Project Biomodus - A Transhuman, Post-Apocalyptic Action RPG
NEW (10/30/16): Anyone who backs a tier that includes a Collectors Edition Physical Book, will also get a poster-sized print of the image above! WE ARE IN THE LAST DAYS FOLKS! Don't miss out!
The idea that humanity could rise above the feeble limitations of our delicate, mortal bodies would ultimately result in the world as it is today; a scarred landscape of biomechanical constructs and concrete – the promise of a healthy, prosperous civilization lost to the Reaper’s swing of greed and ambition.
We could not have foreseen that our search to rid the world of disease and defect would end in the wretched, mutilated ball of rock that now orbits a punishing Sun.
Now, all that remains are the undying scavengers of a long-destroyed civilization. There was no war. There was no cleansing wave of nuclear fire to blame on our present. Homo sapiens no longer dominate the globe and the beasts they once claimed mastery over are long since extinct or warped beyond recognition.
We poisoned ourselves on the promise of unending life and a world without labor or hunger, and now – in the final vomitus spasms of the Earth – we find ourselves faced against our old enemy, the one reason all of this degradation and rot came to be in the first place;
Immortal, biomechanical monsters in the race to escape our Inevitable Death."
Project Biomodus is an action-heavy, semi-classless tabletop roleplaying game, set nearly a millennia in what we would call the future.
Humankind had made so many technological and medical advances that immortality was possible; in the form of an artificially implanted organ called the Bioforge. This innovation backfired in a way that caused humans to be born with naturally occurring Bioforges, resulting in a conflict of ideals, economics and eventually, outright discrimination and violence. This led to the rapidly adapting race of new humanity – with the genus Homo biomodi – to react back.
The final and most defining reaction was by that of a figure called The Engineer. Born a Homo biomodi and self-evolved into one of the first Biomodus, The Engineer released a powerful nanite plague on the planet – a gift as they saw it – in an attempt to uplift all of humanity into Homo biomodi and end the conflict.
Things did not go as planned.
The Nanite ‘gift’ was altered and mutated, resulting in the uplifting of every living organism. Every plant, fish, mammal, insect and bird was forcibly adapted and given a Bioforge. The ripple of death from biological shock was enough to tear up the ecosystem and cause huge holes to appear in the Earth’s fragile defenses from the Sun.
Everything was poised to die, but then the survivors – people, animals, fish and plant – began to adapt.
Fast forward eight centuries or so. Humanity is dead, or at least as it once was. Homo biomodi (collectively called Munsi) are the surviving descendants of humanity, however they are not the apex predator on the planet anymore. Towering trees of wood, obsidian and metal act as oxygen scrubbers where rain forests once stood. The creatures who survived the change are all horribly twisted amalgamations of machinery and flesh, capable of terrifying destruction.
Humanity’s descendants are scattered, diverse and altered now. Some are tribal wanderers, fulfilling a living by hunting these terrifying creatures. Others live in vast Arcologies, set in their own system of governance.
Everything has changed, and none more so than the characters themselves as they carve out a way to survive the horrors around them.
If there were an analogue or thematic comparison for Project Biomodus, the game could be loosely described as Ghost in the Shell, set in a Mad Max world, with essences of Monster Hunter, Fallout and Fist of the North Star, wrapped in a messy, ash-and-concrete bundle of violence, survival and impending dread.
You play a Biomodus: a Homo biomodi that has evolved through one means or another above and beyond even the immortal, superhuman stock you came from.
The major difference in a Biomodus is that each characters brain and Bioforge have joined into a single, biomechanical organ known as a Core. This Core can be transplanted from one body to another, and as a result, the bodies they inhabit – known as the Case – are highly modular: able to replace limbs, organs and flesh with metal and synthetics, biomechanically engineered weapons or even storage bays for equipment, should they see fit.
These Cases are superhumanly strong and durable, capable of tossing cars, breaking through concrete walls and weathering fire from ancient, chemically propelled weapons without so much as a break in their stride.
Cases come in three major forms, each one with a light, medium and heavy variant.
Hominid: Built more for defense and durability, the Hominid Case represents the form most akin to the bodies the Biomodus were born with. Hominid Cases are the most commonly found in the average populace of the world and are well-balanced to fulfil a range of needs.
Chimeric: Favored by the tribal, savage culture of the Maalkari-born Biomodus, the Chimeric Case has a lot of speed, physical power and deftness, although it lacks in some of the finer precision and control of the other Case types, resulting in more aggressive, up-front Biomodus users. Chimeric cases are often animalistic and vicious-looking in design, adding to their savage appearance.
Sentinel: With a focus on control and nanite systems, the Sentinel case is the preferred form of those who use Configurations, (Project Biomodus’ equivalent of magic,) and are often support, or ranged assault-focused. Sentinels are the rarest of the Case types, and although powerful, are often looked at with contempt by the Munsi population, who see them as a bit too much like the cold, AI-controlled Oculari drones who hunt them.
On top of having a choice of bodies, each Biomodus can add Modifications, (physical additions and weapons to their body,) or Configurations (nanomachine-based effects akin to magic) to help them hunt the horrific monsters that run unshackled across the world.
Modifications have a limit to how many can be equipped at a time, however the materials and the knowledge to rebuild them is stored in the Core of the Biomodus, allowing for re-adjustments during downtime. Some Configurations let Biomodus swap their equipped modifications during combat! Biomodus can even change their Case types and sizes, although this is a process designed to be done in a safe area.
This means that your character is not tied into one class or build. If you want to be more focused on Configurations, then your character can simply swap cases or modifications to allow for it. If you want more speed over the amount of armor you can carry safely, then you can change from a Heavy Case to a Light or Medium one.
Even the aesthetics of how you look are down to the player. There are no two Biomodus the same, and the vast, depth of choice in both aesthetic design as well as mechanical function within the game means that even if you have similar modifications to another Biomodus, your size, configurations and Core can drastically alter your skill set.
Project Biomodus runs on a proprietary die system, known as TAPM20. This stands for Tactical Action and Power Management – D20. There are two main fundamental points to how the TAPM20 system works: Derived Statistics and Fluid Actions.
In a brief overview of how a character is built, the main statistics are based in two separate areas: the Core and the Case.
The Core is a mark of how your Biomodus is as an individual. As a combination of the brain and Bioforge (the source of a characters power,) it covers more metaphysical aspects, such as strength of will, knowledge and adaptability. These statistics follow the character around, regardless of the Case they use and are increased much more independently and thoroughly.
The Case is an exchangeable body. Case types have three weight categories assigned to each, all with their own set of statistics. This means there are 9 possible statistic spreads your case can have at its base level. Experience can increase your affinity with certain case types, but this is harder and more expensive the more specialized your character gets.
Once you have a combination of your Core and Case stats, your secondary statistics are generated. It is these statistics that are used for combat, actions, defenses and other such things. This means that in one encounter, a Biomodus with a Heavy Sentinel case may be slow and sturdy, capable of firing off multiple Configurations, however a change to a Light Chimeric case would make them more equipped for stealth strikes and close combat. It is this variety that makes up the mathematical base of Project Biomodus.
Do you ever get sick of playing a roleplaying game, where your character is limited to a set amount of actions? If you have bad rolls, you could roll once, wait for twenty minutes for your turn again, only to roll badly again? That sense of uselessness and limitation can be the bane of a player’s enjoyment.
The TAPM20 system uses Action Points (AP). This pool of AP is generated based on the Core and Case in question, and can be spent in a variety of ways. These ways include movement, attacking, combat maneuvers, skill use, reloading, swapping weapons and a range of other things. The player has full control over how many AP they can use in a given turn, up to the amount that they have in their AP pool. If a character wants to make three movement actions to run and no attacks, or perhaps make three attacks and stand their ground, they have that option.
The tactical part of this system comes from the risk of AP spending. A player also has an Action Point Regeneration (APR) statistic that tells them how many AP they regain per round. If their APR is low and they use a lot of their AP, then they may be stuck for a couple turns trying to ‘catch their breath’ so to speak. If a player has no AP remaining, they cannot take actions and they cannot roll to defend themselves. The question then becomes “should I spend my AP, or save them to defend myself or escape?”
The risk/reward factor is a key driving component to combat in Project Biomodus, making every round fluid and easy to resolve, but intense and made with hard choices.
This is the maiden voyage of TAPM Systems into the world of publication, and as such we have tried our hardest to provide a list of tiers that not only grant a plethora of different print options, but also allow our backers to come in at the ground level and have a hand in Project Biomodus’ development.
We have aimed to make the game affordable, have the help and advice of many different resources, and with a lot of help from the team of play testers, the awesome folks who organize and attend the conventions and our other professional support, we have been very fortunate in doing most of the leg-work ahead of the campaign.
Currently, Project Biomodus has been completely self-funded, and although we could continue on to publish the book without a successful Kickstarter, we want it to not only be the best it can be, but also to give people the opportunity to be there with us when this game sets sail on its maiden voyage. We have a wonderful community, an excellent history of systems development within our team and now – thanks to Print on Demand and fulfilment companies out there – there has never been a better time for small, indie developers like us to get our games published alongside the industry behemoths.
We believe that RPG players are some of the most creative folks out there, and there have been a swathe of successfully funded Kickstarters, showing just how strong a presence they have to the industry. It is that strength that we are hoping to attract with Project Biomodus and as such, we want to give you the best, most unique RPG we can make and repay your faith with a system you can be proud to own.
Your funding will go on to provide a whole litany of world-building, additional art, merchandise, additional campaign settings, opportunities for shaping the game and a whole deal more. Whatever funds are made from this campaign will go right back into Project Biomodus to create additional rewards, new settings and extra in-game systems for you to use.
The Project Biomodus Standard Edition Book
This book is the base-line version of the game, standing at roughly 300 pages at 8.5 x 11 inches, and in full color. We plan on releasing a soft and hard-cover version of the book so that it is affordable across the board, as well as a PDF version for people who are more inclined to use electronic readers and such. This is the version of the book that will be available outside of Kickstarter when the game is released. When released, a premium color version of the book will be available for purchase at full retail price.
The Project Biomodus Collector’s Edition Book
This version of the book will likewise come in a soft and hard-cover format as well as a PDF, but will feature a unique cover, as well as some extra art materials within. This version of the book will not be available outside of the Kickstarter campaign, and will also include a message of thanks from the TAPM Systems Creative Director, showing our gratitude for your support. This version of the book will also be in full, premium color, really showing off the detail of the book and the art within.
Creative Design Rewards
The MedTek, Codexi, Lord Hunter / Huntress, Biomodus of Legend and The Engineer tier pledges all contain ways in which you can shape Project Biomodus. We have found that players become invested in a game when they have some creative say in its development, and Project Biomodus is no different. We want people to be as excited as we are about seeing something they have designed go into print, and as such we have added these pledges to give you the same sense of satisfaction when the book is finally released.
All backers, regardless of their pledge level, will have access to the Development Team via our Discord channel. When you are a backer, you will be able to access new news and releases ahead of others in your own dedicated channel, as well as be able to ping the team with questions. The gaming community has had a solid role in shaping Project Biomodus and as such we want to reward those who helped make the game a reality.
The Ultimate Reward
No, I am not talking about The Engineer-tier at the bottom. The Ultimate reward for us is that even if the Kickstarter is not successful and we only get a handful of pledges, knowing that people out there are interested in playing the game means we are on the right track. That means more to us than numbers.
COLLECTORS EDITION SHIRT - $20
This shirt will feature a unique design (decided by the backers with a vote) and will be only available as part of this campaign. We have a few shirts available on our Merch Store already if you want some other options, but this one will be a doozy.
COLLECTORS EDITION MAAUL STATUE - $TBD (On Hold) As of this time, the Collector’s Edition Maaul statue is still being designed and planned for fabrication. In the spirit of being transparent and accountable, I would not feel safe in offering this as a reward until such a time as we can guarantee fabrication and delivery. The ongoing plan is to have it available as a post-funding extra, and it will remain available until the release of Project Biomodus. Until then, stay tuned for more updates!
ADDITIONAL STANDARD EDITION BOOK - $40 (Soft Cover), $50 (Hard Cover)
Get an additional copy of the Standard Edition book for your collection. Although this price is designed to include the shipping portion of the cost, people who live in outlaying countries such as Australia, Japan and China should add an additional $5 to cover extended shipping.
ADDITIONAL COLLECTORS EDITION BOOK - $55 (Soft Cover), $65 (Hard Cover)
Get an additional copy of the Collector’s Edition Book, either in soft-cover or hard-cover form. Again, this price is designed to include the shipping portion of the cost, people who live in outlaying countries such as Australia, Japan and China should add an additional $5 to cover extended shipping.
TRAVELING ‘GET REKT’ EDITION BOOK – $28
This black and white, soft-cover edition of the book is designed with you, your traveling needs and your notes in mind. Want a version of the book you can scribble over? Perhaps one that is not going to matter too much if it gets a few dings or dog-eared pages over the years? This is the add-on for you. Again, if you are shipping to an outlaying area such as Japan, Australia or China, please be sure to add $5 to cover additional shipping.
PROJECT BIOMODUS ART AND LORE BOOK - $45
This was a suggestion by a couple of our backers, and it’s one I would like to see happen. This soft-cover, limited edition art book will contain a collection of Project Biomodus art, including pencil, ink, concept, color and full renderings along with a small collection of stories and lore, as well as some description and explanations to the inspirations behind Project Biomodus. People who purchase this book will also receive a PDF version. Again, if you are in China, Japan, Australia or another outlaying country, please add $5 for additional shipping.
STRETCH GOAL – UNLOCKED AT $14,000
WAR OF THE ONI NATION: A NARAAKO SOURCE BOOK!
The Island Arcology formerly known as Japan has closed off its walls well before the uplifting of humanity into Homo Biomodi. Forced to evolve and adapt in seclusion, the Land of the Sunless Sky takes a very different approach to life than the rest of the world. Biomodus are the ruling class, Munsi are their charges, and warring factions vie for power under the watchful eyes of an impossibly powerful Biomodus Empress – the Divine Maalhonna. This book will contain unique Modifications, configurations and rules on playing a character in the xenophobic, giant arcology that is the Oni Nation.
STRETCH GOAL – UNLOCKED AT $16,000
AUDISTAAR MALDEXI: A HOUSE OF TRADE SOURCE BOOK!
Born of the surviving immortals of mortal birth, this testament to their legacy has remained, even in the hands of the powerful, greed-driven replacements that came after them. This guide to the House of Trade details the inner workings of the world-spanning Cult of commerce, along with new equipment, new weapons, upgrades, and rules on how to play a House of Trade character!
Risks and challenges
As with any company publishing a book, there are hurdles and challenges.
Project Biomodus is created with many of these potential pit-falls in mind, taking advice and feedback from contact with other Indie developers, networking with publishers, vendors and players from conventions, online Kickstarter groups and written literary guides, as well as being backers in several projects ourselves. We all know what it is like to see our investments come up short, or fail to meet an expected deadline. Life throws everyone lemons and that is something we would like to avoid.
As stated before, Project Biomodus has been self-funded up until this point and has some reserves to make up for unexpected issues with shipping or printing. TAPM Systems was built around providing Project Biomodus in a way that is satisfying to our backers and without over-promising results that are unrealistic.
PROBLEM: The Kickstarter Funds, but the shipping charges change drastically, resulting in a shortfall.
RESOLUTION: TAPM Systems has access to several methods of shipping, as well as several potential fulfilment services. As production continues, we will also be questioning and pushing vendors to get the best bang for your backer buck. Volume purchases can help lower other costs and by maintaining good relationships with our vendors, and we have given ourselves some leeway in pricing and available funds to allow for pricing changes.
PROBLEM: The creative team is hit by a bus.
RESOLUTION: Don’t ever go outside. No, seriously if something were to happen to any of the major team members, we have alternate production plans in place to help fulfil the required development and get Project Biomodus out to you in as close to its original vision as possible. Since the system and the aesthetic is already well-defined, there are several artists, writers and editors that have volunteered their services and can be brought in to help complete the project.
PROBLEM: The Kickstarter fails to fund.
RESOLUTION: We are still going to be publishing the book. It will take longer than expected and it may not have the same quality as we would like, but Project Biomodus is our dream and we intend to keep pushing along, either through a follow-up campaign after this current one, or through alternate / self-funding of the publication.
- (30 days)