WHATEVER YOU BELIEVE, I ALSO BELIEVE. WHATEVER YOU DESIRE I CAN PROVIDE. THIS IS TRULY A "CULTURAL MOMENT". PLEASE FUND MY KICKSTARTER.
Some of you might remember a project on this blog, variously called, 'Wir-Heal', 'Silent Titans of Wir-Heal' and then just 'Silent Titans'.
It's getting to the point where it is nearly a real thing and I am here, as a Validated Community Member who is neither paranoid or terrified of his own fanbase, to BUILD HYPE towards the (hopefully) coming Kickstarter.
Can you feel the hype train coming? CAN YOU?
THE INITIAL CONCEPT
The vague genesis of this began a long long time ago when I realised that, with modern, robust but very short OSR rulesets, and modern fancy adventures that had a lot of the specific mechanics built-in; (prepare yourself for the mind blast)...
Raggis LotFP rules, the absolute core, are not that long, and shorter in A4.
Something like Into the Odd or the Black Hack, or Troika, or whatever Ben Milton is doing now (Knave I think?), could be incorporated directly into the text of a reasonably large adventure, and if you include bespoke elements of the most text-heavy parts of a rulebook, like character gen, magic and items, that come specifically from that adventure or that world, then its even more neat.
And you can hand it to someone at a Con and say 'this is a whole game'.
And to people who just want the adventure its still pretty simple to hack, as most OSR-esque adventures put most of their innovation and complexity into the imagined world, specific generation systems etc.
And that, broadly, is what Silent Titans is meant to be. And adventure, and a game.
More specifically, its a Patrick Stuart (+Christian Kessler & Dirk Dietweieler Leichty) adventure, stapled to Christopher McDowalls Into the Odd ruleset.
In storygames they might say 'Powered by Into the Odd'. We really need a better phrase than that. Maybe an 'Odd-Engine' product?
Initially, this was going to be an add-on for DCO2, but that didn't work out.
Then it was going to be a multi-person project, with me and three others, with us each doing a section of a timelost future North West England, but that didn't work out.
Luckily(?) I had massively overwritten my section, so it was now unimaginably massive, unless contained within its own book.
Conceptually, the core of the idea came from walks I took around the Wirral, where I grew up and now live again, and from looking into its history.
Like a lot of Britain, the Wirral is a crazy mixture of ancient history, timelost, transformed, broken down industry, cozieness and strange, deep alienation. Plus, during WWII much of its records were moved to Liverpool for safety, where they were bombed to bits by the Luftwaffe, thereby erasing its history even more.
Combine that with the smallest possible fragments of 'Gawain and the Green Knight' and with Titanic post-singularity artificial intelligences sleeping beneath the earth like giants, influenced somewhat by Nick Bostroms 'Superintelligence' and you have the basis for Wir-Heal;
"Chronos and his kin became the earth, the seas the sky and the stars, fire and flint, bone and bark, dreams and dust. But those Titans of the future could not die, for they had not been born. Paradox was banished from this world, order ruled. They must wait, wait and sleep. Wait till waking when time would allow them to be. Wait and dream of worlds unborn. Under the earth but not of it, sleeping just under the turf, oak roots tangled in their hair, bogs in their nostrils, rabbit warrens just beneath their finger-nails.
Sleeping and dreaming and turning just under the grass, their dreams escaping, staining the air, transforming the land, filling it with memories of millennia to be, dreams of industry, dreams of long decay, mechanical, indifferent and absolute. Long sorrows and the wash of dark forgotten wars, scars before the wound.
They lie tangled with each other like drugged men. Their entwined and sleeping limbs make the bedrock of the peninsula. It was there the powers dumped their somnolent forms, piling one upon another, hurling them into the sea between the Rood-Die and the Afon-Mor. Sleeping in Wir-Heal where the myrtle springs up from the bog, salmon nosing wisely in its root, the Ouzel, bird most knowing, in its branch. A peninsula bounded by the rivers of the gods, fronted by cold seas, a place where few would wish to go, and from which few return.
Yet men do go to Wir-Heal, for the minds of those Titans are labyrinths of gems and gold. And men know greed above all things."
I only discovered much later than a Greek historian had actually placed the sleeping place of Kronos somewhere in the deep north west of the Greek world, assumed to be primitive Britain.
THE ARRIVAL OF DIRK
This all took about a year to get to the first-draft point;
I think we contacted Dirk around August 2017. So it has taken roughly a year to 'write' and roughly a year to 'draw', however you describe such a complex interpenetration of elements.
Fortunately for you, and for me, Dirk is probably a genius, so this thing should be worth the money based purely on that.
Here is where I tell you to look to the left side of the blog, where you will see a link to a G+ community where Dirk will be putting images of art for this project. If you like it, join and take a closer look.
We may work out a tumblr and instagram later on if you are into that.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
Our current plan is to have a print-ready file ready by the end of November, and to run a Kickstarter through December 2018.
*If* everything goes well, we should be able to get the book printed and shipped out early in 2019, hopefully by the end of February, with all the Backer Levels and stretch goals coming afterwards.
Obviously, watch this space for more information about the Kickstarter and what will be available, which we will dribble out as more details are firmed up and become certain.
WAIT - WHAT ACTUALLY IS THIS THING?
Ok, I've had trouble describing this myself, which is a problem I should try to start solving now.
It's an adventure-slash-game from Patrick (Zero Gold Ennies) Stuart, Christian Kessler and Dirk Detwiler Leichty.
If you are even half a grognard, you can hack it to play with most old-school rulesets, but it is also an 'Odd-Engine' game. It has the full rules to the game inside, along with bespoke character generation and some other elements. So you can play this on its own like a full game.
This isn't an official tie-in or Chris McDowall product, but it does have some passing references to Bastion, his ItO City, so if you want to incorporate it into his paracosm then you can.
So something between an Ennie-bait high-production-values OSR Adventure/Setting and a hyper-focused you-just-do-one-thing Indy game in concept. Or something new. An experiment.
Its fully and beautifully illustrated across every page and every spread and we have tried to include all of the OSR-related advances or ideas in layout and informational integration (that we could remember in time).
WHAT DO YOU DO THO?
In Silent Titans you play timelost figures from a range of possible futures and parallel worlds who fall through reality and end up in the plughole of the multiverse - Wir-Heal, a shattered version of the Wirral, a land made, literally, from the backs of comatose Titans who were dumped into the sea in ages past.
Wir-Heal is cursed, so that humans who live there eventually degenerate into Woodwose, and populated largely by Mask-Men; animals given bipedalism, grasping hands and self-awareness by the gift of strange masks.
It is ruled from the City of Legions, a twisted version of medieval Chester, by Hugh Lupus, a pretty-much-accurate version of the real Hugh D' Avranches, the obese, clever, murderous marcher lord installed in Chester by William the Bastard to suppress the Welsh and maintain the border.
Wir-Heal is in trouble. The Titans who make up its strata are slooooowly waking up. If they do wake, reality is screwed. But more immediately, the time-space fluctuations and horrifying post-singularity nightmares of the Titans dreaming minds are making Wir-Heal even more insanely twisted than usual, and preventing anyone from getting in or out.
What would be really handy would be for someone to go out into Wir-Heal, survive the Titans Nightmares, break into the hyperdimensonal spaces of their sleeping minds, and steal their thoughts, which, as well as being regenerating pieces of incomprehensible deep-future dimensional technology, are also literally gold. As in gold that you can sell.
If someone could steal those thoughts, the Titans would go right back to sleep, for another thousand years at least. And they could even keep the gold, or trade it for a ticket out.
Enter Our Heroes.
Of course, as well as the manifold dangers of Wir-Heal, Hugh Lupus and the local criminals. Someone else may also be interested in entering those dreaming minds, and not for the best of reasons...
WILL THIS GO CATASTROPHICALLY WRONG
I hope not?
The initial idea was to make something simple and fast enough that nerds could play it with their normie friends. In terms of its *rules*, I think it does that (thanks to Chris McDowall), but the concept is so goddamn odd, I have no idea what normal people will think of this.
In terms of running a Kickstarter, none of us have done this before. But we are committed to not starting until we have and actual print-ready file for the final book, and a printer and fulfilment centre lined up. So, whatever happens, you should get the book, and hopefully fast.
None of the stretch goals will be additions or changes to the main book. This is to keep it neat and also to make sure we can get that out without fucking up.
Other backer levels and stretch goals will hopefully be just as fast, but the book is the priority.
There is also the possibility that we have delved too greedily and too deep, just gone waaaay off the reservation and produced something unplayable, or just too strange to be easily comprehended.
I honestly think we haven't.
But, what I think I can absolutely promise you, is a really strange, intense, very very beautiful (thanks Dirk & Christain) work of art that is like nothing else that anyone has made before.
We have two months to miss our deadlines, so keep your eyes peeled here, on the Collection and anywhere else we start building hype, to see if the whole thing falls apart.
If the Fates are willing, the Kickstarter should launch December 1st, 2018.