I rarely write about tabletop games, here on TechRaptor. Sure, I'm an avid consumer of both board games and pen and paper RPGs, but most of my expertise lies with video games. However, as an Italian, I made a point to try and make known the interesting projects that my country is able to produce in order to contribute to their diffusion. I stumbled on Vulcania by chance, thanks to a friend that was sharing it around, and it immediately sparked my interest. After all, what's not to love in a Steampunk-Fantasy Role-playing Game.
Vulcania is set in a world divided into 6 isle-nations, each with their own distinct theme and style. The people of the islands face many hardships that vary from the polluted wastes of Abrabazem to the mega-corporations of Itteghasp. In this war-torn world, players will create their characters. The entire system is contained in a single book. Narrator, players, monster and everything else needed to start the adventure is conveniently placed in a single package so there is no need for multiple manuals. The game follows a D12 system with the promise of being fast and reducing downtime greatly.
Players will be able to define their avatars by choosing their background, origin, personality, and vices that will shape up the character's personality and starting capabilities. They will also be able to assign their attributes (divided between dexterity, vigor, mind, and magnetism), skills and, later, will have the possibility to acquire arts that will grant them access to different paths of growth for their knowledge. Furthermore, as in any Steampunk game worth a dime, Vulcania gives the options to the player to command their own aircraft and engage in aerial battles.
From the Kickstarter pages, it is unclear how the game system will work precisely but from the few details shared, some interesting ideas can be noticed. What is sure is that the setting looks charming and the art style is colorful and intriguing. GearGames are looking for 25,000€ in their campaign and they're already more than halfway through with 16 days to go. It would seem that the company is on track to possibly hit at least a few of their planned stretch goals.
Looking at the pledge tiers, skipping the usual "thanks for your support" tiers, we see that backers will start receiving rewards starting from €25 pledges. At this tier, backers will receive the PDF of the rulebook (including the PDF stretch goals) and their name in the credits. If you want something that you can hold in your hands, for as low as €48 backers will obtain both the full colored hardback copy of the manual and the PDF.
Going up in the tiers, more goodies get added. At 65€, in addition to the content of the previous tier, a sweet-looking GM Screen is included in the deal while for ten more euros (€75) you will receive a limited collector edition of the manual but no GM screen. The €90 tier contains the hardback copy of the manual, the GM screen and a Vulcania themed T-shirt while the highest tier, at €115, will include everything we've seen so far. This means that going with the Shylock tier you will receive the limited kickstarted edition of the manual, the PDF, the GM screen and the T-shirt. It's worth mentioning that all the pledges from €3 going up will have their name included in the credits of the game.
There are 6 stretch goals that GearGames planned for this campaign. Well, if we want to get technical, there are three stretch goals and three other goals that unlock once the pledges reach a certain amount of money well within the target goal. A curious choice considering that these first three goals will matter only if the game gets funded anyway. The first of the three "not exactly stretch" goal reward, unlocked when the campaign reached the €10,000 mark within 24 hours of the announcement and added a 35 pages full-color adventure. Once reached the €15,000, a new section of the manual, called "Clash in the skies", has been included. This section is supposed to explain everything about airship fighting. The third goal will unlock once the campaign reaches the €20,000 mark and will add to the rulebook 6 new regional past experiences, one for each isle-nation.
The first of the actual stretch goals is a corebook upgrade, that will unlock at 30k, that adds 30% more artwork to the manual. Once reached the 35k goal, full colored character sheets will be included in all the rewards that include a printed copy of the rulebook. Lastly, at the 40k mark, GearGames will create a two episodes graphic novel called "Abrabazem's Last Breath" that will be available digitally to the PDF backers while also creating a physical edition for those in any physical copy reward tier.
Complementary to the tier linked rewards, GearGames offers a series of add-ons that can be combined with a regular pledge. Backers will be able to receive, for a price, an extra copy of the manual (even the limited edition one), the T-shirt, a GM screen and even Vulcania themed dices and tokens to be used to enhance the games. Prices range from the €3 of a single die to the €72 for the limited edition hardback rulebook.
While the campaign is going great so far, it still needs some more funding to reach their objective. At the time of writing, Vulcania is at over €17,000 of its €25,000 objective. The project looks interesting and the setting is charming. While the gameplay element is pretty much still under wraps, I personally feel like a leap of faith could be done for Vulcania. The deadline to place your pledges is Wednesday, February 13, 2019, 10:33 PM CET