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lexomatic

Bolt RPG Engine Kickstarter

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Bolt rpg kickstarter is launching today.

First created, but the rules are done minus art and production value. It's digital only, which helps some of the possible production snags. The creator is all over Twitter. The actual Kickstarter page has links to the Itch.Io pages referenced. I deleted them per commerce rules (hope I didn't miss any). Below is the actual text pasted.

 

BOLT is a flexible, action-centric tabletop RPG built on fast gameplay and escalating tension. It’s a bit Cyberpunk 2020, it’s a bit Genesys, and it pulls a few tricks from indie story games, too.

At its core, BOLT is designed to get to you. It’ll make you feel the same fear, doubt, and triumph that your characters feel, so that you think and act like the risk-taking badasses you’re playing.

In BOLT, every roll is interesting. Every encounter resolves quickly. Every failure is a dare to push your luck.

If you can’t wait to play BOLT, the v0.8 PRE-LAUNCH edition is already on Itch!

And if you’ve already backing BOLT, check out the BOLT RPG Hack Bundle out now! You’ll get EIGHT incredible BOLT supplements that let you pick up BOLT and run it today!

What’s the Story?

099295240abd5d11d7145cf0c8ea1588_origina A police-branded supercar is engulfed in magenta flame. Art by Nala Wu

I’ve been an TTRPG hacker since I’ve been playing TTRPGs, making homebrew gear and rule systems for my own games. Eventually, I stepped up to hacking a particular setting-agnostic system that absolutely inspired me with how it was built to be a toolbox from the ground up.

There was a problem, though. If I made my own hacks for that system and tried to ask for money for it, I would have to get sanction from the creators of that system. I would have to hand over ownership rights of my work and let someone else skim revenue from it, just for the privilege of not having to reinvent the wheel.

I chose to reinvent the wheel instead. 

BOLT is the game I’ve always wanted to play—it’s crunchy, but streamlined. It’s carefully designed, but flexible. It’s tense, but it plays like the power fantasy we all need in 2020.

And on top of all that—it’s yours. 

Print it, share the PDFs, hack and homebrew it to your delight, and put the results online for a beefy price tag.

BOLT is for everyone.

 So How Do You Play? 

e9f025f071b14e2c95e6c5bc3da5061e_origina A detective examines a crime scene, leather jacket bathed in neon lights, magic laser-sword in hand. Art by Natum Go

Every roll includes a d10 and a d4. The d10 (plus a Skill bonus) determines whether you Succeed. The d4, meanwhile, adds chaos, independent of whether you succeed! On a 4, you catch a Perk—a lucky break. On a 1, you get a Complication, and things go a bit sideways.

But there’s a catch. Every character has an attribute called ”Tenacity.” If you fail a roll, you can spend points from your Tenacity pool to fudge your result until you succeed.

It’s your ”Screw you; I do it” attribute.

It’s your excuse to get reckless.

Life on the Edge 

ec07ef1ea22a26cac8895d27a9abeba1_origina A badass woman in a saree wielding two knives stands back-to-back with a badass woman in combat pants and a tank top wielding a pistol. Art by Xrystina Marcos

Combat makes you feel like a badass and like you’re in danger at the same time. Your character is pretty fragile, but with flexible Skills, slick Feats, and a strategy-focused Action Economy, every fight turns into a puzzle for you to solve.

If you play your cards right, you can clear a room without taking a scratch. If you get surrounded, well...

There are three levels of baddie for you to face—Goon, Face, and Heel. Goons go down in one hit. Heels go down in one cutscene.

But all of them can wreck you in two hits.

Every fight, no matter how small, can end in disaster, which makes every victory feel amazing.

[BOLT] cut away at cruft. It could be complex, but always in ways that were intentional and specific for narrative or tonal goals. It’s abstract and simple in ways that make sense next to the complexity. - @Pandatheist

 Hacker’s Paradise 

bd4557106e35cbbec5ff3355a5e05f76_origina Left: A doctor with bright magenta hair examines an urn of magic incense. Center: A mage with a bright red-and-gold shalwar kurta threatens murder into a floating ‘80s telephone. Right: A woman with a black coat, flowing blue hair, and a face that defies memory twirls her hair. Art by Val Teoh

BOLT was built for hacking from the start. The game is organized to make the rules crystal-clear, and I also offer optional rules, instructions for making your own roles and settings, and honest commentary on how I wrote the game. All the better for you to take this game and run with it in your own direction.

You want to make a survival-horror game? A space western game? A party-of-ten OSR hex-crawl? You can make it work in BOLT. In fact, the tools for generating your own roles and Skill lists are flexible enough that you could port your existing d20 home game into BOLT, magic rules and all. I made a free supplement for that:

On top of that? This game ships with a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License. You can steal these rules, hack them into your own content, and make money off your own BOLT hacks!

Don’t take my word for it, either. You can buy a whole set of slick BOLT hacks on Itch NOW:

The Fool’s Guide to BOLT by Omi Chun:  [A quick reference for getting started on playing and running BOLT]

The BOLT RPG Engine Tarot Magic System by Cas Swanson:  [A magic system based on tarot cards, for immensely powerful magic]

The BOLT RPG Crafting Hack by Cas Swanson: [A really slick crafting system that plays into the Core Rules]

Stay Behind Me! by Alexa Fae McDaniel:  [A set of mechanics and Feats for shield-wielding characters in BOLT]

FIVE! by Galadin: [A fantasy game based on BOLT that rebuilds the character creation system from the ground up]

Saturn’s Gate by Ben, the Acetronomer:  [A hard sci-fi setting about mining colonies around the rings of Saturn, with some absolutely incredible starship combat rules]

Exo:Dus by Ben Max Warren:  [A climate fiction exo-suit game about environmental restoration and throwing investors out of space station airlocks.]

BUZZKILL by Nick Duff:  [A climate road warrior setting about driving a convoy of beehives across the post-apocalypse]

DASH by Amr Ammourazz: [A mod of the BOLT rules merged with ideas from Fate Accelerated]

cce86f81ff5f22a6fb88a4a046bcc70b_origina Heading: Where Does the Money Go?
39c836d8b4a6e727faf3647ef31b9589_origina A badass cowboy in purple and grey surveys the land, atop an equine automaton with a mane of pure light. Art by Natum Go

The game rules are done already. You can get them on Itch here: . But you’re gonna get a game with no art, and basic layout. 

This Kickstarter exists to make BOLT beautiful, with professional layouts and stylish art.

You’ll get three PDFs out of this Kickstarter:

  • A full-color made-for-digital PDF with bright, stylish art from an art team of queer Asian illustrators!
  • A black-and-white “Access Edition” PDF designed to be printer-friendly and visually accessible!
  • A form-fillable PDF character sheet!

All PDFs will be screen-reader accessible from launch!

For this Kickstarter, the BOLT project is paying everyone at 130% of commercial rates! The BOLT project strives to make careers in game design possible, and part of that is in pushing for better pay for creative work in TTRPGs.

From there, you’ll also help fund stretch goals like:

$32,000: Settings and Supplements

At this stretch goal, you’ll unlock a full setting document with a double-album of settings, both featuring design and iconography inspired by South Asian cultures and including multiple disapora cultures to add life to the world:

Legends of Neeram: A fantasy setting in the heart of the Kingdom of Bharakyaa. The rulers of that Jeweled Circle, the City of Kandhana, have long thought themselves the world’s nexus of power and wealth, but now everything is in flux, with the rise of Birbalite mages, wielding powerful and unstable magic unsanctioned by the gods. Factions squabble among Kandhana and the Birbalites, over whether to seek profit or seize control from the other side. You will play mercenary pawns in a deadly game of diplomacy and espionage, for there is no war in Bharakyaa—not yet, anyway.

This setting document will also provide optional rules and character options for using magic, which you can apply and remix for other games and settings!

Gunfire in Svarminar: A modern setting in the Golden City of Svarminar, set in the same Kingdom of Bharakyaa, eight hundred years into the future. The gods have died, magic exists merely in traces, yet the city revels in a different kind of glory, with impossible architecture, inconceivable wealth, and the advancements of aethereal engineering. But away from the skyscrapers of the Merchant Quarter and the ancient wonders of the Old City, the rot of greed and corruption is seeping into the foundations. You will play urban adventurers battling through the slow death of Svarminar, whether you work dangerous jobs to protect those you love, seek the last few scores before the city falls, or do your best to make those gilded towers fall faster.

This setting document will also provide optional rules and character options for car chases and hacking, which you can apply and remix for other games and settings!

$40,000: More Art for Settings and Supplements

The art for this setting supplement will feature beatiful depictions of fantasy and modern fashions and street foods from multiple cultures. But with more budget, we can add more art, including breathtaking spreads and maps of the settings!

$50,000+: BOLT Supplement Grants

Here’s where things get spicy. Beyond the budget we’ve set for the BOLT project, every additional $10,000 milestone will turn into a grant for a marginalized creator to make their own BOLT supplement!

After taxes and fees, it’ll come out to around $7,000 USD, with no strings beyond ”Use the BOLT architecture to make the RPG content you want to see.”

I’ll give them support as needed, but the creative vision is in their hands. They’ll own the content, and they keep all revenue.

Marginalized indie developers deserve a better platform for their work—and through these grants, hopefully BOLT can become that platform.

Grant 1 ($50,000): Kevin Thien Vu Long Ngyuen 

"On the backfoot you had them where you wanted them. You can't hear anything past your heart beating in your ears, in rhythm with the bronze drums, but you can taste it. The bitter sweet of victory. Then you see it. Over their retreating back line. The vapor trail from orbit to the crater just meters away. The drums and your heartbeat are drowned out by the grinding of gears and the spinning up of..."

<After Action Report: Commando units forced to retreat from sector 2197 after arrival of Imperial Mech Corps reinforcements to the Soleil forces. Significant casualties. Request division transfer of Hunter Units to Sector 2195>

A Mech Hunter BOLT Setting, Coming 202X.

The first BOLT supplement grant is going to Kevin Thien Vu Long Nguyen, the mastermind behind games like Closed Fists, Before the Boats, and Bro, is it Gay to Dock? He’s working on a mech-hunter game, where you play a resistance force driving back a mech–equipped invading colonial force.

The Timeline

September 2020

  • Launch the Kickstarter
  • Start editing the v0.8 rules into v1.0 rules!

October 2020 to February 2021

  • Complete art
  • Draft layout for full-color PDF
  • Draft form-fillable character sheet
  • Build layout for Access Edition PDF
  • Start fulfulling rewards for Mage, Tinkerer, and Guild tiers!

February 2021 to September 2021

  • Place art into full-color PDF
  • Send out final product!
  • Finish fulfilling rewards for Mage, Tinkerer, and Guild tiers!

But How Will I Get Mine?

This Kickstarter is an all-digital affair! We just need your email, and we’ll handle it from there.

After backers are funded, we’ll put this game on sale on Itch and other online platforms, so don’t worry if you couldn’t back now!

Edited by lexomatic

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