Welcome to this month’s edition of Kickstarter Wonk! As Kickstarter season has well and truly kicked off, it has become more clear to me that trying to write up every single new RPG project on Kickstarter is a fool’s errand. I have a day job, after all! Therefore, I have decided that Kickstarter Wonk will represent the Level One Wonk’s top ten RPG Kickstarters of the month. These are all new games, though some of them use existing rulesets. There were a ton of interesting supplements this month also, but that at least doubles the material to choose from and I have to draw the line somewhere! Like before, I’ve noted if I’ve funded the project already or have saved it to potentially fund later. Though I most likely will not fund all of these (my day job doesn’t pay *that* well), I believe that all of them are worthy of your consideration.
Described as “a cross between A Game of Thrones and Mario Party”, The King is Dead is a new game by none other than Vincent Baker, creator of Apocalypse World and all-around brilliant designer. The game involves a series of mini-games (like Mario Party) that are played between 3-5 warrior princes and princesses who are trying to ascend to the throne. The concept sounds intriguing and the pedigree is undeniable, so I went ahead and funded the game at a moderately high level that comes with all the neat optional cards. If you want to get in with less commitment, though, it’s only $10 for the PDF.
Dragon Heresy is a Norse-themed RPG using SRD5.1, the newest OGL reference document for 5th edition. This game takes the 5e scaffold and builds out survival and travel, a more robust injury system, and combat options around grappling and morale. The game also comes with a full setting and bestiary. Definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of 5e, the OGL, or Norse-themed games in general.
Resistance and Coup are fun card games with a strong social aspect. Fate Core is a fun RPG with a strong player-facing element. Combine them together and you have Uprising, the RPG taking place in Paris Nouveau, the setting of Coup, Resistance, and One Night Revolution. Uprising takes the flavorful and evocative settings in these games and builds them out into an RPG of Cyberpunk dystopia, rebellion, and propaganda. The game’s early access rules are available as soon as you back, and have built into them both character options and archetypes based on cards from Coup and Resistance as well as expansions of Fate Core rules that add to what can be done with the game. As for me, I’ve backed this at the PDF level.
Like Spire, Gears of Defiance is a game which is taking the innovations from Fate and Apocalypse World and doing something new with them. Also like Spire, Gears of Defiance is a game about rebelling against authority and a corrupt government. The similarities end there, though, and Gears of Defiance is less like dark fantasy and more like Steampunk Les Miserables. Can you hear the people steam? Admittedly, that was pretty bad. Gears of Defiance is much better than my puns, and deserves a serious look. I’ve saved it for later myself.
Savage Rifts took Palladium’s game of gonzo apocalypses and balanced its many character types of differing power levels quite adroitly. Savage Tokusatsu is going after a similar tack, except focusing on the “Tokusatsu” genre of Japanese movies and TV, a bundle of different concepts which all rely on heavy special effects. Tokusatsu may not be a familiar term to many, but it unbundles into concepts we’re quite familiar with: Kaiju, with monsters and giant robots, and Sentai, where teams of heroes can fight mooks, pilot giant robots, and possibly combine into one mega-robot to take down a final boss. Savage Worlds is a great starting point for a game like this, and Savage Tokusatsu looks like it’s going to capture the zaniness of Voltron, Power Rangers, or Pacific Rim quite nicely.
Now this is interesting. Imp of the Perverse is an RPG inspired by Poe and other early horror writers, and takes place in 1830s-40s America. Your character has a literal Imp of the Perverse on your shoulder, compelling you to awful acts. The only way to get rid of your Imp is to hunt those who have already given into theirs, and become monsters. Hard decisions, a path of personal corruption, and monster hunting? Sounds like a winner. Imp of the Perverse was developed by Nathan Paoletta, the designer behind the PbtA hit World-Wide Wrestling. It sounds like Paoletta has come up with another solidly unique game, which horror fans should definitely check out.
Dragons Conquer America is an RPG taking place in 16th century America, focused on the many Mesoamerican cultures and peoples who inhabited the region. Taking the backdrop of first Aztec imperialism and then later Spanish imperialism, the game puts you in an alternate universe of magic and, yes, dragons. This class-based system includes some interesting magic systems and a complete set of rules for training and riding dragons. I’d keep an eye on this one, I myself am saving it for later.
The Dinosaur Protocol is a post-apocalyptic RPG with an important (and judging from the title, perhaps obvious) twist. Characters must survive in a new world where dinosaurs have returned, representing a new and terrifying sort of foe. The game is written in Savage Worlds and includes some interesting frameworks to play out any of your dinosaur-related campaign ideas, including ones that could easily accommodate Land of the Lost, Jurassic Park, and more. $10 will get you the PDF for this game of exploration, mystery, and yes, dinosaurs.
Fuel Priest is a Dieselpunk game where you play Fuel Priests, pilots blessed by the Goddess. The game is narrative, giving control over success and failure but tempering it with complication. Similarly, the system for the aforementioned priests adds an interesting twist through the game’s religious aspects. From a more mechanical bent, each “Fuel Priest” will be able to design their own airplane, and play through a map that is created on the fly as the game progresses. I’m a fan of dieselpunk, and this looks like it could scratch an itch left untouched since I last played Crimson Skies. I’m saving this one for later.
Pilots are apparently a recurring theme this month! Flying Circus is a PbtA game from the early days of flight, where characters take to the air in wooden biplanes, or perhaps one of the gnarlier designs from the early twentieth century that never, ahem, took off. Characters find themselves in a mercenary company flying for fame, fortune, and survival after the collapse of civilization. There is a twist, though, as magic lurks just beneath the surface. The game takes the PbtA mechanics and fleshes out flight, making players track fuel, speed, and altitude. This relatively simple framework allows for a fair amount of mechanical depth, and may just do for dogfighting what Torchbearer did for the dungeon crawl. Flying Circus is designer Erika Chappell’s third game, and one I’m saving for possible funding later.
Have other favorites from this month’s crop of games? Think there are any worthy of mention that I missed? Don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments. Until next time, I hope you check out all of these games, and consider supporting the creators who are trying to bring them to life!