Tox RPG: A Storytelling Game of Super Powers... and Curses
Tox RPG: A Storytelling Game of Super Powers... and Curses
The most exciting characters have unique problems as well as powers.Tox helps you design both to create a thrilling story with friends.
The most exciting characters have unique problems as well as powers.Tox helps you design both to create a thrilling story with friends. Read more
About this project
Good problems make the best stories. Tox gives you problems.
"5/5 for interesting game decisions, interactivity, and fun. 4.5/5 on ease of learning." - Feedback from Pacificon Game Expo playtest.
Tox RPG is a game about super powers and how they go awry. Drawing inspiration from the larger-than-life heroes in mythology, fantasy, horror, comicbooks, and sci-fi, Tox helps you craft characters that not only have compelling powers, they have compelling flaws and obstacles. These powers and flaws are easy to design, quick to play, and you can customize them for any genre or world.
Every character in the game that has superhuman powers (called 'gifts') also selects a flaw, curse, or obstacle (a 'tox effect') that afflicts them. The game master gets to choose when the tox effect occurs based on the theme the player creates for it. Tox effects can strike immediately after using a gift, or the GM can wait for the perfect moment in the story to trigger it. The greater the powers you use, the greater the side effects will be.
Players: Customize Your Character... and Their Future
"Goats 'n' zombies. Super fun!" -Feedback from Pacificon Game Expo playtest.
Rather than prescribe set spells or inflexible powers, Tox RPG gives you the tools you need to create gifts and tox effects that fit your unique character. These gifts and tox effects aren't just numbers. In Tox RPG, character abilities change your game options and help you determine the types of obstacles you face in the story. With Tox RPG, you can
- Choose the game mechanics that best fits your gameplay style and character concept.
- Write open-ended themes that shape when and how your abilities influence the game or story.
- Fine tune game mechanics to your heart's content.
Most RPGs tell you how your powers work, tell you when you can use them, and tell you how those powers appear in the story. If the rules don't spell it out, they let the game master tell you.
In contrast, Tox RPG helps you choose the best rules for your power, and your themes give the game master guidelines on when a power can or can't be used. Players don't just fiddle with character stats, they choose the game rules and write the themes that will shape the story.
All of this power to craft character and story is wrapped in a system that's easy for beginners and deeply customizable for pros. You can design a unique gift in a minute with four easy steps. But if you want to tweak every aspect of the power from range and duration to required spell components and accidental outbursts... dive in deep, my friend. We have many optional mods (each theme-able!) so that you can customize as deeply as you want.
Game Masters: Balance Game Play With Ease and Tell More Exciting Stories
Being a game master is hard. You have to create a balanced gaming environment where all the players feel like they contribute, weave an exciting story (improvising as needed), and police all the rules without slowing down the game.
Tox RPG makes it easier to be a great host, to tell an exciting story, and to run a fast-paced game.
Character's tox effects are a great way to create an environment where everyone can contribute. If one character is stealing the limelight (and they've used any gifts at all during gameplay), you can trigger that character's tox effect and help them rely on the rest of the group. Take a look at the playtest footage below. Notice how one player used their powers a lot at the start of the game? Triggering that character's tox effect allowed the other player to step in and become more involved in the story.
Tox effects also contribute to a more exciting story that's focused on the player characters. If you're running low on plot twists or want to add extra excitement to a critical scene that you've planned, you don't have to roll 1d100 on the random monster table to add excitement to your story. Coming up with random obstacles only distracts the story from the players' painstakingly designed characters anyway. Instead, you can raise the stakes by triggering a tox effect. The best part is that tox effects are obstacles based on a character's identity. Tox effects keep the plot focused on players' character concepts (they love that), add excitement to the game, and help you tell stories like a boss.
Lastly, Tox RPG is fast paced. There aren't a lot of rules to memorize or tables to look up. Just bookmark your player's gifts and tox effects, and go. The question 'Can I use... X?' never requires you to flip to the index... your players give you a theme that describes when they can use their abilities, and you allow an ability when its theme makes sense in the story.
What's Included in Tox RPG?
Tox RPG gives you all the basics you need to create your own world and tell a story about powers that come at a cost.
- Rules for Dozens of Powers and Side Effects: Change gameplay and storylines by selecting new game mechanics for powers and restrictions.
- Near Infinite Ability to Customize: Tox RPG lets you modify your powers along many dimensions: chance of success, power of effects, power of side effects, duration, range, conspicuousness, preconditions for use, accidental misfires or collateral damage, and much, much more.
- Training, Specialties, Fortunes & Misfortunes. Yes, you can also resolve problems without using your superpowers. Maybe it's less awesome, but it's also less risky. Mundane stats make for an important strategic alternative towards using powers (and getting toxed).
- Theme System: Tox RPG helps you theme your abilities to tell stories in any genre: fantasy, modern, superhero, horror, cyberpunk, space opera, you name it! We'll give you hints and tips on how to craft themes that make for a good story... and how you can use themes to create your own custom classes and magic/power/tech systems. Heck, create your own world! That's what RPGs are about.
- Character Templates and Quick Start Materials: Even if you've never made an RPG character before, follow a few simple steps and get started on the adventure of a lifetime in minutes.
At a Stretch
There's also additional content we would love to add to Tox RPG if we make more than our goal:
- Alternate Tox Rules: Ways to customize your tox even further, allowing multiple tox types for the same character, or different ways of triggering and avoiding tox effects.
- House Rules Support: Suggestions for how you can add on to Tox RPG and design completely new stats or alternate forms of conflict resolution. Basically, Tox RPG becomes a build-your-own-role-playing-game kit.
- Example Adventures and Characters. Inspiring art and premade settings, characters, stories that show off Tox RPG's unique approach to powers and storytelling.
Where is the Money Going?
The majority of the budget is for character illustration and other art. Art inspires the imagination, and brings the RPG to life, so we want to give you professional-quality art. Not the stick figures that Alec draws with his two-year-old. Dammit Jim, he's a writer, not an artist.
We do have a great artist lined up: Randy Hagmann. You see his character illustrations on this page. He's an excellent illustrator who can tell stories about powers and curses with a single image.
If we exceed our goals, we'll get more art and maybe some of it will even be in color! We may even get some professional editors to take a look at the book and make sure that the writing is explode-your-eyeballs awesome. We'll even write more brilliant rules, examples, and advice for you, although we're not planning on getting paid for that out of the Kickstarter.
Try the Demo Rules
We've created a short, demo rule book for you to preview. You can find it here. We think it's pretty great, even though it's 0-budget and contains only a small portion of the rules. Imagine how much greater it will be with the full rules, rich example characters and settings, an actual budget for layout and editing, as well as money for luscious character illustrations!
Risks and challenges
Publishing an RPG book is a very well-known process. We've gotten quotes from professional artists, researched established publishing companies, compared shipping costs, and more. We've gotten advice from established publishers in order to validate our assumptions. We know we have the budget to deliver professional-quality work!
We've even produced a short, 0-budget demo set of the rules as a trial run. It's a good start, but we're ready to build something bigger and even more beautifully illustrated with your help!
While publishing is a pretty straightforward process, the main challenge in developing the Tox system has been one of balance. We aim to balance 1) Ease and speed of play with deep customization and 2) Narrative creativity/freedom with enough game mechanics to have compelling, strategic decisions. To make sure we're getting that balance right, we've been play testing with new RPGers and veterans, friends and strangers at gaming conventions. We already have a game balance that many people enjoy, but we'll continue to play test, catch edge cases, and refine Tox RPG.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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