Funded! This project was successfully funded on January 7, 2013.

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Vicious Crucible games are situation-first RPGs set in detailed corners of a fantasy world. You can vote on the next game's features.

Post-Funding Note: check out the current status of the Vicious Crucible series at joshroby.com.

Maybe you've played one of the prior Vicious Crucibles.  Maybe you've heard of this beautiful, awesome game that's making the rounds.  Maybe you just followed a link that somebody retweeted and you have no idea what I'm talking about.  Well!

First there was The Vicious Crucible of Verdigris Valley, a free, full-color game full of pretty art, that anyone could download and play.  Folks took the disgraced guardsman Alistair and the half-breed guide Anise through the tumultuous events of Kamraan's invasion and siege of Fort Verdigris. Then there was The Vicious Crucible of the Eburnean Tower, which was kickstarted by folks who wanted to see more.  Once funded, that also became a free download for everyone to enjoy.  Players took up the roles of the fledgling wizards Beulah and Carles, as well as the rest of the fractious, powerful sorcerers of the Eburnean Tower, and saw the place valiantly defended or burned to the ground.

Now it's time to venture into The Vicious Crucible of Villa Argentate, and the question is: which side of the Silver City will we see?

You Decide

When you back this project, you get a vote on the character and flavor of Villa Argentate, a prosperous trading city between Verdigris Valley and the Eburnean Tower.  Is it full of scheming manipulators striking deals and betraying each other's trust?  Or is it plagued by cut-throats and thieves, themselves embroiled in a war for the underworld?  Or is it a city of artisans and craftsmen, creating the finest works… and competing over the best designs and the most precious materials?

The character of the Silver City will determine which rulesheet gets used with it.  If the vote goes to the scheming and dealing, the Influence rulesheet will be included.  If the backers want the underworld, the Theivery rulesheet will ship.  And if you fine folk want to see artisans, well then, you'll be served up a hot cup of Crafting rulesheet.

And of course, no matter which rulesheet gets added in Villa Argentate, the Sorcery and Combat rulesheets from Verdigris Valley and Eburnean Tower will also work with the explosive situation brewing in the Silver City.

If you'd like to see what sort of thing we're talking about, here, take a look at Verdigris Valley or Eburnean Tower right now.  They're free for the taking.

What Is Vicious Crucible?

Vicious Crucible games are a line of situation-first roleplaying games that put the player characters into a brutal web of relationships, obligations, and events. The only way out is through, and the only way through requires a painful transformation into something new. You might start the game as a half-breed wilderness guide trying to find a place to call home and come out the other end as a conquering warrior princess. Your retiring changeling historian might become an inhuman monster wreaking havoc in the name of vengeance. Or your travelling merchant might… well, you get the picture!

…And It's Free

All Vicious Crucible games are released as a free download under Creative Commons licensing. I use a "ransom model" for funding the project: once generous backers help us meet our Kickstarter threshold, I publish the game for everyone to enjoy.

I've added one little twist to the basic ransom model: the Franchise.  Backers like you tell me which way to go in developing the game line by voting for which game — and which new rulesheet — you want to see most. Whichever game gets the most votes is the one I publish next.

So the question is: which game do you want to see next?

Post Actual Play, Get Stuff!

When you post an Actual Play report—describing your experience playing any of the Vicious Crucibles—on a blog or forum or what-have-you and shoot me a link here in comments, I'll bump you a backer tier for free!

Kicking It Forward

This project participates in the "Kicking It Forward" initiative.  Five percent of our profits will go right back into other deserving projects on Kickstarter.  See http://kickingitforward.org/ for more details!

Many thanks to Jamie Evans, who created the music for the video.

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

There is the very likely risk that the game will be too damn awesome to… oh, that's not what this section is for? Well, fine.

Vicious Crucibles are kept pretty small and manageable to mitigate risking my time and effort, let alone backers' money. In fact three people put it together: author, artist, and editor. And as pretty as the three of us are, we're all pretty replaceable.

I do my printing through DocuCopies.com, which has done very well by me in the past. It's possible, though, that they'll pull up stakes without warning, in which case I can find another printer, or that their stellar quality will inexplicably plummet… in which case I'll demand a better reprint or find another printer.

FAQ

  • The print copies are printed full-color on an industrial printer at http://DocuCopies.com. The rulesheets, maps, and character sheets go on durable cardstock. The GM Booklet is bound by saddle-stitching (ie, folded and stapled). They look pretty damn good, if I do say so, myself. If you use tokens to count wounds and drain and things, you can use these copies over and over again.

    The deluxe copies use the same printing and then get a run through the laminator, using .5mm lamination. This makes them super-durable, and as a bonus, you can write on them with dry erase markers and then wipe them off after you're done so they're ready to play next time.

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    28 backers

    The Franchise! You get to vote on which flavor gets applied to Villa Argentate: Scheming, Sneaking, or Crafting. You'll be able to download the winner when it's released for free.

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    15 backers

    Pre-Release PDF and the Franchise! Get the PDF of the game two weeks earlier than the release date, plus vote for which game we release.

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    10 backers

    Print copies of The Basics and the Vicious Crucible of Villa Argentate, plus the Franchise! I print 'em, fold 'em, staple 'em, sign 'em, and ship 'em your way (in the US; international backers, please add $5). And of course you get to vote.

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    6 backers

    Print copies of The Basics, the Vicious Crucible of Villa Argentate, and a throwback: either Verdigris Valley or Eburnean Tower… plus the PDF Pre-Release and the Franchise!

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  • Pledge $45 or more
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    8 backers

    Deluxe Print of The Basics and the Vicious Crucible of Villa Argentate, plus the Franchise! Get re-usable character sheets and throw-around-the-table laminated rules sheets, the Pre-Release PDF, and the Franchise.

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  • Pledge $50 or more
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    8 backers

    Print copies of The Basics and all three Vicious Crucibles: Villa Argentate, Eburnean Tower, and Verdigris Valley… plus the Pre-Release PDF, and the Franchise.

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  • Pledge $55 or more
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    0 backers

    Deluxe Prints of The Basics, the Vicious Crucible of Verdigris Valley, and a throwback: Eburnean Tower or Verdigris Valley… plus the PDF Pre-Release and the Franchise!

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  • Pledge $65 or more
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    10 backers

    Deluxe Prints of The Basics and all three Vicious Crucibles: Villa Argentate, Eburnean Tower, and Verdigris Valley… plus the PDF Pre-Release and the Franchise!

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    Big Ass Sponsor! Everything at the $100 level, plus you're mentioned as the game's primary sponsor in every press release related to the game AND I'll GM the game for you and up to five of your friends, either at a con we're all at or over Google Hangouts.

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Funding period

- (33 days)