NOW FUNDING STRETCH GOALS!!
Thank you to all the backers who have made this a success!! Here's what we're working towards now. All digital content will be posted permanently on The Godsfall RPG website and should be available for download before the physical books ship.
- UNLOCKED!! - Starter Set released to all backers as digital content on or about Monday July 1st, 2014!
- UNLOCKED!! - Six additional pre-generated characters will be added to the Starter Set!
- UNLOCKED!! - Second stand-alone adventure quickstart will be added to the Starter Set!
- UNLOCKED!! - Create-a-Character add-on!
- UNLOCKED!! - Gazetteer of four (4) maps of the pre-Godsfall world will be released as digital content!
- UNLOCKED!! - Ten (10) additional illustrations will be added to the book. Check out the first one in Update #7!
- UNLOCKED!! - Dragonscale dice bags and GM screens available as add-ons!
- UNLOCKED!! - Artist and Co-writer C.S. Ferguson will sign and personalize the inside cover of each book!
- UNLOCKED!!! with 53 minutes to spare :) - Full-length adventure will be released to all backers as digital content!
- $11,680 - +32 pages of encounters added to both versions!
- $12,990 - +32 pages of locations added to both versions!
- $13,870 - +20 pages of full-page adventure starters added to both versions!
- $17,500 - All backers get their physical copies of The Godsfall RPG upgraded to hardcover at no extra cost. Yes, even international backers!
The Godsfall RPG is a tabletop pen & paper fantasy role-playing game. We designed a new streamlined system to serve the needs of this setting.
The setting is unique.
- The fall and impact of an elder god has changed the face of the world. He lives, but barely. He has become the Sleeping God.
- Money is meaningless. Food is the standard with which people barter.
- Magical items are semi-living things, mini-characters with their own goals. They can go dormant, if they aren't kept happy.
The system is fast.
- Your attack roll is also your damage roll. Repeated die rolls slow the game, so we streamlined them into a single roll wherever possible.
- Your defense roll is the same as your hit points. When you get hit, you just roll fewer dice next time you defend.
- You will never add results together. As your character advances, you simply roll more dice and use the highest result.
The system is simple.
- Character stats fit on half of a standard sheet of paper (A5).
- The game uses only 6-sided dice, because we found those are the most readily available.
Background: The best stories have an epic central conflict upon which the fulcrum of adventure teeters. Odyssey, Kalevala, 1001 Nights, Journey to the West, Gilgamesh, Orlando Furioso, Momotaro, Le Morte d'Arthur, Lord of the Rings, Nibelungenlied, Song of Hiawatha, Beowulf, Le Chanson de Roland ... all of these works had an epic central story. This is what we wanted for our game. Rather than just giving you a generic and poorly-defined or imagined world to play in, we wanted the world to feel alive and lived-in. To that end, we came up with a central conflict that we feel is well-suited to epic fantasy role-playing: the Godsfall.
Godsfall: In the recent past (some still live who remember the day), one of the elder gods was somehow torn from the heavens. His fall caused a huge rift to open in the sky, a tear in the fabric that maintains the boundaries between realities. He tumbled through that rift and smashed into the ground in a titanic explosion that changed everything. That was the Godsfall, the eponymous event that reshaped the world. The god still sleeps, barely clinging to life, in the Godsrest crater. Some worship him and hope to resurrect him (and, of course, be rewarded for their service). Others feel he was cast down for a reason, and are wary of waking him. And some have made it their goal to finish what was started and end the Sleeping God's life (somehow). The one big question of this setting is:
WOULD YOU WAKE THE SLEEPING GOD?
The Wildlands: The primary setting of The Godsfall RPG is the Wildlands, the remnants of pre-apocalyptic civilizations trying to carve out an existence in the cruel wilderness. Civilizations have collapsed. Entire cities have been reduced to ruins. The land was shattered by the Godsfall, and maps are now useless. The world has been remade, and it's waiting for you to explore, to rebuild, to conquer.
Organizations: Why do characters party up? I mean besides because they happened to be in the same tavern when some guy came in seeking steadfast adventurers. There must be some unified purpose to keep a party together. To that end, there are multiple organizations that you can align yourself with. Each of these groups have different goals and different ways of accomplishing those goals. Working with one group does not mean you can't also work with another. The world is full of free agents, and you could be one of them.
- The Academy has a monopoly on ancient technology, and they are a powerful syndicate who will stop at nothing to keep that monopoly. But they also maintain the Skyframe, that technological wonder that holds shut the rift to the Sleeping God's dimension, hovering miles in the sky.
- The Society of the Leaf is a druidic sect of weather worshippers and nature lovers who want to return to a Stone Age way of life, living in perfect harmony with the world around them. Through divination, they have learned that a magnificent machine caused the apocalyptic Godsfall. Now, they send inquisitors through the Wildlands to torture and cleanse users of technology.
- The Empire is a militant and expansionist country that wants to conquer everything. By unity and solidarity, they survived the Long Winter that nearly ended all life. And by that same measure, they will keep the human race from fragmenting during these perilous times, and going extinct.
Aspects: All characters in The Godsfall RPG have three aspects: physical, mental, and spiritual. Each aspect has attributes, health, edges, and skills associated with it. Attacks can be physical (such as a fighter swinging a sword), mental (such as a druidic mindbomb spell or special monk attacks) or spiritual (such as insanity or a wraith's touch), and so they attack with and are defended by that aspect.
Advancement: Characters continually improve skills and abilities, rather than bounding forward at intervals. Because advancement is constant incremental change, bookkeeping is streamlined. In this way, the system facilitates continual play through extended campaigns. You could even advance between two encounters, and the rest of your party won't have to stop and wait.
Spirit: One of the most unique things about characters is the spiritual aspect. This is a measure of the strength and power of a person's soul. Spiritual strength can be important because all magic items must be activated. They are activated by convincing the spirit animating the item to cooperate. Magical items are companions, not possessions. So a fighter who chose the spiritual attributes for his dump stats will find that a magical sword in his hands is no different than a mundane sword.
Undeath: The second unique character option is undeath. Undeath is an option for every character. This is linked to the spiritual aspect. A character with a strong soul has a chance to actually survive the physical death and return to his body as one of the undead. ALL undead are like this. They are not hordes of mindless automatons for school kids to practice on. Every one is a powerful character. Also, they are not all automatically evil. In fact, many of them are quite benevolent. If your character becomes powerful enough, you might join their ranks when you die, and thus continue playing that character.
Morality: The complexity of a society's morality is proportional to its security. In the post-apocalyptic world of The Godsfall RPG, there is little security, so morality can be a fickle thing. To this end, our system does not use game mechanics to address morality or ethics. Your actions and choices define your morality.
Damage: You roll once for each attack. For each die higher than an opponent's defense die, you score a hit. There is no need to re-roll, or roll again for damage, or roll for criticals.
Health: Rather than a pool of hit points that have no real effect until you reach zero, your health is a dynamic value. It is the number of dice you defend with. So as you take damage, you lose dice. In this way, combat remains deadly. With careless action, even your advanced characters could be slain by slobbering minions.
Magic Items: To help maintain game balance for highly advanced characters, we designed magical items to be mini-characters. Narratively, that means that these objects are possessed by a fragment of a departed spirit, one who wasn't powerful enough to return fully as undead. If this character was a pyromancer in life the object might immolate. If the character was a famous orc slayer the object might be especially effective against them. If the character was a talented thief the object might draw shadows around the user. But the enchanting spirit need not cooperate with the user. Your magic sword has its own goals, your magic cloak has its own desires, and your magic armor has its own ideas about how things should be done. Indulge them, and they will cooperate. Ignore them, and they will not. Upset them, and you might find your magical items cooperating with each other and forming an alliance against you.
Scaling: The system does not require scaling. The same character who might defeat a dragon could still be taken down by a party of 10 kobolds. We have accomplished this by changing character advancement from an increased health model to an increased competence model. It is possible to play the same character for a year, growing ever stronger and more powerful, and finish your epic annual campaign with the same health that you began the campaign with. Encounters don't get more powerful as characters gain power, because that still results in a zero sum balance. Instead, as your character grows and matures he becomes increasingly competent. Instead of rolling two dice and using the highest, you roll three dice, then four, then five, etc. The maximum result is still the same, you just have a greatest chance of obtaining that result.
The Godsfall RPG was constructed slowly over a number of years. Bringing many disparate backgrounds together to create something that felt genuine and lived-in, but still fun to play, was our singular goal.
- Lewis Theobald was a soldier for eight years before turning to writing. He wanted to bring a sense of danger and the deadliness of combat into the game. For example, he wanted to remove the massive pools of hit points that characters spend dozens of turns slowly chipping away at. He also wanted each turn to go quickly and not get bogged down in minutiae.
- Patrick Ervin was a research biologist before turning to writing. He wanted to bring a sense of the reality of nature into the game. For example, no terrestrial environment could produce enough biomass to support one D&D-style dragon, much less dozens or hundreds of them, so he insisted that they be about the size of a large draft horse. He wanted the characters to have grown up in an existing natural world, as opposed to building an artificial world just to serve the characters.
- C.S. Ferguson is a writer and artist, with two novels in print and a two more on the way. He studied Mythology & Folklore at university, and he wanted the world to feel old and lived-in, and the villains to be magnificent. In myth, nothing exists in a vacuum. RPG settings often miss that by building worlds that are just a series of bubbles. In this setting, everything is interlinked.
- Artists - We brought on a team of fantastic artists, and their work often inspired our writing. Greg Fromenteau is lead lighting artist at Ubisoft. Mike Vilardi has been illustrating for RPGs since the 80's, including Star Wars, Traveller, and Dungeons & Dragons. Jonathan Hunt worked on Warlord CCG and Legend of the Five Rings. Fourteen artists have contributed to these books so far.
What's in the book? The Godsfall RPG contains all the information necessary for you to begin adventuring in and around the last remaining human city: Emperor's Stand. We already have several expansions in the works to add content, and every expansion will be written by the same authors to maintain continuity of tone and vision. This first book is a 208-page paperback in full color and includes:
• Character Generation - Options for your characters, including multiple races, natural abilities, backgrounds, sample characters, and suggestions for building your own.
• NPCs - Stat blocks, including motivations, personality, and appearance for unique characters, both allies and enemies, as well as drop-in mobs and minions.
• Masteries & Spells - Different races and organizations produce different kinds of magic and esoteric training. There are flavorful spells and mystic masteries enough to go around.
• Monsters - Dozens of creatures to challenge your parties with.
• Gear - Races come in all shapes and sizes. So, to, should their gear. This chapter includes weapons, ways to modify weapons with racial modifiers or special materials, the same with armor, and a section dedicated to the mundane gear that gets overlooked by the dungeon crawling crowd.
• Locations - Dozens of stand-alone locations can be used to begin an adventure, or to fill out your own homebrew campaigns.
• Events - The world is changing, whether you participate or not. A full chapter is dedicated to significant activities in the world around you. Interweave your adventures with these events ... or ignore them altogether and leave your own unique mark on the world.
• Adventure Seeds - Full-page summaries can form the foundation upon which you can build your own adventures. Or you can mine them for ideas.
We've already delivered our Free RPG Day 2014 quickstart. Check it out!
We've printed and shipped these 24-page booklets to 700 participating stores all over the world. Each one has simplified quickstart rules, six pre-generated characters, including a merman necromancer, an elf monk, and an ogre Breaker, and an introductory adventure. And we deliberately left the ending as a cliffhanger so that you can continue the adventure on your own, if you want. Go check it out at your friendly local game store on Free RPG Day 2014: Saturday, June 21st!
We are striving to make as many illustrations as possible full-page pieces. There are places where the layout simply won't support that, but wherever possible, they will be full-page. Below are some examples of finished pieces.
$10 - A pdf copy of The Godsfall RPG rulebook, reformatted without artwork for faster and easier display on tablets.
$19 - Two pdfs (one illustrated, one text only) and a physical copy of The Godsfall RPG rulebook. Add $10 for int'l shipping.
$28 - Two pdfs (one illustrated, one text only), a physical copy of The Godsfall RPG rulebook, and a 4-fold GM screen. Add $10 for int'l shipping.
$48 - Two pdfs (one illustrated, one text only), a physical copy of The Godsfall RPG rulebook, a 4-fold GM screen, and a dragonscale dice bag. Add $25 for int'l shipping.
Backers at any tier may add the following add-ons by increasing their pledge by the amount indicated and leaving us a note to confirm.
~ $9 GM Screen
Please add $3 shipping ($13 international) if you are NOT already backing at a physical level.
~ $14 ($18 int'l) Poster of WhisperDeath the dragon necromancer/astrophysicist.
These will be printed on heavy paper in high gloss, and will definitely be suitable for mounting. They will be shipped separately in a poster tube. Add $14 within the USA or $18 for international backers.
~ $16 ($24 int'l) Additional Copies of The Godsfall RPG.
This price includes the additional shipping.
~ $20 Dragonscale dice bags
Please add $3 shipping if you are not already at a physical backer level.
Please add $15 if you are an international backer.
~ $236 Create Your Own Character! ~
For a $236 add-on you get:
- create a custom character, of your own design, to be added to the book
- your character illustrated in full color, which will also be added to the book
- your name listed in the book as the creator of that character
- hi-res image of your character illustration
- the original print of your character, which we get printed with archival inks on photo paper, mailed to you in a poster tube as soon as we're done with it (shipping included in the price)
Do you like the poster of WhisperDeath the dragon? Do you want that artist to make you a character of your own? You will work closely with the art director on a brief of your character, including race, personality, background, motivations, appearance, and personal gear. He will then write up an art order for your character. There will be several rounds of sketches as we zero in on the right look, so you will need to maintain a decent line of communication, answerable within a day, or the project will risk going wildly overdue. And if there is anything that backers don't like, it's a project missing deadlines. And when you're done, your character will be added to the book, you'll be credited as the creator, and we'll send you a hi-res image to tide you over until the original print arrives.
Risks and challenges
ART: The artwork has already been delivered. We have 142 illustrations paid for, delivered, and sitting around waiting to see the light of day. If a computer crashes, we have backups. If all the computers crash, we have them stored in the cloud. If that fails as well, then Cthulhu wants this game to not be illustrated.
MANUSCRIPT: The game is written, playtested, laid out, and sitting around waiting to see the light of day. See above.
PRINTING: If the printer changes or cancels our contract, we have two backup options.
SHIPPING: If delivery services stop running, there is nothing we can do about that.
QUITTING: If everybody on the team quits and refuses to write or illustrate anymore ... well, see the notes about the manuscript and the illustrations.
DEATH: If we all die, that will definitely derail the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)