The Ætherbox has brought yet another worthy project to my attention: Guardians of the Rose, an independent fantasy adventure game done in wonderfully retro 8-bit style and thus harking back to the glorious days of the very first Legend of Zelda and other classic titles.
First, the trailer:
But since technology has progressed, there is a lot more power behind the graphics and Guardians of the Rose offers a number of features the original Legend of Zelda and similar titles from the mid-1980s did and could not have. Thus, Guardians of the Rose features:
The possibility to align with Good or Evil – You get to choose whether Good or Evil prevails. Your alignment is based on your actions. Killing monsters near a town to save villagers is an act that earns good points while killing innocent villagers, stealing, or using witchcraft will accumulate evil points. Your alignment affects which NPCs are friendly towards you and which ones are enemies. It also can change your path in the story, which quests you can take, what gear you can wear, and more.
Guild Master of a Secret Society – You play as a guild master of a Secret Society who’s goal is world peace, at any cost. You will need a few allies to help you overthrow the Great Witches. You have the choice to recruit any NPC in the game but if you choose the wrong person to recruit it can turn into a fight and blow your cover as a revolutionary (or if you have taken a more evil path it could blow your cover as an Ally to the Great Witches).
Gear, more gear and magic gear – There are all kinds of swords, daggers, bows, headgear, armor, accessories, etc. They can all be enchanted with magic or witchcraft. You can also hunt down epic gear that is already enchanted. Some gear has stat based wearing requirements while others come with the cost of exposing you as a revolutionary or a witchcraft user.
Witchcraft – Witchcraft is known in the kingdom as the source of all evil. Using it risks your ability to get along with natives of the land and if caught using witchcraft you can compromise your ability to experience certain endings of the game. If you do choose to use witchcraft you can craft it with items that you find in your explorations.
Stats System – Stats are the five character statistics that make your character completely customizable. Each time you level up you can invest points into your character to tailor it towards the way you prefer to play the game.
The story of the game was inspired by such classics as Homer, the Viking Sagas, and Lord of the Rings. All in all, I am rather excited about this little game.
Now, since it is an indie release, there is a Kickstarter campaign running to get the funds to finish it together. The campaign is almost there, but only almost, so, lend your support! You get the game for just $10, so nothing can go wrong!
„Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones“ is a supernatural horror roleplaying video game which takes place in the strange worlds of Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Stygian will draw the player into a bleak journey from a ruined Arkham to the very depths of the Abyss. The gameplay experience promises a mix of rich role-playing and turn based tactical combat in an authentic illustrative 2D graphical style. In Stygian, you’ll be able to create your character from scratch with a robust selection of archetypal backgrounds with different origin stories, attributes, skills, traits and lastly belief systems which determine how your character replenishes lost sanity, also presenting unique dialog choices. The narrative of the game is strongly connected to the works of H. P. Lovecraft. In your quest, you’ll use the haunted violin of Erich Zann to lure a fiendish deity and convince the poor wretched protagonist of „The Outsider“ to join your party among many others. The heavy burden of fighting a desperate battle with forces beyond recognition will haunt you to the end of the game. Physical combat will be scarce and difficult, spellcasting will have deep and dangerous consequences, sanity loss will leave its marks on characters as mental illnesses and sometimes the best solution will be running away from the terrors that lurk in the night. Stygian embraces the original themes of pulp and weird fiction, incorporating them into the computer roleplaying genre, promising a fresh (or putrid from another perspective) breath of air for roleplaying fans.
Sounds very promising, does it not? Wait until you see the gameplay trailer!
This gem is being developed by Cultic Games of Istanbul, Turkey and it is a real bargain on Kickstarter! Seriously, for as little as €12 you get the whole game and it looks delightfully weird, haunting and very Lovecraftian:
And the pitch Cultic Games are delivering for Stygian deserves a big IÄH!
So please, cultists of the world, unite and lend your support! Do it here!
Way back in 2013 I introduced you to the art of Gary Nicholls and back then, there were already plans being made to turn Gary’s art into a limited edition art print book.
Well, now the project is taking shape and there is a campaign at Kickstarter, which has already gained some traction.
Even better, what was supposed to be only one book will now become a trilogy of books, this is the art that will be featured in there:
And if this is not enough to kindle your interest in the project already, here is the pitch in words and video:
The Imaginarium Trilogy, began in September 2012, by chance.
Meticulously crafted by Gary Nicholls, a British photographic conceptual artist, comes the first book of his conceptualised neo-gothic fairy story eponymously based on the Victorian fairground attractions of The Imaginarium. ‘The Imaginarium’ tells an intricate, fantastical, dark but ultimately beautiful steampunk story through the unique medium of fine art images. Four years in the making, Nicholls’ creation is so much more than just a book – it’s an adventure through the power of art that simultaneously tells an epic, powerful story readers will be immersed in from page one.
Now sidle over to the campaign page and lend your support!
Mage: The Ascension is all about being able to change reality one way or the other and that is something I tried back in 1997 when I shed the ballast of three terrible years that had just passed. Mage: The Ascension was a vehicle for me to live a dream, if only in a game. The philosophy within the game still very much appeals to me and I think it is also (together with Changeling) one of the less dark World of Darkness role playing games (the inherrent darkness and partial hopelessness in some of the others kept me from playing the pen and paper version for any length of time, but I was a keen player of Vampire Live and even the Malkavian primogen of Nottingham for a time).
Contribute to help give the Deluxe M20 Edition a leather bound, embossed+, silk bookmarked, gold-edged, full-color, deluxe treatment.
Well, my copy arrived a few days ago, this is what it looks like, this is what I got:
Yes, it actually is that fantastic. This is one massive book and it feels like a medieval folio. Fully illuminated, golden-edged, leather-bound, the works. Over 700 pages (695 of them numbered) and weighing in at six pounds and three ounces, this is easily the most massive role playing game rule book in my possesion and the most beautiful by far.
The money was truely well invested and I have already revelled in fond memories and come up with a campaign centered around my favourite group: The Void Engineers.
No, I am not particularly in favour of the Technocracy, but the Void Engineers are pure and simply awesome with the Virtual Adepts coming in at No. 2.
But now I have to go and digg deeper into the pages of this magnificent piece of art!
As I mentioned in the podcast two days ago, there is a Space 1889 movie in the making in Viernheim, Germany and there is a Kickstarter project for the movie, please lend your support!
Here is some more info on what the project and the movie are all about:
Space 1889 is THE original Steampunk roleplaying game, created bei Frank Chadwick in 1988. Or rather: it’s „Steampunk light“ the way you might know it from the works of Jules Verne, which makes it easier to turn into a movie than typical Steampunk stories. In the world of Space 1889 the colonial powers of Earth – thanks to Thomas Edison’s invention, the Ether Propeller – were able to conquer other planets of our solar system and make contact with the lords of the Mars channels and Lizardmen on Venus. The new edition of Space 1889 was funded thanks to a Kickstarter campaign by Clockwork Publishing some time ago. It’s the ideal setting for adventurous stories in a streampunky sci-fi setting.
In „Secret of Phobos“ you will, of course, get a short introduction to the world of Space 1889 in which Thomas Edison and Jack Armstron reached Mars with the help of their spaceship prototype nearly 20 years before the main story-arc begins. These two iconic characters will be important to the plot, but the main story is about a young female adventurer, Armstrong’s niece. Together with her Martian butler and a young writer she gets caught in a huge conspiracy: her uncle’s and Edison’s mistakes from the past make her a target for a dark cult and the last hope for a Martian princess. Our heroes‘ journey leads them from Venus back to Earth, to Mars and finally to Mars‘ eerie moon Phobos. It features ancient secrets, wild chases, dinosaurs, drama and and a well dosed portion of humor – as we are fully aware that this is a very low budget project and those shouldn’t take themselves too serious.
Of course, there is more info available at the Kickstarter webpage.
Now, I am really excited about this movie, I have played the role playing game and have also been involved with the Space 1889 & Beyond series of novels. During this involvement, I had the opportunity to interview Frank Chadwick, the original inventor and author of Space 1889.
So, I decided to ask the people responsible for the movie for an interview to help promote it, they reacted enthusiastically to my request and it is with great pleasure I now give you the interview with Mháire Stritter and Nico Mendrek:
Please tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Mháire: I’m a freelance journalist and translator, studied Sinology (Chinese) for 6 years and have been fascinated by anything out of the ordinary for all my life. I love fantasy and science fiction worlds, costumes, writing story-telling – and for about six years now I’ve been on camera nearly every day. My hobbies are roleplaying, both tabletop and live, reading, collecting and painting (and very occasionally playing with) miniatures, building costumes and PC-Gaming.
Nico: I’m a video journalist (simultaneously editor/cameraman/video editor) who tried to study biology once. I’ve been working for many German TV networks as a freelancer, then I was in charge of the online video department of pcgames.de for a couple of years … and now I am making a lot of videos for the German pen and paper „industry“. I’ve been into filmmaking since school, produced and directed a number of very cheap films and webseries and was lucky enough to even do so as part of my regular job!
Since the film is set in an RPG universe, when did you start role playing / life role playing?
Mháire: I started tabletop-roleplaying when I was about 12. My brother and I found a box for the German roleplaying game The Dark Eye and simply tried it out. And then I kind of never quit – I also played a lot of Shadowrun in my teenage years, several editions of DnD, a few systems written by friends or by me and the occasional session of Cthulhu, The One Ring, Apocalypse World, Dark Heresy and more. I first tried LARP when I was 15 and the first game was simply awesome (I ran with a pack of other teenage girls with ugly home-crafted weapons and improvised costumes, but it was GREAT) and the second was terrible and then it took years before I tried it again in my early twen-years. I’m not too much into the fighting anymore, but love to sew and craft costumes and really immerse myself in a fantasy world.
Nico: My story is quite similar. Just add 3 years to the age and skip the sewing and crafting part. The bit with a pack of teenage girls is true, though.
Did you know about steampunk before you came into contact with Space: 1889?
Mháire: Definitely. I do have a love for Victorian fashion – originally without gears 😉 – since my mother runs a small costume studio and used me as a model for some very lovely gowns. You’re probably going to see at least one of those in the movie. And then I gradually got to know about Steampunk – thanks to webcomics, friends and cosplayers on conventions. For myself I still prefer a simpler, more realistic version of Victorian fashion, but I’m totally in love with and amazed by the attention for detail and the simple joy of playing around with ideas that are part of this community.
Nico: I knew about it, but I didn’t really come in touch with the steampunk scene until recently. You can only be at home in so many scenes and there was already The Dark Eye, Star Wars, Discworld … But Jules Verne will always be among my top three favourite authors, if that counts.
Have you been in touch with Space: 1889 fans worldwide concerning this project?
Mháire: Since we work closely with Clockwork publishing who did the reboot of Space 1889, we do have connections to fans abroad. Nico can probably say something more precise about it 😉
Nico: Well … there is of course the creator Frank Chadwick who had to approve of the project (and luckily did). Recently we met Timothy Brown who also worked on Space 1889 back then and is a backer now. Furthermore there are some Steampunk fans in England who will appear as actors in the film.
When did you first have the idea for the movie?
Mháire: I can’t quite remember when we first talked about it. I think it was around when the German version of the new Space 1889 was published. We’re friends with the people from Clockwork and it was simply like: „Hey, that’s a great setting for a film what do you think?“ Again, Nico probably has a loooot more details since he’s the actual filmmaker.
Nico: Actually back then I said to Patric of Clockwork: I’ll help you with the videos for the Space 1889 crowdfunding – but the next Kickstarter will be a movie in that setting. So the idea is close to two years old and we’ve been working on the script, effects and the teaser since then.
Has any sort of production other than the trailer already happened?
Mháire: Mostly work on the script and tests for effects. Some of them are the few CGI-effects we will have to use, to pin a convincing Mars over the landscape of Iceland for instance. Others are works on miniatures and tiny Martian landscapes.
And this is the trailer:
And here are two behind the scenes photos from the trailer:
Have you done similar projects (maybe on a smaller scale) in the past?
Mháire: We made a fan-film for the German roleplaying game The Dark Eye: Leuenklinge. From the first day of shooting to the final version it took us … four years? I think. We shot on a lot of different locations with a lot of people who gathered for a weekend on a castle or in some woodland area in the boondocks of Germany. Everyone brought their own costume, we often had to improvise practically everything and it only worked out because everyone spent a lot of time and enthusiasm on the project. There was NO budget …but we made it. And it’s actually not quite bad! It’s a bit of a jigsaw puzzle with very different kinds of effects (or no effects), music by at least three different people and if you pay attention you’ll notice the dwarf is a different person behind the beard every second scene – but it’s finished. It’s even got fans. A few hundred. Just imagine what we could do with a bit of money 😉
Nico: And then there were two even cheaper discworld fan films for which we even had a contract with Terry Pratchett, a recent horror parody shot in under twelve hours and a Star Wars: The Old Republic webseries we made for pcgames.de ..
Was it hard to recruit actors (or did you have to drive aplicants away with a big stick)?
Mháire: Thanks to Leuenklinge we already have a handful of people who can act on camera. It’s a bit harder to find actor’s outside of Germany for the Brits and French characters in the film. So, it’s neither that we’re swamped with actors nor that we’re desperate to find someone.
What locations are used in the movie?
Mháire: That depends on the success of the Kickstarter. We plan to use the Azores for Venusian jungles – there’s beautiful rainforest on the islands and during off-season flights are very cheap, while the weather stays mild. The Martian drylands will be shot on locations in former Yugoslavia where several European „Western“-movies were made, but we will probably also use the Taklamakan and the Gobi since we plan to take the Silkroad to China for another project. And while we’re there (and brought along some actors) …
Nico: Of course the interiors of space ships will have to be build – but we have already chosen which attic to use for that – unless we reach the stretchgoal that enables us to build that set into a mobile home. And then there are many Victorian-looking environments in which we want to shoot scenes on Earth. One very generous person even offered us his home for a couple of scenes: A large country house with its own park that was used for tv movies a lot of times.
Have you promoted the movie anywhere before you started the Kickstarter?
Mháire: We did have the trailer up and promoted it on conventions and online before we decided on the Kickstarter campaign. So, yes, we did, but not at the level of the campaign.
Have you tried to find out the chances of success (perhaps based on the responses of people you shared the idea with) before you started the campaign?
Mháire: Well, we tried, but you never know. Crowdfunding is basically testing the chance of success in a make-or-brake kind of way.
In case you really overshoot your target by a lot, would you consider subtitles in more languages?
Mháire: Of course! That is probably going to be the first stretchgoal after the ones we currently offer.
Nico: I think it’s already possible if we reach the second or third stretchgoal, to add at least French and Spanish subtitles as well.
And the final one:
Are you planning on showing the finished movie in an actual cinema, too?
Mháire: Yes, we are. As part of the premiere – the plan is to rent a cinema for a private showing. So yes, it will be in an actual cinema. No, it probably won’t be shown there regularly ;).
Thank you so much for your time, Mháire and Nico, and the efforts you are putting into this project.
If this headline did not get your attention, you are probably dead…
Anyway, may I present to you this bizarre jewel of an independent game, by Croatian game company Studio Spektar:
The good people at Studio Spektar have this to say about the game world:
Viktor’s cartoon world is not entirely different from our world. Each country is either a semi-historical representation of a real country, or a flat-out parody that may or may not have people laughing with anger.
You’ll meet a great number of characters in the game who will often be bizarre, and sometimes based on real people such as the genius inventor antelope Tesla or the dog Emperor Franz Joseph.
Tome Wilson, an icon of the Dieselpunk community and head behind the famed website and community dieselpunks.org needs our help!
Since its beginning in 2009 Dieselpunks.org has grown into one of the biggest and liveliest ætherweb abodes of our scene, this has also led to its associated costs have increased drastically. It has gotten to the point where Tome is no longer able to shoulder the costs all by himself.
So, Tome has initiated a Kickstarter fundraiser to keep Dieselpunks.org fuelled and going for the foreseeable future and also expand the site. If there ever was a worthy project for our community on Kickstarter, this is it. Please consider giving your support and do not let Dieselpunks.org fall!
From the Steamfantasy side of things comes the following project for a webseries that I would like to bring to your attention today:
The Beast of Verant City
The Beast of Verant City is set in a fantastic world where the royal families of the Seven Great Nations possess magical abilities derived from the stars. With this the rulers of these nations have held powers for hundreds of years.
In the Kingdom of Egremont, this persistent ruling class has held onto its old traditions while the intellectual elites of the lower classes strive to advance the society as much as they can through a prestigious group called the Future Creators Society. Though these ideologies may be at odds with each other, they’ve managed to form a new modernized medieval society.
That at least is one of the features of a planned Steampunk webseries by the name of TINKERS.
The press release for TINKERS sounds intriguing and has quite a list of names attached to it:
Prepare for a high-flying steampunk adventure in this all-new sci-fi/fantasy series about a pair
of talented inventors called, the TINKERS. Set in an alternate history in the late 19th century,
TINKER takes place in a smoggy, overpopulated San Francisco where the TINKERS ply their
trade to the wealthy and famous. When a wealthy and eccentric noblewoman from British
Hong Kong named, Lady Cushing, hires the father/daughter duo, they are instantly thrust into
a world of intrigue, lies, danger and excitement in which the balance of worldly power rests
unaware, alternately in both the calloused hands of Sho Tinker and the gloved hands of Lady
Featuring stylish steampunk wardrobe, props, sets, digital environments not limited to reality,
and an original score and soundtrack of steampunk inspired music
TINKER aims to expand
the boundaries of Steampunk science fiction by further transforming it from what many know
as just an aesthetic to evolving it into a multi-ethnic, culture- exploring, collection of stories
that does for Steampunk what Star Trek did for science fiction back in the sixties. This
includes: mature themes, exotic locations, sub-plots, drama and action, always making the
effort to keep true to the ‚punk‘ in Steampunk by going outside currently established ‚rules‘ of
the genre, and fusing the diverse talents of several industries into a new kind of steam-
powered animal. Even if you don’t actively follow the subculture of Steampunk, there is still
something here for you.
Confirmed notable talent involved: David R. Hardberger (VFX for: Lord of the Rings, Star
Wars, Blade Runner). McCune Design (Models, Miniatures, Specialty Props for: Cabin in the Woods, Iron Man 2, Serenity) Johnnie Saiko (Syfy Channel’s Monster Man), Julienne Davis (Eyes Wide Shut), and Katerina Leigh Waters (WWE).
So, if you feel like turning this project into reality, and why shouldn’t you, go here: TINKER on Kickstarter
Already some time ago I received this really nice feedback comment:
I am loving your blog. I’m a huge fan of all things steampunk, which will make even more sense as you read the rest of this message. You’ve reviewed a lot of books that I haven’t read, and I’ll have to get some. Any idea if the Finish book has been translated into English (or French)?
This would really be better sent to you in an email, but the only way I could find to be sure you received the message was by posting it as a reply. Please read it and respond to me via email. I’m well aware that this really doesn’t belong in your reply section.
I’d like to bring your attention to my new Kickstarter, which I think that you and your readers are going to love. It’s for a steampunk zombie western called “Bodacious Creed.” I’m already an established novelist, and currently I work as a professional writer and editor. This will be my first novel in about ten years. I’m also a 3D modeler and texture artist, and the novel will be based on my MFA thesis and demo reel. I don’t think many artists have turned their demo reels into novels.
The video is just 2:32 in length, so it’s a quick view. I thought hard about the rewards, and made sure that everyone who pledges gets something cool and worth their money. I’m advertising the project, though, in a non-demanding way, basically saying, “Hey, I made this great project and I would love to share it with you.”
It would mean the world to me if you would write a blog about it. Of course, if you do, I’ll be able to share your blog on the project’s Facebook fan site, on my own Facebook page, on Twitter, and in a project update on Kickstarter. It’s mutually assured promotion! (Which is much better than mutually assured destruction, or so I’m told.)
Thank you for your consideration!
This is the video for the aforementioned project:
The Kickstarter only runs for another seven days but is almost funded, so if you have a little change to spare… And who would not like to see Steampunks and zombies in one novel anyway?