The United States of America is currently suffering from an unprecedented series of police riots, where countless children, elderly citizens, journalists, legislators, and medical professionals have been gravely harmed. We condemn all such acts of violence perpetrated by individuals and organizations who have betrayed their oath to serve and protect.
Genesis of Legend strongly supports those individuals taking a stand for justice and police accountability. We will be donating to the Black Visions Collective and The Bail Project respectively and encourage you to do the same. Here’s a little bit about these organizations.
The Black Visions Collective envisions a world in which ALL Black Lives Matter. We use the guidance and brilliance of our ancestors as well as the teachings of our own experiences to pursue our commitment to dismantling systems of oppression and violence. We are determined in our pursuit of dignity and equity for all.
The Bail Project, Inc. is an unprecedented effort to combat mass incarceration at the front end of the system. We pay bail for people in need, reuniting families and restoring the presumption of innocence. Because bail is returned at the end of a case, donations to The Bail Project™ National Revolving Bail Fund can be recycled and reused to pay bail two to three times per year, maximizing the impact of every dollar. 100% of online donations are used to bring people home.
Our Games, Their Stories
If you are helping in the fight for justice and black lives, we want to give what we can. We are offering a bundle with free PDFs of all of our games to anyone who fits at least one of the criteria below.
Is a Black individual suffering during the current time;
Participates in the protest/uprising efforts on the front lines;
Acts as a journalist, legal observer, or medical professional; or
Donates over $50 to either of the organizations listed above.
If this is your case, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Black Lives Matter” in the subject line and we will send you our catalog. Thank you .
Due to the lack of accessibility features on Kickstarter.com, we are reproducing the entirety of the Kickstarter page for Sig: City of Blades here. The end of this page will have a link to direct you to where to pledge.
This city is a Möbius strip, floating through the void. It’s the nexus of all the ’verse, where eternal planes and infinite primes meet. It’s a rough home for cutters and bashers, hungry for coin and glory. It’s a battlefield between the city factions as they fight over territory. It’s a city of gods, demons, and stranger things which lurk. No wonder that scoundrels and freebooters flock to the Nexus of the verse.
In the City of Blades, you will play Freebooters who work for one of the minor political factions of Sig. You will help your faction rise the ranks, seize territory, and get ridiculously wealthy so you can retire in luxury.
In the City of Blades, you might
Eliminate a couple of troublesome Enforcers who are causing trouble in your neighbourhood.
Steal important ritual object from the Goddess of Rivers and Sacrifice to weaken her hold over the docks.
Convince the Dustkeepers to help you steal the territory currently held by the League of Exterminators.
Negotiate an alliance with a community of irate refugees who just arrived in the city.
This is a game about clever spies, renegade sorcerers and reckless smugglers. You are going to get rich or die trying, so let’s get started.
Sig is a city of contrasts and strange bedfellows. This setting was originally presented in Sig: Manual of the Primes by Genesis of Legend Publishing. The system used is derived from Blades in the Dark, published by Evil Hat Productions. These two elements come together to form Sig: City of Blades.
This game is Forged in the Dark, designed to enable bold heists and backstabbing faction politics. Of course, any game set in the nexus of the verse is bound to have a few changes to the rules. Here are a few of the newest elements.
Sig: City of Blades has modular characters, with each Freebooter consisting Culture, Lineage, and Devotion. Culture reflects your Freebooter’s identity and upbringing. Lineage represents your family that shapes your prowess, whether it be by blood, ichor, adoption, or choice. Your Devotion represents your character’s religious obligations and/or faith in one of the immortal Powers of the City of Blades. Each of these provide a pair of potential Advancesto choose from, ratings in four Actions, and a Drive (which you can use to reduce stress).
The Map of Sig
The city itself has an important role in the game. The game comes with a map of the city which is divided up into 48 distinct pieces of territory which function as claims. Every claim is controlled and defended by one of the many factions of the city, who maintain their position (Tier) and gain benefits associated with them. As Freebooters, your mission is to “liberate” claims from your rival factions though audacious heists and subtle schemes. If you want a workshop, you better seize one from someone else!
Living with Consequences
Enemy actions, bad circumstances, Planar Bargains, or the outcome of a roll can inflict consequences on a PC. Consequences may be minor, moderate, or major in severity, leading to different impacts on the Freebooter’s initiatives. As characters suffer stress, they also expose themselves to more severe consequences based on the GM’s discretion and the fiction.
Minor: A stumble, unwanted attention, an expense, or a minor injury.
Moderate: entrapment, a curse, collateral damage, or a moderate injury
Major: Betrayal by someone you trusted, duress, imprisonment, or a life-threatening major injury.
Every player portrays a Freebooter; a scoundrel and adventurer who lives in Sig. You work for one of the great Factions of Sig such as
The Glimmer Knights
The Glimmer Knights are an ancient Polari chivalric order formed when the stars were still young and sun hid its face. The Order now serves the Performers Guild as peacekeepers and knee breakers, who swear an oath to the Queen of Rime and Woe and uphold a strict code of honour. Their duty is to act as neutral arbiters, clever diplomats, and defenders of the peace.
The Order of Ashen Keys
The Order of Ashen Keys was a secretive group of mercenary warcasters who saved the accumulated lore known as the Invisible Collage. Generations upon generations of mercenary sorcerers have continued its long tradition. They are prized for their independence and are trusted to act on their own initiative for the good of the Sage Collegium. They are obsessed with gathering and protecting forbidden lore, no matter the cost.
The Daughters of the Raven
The Heralds Guild has long needed a small group of elite messengers who could transport more sensitive cargoes. The Daughters of the Raven are the all-female cohort of smugglers and spies who deliver these most important packages. They are tenacious and renowned for their skill in infiltration. They also have their own secret mission to take vengeance on those who harm the most vulnerable.
Jason Pitre (He/Him) is an Acadian game designer, writer, layout professional, podcaster, and drinker of coffee. He has worked on many RPG projects including Sig: Manual of the Primes, Palanquin, Noir World, Red Carnations on a Black Grave and Spire: Shadow Operations. You can find him on twitter over @genesisoflegend or check out his website at www.genesisoflegend.ca.
Avery Alder (She/Her) is a queer designer hailing from Sinixt territory. She’s the designer of Monsterhearts, The Quiet Year, Dream Askew, Ribbon Drive, and a host of smaller, scrappier projects. Avery worked as a design consultant for Sig: City of Blades and made it what it is today. You can find her on twitter over @lackingceremony or on her website at buriedwithoutceremony.com.
Christopher Rothwell (He/Him) is a disabled Canadian editor, writer, and retired game store professional. He works as Genesis of Legend’s in-house lead editor and has previously worked on The Goblin Republic. You can find him on twitter @Cge_Rothwell.
Juan Ochoa (He/Him) is a Colombian professional illustrator and pixelpusher with dozens of projects under his belt. His work has appeared in countless projects from Evil Hat Productions, Magpie Games, and Genesis of Legend including After the War and The Goblin Republic. You can find him on twitter at @juanjuanchoa or check out his portfolio at juanochoa.co
Alex Louise Hill (She/Her) is an Indonesian artist working in animation. She wants to create stories about her home, and one day bring it to the big screen. You can follow her on Twitter at @alx_egg or look at her portfolio at https://alexlouiseart.com/.
Quinn Murphy (He/Him) is an American game designer and thinker behind Thoughtcrime games. In addition to credits on the Ennie-nominated site At-Will, Quinn’s work can be found in Kobold Quarterly, Dragon, Pathfinder 2nd Edition, and his current game in development titled “Five Fires”. Games of all kinds ignite his passion, which is said by many to be highly contagious. You can follow him on twitter at @qh_murphy or his website at http://www.thoughtcrimegames.net
Jeff Stormer (He/Him) is an American podcaster, game designer, and copywriter. He is best known for his excellent podcast “Party of One” and his recently published RPG “Mission Accomplished!” He has a passion for stories, in whatever form they take–especially the kind shared by good friends. You can follow him on twitter at @PartyOfOnePod or check out his website at https://www.jeffstormer.com/.
The game has already been designed, professionally edited, illustrated, and the majority of the layout is complete. We are bringing this project to kickstarter to raise funds to cover off these development costs and support a proper print run of full-colour, hardcover books for you to enjoy.
At $10,000 CAD, we reach our base goal. This will cover us to cover the existing development costs for the book. This will enable us to produce digital copies of the book. We will also use Print on Demand services to print and ship hardcover copies to backers.
At $15,000 CAD, we will commission more art! Alex Louise Hill will illustrate over a dozen inhabitants of the City of Blades to grace our pages. Take a look at one such citizen of Sig, one of the Waterborn!
At $20,000 CAD, we will have enough funds and demand to support an offset print run of the book by our friends at Bang Printing. This will give us higher quality and greater quality physical copies.
At $25,000 CAD, we will commission a set of missions for your Freebooters to perform. Quinn Murphy will be the writer and designer behind these new jobs and I am eager to see what he will come up with.
At $30,000 CAD, we will commission a four-episode limited series Actual Play podcast of the game. Jeff Stormer, of the Party of One Podcast series designer of Mission: Accomplished!, will coordinate these sessions and show the game off to the world.
Budgeting in tabletop roleplaying games is fraught with difficulty and discourse. We are sharing our preliminary budget in the interest in transparency and a conviction that creatives deserve to be paid for their labour. All of our compensation is derived from the minimum wage of the publisher’s jurisdiction, which is $12.50 CAD, or about $8 USD per hour. Contributors all receive at least this amount.
All of our internal contributors receive compensation at that rate, which is equivalent to a per-word writing rate of 8 cents per word. Our total internal expenses are $4,600 CAD, or $3,520 USD representing 25 days of writing work (Jason), 10 days of development (Jason), 10 days of Layout (Jason), and 10 days of editing (Christopher).
All of our external contractors receive compensation at 150% that rate, which is equivalent to a per-word writing rate of 12 cents per word. This includes 10 days of cover illustration (Juan), 10 days of internal illustration (Juan), and 2 days of design consultation (Avery)
Our base goal also includes a printing and shipping budget of $1,500 CAD / $1,150 USD, based on the minimal print numbers to reach those goals. This also includes budgeted kickstarter fees of $1,000 CAD / $770 USD. If we reach our stretch goals, we will be allocating more money towards internal illustration (Alex), Printing/Shipping, writing/development of missions (Quinn), and a podcast AP (Jeff).
We are keeping this campaign simple, with only five reward tiers for you to consider.
$1: Retailers and Merchants: Back at this level to get notified when the product is available for purchase, and to receive a complimentary PDF of the game along with all other backers.
$5: HIVE: Community Copy: Individuals suffering from economic hardship or other forms of marginalization can back at this level to get the game in PDF and ebook formats at a significantly reduced price.
$5: HIVE: Community Copy: Individuals suffering from economic hardship or other forms of marginalization can back at this level to get the game in PDF and ebook formats at a significantly reduced price.
$15: PRIME WORLD: Community Copy: Individuals suffering from economic hardship or other forms of marginalization can back at this level to get the game in print, PDF, and ebook formats at a significantly reduced price.
$25: TETHERWARD: Standard Digital: Backing at this level will get you the full digital version of the game in PDF and ebook formats.
$50: RIVERWARD: Standard Print & PDF: Backing at this level will get the full digital version in PDF and ebook formats, as well as a professionally printed, full-colour, hardcover book.
$75: ETERNAL PLANES: Generous Print & PDF: Backing at this level will get the full digital version in PDF and ebook formats, as well as a professionally printed, full-colour, hardcover book. It will also unlock another 5 slots for the “Prime World” tier.
$90: HIGHSPIRE: Two Tomes: Backing at this level will get you both Sig: City of Blades and Sig: Manual of the Primes. Both of these games tell different kinds of stories set in the nexus of the verse, and you can get them both. This will get you digital versions of both games and two beautiful full-colour hardcover books.
Risks and Challenges.
I’m happy to report that I’m no stranger to running Kickstarter projects, and I’m taking all the standard precautions. I’ve previously run four successful campaigns with the latest being for After the War and Palanquin. Those Kickstarter campaigns successfully delivered their rewards to backers on time.
The main text for Sig: City of Blades is complete at this point. If personal emergencies prevent our artists from contributing, we have backup options. We have already done the vast majority of the layout for the product.
At our base goal, we will be using Print on Demand services (Lightning Source) to produce the books. There can occasionally be quality control issues with their services, but we will replace and substandard books produced. If we secure enough funding, we will be able to afford a proper print run with a well-regarded, professional and experienced printer, but I have several backup options, just in case.
Anything that goes through the mail system can go astray, but I will replace any missing copies at no cost. This is a particular concern with regard to the use of the United States Postal Service for obvious reasons. We will do our best to mitigate these risks and will do my best to work within the existing shipping budget.
We are trying to run a kickstarter campaign in 2020 / 5781, which is foolish at best. We have no idea how the global pandemic, civil unrest, political conflicts, wildfires, hurricanes, or other unexpected disasters might occur. We reserve the right to cancel this project and refund all backers if a planar rift, gate, or portal appears.
Back in 2017, we introduced Sig: Manual of the Primes. This cosmopolitan planar fantasy roleplaying game has been well appreciated over the years as people have used it to tell stories of family, faith, and faction politics. This colourful, hardcover book has been so well received that we couldn’t leave it alone. That’s why in 2020, we are inviting you to Sig with three new projects.
The current pandemic crisis has reminded us of the importance of community and escape into fantastic worlds. We invite you to play the game online using tools like Roll20, Zoom, or Twitch so that everyone can escape into this fantasy city for a few hours of adventure.
We want to make this happen and we are happy to help by offering your entire group free PDFs of the game. Just gather a group of friends and companions and schedule a session. When you are ready to start, contact us at email@example.com “Free City” in the subject line to get started.
The Gnomes and the Winged are at war, and only you can find a path to peace. We are working with the excellent Luke Elias to write and develop this brand-new adventure suitable for one-shot games or to launch short campaigns. We will keep you posted when this new adventure is released but we can’t wait to share it with you.
Sig is a rough city. It’s a home for cutters and bashers, hungry for coin and glory. It’s a battlefield between the city factions as they fight over territory. It’s a city of gods, demons, and stranger things which lurk. No wonder that scoundrels and freebooters flock to the Nexus of the ‘Verse.
Ever since our original kickstarter campaign, we have dreamed of expanding Sig into new arenas. We saw the fascinating system behind Blades in the Dark, and recognized how it could align with the planar fantasy setting. We dreamed of planar heists, turf-wars in the ever-changing city, and the exciting lives of Freebooters. We also realized that we would have to make some small adaptations to the system so that it would truly represent the planar fantasy genre, so we set to work.
Sig: City of Blades will be a stand-alone game that adapts the setting of Sig to the Forged in the Dark rule system. It takes a multi-part character approach similar to Nathan Paoletta’s Masks of the Mummy Kings or John Harper’s Danger Patrol. It restructures play around a single territorial map with key blocks of territory under the control of the different factions. The struggle for territory and position is fierce in Sig: City of Blades, and each of you belong to one of three minor factions who are seeking to grow. There is a lot to explore and enjoy with this game.
We are once again working with Juan Ochoa who is illustrating this book with his usual masterful skill. Here is a sneak peak at some of the artwork he already prepared for the game.
I would absolutely love to hire him to produce more art for the project, but I need your help to make it happen. All of the proceeds from sales of Sig: Manual of the Primesin May and June of 2020 will go towards commissioning additional art for Sig: City of Blades. The Manual of the Primes is also currently 25% off the cover price, so it’s a great time to pick up a copy and tell your friends.
I look forward to seeing you in the City Between, and planning our next heist together.
In the spring of 2019, we released a survey to collect information from a variety of publishers. We had a remarkable response rate, gathering information on 71 unique products from 47 unique publishers. This Survey has given us a remarkable wealth of information and it’s taken months to work through the analysis of the broad dataset.
We are proud to share this analysis into the tabletop RPG publishing landscape of 2019. We hope that this this analysis will help provide some insight into the the challenges and opportunities that the industry faces.
If you have any comments or questions about the survey, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss them. The dataset will be available for academic research purposes upon request.
If you find this analysis useful, I would love if you would sign up for our mailing list so that we can let you know about similar initiatives. Our intent is to begin releasing a periodic newsletter of RPG design and publication related information and we would love to share it with you. If you are interested, just fill in the form below!
Roleplaying games are marvellous tools for fostering empathy. As a medium, our games demand that participants take on alternative perspectives and personalities. By playing in a game in the role of a refugee of a galactic war, you might reflect upon how you would react to the loss of your home or adaptation to a foreign culture. If you portray a character who leads a fantasy kingdom, you might instead be forced into the hard choices of leadership. Each of these experiences has something to teach us.
At their core, roleplaying games are driven by the decisions
that the players make at the table. The strongest games are those who design
that decision-space with intention and purpose. Apocalypse World is all about
how you build and maintain relationships in a world in ruin. Monsterhearts
concentrates instead on how teenagers learn to cope with challenges of identity
and expectations. Each of these games leads the players to explore different
avenues of thought.
The concept of the Fruitful Void, as coined by Vincent Baker back in Dogs in the Vineyard doesn’t have a Faith stat, or rule for determining if a course of action is moral. Monsterhearts doesn’t have a procedure for determining a character’s identity or sexuality.
In my personal design praxis, I combine the concept of intentional experience design with that of the fruitful void. Each of my games revolves around an attempt to foster specific, challenging problems that the players will have to try to examine during play. In Sig, it’s about the conflicting needs of family, faith, and politics. After the War is about how we can learn to support communities which have suffered trauma. Circles of Power asks you to think critically about complex issues of intersectionality and activism. Each of these games carves out conceptual space for players to explore within a safe context It helps us gain valuable skills and a deeper awareness of important issues.
I tend to refer to this approach as contemplative design,
and I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you take a different
approach? What kinds of challenging material do your games help us explore?
Let’s start a conversation.