Earlier in the week Megan Bennett-Burks, posted on Google plus asking if anyone was interested in doing Question and answers or Podcast interviews about her new kickstarter "A Far Off Land."
This in not the kind of thing I normally write about, but I have been wanting to start featuring cool smaller kickstarters on the blog for a while.
With that in mind I took a few minutes to check out the Kickstarter page and was pleasantly surprised.
I very much like the idea of the Fated capable of traveling between two worlds via "Rabbit holes." It touches on many of my favorite tropes. Creature summoning, Elemental magic, "Fated" characters moving from a normal world to a magical one, wisps of Lewis Carol fantasy. It all appeals to me.
The system being used is FATE, which to my mind is the perfect choice for the amount of narrative flexibility a product like A far Off Land would need.
So I reached out to Mrs Bennett-Burks with a few questions and the results can be found below.
I hopes it's enough to convince you to go give the kickstarter a look.
Here is the brief interview:
My questions are in bold.
Tell me something about yourself and your partners on this project.
My name is Megan Bennett-Burks, I'm a programmer and web-designer, I also am passionate about RPGs, and released an RPG book titled Leaves of Chiaroscuro. I've also contributed to other books, including the RPGS Science-Fantasy Toolkit, and a few additional projects presently in progress.Jacob Possin is a co-author of Jadepunk, an RPG setting for Fate, and is a contributor to the Fate Codex.
How did you get in to Rpg’s, more specifically what lead you into RPG design?
I started playing RPGs in high school during the lunch hour. After I got into college there were stretches were I didn't game, just due to lack of gamers, but recently there seems to have been something of a resurgence in gaming, at least locally, so I've not been at a loss for gamers to GM for.I got into RPG design at first because I love to hack existing games for my own group and create my own settings. But, I also love to write, draw, and do other sorts of creative things (I actually majored in music so that's another creative pursuit I enjoy), it just seemed natural to eventually work on my own RPG book and release it into the world.
I read your Kickstarter Campaign and I’m intrigued by the concept of characters moving between two worlds. The art on displayed on the Kickstarter seems to imply that the Fated will be themselves in both worlds but some how “augmented” or more “magical” in the Far of Land.
Is this assumption correct?
That is correct, the characters are shapeshifters. They are naturally human (to alll appearances) in "The Cage" (what the Fated call our own world) and they naturally are stranger eldritch-creatures while in the Far Off Land (what they call the world full of magic and monsters). However, with some extra effort, they can switch forms to whatever they want while in whichever of the two worlds. They also have access to different abilities depending on what form they are in; however, magic is one thing that is actually stronger in The Cage. That may seem very counterintuitve and strange, but there is a reason for it. The Cage seems mundane to most people, but it is of a very deceptive nature.
How do you see that working as part of the narrative? What is it like for a Fated to cross between worlds?
The Fated use rabbit holes to go from one world to the other. Rabbit holes are like little mini-worlds that exist between the two worlds and are sort of part of both. Think the rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland (which is an influence on this game). While other beings can travel from one world to the next, it is really bad for magical beings to end up in The Cage. The Fated are the only beings that can use magic and be in either world without it being a very bad thing.
Another intriguing concept are the Courts and Factions.
Will there be rules for players to create their own factions over time?
I haven't presently included rules for player characters to create their own Faction or Court, but, that could be a good idea.
Without giving too much away how do you see Players interacting with the courts?
Player characters are either members of a Court, or a Faction. You can have player groups that belong all to one organization, or belong to different ones depending on whether you want to include some inter-party-tensions between them due to the different goals those organizations will have or not.The different Courts and Factions all try to use the Fated player characters to further their agendas. Most of the Factions want to do what they can to keep the things that sleep within The Cage (namely dragons) asleep so the two worlds aren't destroyed by them. However, the Factions have some different ideas about how to go about that. The Courts, perhaps with the exception of the Munin are less interested in that and have their own interests that can lead to alliances or conflicts arising between them and different organizations. The Fated are ideal go-betweeners and so are likely to be sent on cross-world missions a lot and to act as variously emissaries, assassins, and other things.
Fated using their Blood to summon fourth Elemental Creatures sounds amazing!
What kind of creatures do you have in mind?
How do they relate to those who summoned them?
The creatures are created from the combination of the Fated character's own blood & an element. Each Fated character has an affinity with one element. We wanted these creatures, beyond being formed of blood and elemental "stuff" combining to be pretty personal to each Fated, so the player can describe them almost however they want. One Fated might summon an earth elemental form of rotting dirt and bones which would seem very much like an undead creature, while another might summon serpents forged of flame.
This sounds like a setting which is quite ambitious and full of great ideas. I see you mentioned using the material provided with other game systems besides FATE in the Q&A section.
How closely do you plan on marrying the material to FATE?
Would using the ideas for another system be difficult?
Certain systems would be much easier to work with than others. I think systems that allow for a lot of picking and choosing traits from a wide variety and aren't class-based, like Savage Worlds, or very light systems like RISUS would be relatively easy to use with this. It would be very hard to use class based systems like 5e, or really heavy crunchy systems unless the rules support a huge amount of custom-building things. Still, important to keep in mind, the rules included are for Fate.
About the actual kickstarter.
Looks to me that you have all of the pieces in place (artists, editors, and designers very experienced with FATE.)
Beyond what you have already listed on the kickstarter page are there any resources you have in place that are going to make this a great product?
Guest artists in mind?
Any pie in sky ideas that strong funding could make happen?
I would really like to hit the PbtA / Apocalypse World Engine goal, and eventually do a print option for that too. It would also be nice to have a Kickstarter exclusive, maybe if we have enough funding I can support that as well.I do think we'll end up adding a few more artists, but that isn't set in stone just yet.
Lastly, If you are talking to a person who is on the fence about funding A Far Off Land, what would you tell them to nudge them over the edge?
That's a highly individualistic thing. I think I would have to start at why in particular they are on the fence, and then go from there.
Anyhow, thank you for your time!
I would like to say that this article was written with no expectation of any kind of return beyond the good feeling of giving another game designer a slight signal boost.
Beyond that, I hope the reader has found it an interesting and informative way to learn about a kickstarter.
I would like to thank Megan Bennett-Burks for taking part and helping me get started with a feature I hope to do more often on this blog.
Thank you for reading.