About this project
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?
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.
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
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.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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