The Veil: Inheritance, a biopunk tabletop roleplaying game
Bioengineered bounty hunters take on challenges in newly colonized space. Part Cowboy Bebop, part Blade Runner.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, April 1 2019 12:00 AM UTC +00:00.
The Veil: Inheritance is a supplement for The Veil RPG, a cyberpunk roleplaying game Powered by the award winning Apocalypse Engine. It was Kickstarted successfully almost three years ago.
In The Veil, humanity has the technology to perceive both the digital and the physical in a blended, hybridized reality via neurochips that are implanted into almost every person. This Veil has become the new reality. It is ubiquitous and it is pervasive.
The game gives you everything you need to extrapolate a cyberpunk future from our present. It places interesting, compelling characters that drive the fiction at the center of the game while enabling everyone at the table to contribute what they like about cyberpunk to the fiction.
The second book, The Veil: Cascade, introduced a mechanic for flashbacks and had 6 new kinds of characters. It also advanced the timeline. In Cascade, players are Glitches — people whose neurochips were salvaged and put into human bodies devoid of consciousness called Slacks. They awaken into a foreign future and, because of their antiquated neurochips, don't have access to all of their memories. It puts the players' questions about themselves and the ways in which the world has changed at the center of the fiction and allows for players to continue playing their previous character from the core Veil game.
Inheritance is the next step. The third book, it advances the timeline even further into space and colonized worlds. The below campaign page goes into detail about Inheritance and the mechanics of the game, in broad strokes.
Inheritance moves the assumed semi-near future implications of the setting from The Veil into a far-flung future. Humanity has stretched out into space and, to combat the unknown, megacorporations have ushered in the creation of a manufactured middle class, called Imprints. Tailored from conception, they are imprinted with genetic memories which enable them to use skills and abilities they otherwise wouldn't have access to.
You play a crew of such Imprints with specialized skill-sets taking the jobs you decide. It's a little bit Cowboy Bebop, a little bit Blade Runner, but with a biopunk spin. The setting implications allow for a wide range of stories to be framed. Bounty hunters taking on contracts in order to make ends meet; rebels attempting to put a stop to the megacorporations (perhaps even the ones who created the player characters, who knows!). Or maybe you're navigators and explorers sent ahead of colony ships to find a safe path and world to live on.
The concept is that you're bioengineered people in a crew that has worked together in the past. The choice of character archetypes, called playbooks, steer the fiction. Allowing you to choose if your game is centered on exploration, discovery, combat,and then move the dials to get your ideal combination of them to focus on the sweet spot the table wants.
To further help you with this there are is an adventure starter in the book that is ready to be played and which can used for one-shot play or as a springboard for a campaign. If this campaign does well we will add additional starters as stretch goals to the book!
To help you decide if this game is for you, a Quickstart called Knocking on Heavens Door is available as a Pay-what-you-want product, linked below. Just click on the cover image directly below this text or the hyperlink on the word "Quickstart" throughout this campaign page.
In Inheritance you choose a playbook to build a character. These work like loose character archetypes that let you know what kind of character this will best let you play as and has other information you can select, like their look and how they choose to present themselves to everyone else.
There are 5 playbooks included already, all of which you can see in the QuickStart, and one more, the Shepherd, waiting to be unlocked as a stretch goal.
Within these archetypes is a wealth of customization and interpretations of possible characters. Each have a unique flavor and come entangled with the setting elements and choices that make them feel like much more than just embodied tropes.
The Clipper eliminates targets, yes. But in a world where everyone has neurochips and their minds are backed up, the clipper was made to be someone who has the ability to wipe out the information on a target's neurochip and their digital footprint, making death from a Clipper a "real death". But there is a chance the data being eliminated can enter the Clipper during that process; making the choice to deal out real death more complicated than pulling a trigger. What if you killed someone and you also became the last bastion for some of their memories?
The Custodian is optimized for protecting others as well as themselves. They also hold the totality of their life experience in their actual body, encoded in their blood. Custodians are charged with safe guarding their knowledge in a time when everyone is connected to a vast amount of information and misinformation via the neurochips grafted to their minds.
The Linker uses any trace of a thing to find it, even across the vast expanse of space. But the pursuit can also change them; as they think like the target and take in more trace information, they may take on qualities (codified as conditions, mechanically) reflecting their obsession and journey of discovery.
The Sparrow solves problems as they occur. Humanity has no idea what to expect in space, or the challenges they might face. Sparrows are creators and builders. They can also become lost in the problems they delve into. The greater the problem, the more they may need to give up to accomplish what they set out to do. Yet no problem is beyond them.
The Mirror, given the opportunity to study a person or their likeness, can then pass for them exactly. This makes them excellent infiltrators and spies...but within the intimacy of reflecting a person they may also get to know who they really are, and get to know themselves better in the process.
Inheritance uses questions created by the player as the primary driving force of the story. Players create three questions, all with guidelines in the text to help them do so, and the person running the game uses that information to drive the fiction so that the story is always about finding out the answer to those questions and is always relevant to the players. Even if they are given a mission, what they want out of the mission varies and the questions chosen by the players reflect that. They also serve to let the table know what kinds of stories the player is interested in and what they want from a campaign.
Players get experience by working toward those answers and crafting new ones once they get answered. That experience is used to get advances, of which there are many. See the Quickstart for some examples of advances.
Each player also has genetic memories. These memories allow for the player characters to take moves, things only those specific characters can do, from other archetypes. Including ones from the previous two books. This allows for a huge range of customization for your character. There are 18 previous playbooks, all with a bunch of moves to select from, as well as the other playbooks not in use in Inheritance.
Beyond mechanical customization, these memories can also be used in other exciting ways. If you want to connect the story you told with previous Veil games with that of your current game in Inheritance, you could decide the memories your character has are from a previous character, allowing you to find out what happened to them between the previous game and your current one. If this sounds appealing, you could use the previous QuickStart release for The Veil: Cascade beta test, called Glitch City, and then jump to Knocking On Heavens Door afterward; enabling you to explore the notion of going from a previous Veil game to Inheritance.
There is a flashback mechanic that is used by players for just such a thing, supporting this concept. You could conclude a game of The Veil on a cliffhanger and then play Inheritance, unraveling what happened next as you play without any pressure to come up with something right away. Because your questions drive the game and you get experience for answering them, you have the opportunity to create a question that is about the past and, as you use flashbacks to reveal your character's past, you also get experience for doing it!
If your Inheritance game is about discovering what happened to those previous characters through play, you don't necessarily need to use flashbacks. Instead, you could simply play to find out happened and use the memories as plot hooks for why your character wants to discover what happened.
Memories can also be used, optionally, as sources of dramatic tension in your game. As in Blade Runner 2049 or Strange Days memories could also be used as a kind of conditioning. If the players opt-in to use conditioning, they select from a list on their playbook that reinforce the notion that these memories were selected to have them perform their purpose. It might mean their instinct is to distance themselves from close relationships or protect themselves over others, for example. When players select these and conform to the behavior in the statement, they get additional experience. But when they don't, they lose access to something, such as a move, permanently.
Players can create their own statements, too, rather than using the pre-made lists. They use what they find interesting and disregard ones that they think wouldn't be fun for them to explore and play out. Because this could easily become heavy material for many players, this remains something that is purely optional.
Powered by the Apocalypse games use two, six-sided dice. You add a stat to the result of the dice to get your level of success. It is a fail forward system, meaning even when you fail, something happens. The higher the die roll the less complicated your success is.
The Veil uses emotions as your stats (called States). There are six emotions, with pairs grouped together. This means when you roll you are thinking about your character in the fiction and communicating more context when you roll. This gives the other players more insight and information to play off of.
When a player describes their character doing something and what they say matches what is called a trigger in a move, we roll dice to find out what happens next. Moves are the primary mechanic and they determine when we should roll to see what happens next. Moves are tailored to fictional circumstances and provide additional context for important beats in the story.
Do you need a copy of The Veil to run this game? Yes and no. If you're familiar with Powered by the Apocalypse games the reference sheets that will come with The Veil: Inheritance might be enough. If you aren't, you will need the core book, as this supplement will not go into detail about the system. Only what is new will be covered in the book.
This is the third book in a modular design inspired by the book, and later, movie, Cloud Atlas. You can play The Veil for a while and then use those same characters when you jump forward in time to Cascade. With help from genetic memories and flashbacks, you could then make the jump into Inheritance; forging three separate stories intertwined as you play to find out what happens in each.
Inheritance is going to be softcover, around 300 pages, full colour, graphic-novel sized, and have a wrap-around cover. We almost always do graphic-novel size because it's the largest format that is still easily viewable in a single column layout from electronic devices such as phones and tablets.
Like all of our kickstarter projects, we will be subsidizing shipping. The kickstarter price is cheaper than what the product will retail for afterward. Without you we wouldn't have a product at all and to thank you for this, we give you the best deal possible and make sure you are the first people to get the book.
We are dedicated to diverse representation and are working with a fantastic illustrator, Simon Sweetman, in order to make sure we achieve this goal.
To purchase an add-on select the reward tier that you want. If you want a digital game choose "Inheritance + Digital Add-On". If you want a physical book, choose "Physical Add-on". All physical books come with the digital version. Once you select the reward tier add the matching dollar amount to your tier level. After the kickstarter ends and money has been collected, about two weeks later, we will send a survey asking you what you purchased and it will be sent to you. Everything below is discounted by 10%, the first sale we've ever done.
Physical prices include the cost of shipping the item worldwide from our webstore located in South Korea. Click on any of the follow images to learn more about the product.
*REACHED*At $9,000 CAD, we unlock a new playbook, the Shepherd. An aeronaut is able to interface with the crafts they pilot. They're a navigator that can figure out safe routes through space and glean information from the expanse that others cannot.
*REACHED* At $12,000 CAD I'll make a playbook that we've been noodling around with. Every time you need a ship or a *gasp* mech in your game, this playbook is brought out and filled in. The size of craft automatically determines stats. Perhaps most fun of all, it also has moves on it that players can work toward when using the playbook. Imagine what a Shepherd could do interfaced with a mech! If you're playing Cowboy Bebop bounty hunters you need to be able to do some ship combat, right?!
*REACHED*At $16,000 CAD, we will be able to get some more art commissioned from Simon Sweetman for the game.
* REACHED* At $23,000 CAD we will be able to upgrade the paper quality of the book and increase the art budget to where we'd like it to be. Lots of illustrations and a decent art budget for full and double page illustrations. This is about $17,000 USD, so at this level we can safety cover all our costs for the book. Thank you for helping us get to this point!
At $30,000 CAD, something really special happens. We will pay Mabel Harper to hack The Veil: Inheritance into an OSR (Old School Renaissance) game called Ultraviolet Violence (working title), using the mechanical framework of classic adventure role-playing games to take the unique hybrid-reality cyberpunk of The Veil in a whole new direction.
Mabel Harper is a trans Filipina musician, writer, game designer, and digital artist living in Philadelphia. When she's not creating the stuff of nightmares, she's either making queer pop music as Don't do it, Neil, or she's co-authoring switchblade-and-sorcery web serial Form and Void with her partner. Or she might just be vegging out on her bed and watching anime with her cats.
This will be a separate, black and white product printed via print-on-demand services over at DrivethruRPG. Everyone will get the digital version for free. Should you back at a physical reward level you will also get an at-cost coupon that enables you to have the book printed and shipped to you for the price of printing the materials (generally a few USD dollars) and the cost of shipping.
At $32,000 CAD, we will commission Takuma Okada for an adventure starter: Vanguard of the Pegasus
As the player characters rest at a spaceport and prepare to start their next job, the entire place is locked down. Imprint and ace mech pilot Kei Fusion, callsign Pegasus, has gone rogue. Their handlers have tracked them here, and they are not happy. The players must escape with Kei and help them trace their fragments of memory back to a terrifying secret that their previous Slack died to protect. But they must beat an elite squad of mech pilots to it, the ghosts of the defeated Zenith Empire who are seeking what they believe is a superweapon that could revive their cause.
Takuma Okada is a Japanese game designer, writer, and musician. Their music can be found at SoundCloud, and their games are available on Itch.io. They are part of the Beam Saber playtest AP The Cenotaph. She is currently working on a fantasy tavern simulation tabletop game called Stewpot, and can be found on several episodes of the RPG Design Friends podcast as well. Keep up with her work on Twitter or on Patreon, where you can find other upcoming games and podcasts.
At 35,000 CAD, Kira Magrann will write On the Run!
A prisoner has escaped from space orbital holding cells by transferring her consciousness into a bird shaped slack. The prison owner has a bounty on her head that the characters pick up on their comms and they're eager for a cred. But the prisoner's been falsely accused of the crime that put her there for life, and wants you to help prove her innocence and restore her previous body. Hop from space station to planet colony in this body swapping story of body colonization and prison abolition.
Kira is a tabletop roleplaying game designer, queer nonbinary cyborg, and snake mom living in Columbus, Ohio. She is known best for her most recent games A Cozy Den (about lesbisnakes in winter time) and Something Is Wrong Here (an uncanny emotional love letter to David Lynch's work). Kira has a Patreon where she designs experimental games, a YouTube vlog where she talks about game design, and she blogs monthly at Gnome Stew. She is also the creator of #Aprilttrpgmaker, and the newsletter featuring marginalized creators More Seats at the Table. Follow her current projects at @Kiranansi on Twitter.
MORE STRETCH GOALS TO BE ANNOUNCED!
Fraser Simons, the designer of The Veil, played what would eventually become the QuickStart scenario for Inheritance during GauntletCon 2018!
He's also run a longer campaign for the Gauntlet gaming community. starting in The Veil, then moving the game to Cascade, and then ending with a playtest of Inheritance. It is 13 sessions long, though, (and the first playtest of Inheritance, ever at that time!), so we'll just post the first episode in each series here. From there you can view it how you like.
If you want to play games online, give the Gauntlet a look. There are a lot of games on the schedule every week and it's a great community.
Fraser Simons of Samjoko Publishing is the writer and designer of The Veil: Inheritance. He has also Kickstarted three other roleplaying games, The Veil and a supplement for it, Cascade, and Hack The Planet. He is a cyberpunk enthusiast and blogs about it frequently over at Consuming Cyberpunk. You can find him on Twitter @frasersimons.
Kyle Simons is a developmental editor as well as the creator and founder of Samjoko Publishing and has Kickstarted quite a few projects, from his language learning roleplaying game that teaches players how to speak Korean through play, Magicians, to his superhero Powered by the Apocalypse game, Worlds in Peril and Operators, his action-movie RPG. Find him on Twitter @kylejsimons.
Lauren McManamon is a professional editor, game designer, and technical writer. Her previous editing work includes Good Society: A Jane Austen RPG by the Storybrewers, The Veil: Cascade, Uncanny Echo, and Hack the Planet by Fraser Simons. She's also been the editor for Codex, the Gauntlet community's monthly zine Codex for over a year. You can find her on Twitter @thestraykiwi.
Simon Sweetman is a Toronto-based freelance illustrator. He also works as concept and production artist for games, currently developing a project with Actual Humans. Simon is a food enthusiast, and is developing a food-based illustration series titled “Umai!” that celebrates his love of East Asian cuisine through depictions of fantastical beings preparing and eating it. You can find him on Twitter @SiSweetman and ArtStation.
Jason Cordova is a developmental editor on this project and the principal organizer of The Gauntlet gaming community. He hosts several popular podcasts about independent tabletop roleplaying games, is the editor-in-chief of the Codex zine, and has been developmental editor on numerous projects. Find the Gauntlet and Jason on Twitter @GauntletRPG.
Risks and challenges
There is a potential for life events to occur that delay the projected timeline. A printer may take longer than their estimates to deliver, shipping times guesstimated are incorrect due to unforeseen circumstances. As more stretch goals are unlocked and more content is added there is a greater risk of delays introduced by other contributors' life events.
This is a reality of publishing and with 6 projects and years of experience behind us, we believe we can adhere to this timeline. We've been on time for all but one project. Fraser now does this work full-time so is dedicating as much time as possible to Samjoko Publishing projects.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter