Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 3, 2013.

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A roleplaying game (RPG) set in the universe of Elite: Dangerous. Endorsed by Frontier Developments.

The goal of this campaign is to develop and produce a pen and paper roleplaying game (RPG) set in the universe of Elite: Dangerous, the upcoming third sequel to the original space simulation Elite.

20 years in the making, Elite: Dangerous looks set to redefine the genre its predecessor created, adding stunning visuals, a uniquely customisable multiplayer concept and an ever-changing immersive universe to explore, fight or trade in.

Elite Encounters, the first official roleplaying game set in the Elite universe,aims to take the experience to another level - away from the computer, onto the tabletop and into the imagination. 

The target for this campaign is to purchase a Writer's Pack from Frontier Developments as specified in the original Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter campaign and to cover the costs of this fundraising campaign. In return for the trust and generosity of the pledgers I will write and produce an original and professional roleplaying game that will be easy and fun to play for gamers of all levels of experiences, and make that game available in a large-format book with the support of Frontier Developments. I will also produce the reward products I have offered to the best quality I can provide.

Stretch goals are targets that can be set if the funding goes above its original target. I've broken down the original stretch goals and introduced intermediate goals. Production costs include proofreading, editing, enhanced POD services like colour printing and other physical delivery options that have not been taken into account in the initial costings of the project. Note that a portion of the production costs will be self-funded and not passed onto the pledgers.

Further stretch goals will be added if the funding looks like it will go past £10,000.

Roleplaying games,commonly known as RPGs, are games where a group of people get together and create a story through their own choices and preferences. One player acts as the story's narrator, guiding the other players in their roles as the story's characters, whose skills and abilities are recorded on a character sheet. The players can act out the events their characters participate in, using dice rolls to determine the success or failure of actions that can't be acted (such as combat or piloting, for example).

Roleplaying is a social event. Players travel to each other's houses, bringing their character sheets, dice and stationery as well as snacks and drinks, and spend a fun filled couple of hours talking, laughing and having fun. Although modern multiplayer computer or console games go a long way towards emulating this interaction, it's good to be able to hand over a quickly scribbled note in secret to a colleague in your adventuring party and watch everyone else's eyes narrow in suspicion...

RPGs and computer games have always had a close relationship. Many computer games have been based on RPGs, such as the successful Neverwinter Nights and Eye of the Beholder series that were based on Dungeons and Dragons - one of the very first RPGs to become hit the big time. Legends say that elements of Elite itself can be traced back to the science fiction RPG Traveller, which gave rise to its own series of adventure games in the Megatraveller franchise.

Elite Encounters plans to turn that trend the other way: an RPG based on a computer game franchise!

Every pledge of £10 or more (£15 if the early-bird specials have ran out) will get a copy of the RPG in the eBook format of their choice. If you pledge a little bit more then you get three separate formats of the eBook suitable for all sorts of mobile devices or computer. 

Each eBook contains the full set of rules for character generation and for general play of the game. It will also contain player character templates, space ship statistics, rules for a miniature-based combat simulator game and some sample adventures to help you get used to the rules and the universe. It will also contain some short stories and background information on the fictional setting of Elite: Dangerous to give you a taste of what life in a Dangerous universe can be like.

The next level of pledges will get you some printable goodies, some of which you get to customise yourself. For example you can have a customised card model kit of the player ship from original Elite or you get the chance to have one of the game's miniatures designed to YOUR specification.

Higher level pledges will get you intimately involved in the game's design through the Game Developer or Playtester forums or let you have YOUR work published in the RPG through the Artists and Story packs.

The highest level pledges will let you name a space station, planet or even a STAR SYSTEM that will feature in both the RPG's sample adventures and in the Elite: Dangerous computer game itself! They are expensive but well worth it, as your vision will be immortalised in an online game that will be played by thousands of people across the globe.

The chart below shows what rewards are included in each pledge level. It's quite large so if you find the image below difficult to read please click here for a larger, scalable version.

NOTE: The 500 word pledge pack has now been INCREASED to a 750 word pack, allowing for more depth to your story. The pledge price is still the same, and now includes membership of the Frontier Developments private writer's forum, where you can submit your story to the Elite Dangerous dev team directly. The 1000 word pledge pack also now includes writer's forum membership.

None of these pledges pay for my own work in designing and writing this book - that I give you for free. Your pledges will only go towards things that will improve the final product and ensure that it's a worthy addition to your book collection.

Reward Options

If you increase your pledge but don't increase your reward, you can use that increased pledge to claim reward options. For example if you pledge £35 but only claim the £30 reward then you can use that extra £5 to buy Options.

The options on offer are:

+ £1 : You receive a limited edition 6-sided die as described in the dice pledges

+ £2 : You receive a laminated copy of the quick reference sheet from the rulebook

+ £3 : You receive a signed, personalised copy of the rulebook. This is intended for the Loose Leaf and POD versions, but if you really want me to digitally sign and personalise your eBook copy I will do that for you too! I will scribble my X and add your choice of personal message on one of the front pages of the book.

+ £5 : additional DRM-free eBook copy of the rulebook, either supplied as a complete eBook or split into multiple files for ease of use on older or smaller electronic devices (remember to specify the format you want when contacted by me after the Kickstarter).

+ £5 : You receive a limited edition card model miniature of yourself or your RPG "character" designed to your specification

+ £5 : You receive a limited edition Coriolis space station card model designed to your specification.

+ £5 : You receive a gatefold GM screen with quick reference data and as much useful info as will fit inside as well as a black and white concept art piece on the back to give the players something interesting to look at... You will also receive an electronic copy of the screen.

+ £5 : I'll draw you a comic caricature in my own unique style based on either your own image or your character (or whatever, as long as it doesn't breach someone's copyright) in the environment of your choice (see update 16) and send it to you electronically.

+ £10 : You receive a gatefold GM screen with quick reference data and as much useful info as will fit inside as well as a full-colour concept art piece on the back to give the players something even more interesting to look at!  You will also receive an electronic copy of the screen.

+ £10 : I'll draw you a comic caricature in my own unique style based on either your own image or your character (or whatever, as long as it doesn't breach someone's copyright) in the environment of your choice (see update 16) and send you a printed copy of it on either A5 or A4 glossy paper! The £5 comic option is included in this price. Oh, and you get the electronic file as well!

+ £12 : You receive 12 6-sided dice and get a FREE clear plastic display box to keep 'em in!!

Note that you can claim more than one option. For example if you've pledged £7 over your chosen reward price, you can claim a Coriolis model and two dice, or you can have seven dice! Hopefully more options will be added later.

Elite Encounters will offer players the chance to take on a specific role in the Elite: Dangerous universe. Rules will be written to create a character with specific attributes and skills and to allow that character to interact with the universe around him or her. The game will build on the richly textured background already in existence for Elite and its sequels, and the even more detailed background being prepared for Elite: Dangerous.  For the first time ever, pen-and-paper roleplaying will be an offical part of the Elite universe.

Elite Encounters will also feature simple miniatures rules allowing the players to simulate spaceship combat, with a system fully integrated into the roleplaying game mechanics. The pledge rewards include a chance to design your own ship miniature and have it included in the game.

The handbook will contain pre-defined templates for the major character archetypes found in Elite: Dangerous - trader, courier, bounty hunter, pirate and assassin - as well as some new concepts developed specially for the RPG. If you ever wanted to be a space station administrator or a law enforcement officer here's your chance. Alternatively you can make up your own career choices using fully featured character generation rules. The intent is to create a character generation system that is quick and easy and doesn't get in the way of the game itself. I remember far too many games where two or more game sessions were spent just generating the character. That's not the intention for Encounters.

One thing I'm aiming for with the game mechanics is to be able to place games in any era of the Elite universe: players will be able to take on roles in original Elite era (latter half of the 32nd century), Frontier and First Encounters eras (33rd century) or the new era of Elite: Dangerous.

The book will also contain background and historical information about the setting for the games in a similar manner to Frontier and First Encounters' Gazetteers. This will, hopefully, be authorised and approved by Frontier Development before release to ensure that the products are aligned completely before release.

All in all it will be a sizeable book. Presented in a format around the same dimensions as either A4 or US Letter size pages (the same as the majority of RPG sourcebooks), it should weigh in at between 200 and 300 pages, maybe more depending on how much depth is provided in backgrounds and character templates. The hope is that the book will contain artwork and short stories, either from the author of the book or from those who pledge for the right to include their work in the book.

The intent is to produce the book electronically, with options to send as PDF, ePub or mobi files. The reward books will be DRM-free, but the books made available to the public may include DRM. The choice to go initially with electronic formats is based on two things - firstly, the electronic format will make it easier to transport (via computer, smartphone, tablet or e-reader) and thus easier to search and check information on and secondly, production costs on a physical copy of a large-format book will push production costs to a high level. If this Kickstarter raises a total substantially higher than the £5,250 required to cover the license costs, then the possibility of physical copies will be looked into, including print-on-demand and limited print runs. In the eventuality of physical printing the likelihood is that a softcover book would be the result.

The miniatures will be produced as PDF files for printing onto card and assembling. Again, if funds raised are high enough to make it possible investigations will be started to look into having the miniatures professionally produced and posted.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

This Kickstarter campaign is my first, and hopefully I will learn more about it as I go along. I will make mistakes, and I apologise, but I hope you will be patient with me. My untested video making skills and lack of experience in front of a camera will hopefully not be too offensive and that you'll laugh with me as I mess it up.

I intend for the updates to be frequent as the campaign progresses and I hope that I can put together content and information that you will find interesting and that will tempt you to pledge.

On completion of the campaign, the real work starts. Inventing a gaming system involves a lot of different elements, and the challenge is making sure that those elements fit together logically and provide a consistent gaming experience.

And, of course, fulfilling the pledge promises!

The initial concept for the website is live now but is starved for content at the moment: this will change during this campaign, hopefully. The forums that are mentioned in the pledges should be up and running by June, but hopefully will be much earlier.

Thank you for reading and if you've decided to pledge, I thank you. If you haven't, then please consider just pledging a single pound or a couple of dollars. Together, we will get this roleplaying game made!

FAQ

  • At the moment the plan is to develop one specifically for this game. Briefly, the reasons behind this are to ensure that I can be flexible enough to incorporate concepts from Elite: Dangerous and to allow me to develop a miniatures gaming system alongside it that again can be based on the Elite: Dangerous system. Part of the reason is also that I want to make sure that this campaign gets its money's worth and that I set myself a challenge.

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  • The money raised from the KS will pay for the Writer's Pack and the associated Kickstarter costs. If any more than the total is raised then the stretch goals will be the first of the real, material things that can be paid for with the funds raised - they will be expanded on when stretch goals are published. The kickstarter target was reached by roughly calculating the cost of the Writer's Pack and the KS costs.

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  • No, I haven't published an RPG, but I have written several systems. The most significant was the Elite RPG I produced and played for a year at university. I have spent the last two decades looking into the options for producing a game, and my vision of an easy, accessible RPG may now be achievable using eBooks and self-publishing methods. I have experience and enthusiasm and a knowledge of tabletop and roleplaying games that spans many genres and styles, and I think that should give me enough of a grounding to be able to write a good, fun to play game that will appeal to a mass market.

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  • One of the strongest pieces of advice I was given when planning this Kickstarter was to make sure that rewards or goals revolved around stuff I know well. I know card modelling well, and have designed several card models both in and out of the Elite universe. As such, offering custom card models, designed in my own time, seemed like a great idea. If you're not into card modelling, I can heartily recommend it as a cheap, fun and fulfilling hobby.

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  • I may not have published a game system before but I have spent the last 20 years playing RPGs both on the tabletop and on the computer, and that wide-ranging experience has given me knowledge of what works and what doesn't work. I know what's fun to play and what's tedious, and the opinions of others around me have been noted and logged. For example, an RPG session should be about getting into the game quickly and making progress in your story, not spending two sessions generating a character then each session slowing to a crawl when combat starts and everyone starts leafing through the rulebook. I want to develop a system that's smooth and flowing.

    I've been around Elite for longer even than I've been around roleplaying, and I have spent countless hours, weeks and years immersing myself in the universe as even a quick glance around my website can tell you. I can therefore create a richly textured game environment by incorporating what I know and what I am getting from my involvement with the Frontier forums. In particular, my involvement with the development of the Elite universe history will provide me with a unique perspective on that to include in the development of the non-system areas of the rulebook.

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  • I don't intend to have any leftover funds. The targets have hopefully been calibrated to mean that I will only use your funds to pay for exactly what is specified in the Kickstarter as well as any overheads directly related to producing the products described in the target, the rewards and the stretch goals.

    At the moment the only things with an undefined cost are hardcopy prints of the book (both POD and the limited print run). I can't be more specific on those due to the fact that I won't know how many pages the bookwill have or what will be on the pages until it's finished and the cost for most printing is based on both of those things. I'm aiming for between 300 and 400 pages at A4 size with about 10-20 whole pages of black and white graphics and will find the best quote I can get to produce as many as I can. I will also look into RPG or gaming shops that would be willing to stock the book and any costs associated with that will be figured into the final totals.

    If any unforeseen costs are encountered then rest assured that I will keep backers fully notified on what their funds are being used for.

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    Your name in a list of “thank you” notifications on the RPG’s official website.

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    Link your name to a website and social networking pages of your choice, listed alongside your entry in the “thank you” notifications on the RPG’s official website (all links must be family-friendly and not of an offensive nature).

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    A personalised electronic thank-you card will be sent to your email address featuring some Elite-related imagery created by the campaign author (not any of the imagery from the Artist's Pack pledge level).

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    132 backers Limited (68 left of 200)

    Early bird special! A single DRM-free, numbered electronic copy of the book in one of either ePub, PDF or mobi format.

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    A single DRM-free, numbered electronic copy of the book in one of either ePub, PDF or mobi format. Does not include the £10 pledge reward.

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    22 backers Limited (3 left of 25)

    Single Ebook Dice Reward: You will receive 2 limited-edition six-sided dice produced ONLY for pledgers to this Kickstarter. The dice are customised with the Elite game logo outlined in silver on the 6 side. This reward is not included in any other pledge levels. See the campaign description for a picture of the dice.

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    MULTIPLE FORMAT Early Bird Special! A DRM-free, numbered electronic copy of the book in ePub, PDF AND mobi formats (three copies of the book). Does not include the £10 or £15 pledge reward.

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    MULTIPLE FORMAT OFFER! A DRM-free, numbered electronic copy of the book in ePub, PDF and mobi formats (three copies of the book). Does not include the £10, £15 or £20 pledge reward. This will be the eBook reward received by everyone who pledges at this level and higher.

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    9 backers Limited (16 left of 25)

    Multiple Ebook Dice Reward: You will receive 2 limited-edition six-sided dice produced ONLY for pledgers to this Kickstarter. The dice are customised with the Elite game logo outlined in silver on the 6 side. This reward is not included in any other pledge levels. See the campaign description for a picture of the dice.

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    6 backers

    Have your name included in a “thank you” section at the rear of the book on a page that outlines the history of the project including this campaign.

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    Miniatures Pack: Two custom designed, unique card model miniatures depicting your character and your customised ship (from the available ships in Elite: Dangerous). The miniatures will be unique to you and not included with the actual book. It can also, if you wish, be available as a download from the RPG's official website. The miniatures will be provided to you as a high-resolution A4-format PDF file with the ship and character miniature pieces and instructions to print and build the miniatures. You will be asked to provide me with a description of your character (including a photo of your face for me to draw from if you want the miniature to look like you) and you can specify a design to be applied to the ship including a decal of your choice (dependent on copyright and fair-use restrictions). The longer delivery date on this pledge is to ensure that the work in designing and drawing an unknown amount of character miniature models could impact on the time to produce the book so it will be done after the book has been written.

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    7 backers

    A limited edition (only available to pledgers), personalised card model of a classic Elite-era Cobra Mk III, provided as a high-resolution PDF file to be printed on a single sheet of A4 card. The ship’s markings will be commemorative of the Elite: Dangerous release and an aspect of one or more of the adventures included with the RPG and will include a registry number and ship name of your choice on the hull and base. The model kit will be designed and created from scratch especially for this drive and not based on an existing model already produced by myself or anyone else. Some additional time may be required to personalise the model depending on how many pledges are received.

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    Cobra Wallpaper: a full colour image of your card model Cobra, taken from the source 3D model, made into an exciting scene you can use as a wallpaper image for your computer, tablet or phone. You can specify any text, names or message to be included in the image. Some additional time may be required to draw the wallpaper depending on how many pledges are received.

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    3 backers Limited (97 left of 100)

    Drabble! Write a 100 word paragraph to be included as a sidebar or quote in the rulebook. Content should be an anecdote, description or comment on something relevant to the Elite Dangerous universe and should include a name to attribute the quote or anecdote to (obviously family friendly and the name will not be included in the 100 word limit). Content may be subject to editing and approval by Frontier Developments. This pledge level is not included in higher level rewards.

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    Loose Leaf Pack: In addition to the eBook Multiple Pack and the other rewards above, you will receive a printed, loose-leaf A4 copy of the book produced by myself. It will be double side laser printed and hole punched to be contained in a ring binder or level arch file. The copy will not have a full-colour cover, but an electronic copy of the cover will be provided in a high-resolution PDF to be printed separately. A set of miniatures will be printed onto card and included with the package. The loose-leaf format is useful for gamers who only want to take a section of the book with them or who want to be able to easily remove templates, quick reference or character sheet pages for easy copying. If you choose this pledge the Drabble pledge is also included. This reward is included with ALL higher reward levels BUT (and this is important) the Drabble pledge WILL NOT BE included unless THIS specific pledge is selected. UK shipping will be included in the pledge cost. International shipping will be provided, but will be subject to additional postage cost.

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    Ships within the UK only
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    3 backers Limited (22 left of 25)

    Loose Leaf Dice Reward: You will receive 2 limited-edition six-sided dice produced ONLY for pledgers to this Kickstarter. The dice are customised with the Elite game logo outlined in silver on the 6 side. This reward is not included in any other pledge levels. See the campaign description for a picture of the dice.

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    2 backers Limited (48 left of 50)

    Design your own miniature to be included alongside the RPG miniatures rules. You will be able to pick any class of ship from those in the game and specify a design to be applied including a decal of your choice (dependent on copyright and fair-use restrictions). You will also be supplied with a high resolution copy of the image used to create the miniature with blurb of your choice on it. A dedication plaque will also be provided with the ship’s name, identifying details and your choice of owner name. This pledge level will not be included with higher level pledges.

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    BETA Tester: You will be given access to a pre-release copy of the rules as well as ship, character and equipment sections to allow you to play, review and test the game. The rules set will be as complete as possible, but since the book's content is tied to the development of the game some elements may be missing. This will be provided so you can try out the rules and provide some feedback to the developers to help improve and refine the game before the final release in March/April 2014. You will also be credited in the rulebook under the title of "Beta Testers". Illustrations, graphics, expanded and background content will not be included with the beta release documentation. This reward will be included with ALL higher reward levels. Note that the Beta testing phase will begin in or around November 2103. The Playtester Pack is distinct from this pledge in that it allows access to the game system as it is developed, with initial playtesting (or Alpha testing) scheduled for June/July 2013.

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    Sidewinder Captain: A limited edition (only available to pledgers), personalised card model of the Elite Dangerous version of the Sidewinder, reputed to be the default player ship in ED, provided as a high-resolution PDF file to be printed on a single sheet of A4 card. The ship’s markings will be commemorative of the Elite: Dangerous release and will include a registry number and ship name of your choice on the hull and base. The model kit will be designed and created from scratch especially for this drive based on the concept art released in Frontier Developments first Elite: Dangerous newsletter. Some additional time may be required to personalise the model depending on how many pledges are received.

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    Sidewinder Wallpaper: your customised ship design from the Sidewinder reward will feature in a full colour image you can use as a wallpaper for your computer, tablet or phone. You can specify any text, names or message to be included in the image. Some additional time may be required to draw the wallpaper depending on how many pledges are received.

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    Namedropper: Choose a name to be featured in the main text of the book as the source of a quote, an anecdote, a line of dialogue in one of the short stories or even as a non-player character in one of the three adventures. The name can be your own, your Elite Dangerous NPC or character name or even just one you've made up. Note that copyrighted names or reserved names in Elite Dangerous will not be allowed, and final approval may need to be sought from Frontier Developments.

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    4 backers

    POD Pack: A single print-on-demand copy of the book will be produced especially for YOU. The book will be printed in A4 size perfect bound paperback format with FULL-COLOUR front and back cover. The miniatures cards will not be supplied with the book but will be provided separately on cardstock by me personally. Note that this reward is not part of the print run stretch goal. UK postage is included in the reward price. International shipping is available but will be charged separately.

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    Ships within the UK only
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    12 backers Limited (13 left of 25)

    POD Dice Reward: You will receive 2 limited-edition six-sided dice produced ONLY for pledgers to this Kickstarter. The dice are customised with the Elite game logo outlined in silver on the 6 side. This reward is not included in any other pledge levels. See the campaign description for a picture of the dice.

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    4 backers

    Have your name (including a nickname or internet “handle”) included in a “special thanks” section at the front of the book alongside the author and playtesters.

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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    750 Words Pack: Write a brief, 750 word work of fiction to be included in the rulebook. Content will be subject to approval and review by Frontier Developments, and the reward includes access to the private writers' forum on the Frontier Developments website. 750 words isn't a lot, so the subject should be a simple premise and provide a little colour for the Elite: Dangerous universe. This pledge level will not be included with higher level pledges.

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    1 backer

    Membership to the “Game Development Forum” – a private online bulletin board where you can directly make suggestions related to the development of the mechanics for the roleplaying game. Your name will also be included in a “Developed By” section at the front of the book.

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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    Artist’s Pack: have your own Elite-related artwork included in the book. Whether it be line drawing or full-colour artwork, a ship scene or a character drawing this pledge level will allow your art to be featured in the book. Any station or ship drawings would have to be relevant to the Elite: Dangerous content seen at the time of release and must be provided in electronic format before January 2014. Artwork may be subject to approval by Frontier Developments. This pledge level will not be included with higher level pledges.

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    2 backers All gone!

    Write a 1000-word short story to be included in the rulebook. Content will be subject to quality control and approval by Frontier Developments. You will be fully credited for the story within the book and on the title page. This pledge level will not be included with higher level pledges.

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    2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)

    Playtester Pack: you will be an official playtester for the game system. You will be given early access to the ruleset and the character creation instructions and will be granted the ability to run games of Elite: Encounters in order to test the rules and provide feedback to the author. This will allow the game to be released in a balanced condition and be “fun” without the risk of some character types being overpowered compared to others. Access to an online system will be granted to consult or play with other playtesters online and access to a Playtesters Forum will be set up to allow the results and feedback to be shared. Copyrighted content may be subject to non-disclosure agreements at the discretion of Frontier Developments.

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    0 backers Limited (20 left of 20)

    Become a character in one of the three sample adventures included in the rulebook. You will get to name the character and define the character’s history, attributes and personality as well as his or her ship and career. You will also get to choose whether your character helps or hinders the players in the adventure. If your character has a ship a counter for it will be included in the counter sheets for the ship combat rules. Your character details will need to be received by September 2013 and final approval of the concept will rely on feedback from Frontier Developments. This pledge level will not be included with higher level pledges.

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    0 backers Limited (3 left of 3)

    Define the primary antagonist in one of the three sample adventures included in the rulebook. You will get to name the character and define the character’s history, attributes and personality as well as his or her homeworld (or station), ship, career and motivations. Basically the adventure would be created around that character specification (although some negotiation may be necessary between you and the author to ensure that the three adventures were unique). If your character has a ship a counter for it will be included in the counter sheets for the ship combat rules. Your character details will need to be received by September 2013 and final approval of the concept will rely on feedback from Frontier Developments. This pledge level will not be included with higher level pledges.

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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    Name A Space Station: Yes, that's right, YOU get to name a space station (within boundaries of taste and decency) that will be used in one of the three sample adventures included with the roleplaying game and will also be included in the Elite: Dangerous game. This reward is not included in higher pledges.

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    Name A Planet: live the dream and have a whole planet named after you (or given any name you prefer within boundaries of taste and decency) that will be used in one of the three sample adventures included with the game. The planet will also be included in the actual Elite: Dangerous computer game. This reward is not included in higher pledges.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge £500 or more
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    Name A Star System: Provide the name for the star system that will be used in one of the three sample adventures included with the roleplaying game (name must be within boundaries of taste and decency). The planet will also be included in the actual Elite: Dangerous computer game. This reward is not included in higher pledges.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (30 days)