Dusk City Outlaws is a tabletop roleplaying game inspired by books, TV shows, and movies like The Lies of Locke Lamora, Leverage, and Ocean's Eleven, where players take on the roles of thieves belonging to the eight cartels that rule the criminal underworld of a massive fantasy city. The players come together to form a crew and take on a job, planning and executing a criminal scheme and earning the respect of their peers.
The game comes as a boxed set, with all the game materials needed for an entire gaming group to start playing. The game is designed to be easy to start playing, even on a moment's notice. Once all of the players are familiar with the rules, it takes only minutes for one player to read through the scenario while the other players quickly make characters.
Dusk City Outlaws has a streamlined rules set that uses a sleek narrative dice system and player-empowering special abilities to let the players craft a story about a daring heist or a long con without slowing the game down to consult a rulebook. Everything the players need to know stays on the table in front of them for the duration of the game. For the Judge, the game's setting is a fantasy city sandbox, and the game provides a resource system that lets the Judge easily react to player actions and providing interesting challenges and plot twists without the need for advanced preparation.
The game hits the table quickly, plays fast, and gives the players the freedom to come up with their own plan and then make it happen!
I'm Rodney Thompson, creator of both the game and setting for Dusk City Outlaws. As a game designer, I've been creating tabletop games professionally for over 15 years, including being a member of the design team for both the Star Wars Roleplaying Game Saga Edition and Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition during my nearly-a-decade's worth of time at Wizards of the Coast. I am also the co-designer of several board games, including the award-winning Lords of Waterdeep, Tyrants of the Underdark, and the upcoming Penny Arcade/Lone Shark Games collaboration, Thornwatch. Dusk City Outlaws represents my first chance to create a game and world of my own, and, with your help, this Kickstarter will let me put the game into the hands of players across the world.
But I'm not doing it alone. I've recruited a few talented friends of mine to help me out with the game in various capacities, including Joy Ang (character designer, Adventure Time), Daniel Solis (graphic designer, Kodama, Belle of the Ball), Michele Carter (editor, Dungeons & Dragons), Daniel Gelon (art, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons), developers Caitlin Hodgins and Daniel Helmick, artists Jordan Grimmer and Waclaw Wysocki, and many more! Plus, as a part of the Kickstarter, you can help us add a few more exciting creators to our game's repertoire.
The core game box set comes with everything that a group of 5 people need to play (the game can support more players, but they will need to share dice). The box set includes:
- The 24-page Player Rulebook
- The 48-page Judge Rulebook, which includes 10 ready-to-play scenarios
- The 240-page Traveler's Guide to New Dunhaven digest-sized setting book
- 16 full-color cartel sheets (two for each cartel), used in character creation
- 24 full-color specialty sheets, used in character creation
- 60-card Deck of Quirks, used in character creation
- 40-card Deck of Enemies, used by the Judge to introduce antagonists and villains
- Tear-off pad of character sheets, used to track character info
- 5 sets of percentile dice
- 4 advantage dice
- 4 challenge dice
- Cardboard token sheet, containing heat and influence tokens
Additionally, as the campaign continues, if we exceed our funding goals, there will be opportunities to add to or improve the components in the base game. More information on that below in the Kickstarter Job section.
Want to know how the game plays? I don't blame you! Watch the video below to see a crew of thieves consisting of Sam Witwer (Being Human, Smallville, Star Wars: Rebels), Spencer Crittendon (Harmonquest, Harmontown podcast), Tom Lommel (The Dungeon Bastard), and Elisa Teague (Geek Out!, Girls on Games) as they play through a scenario involving a diamond heist from a corrupt merchant jeweler.
You can also check out these replays of livestreams that have been run during the campaign:
- Penny Arcade - The Ledger Job
- Saving Throw Show - The Gunpowder Job
- Divvy the Loot - The Jailbreak Job
- Divvy the Loot - The Jailbreak Job Second Run
- Divvy the Loot - The Portrait Job
- High Rollers - The Wolf Job
Or, if audio podcasts are more your thing, you can download an actual play podcast featuring Tifa Robles, Mike Robles, Tara Theoharis, and Alexander Theoharis as they stage the kidnapping of a young noble at a masquerade ball celebrating the Regent's birthday.
Everyone that backs the game gains immediate access to PDF files that can be printed out to start playing the game today! This print-and-play package includes a PDF preview of the player rulebook, a preview of the Judge rulebook, a single scenario, and printable cartel, specialty, and character sheets. All you need to provide is dice and some kind of timer and you can be playing the game immediately.
If you start tinkering with the print-and-play and want a good place to go to discuss it, head on over to the Dusk City Outlaws Google+ community. Not only is this a great place to discuss the game with other players, we'll also be popping in from time to time to answer rules questions, talk about design philosophies, and give insights into the game as a whole.
The design of the base game components is complete, and the majority of the Player Rulebook, Judge Rulebook, and Cartel Sheets have been edited. A smaller portion of the Specialty Sheets and Traveler's Guide to New Dunhaven have been edited as well. Additionally, while some stretch goal content has already been created, some elements (for example, any of the scenarios that will be created by authors revealed in the Kickstarter Job section below) will start being written as soon as funding is achieved.
That said, playtesting and development continues through the duration of the Kickstarter, and we will be eagerly accepting feedback from anyone who downloads and plays the print-and-play rules. As such, some design tweaks will likely be made to individual game elements, though we don't anticipate any large-scale rules elements changes. You can be of huge help to us by reading through the rules and playing the game, then sending us your feedback; any opportunity we have to clarify rules or make the game more awesome is an opportunity we want to take advantage of!
Daniel Solis has completed a layout and graphic design pass on all game elements, save for any that might be unlocked later through stretch goals. Once I see that funding has been achieved, I'll start commissioning the art and completing writing or design on any game elements unlocked over the course of the campaign so that they can go to editing as soon as possible. Once all art is in, the final text and art will be laid out, and then files will go off to the manufacturer!
The Deluxe Edition of the game comes with all three upgrades listed below, at a discounted price over adding them as upgrades individually.
The Campaign Pack Upgrade
This upgrade pack comes with several items meant to make your Dusk City Outlaws campaign play easier and more flexible. The campaign pack includes:
- The Dusk City Outlaws Judge's Screen, a four-panel landscape screen featuring a full-color cityscape on the player-facing side and quick reference materials for running the game on the Judge-facing side.
- 3 extra copies of each cartel sheet, allowing you to run campaigns where every player is a member of the same cartel
- The Dusk City Outlaws: Turf Wars digital supplement, which provides structure, guidance, and additional rules elements for running campaigns where every player is a member of the same cartel
- 4 extra advantage dice
- 4 extra challenge dice
- A tear-off pad for recording campaign-specific information
Crew Member backers can add this upgrade to their rewards by increasing their pledges by $20.
Campaign Coins Metal Tokens
We're collaborating with the fine folks at Campaign Coins to produce a set of metal tokens for the game, to be used in place of the punch-out cardboard tokens included in the base game's box. These metal coins are used by players (replacing the Influence tokens) and Judges (replacing Heat tokens) alike.
Crew Member backers can add this upgrade to their rewards by increasing their pledges by $20.
The Digital Creator Pack Upgrade
If you're anything like me, one of the first things you do with a new roleplaying game is start figuring out how to create your own material for it. Got an idea for a scenario that you want to put out there for other people to play? Want to create your own cartels? Add new specialties? Hack the game into a completely different setting or system? This upgrade gives backers access to digital files used in the creation of the Dusk City Outlaws game, making it easier to produce new material that looks just like the contents of the boxed set.
The digital creator pack includes:
- Digital files for all artwork used in the game
- Digital files for all page backgrounds in the game
- Adobe InDesign templates for scenarios, cartel sheets, and specialty sheets
- Any digital templates and artwork produced for stretch goals
- License to create and distribute for free Dusk City Outlaws content
I want you to take this game and make it your own, make your own content for it, share it with others in the community, hack it, and get as much out of it as you can. This pack should help you do so, and help make the material you create look as close to the original game as possible.
All backers can add this upgrade to their rewards by increasing their pledges by $25.
I'm pleased to announce that I've teamed up with Wyrmwood Gaming to produce a batch of 20 Kickstarter-exclusive wood dice vaults & dice tray! Wyrmwood produces some amazing gaming supplies in an array of fine woods, and they've helped produce a design that is vivid and beautiful. This pairing is now available at a reward tier, Agent of the Black Council, which includes these wood components as well as the Deluxe Edition of the game. Here is a description of what they're offering, in their own words:
Wyrmwood hand crafts heirloom quality gaming accessories from the finest materials. We've teamed up to offer you a limited edition Dice Vault and Dice Tray collection. Both contrast the dark tones of Wenge with inlaid Curly Maple. Custom Dusk City Outlaws engravings on the Dice Vault, as well as the Dice Tray's leather rolling surface make this the ultimate Kickstarter exclusive.
This set is perfect for the ultimate Dusk City Outlaws play experience, giving you a beautiful, hand-crafted contained to store your advantage and challenge dice in, as well as a handsome, central location for all of your players to roll their dice, a must for any shared-dice game.
Please Note: The wood dice tray and dice vault will ship directly from Wyrmwood Gaming. As such, shipping costs on the Agent of the Black Council level cover two separate shippings: one for the Deluxe Edition of the game, and one for the wood components.
We've got a Job that needs doing, and you're going to help us put together a crew to pull it off. We're going to need a crack team of thieves to pull this one off, and the more resources and backup we have, the bigger the score.
Here's how it works: as we get more backers, we're going to add scenarios and setting hacks created by a variety of designers, authors, and creators we've conned into helping us out. If we achieve funding on the project, we're going to use our stretch goals to add more stuff—art, pages, components, etc.—to every copy of the game.
First, we need to assemble our crew. You're going to help us bring together a skilled crew of creative individuals, each one of which is going to add their own touch, via a scenario or setting hack, to the game.
The first member of the crew has been revealed: John Rogers, creator of the bad-guys-gone-good TV show Leverage, will be creating a scenario that will be included in the Dusk City Outlaws box set. John's got a lot of experience in the team-of-criminals-with-an-audacious-scheme genre, and I know he's going to cook up something great for your crew of thieves.
The second member of the crew has been revealed: Saladin Ahmed, Locus Award-winning author of Throne of the Crescent Moon and the upcoming Black Bolt comic series from Marvel! In addition to being a great guy and a friend, Saladin is a talented writer with a knack for creative worldbuilding and a diverse vision who will be creating a scenario for the box set.
The third member of the crew has been revealed: Susan Morris. I had the good fortune to work with Susan at Wizards of the Coast, where she was an editor on the Forgotten Realms novel line. Susan is also an accomplished author herself, and is the creator of Heroes of Hesiod, a take on Dungeons & Dragons designed for younger players. Susan is going to contribute a scenario for the box set.
The fourth member of the crew has been revealed: Steve Kenson. Steve is a veteran tabletop RPG designer who is responsible for some of my favorite games, including Mutants & Masterminds, ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying, and True20 Adventure Roleplaying. I’ve had the good fortune to work with Steve several times, and I wanted to tap him for his expertise in a very specific genre. Steve has written seven Shadowrun novels over the years, and he will be writing this game’s first setting hack: Neon City Outlaws, a cyberpunk hack for Dusk City Outlaws that takes the setting and changes the world from fantasy to near-future dystopia. This setting hack will be delivered digitally to everyone that backs the game at any reward tier!
The "fifth" member of the crew has been revealed, and it's a two-for-one: Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins. Also known by their digital monikers, Gabe and Tycho, Mike and Jerry are the creators of the Penny Arcade webcomic and the creators of the Eyrewood setting, which I've had the fortune to work with them on for the Thornwatch game. Mike and Jerry will be lending their creativity to the design of a scenario which will go into the box set!
The sixth member of the crew has been revealed: Scott Lynch, author of the Gentlemen Bastards series (The Lies of Locke Lamora, Red Seas Under Red Skies, Republic of Thieves). Scott's work has obviously been a huge inspiration for the setting of Dusk City Outlaws, and I'm over the moon excited about having him on the crew, writing a scenario that will go into the box set!
A Bigger Score: Stretch Goals
The best part about this Job is that the more resources our crew has at their disposal, the bigger the score is at the end of the Job. Every time we hit a stretch goal in our funding target, we're going to add or improve something that comes with the game, something that everyone who backs the game at the Crew Member level or higher will get. In other words, all stretch goals improve the rewards of every copy of Dusk City Outlaws.
UNLOCKED!—Traveler's Guide to New Dunhaven +40 Pages: If we reach this funding goal, the setting book included with the game, the Traveler's Guide to New Dunhaven, will increase in length by 40 pages. Doing so will allow me to shift some of the cartel and setting information over to the Traveler's Guide, freeing up space in the Player Rulebook to include Expanded Campaign Rules.
UNLOCKED!—Deck of Quirks: At this funding level, every copy of the game will include a 40-card Deck of Quirks. This deck is used during character creation, giving a third axis of character customization. This deck can been seen in action in the Actual Play videos, as well as in the recent Saving Throw Show livestream. Each card includes some aspect of your character’s personality or history that can be used during play to create or impact scenes. Examples of some of the cards include “Signature Weapon,” “Chosen of the Black Council,” “Ex-Blooded,” “Scribe-Perfect Memory,” and “Master Musician.” Quirks can be leveraged by the player to gain advantage dice on rolls when they are relevant, and used by the Judge to introduce new complications tied to that specific character.
UNLOCKED!—150% Art: If we reach this funding goal, the Traveler’s Guide to New Dunhaven will have 50% more full-color art than planned, providing more glimpses into the world of Dusk City Outlaws.
UNLOCKED!—The Sorcerous Specialties: At this funding level, every copy of the game will include 8 extra specialty mats, each one tied to sorcery. These specialties represent the cartels’ interests in the various shades of dark magic. Each specialty will be tied to a specific type of sorcery, from the ability to project one’s mind into the mind of a nearby animal, to the ability to sculpt the body to take on a completely new appearance, to the ability to lay hexes and curses on enemies to get them out of the way.
UNLOCKED!—Building Blueprints: If we reach this funding goal, the Traveler’s Guide to New Dunhaven will include full-page blueprints of some of the most important buildings in the setting, including district jails, counting houses, and noble estates.
UNLOCKED!—The Deck of Enemies & Scenario Building Guidelines: At this funding level, every copy of the game will include a 40-card deck of antagonists, minor villains, and major villains. One side of each card will feature full-color art of that character, and the other side will have complete statistics for using that character in the game. This deck makes it easier for the Judge to introduce complications into the game on the fly, choosing interesting enemies from the deck at a glance. Additionally, this will free up the space in the Judge Rulebook currently slated for enemy statistics, allowing for the inclusion of scenario-building guidelines in the physical product.
UNLOCKED!—Four Bonus Scenarios: If we reach this funding goal, everyone who backs the game at every reward tier will receive 4 additional scenarios for the game!
UNLOCKED!—Extra Quirk Cards: At this funding level, the size of the Deck of Quirks will increase to 60 cards. The new cards added to this deck will add more options for sorcery to the characters, allowing any character the possibility of a slight sorcerous twist to their history and capabilities.
UNLOCKED!—Companion App: If we reach this funding level, everyone who backs the game at any reward level will receive the Dusk City Outlaws Companion App. Designed to make it even easier to play the game around small tables, at conventions, or any time you are away from your box set, this app will be available for iOS, Android, Windows 10, and MacOS, and will work on both smartphones and tablets. The app will allow you to create and store characters, choosing from all cartels, specialties, and quirks that ship with the game. You'll also be able to take notes during your game, and those notes will be associated with your characters. Characters will be tied to your account, and will be accessible from all devices.
UNLOCKED!—Companion App Judge Features: At this funding level, the Dusk City Outlaws Companion App will include functionality for the Judge to use at the table, making running the game even easier. This functionality includes: Access to all enemy statistics and art from the Deck of Enemies, the ability to track current luck for specific instances of those enemies, the ability to track the size and damage of a specific instances of a squad of minions, an interactive map of the city that allows the Judge to alter which districts are the turf of which cartels (integrating the mechanics of the Turf Wars supplement). This stretch goal also includes the ability for the player to track and change their characters' current luck and Influence. Additionally, this stretch goal will add the ability for the Judge to quickly generate random NPCs, locations, obstacles, names, and other things for use in-game, all at a few taps.
UNLOCKED!—Companion App Expanded Features: If we reach this funding level, the Dusk City Outlaws Companion App will include a personal die roller, as well as mechanical integration for those dice with your character. This will allow you to automatically track the loss of luck from pushing your luck, as well as automatically include advantage or challenge dice on a roll, based on your character's mechanics. This will also integrate other mechanics, such as the Sharpshooter's ability to ignore drawbacks when shooting someone, and quickly show you the final results of any roll you make, keeping your character's mechanics in mind.
UNLOCKED!—Rare Characters Expansion: At this funding level, every copy of the game will come with additional cartel sheets and specialty sheets, adding more rare characters to the game. This will allow you to play an agent of the Church of the Silver Judge, or a criminal from the cartel that was driven out of the city when the Arrangement went into place, as well as the sorcerous specialties associated with each of those two groups, plus a few more surprises.
Risks and challenges
The biggest risk to the project right now is the art, most of which has not yet been commissioned. To commission the art I need the funding of the Kickstarter. It takes time to commission art, and then have it delivered, thus risking a delay in delivery if there are any issues.
There are always unexpected problems that might pop up when it comes to manufacturing a physical game, especially one that comes as a boxed set. I'm doing everything in my power to give everyone plenty of time to get the game manufactured and delivered, even with unexpected delays.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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