Monday, 10 September 2012

Kickstarting a free RPG? Check out The Artefact

Being obsessed with philanthropy means that I've only had a passing interest in Kickstarter. However, my interest was piqued when I learned that Emmett O'Brian had launched a Kickstarter for his free Sci Fi RPG The Artefact. I love The Artefact (you can tell from my review), not only is it a fantastically well thought out setting but from a personal point of view, it made me return to Icar and improve it.

Kickstarter... for a free game... come again?

Kickstarter is a site for community funding projects. Emmett's brilliant idea is to raise money to update the graphics throughout the book and then do a print run. Depending on your budget, you can get a floppy or stiff one (soft or hard cover), or have your name listed in-game for a dollar - which I rather like.

The more I think about it, the better the idea is.

Why The Artefact?

So original, I can't think of anything more original to write hereScience fiction roleplaying games tend to be thinly veiled reproductions* of one of the following:
  • Star Wars
  • Star Trek
  • Traveller
The Artefact is really something new - based on a huge elliptical world where alien races are battling for control of it. As humans arriving on The Artefact, you must discover its secrets, learn new technology and explore without being turned into vapour. The shape of the Artefact is core to its design, with all of the horrid physics worked out for you so that you can enjoy the science rather than be baffled by it.

Don't believe me? You can download it now!. Or get the Alpha for the latest version.

Put my money where my mouth is

I've chucked cash at it because I'd love to hold The Artefact in my hands. I'm not the only one who thinks this is super, Rogue Games is a huge fan as is Nils, the world builder behind Enderra. If you've ever wanted a chance to say thank you to the philanthropists, this is it.

* My Icar included. It's about as original as Andrew Lloyd Webber.


mhd said...

New? Isn't "weird world-like construct"/ Big Dumb Object quite old? Niven's Ringworld comes to mind (in RPG form from Chaosium '84), or as a more recent example Bill Coffin's Septimus.

Heck, even World of Synnibar might qualify.

Rob Lang said...

Hi @mhd, thanks for your comment!

The idea of a big construct isn't new (nor is space flight, aliens or laser beams) but that it is an ellipse - and all of the physics and geomechanics that go with it. It is so well thought out that it makes it Sci Fi rather than Space Opera, which accounts for the vast majority of Sci Fi RPGs.

Emmett O'Brian said...

Thanks Rob!

I looked at my traffic this morning and saw a whole bunch of hits coming from the Free RPG Blog, I get some still from your original review but this was way more so I figured something was up. I popped over and woah! Cool!

Just so everyone else knows, Rob's been great and very supportive I can't thank him enough. He does a disservice to Icar though, it may be space opera but it's not your normal fare. Rob even developed his own branch of high tech physics for Icar and it's really cool stuff.

@mhd You're right, I'm not inventing the concept of a constructed world, really any story has it's roots in something if it didn't, it would be abstract and no one would be able to relate to it. It's really taken me 16+ years to wrap my head around what The Artifact would be like on the human scale, it might not even be possible for me to come up with something completely original but even if I did it would probably take me more time than the age of the universe to be able to explain it! :)

Nils said...

Rob, Traveller was just a reconstruction of earlier Sci Fi. Dumarest, H. Beam Piper, Assimov, just to name three. And George Lucas has probably read his share of Piper as well.

At least it means we're all in good company. :)

As for The Artifact, I believe it bears supporting and have already put my money where my mouth (or in this case, keyboard) is. :)

Joshua Garcia said...

I love that RPG. I also pledged to Afterearth: The Fall. It is a mix of sci-fi, fantasy and Mad max...oh and has some magic in there. Pretty crazy. That's 4 major RPG's I have subscribed to. These guys do a PDF at a buck which is always appreciated.

AfterEarth Kickstarter

anarchist said...

Which one is Icar?

Rob Lang said...

Hi anarchist. Icar is my free Sci Fi RPG, you can download it here.

Michael Taylor said...

I thought 'The Artifact' was a 'thinly veiled reproduction' of 'Metamorphosis Alpha'! ;)

And if it was done as a supplement for that game, I'd be glad to buy it!

Rob Lang said...

Hi Michael, I've not read Metamorphosis Alpha but I have read many, many Sci Fi RPGs that draw from similar canon - like The Artefact and Icar. I do think that Emmett has an eye for detail that brings the game home and I was delighted to read my copy, which now nestled on my shelf next to the test prints of Icar.