Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Kingdom: The Space Exploration RPG

Welcome back to another Kickstarter Conversation!  Today I am proud to bring you Kingdom: The Space Exploration RPG by Richard James Errington.  Thank you for joining us today Richard.

It’s great talking to you. Thanks for showing interest in my project.

You’re quite welcome! I will admit your title immediately caught my eye as I am not only a long time space exploration sci-fi fan, as well as a NASA employee, but I also like giving my players in my RPG’s the ability to “Change the world.”  Does your game fit my desire to let players change the galaxy?

It certainly does! One of the main focuses of the game are the players’ actions and their repercussions on humanity and the milky way galaxy as they explore. The game has two main scenarios: the Year One scenario and the Aftermath scenario. The Year One scenario takes place in the year 2045 when a scientist named Ben Smythe creates an IFTL drive (Instantaneous Faster-than-light) and chooses to prove it by hiring a crew to survey distant Earth-like planets. In this scenario humans have a great deal of control over how humanity is eventually viewed by other civilizations in the milky way galaxy. The Aftermath scenario takes place two years after the initial player group left the galaxy. Now Ben Smythe is in charge of a large established corporation and humanity has secured themselves a position in the galaxy. This scenario was designed to reflect the changes that occurred throughout the playthrough of the original core testers after a year and a half of playing.

With such a wonderful concept why are you bringing this to Kickstarter?  Couldn’t you just release it straight to Drive Thru RPG or to game stores directly?  

I’ve had options with other gaming companies to produce the game: unfortunately that would mean losing all control of the IP which is something I would not really want to do at this point. I wanted to make that this game would definitely see the light of day.
Drive Thru RPG is a brilliant resource for many games and something that I’ve been considering. By eliminating the overhead cost of printing and shipping physical books, it makes quite a lot possible. The only issue I would have is that I would be unable to fill the book with nearly as much wonderful artwork as I would like. It would primarily just be the written word and I know players appreciate illustration in even the best written rpg. Without Kickstarter I would also be unable to afford the printing costs and shipping costs that would be involved with distribution to gaming stores.

Speaking of the mechanics of the game, what kind of system is it?  Is it a whole new system or is it a licensed system?  How many dice am I going to need?  Is it skill or classed based?  

I’ve created a new system for the game which I’ve dubbed the Kingdom Roleplaying system. The players are going to need d6’s for it (six sided die) and the GM (Game Master) is going to need d6’s and percentile die. The game is skill based. The Kingdom System is comprised of regular combat, social combat, advanced combat, and space combat.

I’m a very cinematic GM how “Crunchy” or rules heavy is your system?

The game is pretty adaptable. The actual combat can be as complicated or as simple as players want: whenever combat is initiated a player (or GM) has the option of using a combination of simple combat, advanced combat, and/or social combat. For those GM’s that love having a variety of consequences for actions there are dozens of different result charts that they can utilize to randomize the player’s experience.

How inherent to your setting is the system?  Can I just take your galaxy rules and setting and run the day to day game in FATE Core or GURPS?  

Regular combat could probably be done with either system after some conversion but it would likely take quite a bit longer than the Kingdom system. I’m not sure how space combat could be translated.

Why should someone take a gamble on your system and not just make a space game in their current system?  What are you bringing to my table that I don’t already have?  

I’m making this for anyone who loves science fiction, space exploration, and rpgs. The book gives you a starting point for your players, descriptions of many worlds, aliens, technology, and ships that you can utilize. It has a fun and quick combat system that is easy to learn but can take time to master. It gives GM’s access to dozens of different “reaction” tables that can take their group in directions they didn’t even consider when they took their action. It also includes systems to quickly create new weapons, technology, and even custom starships in-game. Players and GM’s are free to take and use whatever they like from the system.

Some of the art you have is quite evocative, who did the art?  

We have a couple of different artists that are working for us at the moment. We have Frankell Baramdyka (http://frankell-design.blogspot.com/) who has done some nice space images for the book. Then we have the talented Skye Sken (http://www.skyesken.org/gallery.html) who has been creating images of various aliens and humans within the book.

A key part of successful Kickstarters is backer participation and how to convert a potential backer into a full backer.   How are you engaging your backers?  What kinds of things do you have planned for updates to give notice to those who just hit the “remind me” button and surf on?  Interviews?  Videos?  Stories from the project?

So far I’ve done updates throughout the kickstarter highlighting some of the artwork, some of the descriptions of aliens, the combat system, and pieces of history throughout the Aftermath scenario. They’ve been fun to create and I hope they’ve generated some interest.

What Role playing communities have you reached out to about your project?  

I’ve reached out to local gaming stores and communities within my home area (Connecticut, New York, New Jersey). I’ve also posted information about my Kickstarter at rpggeek.com. I’ve also asked my current backers to tell anyone they think would be interested in the game to check out the kickstarter.

Do you have any tips/advice would you give to anyone looking to start a Kickstarter?

Make sure that you have your game plan all set out. What do you want to accomplish? Figure out a timeline for your project. Then start to research just how much income you will need to actually produce it. Then figure out how much you will need to spend out of your own pocket: people on Kickstarter will want to see something even if you don’t have a complete project yet. Make sure your pledge levels cover the cost of the gifts! You don’t want to run a successful Kickstarter just to discover you actually didn’t do your budget correctly! At the end you also want all of your friends and family to know about your project before it comes online and to help support you.

Thank you for spending your time with us!  Do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

I’ve been quite encouraged by the generosity of the Kickstarter community. My project is definitely not one of the high profile large company ones that have been coming out as of late but I have still been finding backers nonetheless! At this point I’ve hit just over 50% of my goal and I have around 10 days left. Whether I hit that goal or not I will have learned a great deal about crowdfunding and community building.

Thanks again and I hope to hear good things from your Kickstarter!

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