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Chill is a horror roleplaying game (RPG) in which players take on the role of SAVE envoys, protecting humanity from the Unknown.
Chill is a horror roleplaying game (RPG) in which players take on the role of SAVE envoys, protecting humanity from the Unknown.
Chill is a horror roleplaying game (RPG) in which players take on the role of SAVE envoys, protecting humanity from the Unknown.
793 backers pledged $40,375 to help bring this project to life.

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Chill 3rd Edition: A Horror Roleplaying Game

$40,375

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Funded! Now on to stretch goals!

"Ssh," whispered BB. "Just follow me."

Rory pulled his hat down lower to try and protect his eyes from errant branches. He couldn't see a thing anyway. Jennifer pulled her phone out of her pocket to use as a flashlight, but Tom caught her wrist and shook his head. Maria followed BB closely, moving just as silently as he did, slipping through the underbrush. 

Rory glanced up. He cocked his head. Something was wrong with the branches of the tree ahead of them. He tugged on Tom's sleeve and pointed. Tom glanced up and shrugged, and whispered "tree house" to Rory. 

Rory shut his eyes and focused, trying to center himself and feel for the Unknown, the way his father had taught him. When he'd done it before, the feeling had been subtle, easy to mistake for a chill in the air. This time it washed over him like a bucket of ice water. 

"Guys!" he tried to cry out, but his voice was gone. The night was completely silent, and the creature landed in their midst without a sound, holding a bloody claw hammer; staring at Rory with gleeful, murderous eyes.

Chill is a horror roleplaying game in which the characters belong to a secret organization called SAVE - Societas Argenti Viae Eternitata, the Eternal Society of the Silver Way. This organization is dedicated to protecting humanity from the Unknown - the forces of the supernatural, the monsters, ghosts, and creatures from beyond human understanding. Its weapons against the Unknown? Knowledge, bravery, skill, the resources of its members, and the Art - the strange, quasi-psychic powers that SAVE has codified and studied over the years.

SAVE was founded in 1844 by a man named Charles O'Boylan, and over the years, it grew to a global organization, with members (called "envoys") all over the world. SAVE has seen its share of setbacks - in 1989, the Central Archives in Dublin were destroyed by the forces of the Unknown. The creatures burned the archives, killed many of the envoys present, and drove SAVE underground. 

Over the next 25 years, SAVE teetered on the brink of extinction. The forces of the Unknown infiltrated SAVE, turning regional headquarters against one another. But recently, a new leader emerged, and showed the organization how to prosper even with the adversity it faced. The price of her methods, though, was decentralization. SAVE doesn't have the global network of support it once did, and requesting aid from another chapter of SAVE is a calculated risk. 

Now, the organization survives, learning more about the Unknown and the best ways to fight it. Some chapters are well-equipped and staffed, others make do with a handful of envoys and some out-of-date intelligence. Joining SAVE is a commitment with a great deal of danger...but many SAVE envoys feel that it is a sacred duty. 

"If all else fails," an envoy once wrote, "remember that God and SAVE are on your side."

Chill 3rd Edition uses a percentile system, much like previous editions. Players make rolls against a target number (T#). Players make two kinds of checks, general checks and specific checks. A general check either succeeds (the roll is lower than or equal to the T#) or fails (the roll is the higher than the T#). 

A specific check has five possible results: 

  • Botch: The roll is a failure (higher than the T#) and the dice come up doubles. If your T# is 60 and you roll 88, for instance, that's a botch.
  • Failure: The roll is higher than the T#, but not a botch. 
  • Low Success: The roll is equal to or lower than the T#, but higher than half the T#. If your T# is 60, and you roll anything from 60 to 30, it's a low success. 
  • High Success: You roll less than half your T#. If your T# is 60, anything lower than 30 is a high success. 
  • Colossal Success: You roll any success and the dice come up doubles. So, if your T# is 60 and you roll 55, 44, 33, 22, or 11, it's a colossal success!
In addition to the dice, we've added a system of Chill tokens. These are simple chips or coins that have two different facings (coins work; heads is "light," tails is "dark").

Players can "flip a chip dark" (turning a light chip to the dark facing) to add to their target numbers (before or after a roll!), to sense the Unknown, to use their training in the Art, and, in truly dire straits, to save a character's life. 

Of course, once a chip's dark facing is showing, the Chill Master can flip the chip light to activate a creature's Disciplines of the Evil Way, to hinder the characters in minor in-genre ways ("I'm not getting any reception!"), or to add to a NPC's target number. 

When you back Chill 3rd Edition, you'll have access to a pdf of Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, our playtest quickstart (it's in the first update of this Kickstarter). We would love for you to run it with a group of friends, and then follow the link to the feedback form and give us your thoughts. While we think our system works, we also know from years of game design experience that the best way to test a system is to get it in front of a lot of eyes. Once this Kickstarter successfully concludes, we'll put the playtest packet up on DriveThru RPG for free download. 

In 1990, Mayfair Games released the second edition of the horror roleplaying game, Chill. I found that book in my friendly local game store (Mind Games, in Toledo, Ohio). Chill, with its sleek black cover and the face of Rax leering out at me, was my first introduction to horror roleplaying.  

I think it's fair to say that Chill had a profound influence on my tastes in literature, movies, and, of course, roleplaying games. I ran Chill four nights a week for two years in college, and I used it as the vector to bring a lot of people into the hobby. Some of them stuck with it, others didn't, but I can't tell you the number of times in the early 90s when a friend would call me up the day after a game and tell me, "I dreamed about that game last night. It was really freaky." Chill taught me about establishing atmosphere in a game, about tension and pacing, about showing just enough gore to get a reaction but not so much that the scene becomes gross or cartoonish.

Chill also taught me some things I didn't realize I was learning. Looking back now, I can see that some of the things I loved about the game had nothing to do with the monsters or the horror. Chill underlined the necessity for teamwork and trust. It showed me that making assumptions about the nature of a problem can carry terrible consequences (a werewolf and a barghest are both dog-like, but they are not the same beast!). And it showed me that the only way to win the face of a predatory, overwhelming, insatiable enemy is when good people stand up and say, "enough."  

In 2013, I idly mentioned to my wife (Michelle Lyons-McFarland) that I wondered who owned the rights to Chill these days - after all, there had been talk of a third edition some time back, but it never materialized. She did some digging, and found out that a man named Martin Caron now owned the RPG. A few emails later, and we had secured an agreement to produce a new edition of a roleplaying game that is, in many ways, responsible for making me the game designer I am today. To say I'm excited is a massive understatement, and I'm hoping you'll back our project and help Chill 3rd Edition come to fruition.

Previous Kickstarter experience has taught me that including supplementary books as stretch goals can bloom out of control very quickly. That said, we still have some exciting stretch goals planned for when we surpass our initial funding goal (think positive!). 

$29,000 - Full Color Printing - UNLOCKED!: The pdf of Chill 3rd Edition is going to be in full color; we've budgeted to contract all the art in color already. Printing in color, however, is more expensive, so our first stretch goal is to do our print run in color. 

$31,000 - Midnight Syndicate (digital) - UNLOCKED!: We are amazingly pleased to partner with Midnight Syndicate for this stretch goal! The good folks at Midnight Syndicate will produce a module for Chill 3rd Edition and a soundtrack to go with it. This module and soundtrack will be available as a digital download to any back at the SAVE scholar level or higher. 

$38,000 - The Limited Edition Boxed Set: Boxed sets for RPGs aren't as common these days as they were when I started roleplaying, but there's definitely a thrill to having a box containing everything you need to play a game. We did something called a "Kit" with curse the darkness, and for our this stretch goal, we'd like to make 500 Limited Edition Boxed Sets. These Sets will contain: 1 copy of the hardcover Chill book, 10 tokens in a stamped muslin bag, and 2 custom dice (one of which will have the indalo in the "0" place). If we meet this stretch goal, we will add a backer level to reflect it, and anyone who wants it will just need to alter their pledge. Note that shipping for the Boxed Sets, for international backers, will be handled at the time of shipping through BackerKit.   

Valid question, especially since our ask is so high. Here's where your money goes:

  • Paying authors. We have a bunch of very talented people writing this book; you can meet them here. I need to be able to pay them for their talents. 
  • Paying artists. Same comment. When you back this project, you'll be able to see (via the playtest packet) some of the amazing art that's going into this project, and we have other artists lined up to do interior illustration. 
  • Paying for layout. Layout is a mystery to me; as far as I know it's done by magic. My wife informs me that's not the case, but in any event, it's probably better that we have someone talented to lay out our book. Enter Thomas Deeny, the same wizard who laid out the playtest packet. 
  • Paying for materials. Books cost money. Part of the money raised with this Kickstarter will go toward a print run, both to fulfill the rewards for backers and to send to retailers. 
  • Paying for the license. Growling Door doesn't own the Chill IP, and part of the funds from this Kickstarter are going to satisfy our contract with Martin Caron. 
  • And a reminder: This book is big. We get away with smaller asks for our other projects because the books were smaller and softcover. We estimate Chill at 232 pages (which is still less than 2nd Edition), and that means our costs go up. 

Well, you knew it was coming. 

Shipping is a nightmare. It's expensive, and worse, it's unpredictable. Shipping prices fluctuate (or rather, increase), and since we've got the better part of a year between funding and shipping, it's hard to know what the costs will actually be. 

Shipping costs are figured in for the physical rewards we're currently offering (that is, the hardcover book). International backers are asked to pay an addition $10 to offset the shipping and handling charges. If we make our Limited Edition Boxed Set stretch goal, we will add reward levels and instructions for shipping.

Risks and challenges

Putting together a project of this size and scope always carries a risk, one that I like to call "the flammable cat." When I worked for White Wolf Game Studio as the developer for the Dark Ages line, we would occasionally say, when a book was delayed, that somewhere along the way a cat caught fire.

Obviously, no actual felines were ever combusted (not to my knowledge, anyway!), but the point was that with an endeavor like an RPG book, any number of things can go wrong. They're not anyone's fault - people get sick, have car accidents, relatives pass away, babies are born, and so forth - but they do slow things down. The trick to keeping things on track isn't to safeguard against the flammable cat. That cat is GOING to catch fire at some point.

No, the best plan is to have a fire extinguisher handy. To break the metaphor, what I mean by all this is that I'm sure something's going to go wrong or get delayed. As such, I've built a lot of extra time into the schedule. The writers are already writing on this project - the first draft of *Chill* is due on October 13, and I'll be posting excerpts as updates as they come in. We don't have art contracted yet, but I have a number of artists lined up to work on the book, I know how fast they work, and we'll have plenty of time work with them even if something does go wrong in the interim.

The boxed set stretch goal is a potential source of risk - it has a lot of different components, but provided that we make the stretch goal, we should have plenty of time to assemble everything in time for our GenCon 2015 debut. We did something similar with *curse the darkness*, and that project was delivered on time.

Finally, it's worth noting that we've licensed *Chill* from Martin Caron, and as with any licensed property we'll have a round of approvals. The terms of our contract, however, state that approvals have to be conducted in a timely manner, and I know from my interactions with Martin that he's just as keen to see this project realized as I am.

I don't anticipate everything going smooth, because as a certain space captain once said, it never goes smooth. I *do* anticipate that my team of professionals - writers, editors, layout folks, designers - can handle whatever cats catch fire. Growling Door Games has already delivered two roleplaying games, funded through Kickstarter, successfully, and I hope that you will join us for this one!

One other thing: Backers will receive the pdf of *Chill 3rd Edition* before it goes on sale, and we hope to have the books shipped before GenCon 2015. However, if something gets delayed, we reserve the right to sell the game at GenCon. It's not economically feasible for us to turn down the opportunity to debut *Chill* at GenCon, even if the books haven't shipped to backers. We can promise that the game will not go into distribution until the books have shipped, and that backers will be able to pick up their books at GenCon, if they so desire.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    SAVE Contact: You get a special thanks in the finished book. Every little bit helps! Don't forget to check the first update to this Kickstarter to get the download link for the playtest packet - then come back and up your pledge!

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    SAVE Scholar: You get the full-color pdf of Chill 3rd Edition, and a digital copy of all stretch goals.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    SAVE Envoy: You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals.

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    Pledge $60 or more About $60

    SAVE Supplier: FOR RETAILERS ONLY: You get three copies of the Chill 3rd Edition hardcover. You can add more books at $20 each (this may impact shipping for international backers, but we'll discuss that if necessary). If your store is a reasonable distance from Cleveland (or a city containing one of our writers willing to make the trip), we'll send someone there to run a demo game. Contact us when you pledge this tier and we'll discuss it.

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    SAVE Journalist: You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals. In addition, you'll get early access to all of the sourcebooks we produce for Chill 3rd Edition (text only, once authors have produced a final draft).

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    Pledge $65 or more About $65

    SAVE Strategist: You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals. In addition, you'll join us online for a combat playtest - choose a character, we'll pick a monster, and you see if you can survive (and then give us some feedback on how our combat system is looking!). This level requires that you're available for a combat playtest, probably about an hour, sometime in November or December 2014.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    SAVE Equipped Envoy: You get the Limited Edition Boxed Set, including: 1 hardcover copy of Chill, 1 set of 10 tokens in a stamped muslin bag, one set of Chill dice. YOU WILL PAY SHIPPING SEPARATELY, LATER, WHEN THE BOX IS READY TO SHIP, INCLUDING IN THE USA. You can also pick up your Boxed Set at GenCon 2015.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SAVE Field Agent: You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals. In addition, you can provide the name of a character that we'll use in an example or SAVE history sections. Names must be approved by the game developers.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SAVE Site Surveyor: You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals. In addition, you can work with our writers and developers to determine the location of a SAVE office. Locations must be approved by the game developers.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    SAVE Historian : You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals. In addition, you can work with our writers and developers to add an event in the SAVE timeline. This could be a victory (or defeat) for SAVE envoys, an area in the world that requires SAVE's attention, or just an explained event. The event must be approved by the game developpers.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    SAVE Master of the Art: You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals. In addition, you can work with our writers and developers to name and flesh out the history and bio of one of the Masters of the Art responsible for the Renaissance of the Art in the SAVE History section (see Update #9 for more details). Character must be approved by the game developers.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    SAVE Recruiter: You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals. In addition, you will work with our developer and one of our portrait artists to create one of the sample characters for inclusion in the Chill book. Character must be approved by the game developers.

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Traitor: You get the Chill 3rd Edition book in hardcover and pdf, as well as a digital copy of all stretch goals. In addition, you get to work with our writers and developer to add a creature of the Unknown to the Chill book. Monster must be approved by the game developers.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Regional Coordinator: Columbus: You and up to five of your friends will work with me (Matthew McFarland) to create characters for Chill. You will each get a character sheet with a portrait of your character, done in the style of the core Chill book, and I will run you a game of Chill starring those characters at Origins 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (You assume all costs to for getting to the convention; I'll provided the character sheets, the art, and the game.) You also get one Limited Edition Boxed Set (IF we meet the stretch goal). All of the players receive a hardcover copy of Chill 3rd Edition, a pdf of the game, and digital copies of all stretch goals.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Regional Coordinator: Indianapolis: You and up to five of your friends will work with me (Matthew McFarland) to create characters for Chill. You will each get a character sheet with a portrait of your character, done in the style of the core Chill book, and I will run you a game of Chill starring those characters at GenCon 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (You assume all costs to for getting to the convention; I'll provided the character sheets, the art, and the game.) You also get one Limited Edition Boxed Set (if we meet the stretch goal). All of the players receive a hardcover copy of Chill 3rd Edition, a pdf of the game, and digital copies of all stretch goals.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Regional Coordinator: Atlanta: You and up to five of your friends will work with me (Matthew McFarland) to create characters for Chill. You will each get a character sheet with a portrait of your character, done in the style of the core Chill book, and I (or potentially my brother, Jonathan, another designer and writer for Chill) will run you a game of Chill starring those characters at DragonCon 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia. (You assume all costs to for getting to the convention; we'll provided the character sheets, the art, and the game.) You also get one Limited Edition Boxed Set (if we meet the stretch goal). All of the players receive a hardcover copy of Chill 3rd Edition, a pdf of the game, and digital copies of all stretch goals.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Regional Coordinator: Toledo: You and up to five of your friends will work with me (Matthew McFarland) to create characters for Chill. You will each get a character sheet with a portrait of your character, done in the style of the core Chill book, and I will run you a game of Chill starring those characters in Toledo sometime in summer or fall 2015. (We'll work together to find a game space, you provide the players, I'll provide the character sheets, the art, and the game.) You also get one Limited Edition Boxed Set (if we meet the stretch goal). All of the players receive a hardcover copy of Chill 3rd Edition, a pdf of the game, and digital copies of all stretch goals.

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Funding period

- (30 days)