Old Mages Games Studio’s Kickstarter for Altas – Rise or Die immediately got my attention by blasting into Dio’s Holy Diver. I’m still wondering how/if they got permission.
The pitch is for a sword and sorcery RPG, which, while compatible with D&D’s 5e, is really primed for the London-based publisher’s own 2d10 system. They prefer 2d10 as it evens out the curve of randomness. There’s a big target to hit, £25,000, but they’re getting there, and you can see progress or pledge from the pitch page.
With art provocative of Conan the Barbarian, the style of Luis Royo, and perhaps slightly NSFW, Atlas seems to be no holds barred. Atlas is the name of the world, a landscape where ruins of forgotten civilizations are ripe for exploration but dangerous with dark rituals and corrupt technologies.
As bloodthirsty hordes of barbarians and beasts alike roam the plains, the stern land can never be satisfied by the sweat and tears of the innocent. Mighty despots pass the time with their concubines behind high stone walls. Metal and magic have formed the land, erected floating islands, and twisted the deadly mountain paths. Take all you can before others plunder everything in this land of limitless possibilities! Rise as a mighty warlord or rot away like a maggot!
Old Mages Games Studio describe the 2d10 system as realistic, pointing out that their “Nat20” happens only 1% of the time (compared to a d20’s 5%) and, therefore, more epic.
The game uses race, class and archetype while tossing alignment.
It’s not recommended, but with the Atlas system, characters can forge ahead and develop so that a single stat max out a single stat at the expense of the others. We’re told the approach favours balance but allows flex.
Rules provide NPC interactions, including non-violent means, and the XP system rewards roleplaying.
We’re told that the combat system is fast, not heavy on the dice, but does emulate the physical positioning of participants. This means in-melee manoeuvres matter; helping teammates with strategic positioning matters as well.
Altas – Rise or Die free preview
Putting some evidence forward for all these claims, Old Mages Games Studio provide an 18-page free preview of Atlas. You can see it, or download it, below.
The goal of the Kickstarter is to fund a hardcover with matte art paper in A4. There’s also a “hydra-hide” (leather-bound) alternative cover that will become available if seven social media stretch goals unlock. I can at least use the Facebook tag they want to help those backers in limbo when I share this post.
The book is the core rules, the player’s guide and a setting guide all in one.
Other extras include art, bookmarks, Q-Workshop Dice, trays and a GM screen.
Reward pledges begin at £18, resulting in community membership, Adventure book of the Early Bird Social Game (a PDF), ready to print version of the PDF, and unlocked stretch goals.
Stepping up to £40 adds a hardcover of Atlas and gives you access to Kickstarter’s add-on system.
£60 is where that Masterwork Hardcover joins the rewards, with dice, a dice bag and the DM’s screen.
Higher tiers exist, including one at £1,500. The expected delivery of the project is in June 2022.
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