Clouds beneath you, stark peaks behind, and before you, only the Tides.
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About the Zines
The Tides of Meridian are a duo of RPG zines focusing on two different styles of tabletop RPG play. EBB is a combat- and exploration-centric Blades in the Dark-lite hack. FLOW is a collaborative storytelling RPG focused on inter-cultural interaction and the influence that humans have on an otherwise human-free world.
Both EBB and FLOW take place on Meridian. This is a rocky world, covered in vast mountain ranges, icy plateaus, balmy desert bluffs, and, below and between all of these high-altitude locales, temperate and shaded oases.
Instead of vast oceans, Meridian’s large swaths of low-altitude plains and small seas are almost constantly covered by clouds. For the majority of the year, the sun rarely peaks past the dark, brooding overcast skies down here. By late summer and early autumn, the clouds burn off in the heat, and the fertile low-lying plains become arable once more.
Meridian is home to a host of species and races. Mostly bipedal, these alien species are reminiscent of Earth fauna. From the studious, bear-like Arctos to the mercantile, hawk-like Mergeir, the world is teeming with a variety of sentient life. The creatures of this world utilize the Tides in order to better understand and manipulate the world around them.
Meridian's culture is that of a civilaztion in the latter half of its most recent technological renaissance. Most civilized area are technological metropolises starting to slide into decline due to the natural waning of Tidal forces. The Tides of Meridian seeks to marry the sci-fi and fantasy aesthetics and the worlds in works like The Fifth Element, The Stormlight Archives, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, and the huge variety of styles and worlds explored in the Friends at the Table podcast. I've always been inspired by both genres, and most story and game (tabletop or otherwise) ideas I've ever had involve a melding of both. With these systems, I hope to combine the two while maintaining a somewhat light-hearted tone across the various races and cultures I create for this alien planet. (Not that there won't be any darker elements... ;) )
I've been dreaming up this world and stories set on it for months now. When I saw Zine Quest, I knew I had to make something happen. It took me longer than expected, but I'm extremely passionate about making these zines a reality.
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Ebb & Flow
The Tides are the name for the sciencemagic—a silly, hand-wavy term I created a few years ago for use with films like Star Wars or the weird sci-fi of The Expanse and Lovecraft—found on Meridian and its sister planets in the Peak system. The Tides exist as a "new spectrum" beyond the ones we already know of. It is a missing fundamental force of the universe, and those attuned to its resonance can manipulate Tidal fields emanating from the core of Peak and its planets. These fields can control anything. From light and heat to matter and gravity. Truly anything is possible...at a price. Constant or heavy manipulation of Tidal forces saps the life force of any who use it in such a manner.
The Tides will wash away any careless enough to swim to its depths without first learning to tread its surface.
The Tides have woven inextricably with the far-future technology of the goat-like Tahln and the dozen other species that benefit from it. These varied cultures worked together to achieve a lasting peace almost a millennia ago, and, together, they must find a way to restore the power of the Tides in EBB. You will take charge of a group of explorers setting out to find a way to heal Meridian, and you and your party must find the source of this shift in the Tides.
In FLOW, humans have pushed past the veil of the Yun Shield, a dense field of stellar debris left over when Meridian's star, Peak, shrank from a dying yellow dwarf—like our Sun—to a red dwarf millions of years ago. You play the parts of both the first humans to land on Meridian and the native populace they interact with. As a Tahln, you can decide how to deal with the alien invaders, but as a human, you might decide how best to peacefully study and trade with the many Meridians you encounter. The stories you weave are entirely up to you and your friends.
Both zines are meant to be played on their own or together. They can be used for one-shots or expanded into multi-session campaigns. I'm developing them to allow players and GMs flexibility to hack and homebrew the hell out of these two games to suit your party's needs. The plan is to allow them to play as the skeleton to or flesh out different sections of other RPG systems.
I'm also a fan of introducing people to new systems and RPGs. Is your group of friends willing to try out RPGs but are reticent to start with a crunchy, party-based system? Try FLOW. It's meant to be light and easy to pick up and play. Have you only ever played collaborative, storytelling-focused systems and want to try a slightly more intense, action-based game? Try EBB. It's meant to satisfy the adventure-party-based RPG niche while still staying rules-lite.
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Printing & Shipping
These zines will be printed at SmartPress thanks to the suggestion of Luke. The zines will be 36-52 pages, printed on standard sized (8.5"x5.5") pages, and saddle-stitched with matte gloss covers. Orders will be shipped to the US with $2 shipping. Additional international shipping charges will be handled after the Kickstarter finishes.
I will be writing, editing, playtesting, designing, and laying-out both zines and their content. If I receive enough funding, I will be commissioning someone to do cover and interior art. I may not be the best artist, but even if I don't get enough funding to commission someone, I'm certain that I will at least be able to deliver an acceptable level of art for a final, printed product.
Risks and challenges
I placed the delivery deadline for September 2019 to give myself ample time to complete these two zines. Both will be completed and released at the same time. PDFs will be sent once they have been finalized, and print copies will be sent when I am satisfied with their quality.
I will be taking my time to ensure a quality play experience for all involved. I will playtest the systems with a RPG groups I play with/GM as well as at a local comic store that hosts RPG nights on a regular basis.
I already have both zines laid out in a preliminary state and some of the rules set in stone. I'll be finishing the systems and getting feedback from backers and local players will to give it in order to tweak the game to be more enjoyable for all. :)Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)