Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kickstarter Recs: 'Timewatch', 'Project: Dark' and 'The Whispering Road'

First off, I've fallen behind on my blogging schedule again, so I apologise for that (assuming, of course, there are actually people reading this blog to apologise to). I'll get back to the APs of my DWAiTAS campaign soon, as for the book reviews and other content...there'll be an announcement about that on Sunday.

For today though, I thought I'd give a shoutout to a few projects that are up for funding on Kickstarter right now. All three are funded already, but it's still worth backing if you really want to secure copies of the finished products ahead of time, as well as to unlock any interesting stretch goals.

First up is Timewatch, which is written by Kevin Kulp and will be published by Pelgrane Press. Timewatch is the latest addition to Pelgrane Press' Gumshoe line of RPGs. The idea behind Gumshoe is that players shouldn't have to roll to discover clues when investigating, because finding the clues isn't what matters; it's what the characters do with the information that is important. So in Gumshoe games you have two sets of abilities: investigative abilities for investigating mysteries and uncovering clues, and general abilities for everything else. When looking for clues, all you need is to have the relevant ability and say you're using it and you'll find out what you need to know to move ahead with the story. Beyond that, ability levels give you pools of points that you can spend for special effects, or in the case of general abilities to add to a d6 dice roll (it's basically the amount of 'spotlight time' your character is given to be awesome with).

But enough about the Gumshoe system, what about the game itself? In Timewatch you play agents of a timecop-style agency, whose job it is to police the timestream and prevent time travellers (well meaning or otherwise) from screwing around with history. The way Kevin has adapted the Gumshoe system to fit with the time travel genre is just wonderful. Characters can spend points from the Preparedness general ability to pull off Bill and Ted-style stunts like saying they'll go back in time and leave a helpful item somewhere nearby after they get out of a situation, they can creatively spend investigative points (spend Architecture to go back in time and influence the design of a building to your own advantage in the future, spend a point in High Society to have befriended a contact in the king's court sometime in the past) but they have to be careful how they go about it. If they create a paradox they'll have to spend points in Paradox Prevention and make Chronal Stability rolls to avoid taking existential damage. Lose too much Chronal Stability and you'll find your identity rewritten as history tries to integrate you into the timeline, and if you're not careful you could be erased from existence completely.

As of the writing of this post, the Timewatch Kickstarter has more than surpassed its funding goal with 22 days still to go and is getting more support every day. If you're a fan of time travel fiction, it's well worth taking a look and maybe backing it yourself, as there are still some great stretch goals to be unlocked.

I'd also like to give a quick shoutout to two other Kickstarters that have only just come to my attention (and since I'm blowing my disposable budget on Timewatch already, I might only be able to back them to PDF level, if at all) but which look pretty cool nonetheless.

The first of these two is Project: Dark by Will Hindmarch. The core concept is stealth action-adventure for tabletop RPGs. So essentially, it's bringing the genre represented by such games as Splinter Cell and Thief to tabletop roleplaying. That would be enough to sell me on its own, but it's also designed so that you can play with as few as two players or as many as five (including the GM). There's not a lot of great games available that cater to one-on-one RP, so that's a bonus in my opinion.

The last project of interest is The Whispering Road by Brent P. Newhall. This game is designed to allow players to emulate fantastical stories in the style of Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli. Since I've only actually seen one Miyazaki film (Spirited Away) a few years ago, this isn't as big a deal for me as it will be for hardcore Miyazaki fans. Still if you love Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli, and want to play those kind of stories at the roleplaying table, go ahead and give this a look on Kickstarter.

If any of those sound like your cup of tea, go check them out on Kickstarter and see if you want to back them or not.

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