Especially in a niche hobby like pen & paper roleplaying games raising money for a new product is not always easy. The various crowdfunding platforms have made things much easier over the years, but many potential backers have also become more careful about which projects they want to support. Today I want to write about three projects which are definitely worth your time and money.
The Expanse Roleplaying Game by Green Ronin Publishing
If you are a fan of Sci-Fi you probably have already heard about The Expanse series of books by James S.A. Corey which also spawned a hit TV series on SyFy. Green Ronin known for Fantasy Age and Mutants & Masterminds recently picked up the license and are now raising money on Kickstarter for a The Expanse roleplaying game.
The game is going to use their new Modern AGE ruleset, which is a variant of the Fantasy AGE mechanics they developed for the Dragon Age Roleplaying game. The project was funded in under an hour (!) and multiple strect goals have been hit so far. If you are a fan of the TV series or the books this game is based on, you definitely should check out this Kickstarter! By the way, there’s already a quick start PDF available here.
Over The Edge: A Roleplaying Game of Weird Urban Danger by Atlas Games
Over The Edge is a classic. It came out at a time when most games were overly complex and there were rules for everything. OTE on the other hand used a very free-form character creation with player-defined traits and rules so simple you could basically write them down on a napkin (aside from the combat rules that is). The setting was equally unique and drew inspirations from the works of William S. Burroughs. Unfortunately I never got to play the game but when I heard that they were planning a new edition, I had to support it immediately.
The new edition will contain an updated version of the rules (with streamlined combat mechanics) and an updated setting. The game’s setting – the fictional island of Al Amarja –also gets an overhaul. For more details on the game I recommend you check out its Kickstarter page.
Esoterica Tabletop Roleplaying Game by Greg Saunders
Greg Saunders is one of my favorite indie game developers. His games like Exilium, Summerland and now Esoterica combine the solid mechanics of the Open D6 system with unique and exciting settings with almost philosophical themes. He’s currently raising money for an urban fantasy game in which player characters strive to reach a higher plane of existence while struggling to avoid the corruption of their very souls.
Esoterica hasn’t reached its goal yet, so if you think Esoterica sounds like the game for you, you should check out the Kickstarter page immediately and support it by backing. There are about five days left, so there’s no time to dawdle. In all seriousness, Greg’s track record when it comes to Kickstarters is flawless and his games are just great. Check it out!
It seems Greg Saunders is on a roll! He just started a Kickstarter for Esoterica, his newest Open D6-based roleplaying game. The other two, Exilium and Summerland, were finished in early 2017 and 2018 respectively and were pretty successful considering Greg is not an industry titan like Monte Cook. But when it comes to quality Greg’s products are on par with the ones released by major publishers.
So what is Esoterica all about? The Kickstarter page describes it as a tabletop roleplaying game of occult mystery and the quest for power. Characters are so-called Adepts, people who have realized that beyond the mundane world lies a greater reality hidden by the Veil. They have learned to use the powers that permeate through that Veil. But using these powers cause physical corruption. But there are artifacts called soul jars which can protect from the corruption. So all Adepts are in search of these in order to find the power to pierce the Veil and venture into the reality beyond.
The game will be using a simplified version of Open D6, probably based upon Antipaladin’s MiniSix which Greg has used before. What really sets Greg Saunders’ games apart from a lot of the competition is that it’s not just about killing monsters and taking their stuff. His games pose questions about life, about the human condition. Exilium was about guilt and penitence, Summerland was about past deeds which are not only a burden but may shield us from losing ourselves. Esoterica seems to be about power and how it corrupts.
The artwork alone makes me want to back this project (I actually did back it while writing this article) and I am very excited for the final product. If you’re at least remotely interested in what Esoterica is about, you should head over to the Kickstarter project page and check it out!
Summerland has actually been first released about 10 years ago and is IMHO a very intriguing and original post-apocalytic roleplaying game. In Summerland the world has been destroyed by a vast forest which appeared overnight. The Call lured people into the forest, where some slowly lost their will and eventually even forgot that they are human. The player characters are among the few humans able to resist the Call. But this resistance comes at a price – the demons of the past are what shield them but the player characters are also haunted by their past.
Like Exilium, Summerland is not just an adventure game set into an exotic world, it does what all good science fiction does: it asks fundamental questions about the human condition. Both Exilium and Summerland might not be for everyone, but if you don’t mind some philosophy thrown into your games, both games are definitely worth a look.
The 2nd edition will be featuring full-color artwork created by Tithi Luadthong and new game mechanics based on AntiPaladin’s MiniSix. The original Kickstarter goal of £3000 has already been reached after just four days, but if you’re interested you still have about 25 days to decide whether you want to support Greg’s project or not.
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