to play.
“The mechanics are simple and fully support the premise. You have to actually make an effort to get things done as a low-level cape with a narrow powerset, and relying on your team is a major part of that. The threats you face are local and personal, which just makes them more meaningful.” - Luiz Paulo Ferraz, playtester and game designer
“I love the neighbourhood creation in this game. Because players are answering questions for it, they are buying into the premise and tone of the game that they'll be playing in.” - Agatha Cheng, co-host of the podcast Asians Represent and co-designer of Hearts of Wulin RPG.
"Hit the Streets feeds powers, team and community through a loop to deliver flavorsome street-level supers with real heart." - Sherri Stewart, co-host of the Gauntlet podcast.
"We absolutely loved playing the game. The parts dedicated to generating the characters and neighborhoods and rivals all worked really well. I didn't end up dipping into any of my prep at all." - Blaine Moore, an early playtest GM
If you aren't sure about the game yet, we have a beta document with all the rules. We'll link it in the very first Campaign update. It's ready for you and your group to play right now... it's just not as pretty as it could be. Which is why we're doing the Kickstarter in the first place.
(originally, we'd planned to post the first Update to backers only, but Rich missed that part of the update, so it's publicly available.)
The Lost Highway Games twitter (https://twitter.com/games_highway ) held a poll to see who you most wanted to see as a playable character in hit the Streets: Defend the Block. The winner is Malleable. Check her out:
(the character sheet is a prototype and may change as we finish development)
Would you rather see the game streamed live? We've got you covered! Rich Rogers, the game's designer, will be streaming Hit the Streets: Defend the Block on his YouTube channel this Tuesday, July 8th, and every Tuesday thereafter while the campaign is live.
To give you an idea of what Hit the Streets will look like once our layout artist finishes their magic, here are a few sample pages of the work. But first, here are a couple caveats:
1. The art is placeholder for now. If this campaign's successful, I'll be able to afford new art to use!
2. There will be a printer-friendly version of the PDF. Trust me, we do not hate your home printer.
Without further ado, here's what a section heading will look like:
Here's a two-page spread!
The first two stretch goals introduce the concept of Neighborhood Playsets. Each Neighborhood Playset that is unlocked will become a 2-3 page PDF with some art assets that will first be released to you, the backers. Later it will become a Pay What You Want (PWYW) PDF on DriveThru RPG.
Each Neighborhood Playset will come with a pre-built Neighborhood: their issues, notable characters and features of that place, as well as ideas for the Rival team. That way folks will have something they can easily latch onto as they create their characters, and it will give GMs something to dream about before playing, so ideas will come quick and easy.
Stretch Goal Playset #1 unlocked
Dreary Hood from Sawyer Rankin:
Gentrification has reared a lovely hydra head to start a wicked attack. Those standing strong against this merciless advance report threats, harassment, and sometimes a bad case of broken bones. Find the cause of this misery and just maybe you'll be a hero worthy of the comics.
Stretch Goal Playset #2 unlocked
Downtown Darkness from Mark Diaz Truman:
Downtown is all office workers and brutalist government buildings during the day, but at night the shadows loom large over the low-income apartments and microbrews that have sprung up in the area in the last few years. Your heroes have heard that big-time villains have plans for the area; can you keep them from seizing control?
Stretch Goal Playset #3 unlocked
Jackson Woods from Jahmal ‘Mad Jay’ Brown:
A mega housing project built right across the river from Cronos Heavy Industries complex. As if the gang violence and vice wasn’t enough, now there are ghosts in the Woods. Ghosts in sleek black vans and sporting big guns. Time for you "heroes" to make a stand.
Stretch Goal Playset #4 unlocked
The Irvin Husk by Rich Rogers:
Hell, if you look at Irvin from satellite view, you can still see the footprint of the General Auto plant that they only tore down a couple years ago. Irvin's never recovered from it. Once the factory jobs went away, folks didn't have money for much of anything anymore. The small businesses dried up. Then, the real depression set in as hard-working folks were suddenly unemployed, and with nothing to do, they fell into a malaise. Drug use skyrocketed. So did the divorce rate. Irvin is a zombie of its former self.
And that was before the necromancers showed up to finish off the place.
Stretch Goal Playset #6 unlocked
The Beat by Heidi Shlottman:
The Beat used to be a thriving epicenter of the arts until the big dogs swooped in and snatched up all the talent, leaving its streets fading from top 10 lists into oblivion. But things have turned around for the Beat recently...or at least, that’s what it looks like from the outside.
As pillars of the Beat’s once-thrumming community have had their dreams realized one-by-one, they’ve abandoned your neighborhood to chase their good fortune, each one taking away a bit more of the Beat’s unique rhythm when they go. Like a disease of good luck eating through the neighborhood, each victory for an individual brings your neighborhood one step closer to falling into complete despair.
But you’re happy for them, right? They’re getting good things, right? So how does your team handle it when you learn this good fortune comes at a higher price than anyone imagined? How do you fight luck when it’s not on your side?
Stretch Goal Playset #7 unlocked
The Scum Bridge by Sawyer Rankin:
It was beautiful to everyone once, it's beautiful to a few now. This little trap where the well to do have to drive through to get to better pastures still has those gems to draw attention or traffic. With the local private school open there are enough bad kids skipping school or coming by on their off hours to make The Scum Bridge almost live up to its name. The trouble has started with the students, from the broken promises of the wealthy and reports of money crumbling to ash hours after transactions leaving to quite an undercurrent of animosity. You must find the root of these problems, before the pot boils over and your neighborhood is never the same.
The Dead Tree Stretch Goal Playset will be unlocked with 200 backers for the physical book.
This includes backers for the following tiers: Dead Tree, too!, Draw an SPB for me, Alex, Run it for me, Rich!, Run it for me, Jen!, Run it for me, Tyler!, and Draw a TEAM for me, Alex
What do you get for unlocking this stretch goal? A freakin' Neighborhood Playset from ZEDECK SIEW, OSR writer. Check out Zedeck's pitch for... Gelam Lama / Angkasa Baru
Gelam Lama / Angkasa Baru
On your left, where kampung houses huddle, where low-cost flats hug each other? That's Gelam Lama. Across the street, on your right, where luxury condominiums lounge against the hillside, where expats hang off the lips of their infinity pools? That's Angkasa Baru. Now: eviction notices are being served. On your left, you see construction hoarding, advertising: "ANGKASA BARU PHASE 2 - FOR THINGS THAT MATTER - BOOK NOW". A familiar story: villainous developers, greed, a fragile community under threat. On your right, Tigerstripe lands his Tigerwing on a cantilevered landing pad. Most of the city's costumed heroes live in Angkasa Baru.
For this campaign, there’s no pledge manager, it's just us - the Lost Highway Games team. Luckily, Jen Kitzman is leading that part of the project and she handles fulfillment for her day job. We estimate six weeks after the campaign ends for art to be finalized, then another four weeks for layout and checking print fulfillment.
You asked for it, we're doing it. For our dead tree backers, we are using a print house local to Rich. We will be ordering offset print copies in bulk to fulfill the backer orders with enough left over to sell at conventions.
An offset print run offers the following benefits:
- everything will be printed at once, so any defects are easier to detect and improve. POD can have slight variations for each print copy because each one is its own "print run"
- with a bulk order, we will have extra copies on hand in case there are shipping errors or defects with the product
We're so very excited to have enough support from you to make this happen. To be clear, there is no second payment for the "dead tree" (physical) versions of the book with the exception of our overseas backers. For overseas backers, you must add $10 to your pledge.
We're using DriveThruRPG for fulfillment of PDFs. One payment, then we will set you up to access your PDF through DriveThruRPG. I personally use and love DriveThru RPG for keeping my thousands of RPG PDFs.
Funds raised from this Kickstarter will go toward professional layout and new art for Hit the Streets: Defend the Block. We also hope to use this platform to generate a little buzz around the game, Lost Highway Games in general, and set ourselves up for future success so we can keep providing you with great gaming content.
HtS:DtB will be the first publication of Lost Highway Games, a design collective with other exciting projects already in the works for future releases. We want to blow you away with an awesome game so you'll check out the next game from Lost Highway, and the next after that.
Game Designer: Rich Rogers is the co-host and producer of the Golden Geek and ENnie award nominated podcast +1 Forward, a podcast powered by the apocalypse. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife and teenage son, and runs a ton of RPGs online and at cons. Rich is a big fan of small-press RPGs that encourage and support collaboration and he does a rather bad impression of Wallace Shawn when he's running Masks games.
Lead Artist: Alex Prinz gets to blissfully ignore his homeland's nonsense for the most part living in Norway with his wife and two monsters. He graduated with a degree in illustration in 2005, he mostly uses this to bring his and others roleplaying characters to life but will occasionally do something that resembles actual work . His hobbies are using humour to avoid reality and not getting enough sleep.
Layout Designer: Jesse Ross is a game designer, graphic designer and illustrator from Minneapolis. He’s an active member of the Gauntlet gaming community and a frequent contributor to the Codex zine. His published games include Girl Underground, a Powered by the Apocalypse-meets-Wizard of Oz game of a curious girl in a wondrous world, and Trophy, a horror fantasy game of doomed treasure-hunters entering a haunted forest that doesn’t want them there. Jesse can be found on Twitter as jesseross, and he and his games can be found at jesseross.com.
Featured Writer and Editor: Heidi Schlottman has been gaming since 2015 and writing stories since she was able to string two words together. In college, she majored in English and was appointed editor of her university’s literary magazine. Since then, she has won a flash fiction contest, published a magazine article, and played more play-by-post games than time ought to allow. She lives in the Twin Cities with four cats, one husband, and several houseplants that she has miraculously managed to keep alive (so far).
Pro GM and Fulfillment Maestro: Jen Kitzman's an internet hermit who's been GMing and tinkering with rules since 1999 (and reading comic books for much longer). She lives in Colorado, riding her bike year-round. While she has a degree in Environmental Technology, she keeps coming back to customer service, games, and comics.
Pro GM: Tyler Lominack is from the microscopic town of Sugar Tit, South Carolina. A gamer geek for all seasons, he's been e-gaming, boardgaming, and role-playing for over 35 years. He was an early playtester of Vampire: the Masquerade, an RPGA sanctioned GM, and a convert to remote gaming over 15 years ago. He is a contributor to the Gauntlet-Codex Zine, which published his game Fire Ships at Midnight.
Risks and challenges
Hit the Streets: Defend the Block is fully written and has been playtested over dozens of sessions by the game's designer and it's been playtested by other helpful GMs to ensure the game runs smoothly, can be picked up by others, and hits the tone we're after. That said, there are always risks to any project:
People: A collaborator might delay the project. Before publication, Hit the Streets: Defend the Block will need a layout editor and new art to replace the stock images used as placeholders. The risk here is not that the project won't finish, but that it might be delayed.
I (Rich) am in good health and am financially stable, but I can't guarantee that will always be the case. A badly timed emergency could delay my ability to complete the project. Again, the question isn't whether the project can finish, but that it might be delayed.
Cost: Costs might change. This risk is minimal for fulfillment since the hard copies will be fulfilled by DriveThruRPG and managed by the Lost Highway Games team. However, the funding goals assume the costs of production (art, editing, etc.) will remain more or less unchanged between now and fulfillment. If there is a substantial change in one of these costs, it could delay the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)