Star Bastards: A Two-Fisted Fantasy Gamebook
A pair of two-fisted adventures set in deep space. You, a couple of dice and your two fists will decide how it all shakes out.
Star Bastards is an old-school single-player gamebook played with a couple of regular six-sided dice, a pencil and some paper. Play as either the Space Exploration Pole - the greatest Polish space hero ever put to paper - as he flees from the law, or take control of the interstellar lawman trying to bring him to justice. Along the way travel through strange worlds, meet and/or arrest a cast of unpleasant and mildly treacherous aliens and batter your way to freedom or that juicy promotion using your rock-hard fists. It's an exciting adventure chock full of action, battles and even a few puzzles, illustrated throughout with original black and white line-art.
Unlike most books, you're the guy who decides what happens. Star Bastards is divided up into 400 entries, at the end of which you'll face some kind of challenge or decide where to turn to next. If you've ever played a Fighting Fantasy or Choose Your Own Adventure you'll know the deal. If you're from a place or time where these kinds of books weren't all that popular a gamebook is kind of like a cross between a single-player role playing game and a tabletop boardgame. You take control of a character and guide them through the story, using rules given in the book to determine the outcome of your choices.
Star Bastards comes with a relatively simple and elegant combat system which you can use to play the game in the way I intended, or completely ignore if you just want to read a book about a high-speed pursuit in space.
The book's for adults but there's no sex or ultraviolence. Good clean fun, really.
Star Bastards features
- 400 entries at around 100,000 words total, all internally linked so you don't have to hunt around the pages unless you want to
- 2 completely different adventures to play through telling both sides of the story
- 9 endings and lots of ways to get splattered among the uncaring stars
- at least 24 full-page illustrations
- 8 strange, surly or just plain mean companions who can join you on your adventure and mostly help out
- a heap of illustrated item cards
- a bunch of jokes about space, dogs, ten-foot Poles and alien cultures in general
Why Am I Doing This
It's fun. I grew up with Fighting Fantasy books and want things like them to continue to exist. I also like writing and drawing and telling stupid jokes. Finally I have a bunch of good ideas
Why I Want Your Money
Star Bastards is already written and just needs to be tidied up and stuck together into a nice-looking ebook for people to have. However, it's the first book coming out of the Two-Fisted Fantasy range and I want it to look nice. I've made arrangements with an excellent artist who has agreed to illustrate half the book and I will use the money I gain from this kickstarter primarily to pay him for his excellent services.
From the £5000 (~$US7,200) costs are
- £1,150 taxes
- £2150 to pay the artist
- £205 for ISBN numbers
- £400 Kickstarter and Amazon Payments fees
- The rest will go on sales, upgrading the Two-Fisted web pages and paying the ongoing fees for the software I use to do my work.
Any extra will go towards the publication of the next book and making toys for fans like a range of miniatures. It will allow me to pay my artists up-front, hire an editor that isn't me, market the book effectively and possibly consider a print run. In short, by giving me your money you are kickstarting my business, which is all about making 1980s-1990s style gamebooks with a little more punch to them.
What You'll Get
All backers above the £3.50 ($5) mark get a DRM-free copy of Star Bastards. Feel free to lend this to your friends and family, but if you want to give copies away as gifts or just hoard them like some kind of choose-your-own-adventure dragon (or maybe if you just want to support the project) you can back for more to be able to download more copies in good conscience.
Should we cross the target I'll start working up stretch bonuses, which will be things like full-colour maps, guide books with some backstory about the settings and aliens in the game, posters and so on. Anyone who pledges at any tier will get all of these as well. Stretch goals will appear here when it looks as though we're approaching the goals.
At the higher tiers you also get digital copies of the art in the book and drawings from yours truly. You'll get the book at the same time as everyone else but you might need to wait just a little while for the drawings.
All tiers and people just donating will get my thanks but I don't want to clutter up your inboxes and houses with handwritten cards, dedications of my love and so on. I'd also like people to read my book so there's no tier where you don't get anything. Anyone can contact me at any time to discuss things, ask questions or whatever so I didn't feel the need to include a Skype chat tier. I'd be happy to talk to you about what's going on in general.
Completing editing as soon as this Kickstarter goes live.
While the Kickstarter is live I will prepare the book layout and illustration briefs for myself and my artist.
By mid-March we should know if the kickstarter has succeeded and I will pay my artist in such a way as to get him to work. As soon as he gets the illustrations back to me I will place them in the book.
Surveys will go out for the higher-tier backers after these illustrations are in to allow them to pick which ones they'd like.
Books and high-definition pictures will go out in May. Drawings and some bonus content may be a little slower in coming out but not by a lot.
Where Did This Come From
I'm a regular poster on the Something Awful Forums. Last year I ran a forums game called "Sword of the Bastard Elf" which was pretty popular and followed it up with the more complicated "Void Racers". These books are designed to superficially resemble Fighting Fantasy books but have a very different feel and rule systems.
I decided to write a fully playable version of Void Racers, and Star Bastards was originally going to be a short demo for that book, using a cut-down version of the same rules and about 120 paragraphs. In the end it grew into its own thing and here we are.
I have several books which I think will be fun. There's Void Racers - a huge undertaking set in the same universe as Star Bastards (anyone familiar with the Void Racers playthrough will probably recognise a few species, places and characters). Codename: CyberFISTS is a cyberpunk game where you play the titular character in a dystopian suburban future city. Goon La Goon is an anime-inspired game where you play as the mysterious Transfer Student with a uniform which gives you amazing powers - can you battle your way to popularity or will you goon it up? Finally there's Sword of the Bastard Elf and the Wizard of Warlock Tower, fantasy games where you play as a worthless half-elf or a skeleton gardener respectively in one of the most unpleasant fantasy worlds penned since The Witcher. One of these might get a playthrough on the forums or I might just get down to writing it. Let's see how things go.
Thanks for your support. It'll help me keep making these books and keep making them better. I really hope you enjoy Star Bastards.
Herman S. Skull, Two-Fisted Fantasy
To finish with here is a sample of my work - check out Void Racers and the slightly older Sword of the Bastard Elf. Please let me know what you think.
Risks and challenges
I've done everything I can to limit risks to this project. The bulk of the writing is done and I know my way around inDesign which I will be using to deliver this project. All backer rewards are digital so physical production and distribution won't be a bottleneck. There aren't many moving parts to jam up in this project.
Although I think I've set aside a generous amount of time to get this done delays are always possible. I don't anticipate missing any deadlines but I will communicate my progress frequently through this page should the Kickstarter succeed. The higher tier backer rewards and stretch rewards may not be ready when the book is published but I will do my best to get everything out at the same time or at least as quickly as possible.
I haven't limited the higher tiers to make them more exclusive but just to make it so I won't overrun the target dates. If by some luck all of those tiers fill up and you want to make an equivalent pledge please contact me and we'll work something out.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)