Crowdfunding Highlights

Cam Banks’ Magic Vacuum Design Studio has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Cortex Prime, the newest version of the Cortex Plus system. Cam was the lead designer and developer of the Cortex Plus system, which was used in the Smallville, Leverage, Firefly, and Marvel Heroic Roleplaying games. Two different books are offered, a 152+ page roleplaying game, and a basic system reference guidebook. A $10 pledge gets you pdf versions of both books in January while physical copies begin at $25, arriving in April of 2018, with a hardcover Cortex Prime book only available during this campaign starting at $35.

Posthuman Studios has announced a second edition of Eclipse Phase, launching a funding campaign last week. The science fiction roleplaying game is set in a quite advanced future: your mind can inhabit different bodies, death is something that can be easily avoided, and need is alleviated. However, transhumanity has fled Earth following a war against artificial intelligences, dispersing thoughout the solar system (and beyond) for survival. The new edition features faster character creation and resleeving (switching from body to body), an updated ruleset for quicker and simpler play at the table, and a redesigned layout to minimize flipping through the book to find relevant rules. Already funded, a $60 pledge gets you a copy of the physical book around October; a pdf-only reward is available down at a $20 pledge.

The story of Brass is a long and troubled tale, but finally Brass is being reprinted in an updated version from Roxley Games. Brass, now titled Brass: Lancashire, is part of a funding campaign that also is producing a sequel game, Brass: Birmingham. Both games have updated artwork (the best art I’ve seen in any edition of Brass, frankly). Lancashire features updated 2- and 3-player rules to “provide an experience more consistent with [the 4-player gameplay]”. Birmingham has a dynamic board setup with new canal and rail scoring (plus an evocative nightscape map). Crazily over-funded and with several upgrade stretch goals already unlocked, you can get either one of the games for about $60 or both as a reward for backing at the $100 level. (Funding levels are in CAD.) Final versions of the games are expected in January of 2018.

Back when I was heading up a rather large monthly game day event, it seemed that every third attendee was a budding game designer. Gameplaywright and Atlas Games are creating a great product for these designers: The White Box. This project comes with components for prototyping and development, a book of essays about how to make games, and a gift certificate for The Game Crafter, a small press board game printer that is commonly used for prototyping. A $30 pledge gets you a copy of The White Box in October. Higher level pledges get you a consultation on your game design.

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Margaret Weis Productions Leaves RPG Publishing

Margaret Weis ProductionsFollowing last week’s announcement by Monica Valintinelli, Margaret Weis Productions announced they were retiring from the roleplaying games, saying that Cam Banks, a former MWP employee and lead developer of several Cortex Plus products, has acquired the license to both Cortex Plus and Cortex Classic game systems. MWP has stated that Margaret Weis wishes to focus on novel and film projects.

Cam Banks has created Magic Vacuum, a new design studio, for developing projects based on the Cortex game systems as well as his own projects, some of which are currently on his patreon page. Development and crowdfunding for new core rulebooks are planned for 2017 “and beyond”. Cortex Plus games that Cam has developed include Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Smallville, and Leverage. Nearly all of the Cortex games MWP published were based on existing IP, such as Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica, and Firefly.

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Sentinels of the Multiverse: BeaconAfter briefly mentioning it in a Gen Con 2015 plans post, Greater Than Games officially announced a roleplaying game based on their popular Sentinels of the Multiverse setting. Cam Banks, Dave Chalker, and Philippe-Antoine Ménard of Critical Hits Studio will be designing the Sentinel Comics superhero roleplaying game. The last superhero game they developed, the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying game, was well-received by the gaming community. Sentinel Comics RPG will be using a completely new system developed for the game.

Demos for the Sentinel Comics RPG will be held at Gen Con 2015. A Kickstarter campaign for the game will begin in “early 2016”. Greater Than Games expects the core rulebook to sell for $40-50 with a “starter box” for $20 and an unknown number of supplements.

The demos at Gen Con are currently sold out, but Christopher Badell stated that opening up more demo opportunities at the convention is really “a matter of having people to run demos and time to run them. If we do [add more demos], we’ll post about them on the front page [of the GTG website], but that won’t be until a bit closer to Gen Con.”

Dave Chalker explains the design process. What will be shown at Gen Con will showcase the system’s fundamentals, he writes, along with making “the characters from the core Sentinels set playable, along with some villains, environments, and plots.” After Gen Con, the designers will develop the basics showcased at the convention into a full game. “We have started on all of that with our current ruleset, but it’s not quite fully developed enough to go indepth with yet. We want to get the rules into wider hands first to make the system it can be before we build other systems on top of it.”

Dave Chalker also writes that “The Sentinels Comics RPG takes cues from a variety of influences, including Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Fate, Apocalypse World, FUDGE, 13th Age, and years of collecting comic books. It will be its own unique system for superhero action, comic book stories, villainous plots, and cybernetic velociraptors.”

This article was edited to add additional comments from Dave Chalker and Christopher Badell.

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