At Shades of Vengeance, we believe that a huge universe full of possibilities is something that tabletop role-playing games can offer in a way that other games can't.
Our goal is simple - we want the players to focus on playing the game, while still having the chance of failure, instead of worrying about following overly complex rules. Reaching that balance is the focus of our game design efforts!
With the experience we have gained from the critically-acclaimed Era: The Consortium and Era: Survival, the Shades of Vengeance team have formed a superhero universe which offers every gameplay type for that genre. Working with a 15-year veteran of the comics industry, we've constructed a world which will let you play any type of story you can imagine!
The 300-page Era: The Empowered Core Rulebook is built with the player in mind, using the Era d10 Rule Set. Even with the vast amount of possible character builds, Empowered abilities (superpowers), choices and outcomes, Era: The Empowered is a easy and simple game to play.
Era: The Empowered is a Tabletop RPG based in a world where superpowers are real. Across the world, individuals are emerging as heroes and villains.
You will play as one of these "Empowered" with remarkable abilities. Whether your ability is to harness the power of flame, read others' minds or super strength, both sides will be interested in you...
Five years in the making, Era: The Empowered offers an opportunity for balanced characters with all types of abilities, from super strength to resurrection! The innovative Power Tree mechanic, designed and integrated into the Era d10 rule set for this game, provides the opportunity to build whatever powers you want.
The game's timeline follows through 5 years, during which the first telltale signs of Empowered appear, Atlantis's forces rise from the ocean to attack the surface, the return of the Old Gods and culminates in the formation of the Empowered Department.
Through these events, it's possible to play any type of superhero game you like, just by choosing where in the timeline the characters exist!
Want to know more about the story? EraScapes and Ed are working together to produce short audio stories for Era: The Empowered during the Kickstarter! Listen below:
Want to know what gameplay is like? Ed ran a play session with a couple of fans, who consented to be videoed during it! Here's what a typical short session might look like:
(Note: The artwork and character sheets used in this video are the old style and won't be present in the Rulebook!)
Here's an example of character creation for Blue-Shift, a speedster!
A character in Era: The Empowered has a "Power Tree", which is populated by a "Base Power" and "Power Development Areas".
The Base Power is quite broad and will allow use of the powers in unexpected ways, but the Power Development Areas are applications of the power which the character has trained in, meaning they are easier to use.
The Power Development Areas can house various power levels of abilities, meaning that everything from a slight increase in Strength when having an adrenaline rush to the ability to resurrect the dead can be expressed in the tree in a balanced way!
I made a short video explaining how the Power Tree works, what the Power Development Areas mean and how you choose what your tree looks like:
As is usual with the Era d10 Rule Set, characters will also have Quirks (which describe a negative personality trait such as arrogance or paranoia), Backstories and Morals, which will have a mechanical as well as a roleplaying effect on the characters.
The Era d10 ruleset is a lightweight and dynamic system which is designed to help the players experience everything from suspense-filled moments to epic combat with superpowers to computer hacking with equal ease. It's also designed to provide benefits to those who roleplay their characters well, promoting the core skills that are transferable between every game.
It's designed to allow you to experience this universe in a way that is as smooth as possible without being unrepresentative - the focus is on you and your choices, but they have every possibility of failure, especially if you're not skilled in what you attempt.
By choosing your skills carefully, your character can focus their powers into their superhuman abilities, dominate in any of five forms of combat, talk their way out of any situation or protect their teammates from harm.
Players roll a number of d10s, attempting to roll higher than a given Success Threshold. The more dice they roll above the Threshold, the more Successes they achieve.
The Threshold rises as the action becomes more difficult to accomplish and the number of dice increases as a player becomes more skilled. While one Success might achieve a positive result, the more Successes achieved, the better the outcome is for the player.
Of course, things can also go wrong - if you roll more 1s than Successes, you will Fumble. This leads to varying (though usually hilarious!) results, particularly when playing with superpowers. And of course, the harder an action is, the more likely it is you will Fumble!
Here are some example rolls to show you how it works:
(Apologies - we tried to embed the video, but Kickstarter wouldn't let us!)
The number of dice is defined using an Attribute and Skill system, which each define their own areas of influence, you roll your dice depending on what you're attempting. whether Dexterity + Engineering for a precision piece of work, Intelligence + Engineering for a more theoretical problem or Luck + Engineering for a complete long shot, you'll be able to adapt to your circumstances and focus on your strengths.
Want to see Era: The Empowered in action? Here's a 1 hour real play session!
N.B. In it, we use the older character sheets. They have been redesigned: See the "Your Character" Section for more details!
Dice and Stuff ran a 5-part Era: The Empowered podcast, "Cowl Cops" to show off the system. You can listen to the campaign here. They are now continuing this campaign with an additional 5 episodes, to be released during the Kickstarter!
As always, Ed did a Q&A with Dan from RPG.net chat when the Rulebook Primer was released in October 2015! You can see the log here.
Another Q&A took place for this Kickstarter, which you can find here!
Ed also did an interview with Jonathan from Farsight Blogger! He talked about the game, comics, what makes it different and more.
Ed and Leo did a video podcast with the guys from BAMF podcast, and it's right here! If you're wondering why you should get this game over other superhero RPGs out there, we discuss that in some detail, with some comments from the hosts on what they think is interesting!
Talking About Games, someone who has reviewed many of the books we've put out, had a few thoughts about our Kickstarter, which he decided to share in a video:
We've been running games of Era: The Empowered at conventions for years now. We even managed to get the cast of The Few, a superhero webseries, to play Era: The Empowered! None of them had any experience roleplaying, so it was an interesting experience all around! Here's what they thought:
(by way of explanation, one of the characters used a "shadow gag" to shut the enemy up towards the end of the session...!)
Ed did an AMA on Tales of the Empowered which brought up a lot of questions about the universe and the game! Check it out here.
Praise for Era: The Empowered
"A great way to balance superhero characters! Works well!"
"I wasn't sure when I started, because I've not played any RPGs before, but I found it easy to learn and play."
"It became a fast favourite for our group! We've added it into our regular rotation of games."
Risks and challenges
This is Shades of Vengeance's 28th crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter, including multiple Core Rulebooks.
While we haven't been mistake-free, we've always delivered on or ahead of time (except for two occasions, where a delay was agreed with Backers to give them more content!). We use each successive Kickstarter to build on the lessons learned from the previous, and we learn fast. At this point, we're confident in our ability to deliver the rewards we're committing to and to keep you informed if there are any delays.
The biggest individual challenge for this Kickstarter is managing a team of artists and writers from all over the world. We all live in different timezones, so coordinating is a huge logistical challenge. Ed's a Project Manager by trade and has some experience in this area, however!
We're dedicated first and foremost to continuing delivering you the best material we can, and secondly to bring it to you on time. We hope you'll support our efforts to do that!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (26 days)