Age of Ambition: Fantasy Roleplaying in Changing Times (Live on Kickstarter!)

beholdsa

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Hello, RPG Pub!

I want to tell you about the tabletop RPG Kickstarter that we are launching tomorrow (January 21) at 10 am EST. I am also subscribed to this thread, so I'd be happy to answer questions.



Age of Ambition is a fantasy roleplaying game set in a world rapidly leaving the traditional fantasy milieu behind. It's the game of forward-facing fantasy! Where the heroes help guide the world into a brave new era of promise or peril.

Live on Kickstarter!

What makes Age of Ambition different?

Fantasy has long been a backward-facing genre. It’s been mired in static worlds that stand unchanged for hundreds or even thousands of years, with no significant technological, magical or social progress.

But now we’re at a moment where fantasy, as a literary genre, is beginning to realize that societies change, grow and evolve, even if fantasy gaming has lagged behind.

Age of Ambition changes that. It presents a world in a state of rapid flux, where magical and technological advancements are challenging the long-standing social order. It’s a world that’s grown beyond medieval fantasy to become something new.

Furthermore, Age of Ambition casts the heroes as agents of social change. They are inventors and agitators, spies and civic leaders, who help guide the world into a brave and uncertain future.

About the Game

Age of Ambition will be a hardcover full-color book estimated at about 280 pages. The game uses the Saga Machine system. Its features include:
  • A lifepath-style character creation system, including birth omens, life events and careers that connect each character to the changing world.
  • A fully-realized fantasy setting, including social dynamics, history, magic, politics and plot hooks galore! Discover a world rapidly leaving the medieval behind and entering a new era of hope and trepidation.
  • Support for a wide spectrum of power and influence, from peasant revolutionaries to the leaders of nations.
  • Systems for personal ambitions, social change, inventions, trading goods, leading organizations, magic, combat, social status and more!
The World

Age of Ambition is inspired by a variety of fantasy fiction, including: Joe Abercrombie's First Law series, Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Scott Lynch's Gentleman Bastard series and Brian McClellan's Powder Mage trilogies.

It takes place in the fantasy world of Trystell, home to a number of different peoples—from humans and minotaurs, to ogres and gnomes. It is also the moon of a gas giant, with a hostile sister moon that once tried to colonize the world.

Socially and culturally, Trystell is rapidly advancing from its equivalent of Earth’s Middle Ages, into what might be called the Early Modern era. This is giving rise to new ways of thinking, and to advances in both magic and technology.

Most of all, Trystell is a world that’s facing its future. It’s beholden to shades of gray and intrigue. No one knows what this new era will bring, but with it comes great peril and great promise.

So strap on your breastplate and pick up your pistol. There are discoveries to make, wrongs to right, tyrants to overthrow and new social orders to trial.

Support on Kickstarter!
 
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Tom B

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If that's the one used with Shadows Over Sol, I surprised myself by liking it quite a bit. Will check this out.
 

beholdsa

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Saga Machine is a system that is also used by the Shadows Over Sol, Against the Dark Yogi and Dime Adventures games. It’s a rules-medium system with an emphasis on both ease of play and clever character options.

At its heart, Saga Machine consists of eight basic stats and two central mechanics: actions and consequences. From there, the core is supported by various subsystems, each tailored to the specific genre and themes of the game in question. In the case of Age of Ambition, there are systems for magic, social status, influence, combat, trading goods, leading organizations, etc. The Age of Ambition incarnation of the system also has 18 skills, some of which are optionally divided into specializations.

By default Saga Machine uses a standard deck of poker cards, although an alternative d10-based mechanic is included as an appendix. The mechanic is simple: Add the character’s stat, plus the value of the card flip, and compare this total to a target number. Higher is better. When a skill applies, it will provide a modifier to this flip.

Consequences are Saga Machine's way of representing lasting effects in the system. These effects can be placed on either characters, objects or the scene itself. For example, tripping another character may result in a “prone” consequence for the target, setting a forest on fire results in an “on fire” consequence for that forest, etc.

That's the overview, anyway. You can read more about it on our website if you want all the details.
 

Baeraad

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Hmm. That sounds cool, actually. And I liked Against The Dark Yogi well enough. I might back it, depending on how my finances for next month turn out to look.
 

AsenRG

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OK, here's a question for you.
What do you achieve by the use of cards?
 

beholdsa

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I think cards are an elegant way to maintain state in a roleplaying game without a lot of bookkeeping or memorization.

A single card holds a lot more information that a die does. It can be in your hand or on the table. It can be face up or face down. It has both a value and a suit. And quite frankly, I like the tactile feedback you get from holding them.

In Age of Ambition each player has a hand of cards that represents their character's Luck. You can play a card from hand if you you don't like the result you got off the top of the deck. You can think of this as pushing your luck and your luck slowing running out as the cards in your hand dwindle.

The game also uses the occurrence of jokers played off the top of the deck as a pacing mechanism to dole out critical failures and to refresh luck.

Finally, the game uses a card's suit both to determine damage and as a way to create flushes, in which the values of multiple cards add together. To be fair, this latter mechanic is not too dissimilar from the "exploding dice" or "acing die" mechanics in a lot of games.
 

Baeraad

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I think cards are an elegant way to maintain state in a roleplaying game without a lot of bookkeeping or memorization.

A single card holds a lot more information that a die does. It can be in your hand or on the table. It can be face up or face down. It has both a value and a suit. And quite frankly, I like the tactile feedback you get from holding them.

In Age of Ambition each player has a hand of cards that represents their character's Luck. You can play a card from hand if you you don't like the result you got off the top of the deck. You can think of this as pushing your luck and your luck slowing running out as the cards in your hand dwindle.

The game also uses the occurrence of jokers played off the top of the deck as a pacing mechanism to dole out critical failures and to refresh luck.

Finally, the game uses a card's suit both to determine damage and as a way to create flushes, in which the values of multiple cards add together. To be fair, this latter mechanic is not too dissimilar from the "exploding dice" or "acing die" mechanics in a lot of games.
Okay, but let's assume I respectfully disagree with everything you just said... :tongue: Is the optional dice system from AGTDY: Campaign Options still workable?
 

AsenRG

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I think cards are an elegant way to maintain state in a roleplaying game without a lot of bookkeeping or memorization.

A single card holds a lot more information that a die does. It can be in your hand or on the table. It can be face up or face down. It has both a value and a suit. And quite frankly, I like the tactile feedback you get from holding them.

In Age of Ambition each player has a hand of cards that represents their character's Luck. You can play a card from hand if you you don't like the result you got off the top of the deck. You can think of this as pushing your luck and your luck slowing running out as the cards in your hand dwindle.

The game also uses the occurrence of jokers played off the top of the deck as a pacing mechanism to dole out critical failures and to refresh luck.

Finally, the game uses a card's suit both to determine damage and as a way to create flushes, in which the values of multiple cards add together. To be fair, this latter mechanic is not too dissimilar from the "exploding dice" or "acing die" mechanics in a lot of games.
OK, you have managed, I think, to actually make a nice argument for using cards, regardless of whether we agree or disagree with your decision:thumbsup:!

Now let me turn this around. If someone, like @Baeraad (presumably) was dead-set on using the dice, would he miss on a lot of the system's options:shade:?
 

beholdsa

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Okay, but let's assume I respectfully disagree with everything you just said... :tongue: Is the optional dice system from AGTDY: Campaign Options still workable?
The optional dice system from ATDY: Campaign Options is still viable and in fact is included with Age of Ambition as an appendix.

Now let me turn this around. If someone, like @Baeraad (presumably) was dead-set on using the dice, would he miss on a lot of the system's options:shade:?
Personally, I think the cards work really well and I encourage people to give them a a try before making up their minds. But as Baeraad asked, there is an alternative dice-based system in the back of the book for people who find cards are not their thing.
 

Tommy Brownell

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I think cards are an elegant way to maintain state in a roleplaying game without a lot of bookkeeping or memorization.

A single card holds a lot more information that a die does. It can be in your hand or on the table. It can be face up or face down. It has both a value and a suit. And quite frankly, I like the tactile feedback you get from holding them.

In Age of Ambition each player has a hand of cards that represents their character's Luck. You can play a card from hand if you you don't like the result you got off the top of the deck. You can think of this as pushing your luck and your luck slowing running out as the cards in your hand dwindle.

The game also uses the occurrence of jokers played off the top of the deck as a pacing mechanism to dole out critical failures and to refresh luck.

Finally, the game uses a card's suit both to determine damage and as a way to create flushes, in which the values of multiple cards add together. To be fair, this latter mechanic is not too dissimilar from the "exploding dice" or "acing die" mechanics in a lot of games.
I dig it. But one of my all time favorite RPGs (Marvel SAGA) is card based, so it’s not a very hard sell for me.

Good times. I’ll take a closer look.
 

beholdsa

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I dig it. But one of my all time favorite RPGs (Marvel SAGA) is card based, so it’s not a very hard sell for me.

Good times. I’ll take a closer look.
Thank you!

(Marvel SAGA and Dragonlance FIfth Age SAGA were two of my first RPGs, so they've been very influential to me.)
 
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Baeraad

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Personally, I think the cards work really well and I encourage people to give them a a try before making up their minds. But as Baeraad asked, there is an alternative dice-based system in the back of the book for people who find cards are not their thing.
Well, to be honest, it's less that I have anything against cards per se and more that I mostly play online, and online dicerollers are a lot more common than online card dealers. And honestly, even if I did play IRL, I absolutely suck at shuffling cards. Dice have the advantage that it's very hard to do permanent harm to them by being hamfisted. :tongue:

But as long as the alternative is still there, I am satisfied. :smile:
 

beholdsa

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Well, to be honest, it's less that I have anything against cards per se and more that I mostly play online, and online dicerollers are a lot more common than online card dealers.
That's totally legit and something I've noticed as well.
 

Tommy Brownell

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That said, it IS easier to find card dealers that handle poker decks, at least. But yeah, that’s been a dealbreaker for us with at least one virtual tabletop I looked at.
 

beholdsa

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We're entering the final week of the campaign.

So far we've unlocked six stretch goals. These include two adventure modules, a character options supplement, a campaign options supplement, a poster map, consequence cards and GM screen inserts. The next stretch goal is a bestiary!

Needless to say, I am excited.

(I want to be respectful about not spamming, so this is the one bump and only I am giving this thread.)
 

Baeraad

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I've backed it to the tune of forty bucks. :smile:

Hey, will it be possible to play the first ogre to ever graduate from such-and-such prestigious wizard academy? 'Cause that'd be kinda awesome. :grin:
 

beholdsa

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I've backed it to the tune of forty bucks. :smile:

Hey, will it be possible to play the first ogre to ever graduate from such-and-such prestigious wizard academy? 'Cause that'd be kinda awesome. :grin:
That is a very real possibility! Ogres are playable and they are slowly integrating into wider society.
 

Vidgrip

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The mechanics sound great! Like many, I have a love/hate relationship with cards. I appreciate the added depth and enjoy finding an artistically themed deck that fits the setting. But I can't shuffle and it's embarrassing to always have to ask someone else to do it. Good move on including an alternative.

You lost me with the setting. It sounds like everything + the kitchen sink and I have a hard time getting immersed in that type of world. The good news is that most people will love all those options so it might be the better choice. Best of luck! I think I'll go check out those other games mentioned here that use the same system.
 

AsenRG

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The mechanics sound great! Like many, I have a love/hate relationship with cards. I appreciate the added depth and enjoy finding an artistically themed deck that fits the setting. But I can't shuffle and it's embarrassing to always have to ask someone else to do it. Good move on including an alternative.

You lost me with the setting. It sounds like everything + the kitchen sink and I have a hard time getting immersed in that type of world. The good news is that most people will love all those options so it might be the better choice. Best of luck! I think I'll go check out those other games mentioned here that use the same system.
The Mythic India one might be right up your alley:thumbsup:!
 
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