Dortoka: an OSR + PbtA City Module
Plunder the dead metropolis on the Sea of Glass in this OSR urban toolkit and setting guide
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Thu, October 4 2018 6:00 PM UTC +00:00.
Dortoka: City on the Sea of Glass is a city-building toolkit and adventure module designed to work with Vagabonds of Dyfed. Because of its origin, it’s semi-compatible with most OSR systems (such as B/X and Labyrinth Lord) and PbtA games (such as Dungeon World).
Inspired by magical post-apocalyptic settings like Dark Sun mixed with fantastical and wild cities like Vornheim, Dortoka is a compact supplement that lets you build your own incomprehensibly massive fallen metropolis.
As a product built for Vagabonds, it comes with additional mechanics -- a new lineage, new techniques, and guidelines on psionics. While made for a specific game in mind, these rules are easy to port into your game of choice. And, if you’d like to pick up a copy of Vagabonds at a reduced price, this Kickstarter is a great way to do so!
The module is about fifty pages, fully edited, illustrated, and laid out in an old-school but clean style. It’s packed with tables, rules, and details to build out an adventure (or entire campaign) in the ruins of a fabled capital at the heart of a glassed desert. Insectoid hives, possessed cities, cruel gladiator games, mind-bending expanses of blasted landscape, and more!
The first chunk of the book focuses on how to incorporate Dortoka (or Dark Sun inspired cities) into your campaign, especially for those playing Vagabonds or similar games.
- Basics and intro: evocative details, a brief write up, and tips on how to bring Dortoka into a new or existing game
- Psionics: a combination of rules and setting information; psionics play a key role in Dortoka and the surrounding Sea of Glass. Guidelines on how to acquire and use psionic powers, how they can go wrong, and what they might cost an unwary psion who opened their mind too greedily
- A new lineage, the Hozka: an insectoid people inspired by Thri-Kreen and Formics, this species has a tenuous hive-mind, latent psionic abilities, and impressive strength
- New techniques: short and punchy special abilities not unlike spells or feats in other systems
- Dortokan enemies: a handful of setting-specific monster stat blocks for Dortokan bad guys (including a demonically possessed dragon and the glass-and-steel constructs left behind by the Dortokan Mind Lords)
The rest of the book’s all about how you can build your version of Dortoka as you play. Each section has tables, examples, and tips to make the best out of your time:
- Organizational structure: a quick outline to help you mentally (or physically) map out Dortoka, splitting things into distinct wards and blocks
- Randomizing streets, blocks, and landmarks: a system for quickly randomizing a cartographic view of a block or a few streets. Likewise, you can generate key areas in a given region (and how hotly contested they are)
- The city as a pointcrawl: advice and techniques for running a city-exploration game as a pointcrawl; focusing on points of interest and the routes connecting them
- Tables and tables and tables: descriptor tables, bits of inspirational details, color-palettes, themes, and adventure seeds for each “class” of ward (from warrens to palatial)
- Six sample wards: a complete (albeit unmapped) ward for each class including key resources, population, and details
While the city’s all but empty -- the once invincible Dortokan Empire is mostly peopled by ghosts now -- hundreds of factions scrape together a living in the psychic mirage of a wasteland that is the City on the Sea of Glass.
- Organization randomization: twelve tables to randomize every aspect of a faction from how it’s structured to its armament and current struggles
- Details: as with cities, details and inspiration for factions that the GM can plop in at will
- Rumors: a rumor table related to each type of faction, setting up encounters, adventure arcs, or quests
- NPC tables: quick NPCs on the go, name generators, and all manner of people-specific descriptions
- Six sample factions: organization, structure, territory, goals, and resources to easily insert into your game
There’s a title generator, quick missions and bounties, brand new (and beautiful!) illustrations, and examples interspersed throughout the book.
The Book Itself
- Black and white, square format, two columns
- Internally hyperlinked and bookmarked
- Print on demand from DriveThru RPG
- Black and white, square format, two columns
- Heaviest paper available at DT
We’re sticking with our format for other Vagabonds products -- 8.5” x 8.5” square format, black and white interior, softcover color exterior. We order the heaviest paper we can to ensure the best print-on-demand durability available.
The book’s layout is meant to be easy to reference at the table or to print out a page or two at a time to use as a handout. With two columns (except for some tables) and plenty of white space, it’s easy to quickly find what you’re looking for.
The PDF will be fully bookmarked and internally linked. And, if we have time and sufficient support (read: not a stretch goal) we’ll release a unique “phone-friendly” single column version too.
Wait, What’s Vagabonds?
You can pick up Vagabonds of Dyfed and Dortoka during this Kickstarter for a reduced, bundle price.
We hate to send you to another page, but the DriveThru listing does a very thorough job describing the game. If you’d rather not be bothered to go through all that (we can’t blame you!) then here’s a quick outline:
Vagabonds of Dyfed is designed to emulate old-school rpgs with streamlined mechanics. It focuses on “traditional” emergent storytelling and fictional positioning, while leveraging a cut-down Powered by the Apocalypse mechanic.
Vagabonds picks the pockets of greater games: World of Dungeons, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Barbarians of Lemuria, Blades in the Dark, City of Mist, the Black Hack and the White Hack, and of course Moldvay’s venerable Basic.
- Less swingy and random than most d20 games
- Easy rules for tactics, clever approaches, and problem solving
- Players roll everything (usually)
- A single roll for attack and damage (which scales)
The game is (mostly) mechanically compatible with OSR retroclones, but benefits from a non-binary PbtA style system.
- A single PbtA “move” core: 2d6 + mod, tiered results
- Player-generated traits instead of playbooks or attributes
- Genre-appropriate special abilities and magic
- High character lethality (low HP, old school damage)
- Strong GM authority (permissions, GM adjudication)
Basically, we set out to make World of Dungeons on steroids and came pretty close.
Dortoka’s written and edited, but there’s still a bit of layout and illustration to complete. By the time the money clears from this Kickstarter we should be ready to send it out to you.
Like most of our Kickstarters, we’ll be leveraging the efficient and reliable fulfillment from DriveThru RPG. We’ll send you an at-cost print code and a free link to the PDF once it clears the proofing process. We’re estimating that print will be about $5 USD plus shipping for Dortoka, and about $5-10 for Vagabonds (depending on soft or hard cover).
Basically, you pay once through Kickstarter (that's how SSP gets its money) and then you pay again if (to DriveThru) if you want to order a print copy. If you never want a print version you never have to order one or spend any additional money.
Risks and challenges
Dortoka is completely written, edited, and in final layout. We're wrapping up the last bits of illustration and proofing, but by the time this KS is done the game should be ready for release.
This is SSP's ninth Kickstarter. Seven of our first eight were successfully funded, and of those seven all were fulfilled and delivered. The only project that was late was Clash of Steel, our first attempt at a card game, and in which the partner handling all of the logistics (Stewart Wieck) unexpectedly passed away.
All of this is to say that we've reliably produced games for over five years now, and there's very little that could go wrong between now and the completion of this project. And, if it did, there are contingencies in place to complete it or provide refunds to those who don't want to wait for said contingencies.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter