Age of the Tempest: Roleplaying for beginners

Age of the Tempest is a table-top roleplaying game targeted for kids and beginners.
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Mike Pohjola
Gaming
Helsinki
Finland
1 Team Member

Update, April 30, 2015: 
While still finalizing the proof reading and beginning work on lay-out, we've opened the campaign in "InDemand." It means you can use this site to pre-purchase the game even if you didn't participate in the campaign -- or pay for postage, if you did.

Update, June 27, 2014:

The campaign is over. We will publish the game and the adventure in English, and contact each contributor to make sure they get what is theirs.

We made 5,535€ reaching 111% of our goal. We had 109 backers, and did all this in 42 days. We will get the next generation roleplaying.

Thank you!

Update, June 26:

We reached our goal! Thank you so much! This means all of you who believed in the campaign will get at least a PDF copy of Ville Vuorela's fairytale-like adventure for Age of the Tempest. (And whatever else is in your Perk.)

We have seventeen hours to go, and if we raise another 881€, we'll unlock our first stretch goal: a mini monster manual. It's going to be great, so let's keep on rocking on, and remind everyone this is their last chance to jump on board...


Update, June 25:

First stretch goal announced! If we reach 6000€, we will release a second supplement: A monster manual. And I hope to make it the best monster manual in the world with not just statistics, but also great pictures, stories, and references to real world science, mythology and psychology from which these creatures come from. All backers will get this as a PDF, and everyone who contributed for 50€ or more will get a physical copy.
Let's keep pushing, friends!

Update, June 24:

We have reached our second Social Goal: 1000 shares on Facebook. If we make our goal, everyone who backed the campaign (even if it's for just 1€), will now get a PDF of the supplement. See Updates for more info, and a great sketch from the supplement artist. Let's get those kids roleplaying, friends! :)

Update, June 5:

First Social Goal reached: 500 shares on Facebook! As a thank you we're announcing a collaborative Author's Commentary, and the opportunity to become a playtester! See Updates for more info! And keep spreading the good word! :)

Update, June 3:

We went over 400 shares and 20% of funding yesterday! Thank you!

I also added some links to reviews and news about Age of the Tempest at the bottom of the page. Check them out! :)

Update, May 31:

We've received excellent attention on social media, and you guys have shared this campaign like there's no tomorrow. Thank you! Unfortunately our goal has been badly formulated, and people coming to the site haven't become funders, even though they've loved the concept.

So we're revamping the campaign a little bit: The initial goal is much lower with the aim of creating a fancy supplement for Age of the Tempest. (Later on, we still have the stretch goal of making more translations, but that's too early for now.)

Short Summary

Age of the Tempest is a tabletop roleplaying game for kids and beginners. We crowdfunded it in Finland two years ago, published last year in Finnish, and distributed it to gaming stores, book stores and even supermarkets. Now we want to do the same in English, and later in other languages.

We already have the game translated into English, and now we want to get it out there. (You can use this campaign to pre-order your own copy with the Boxed Set and Full Set perks.)

If we reach our goal, we'll also publsh a high quality supplement adventure for the game by designer Ville Vuorela, art by Marko Laine. If we reach our 6000€ stretch goal, we'll release a small monster manual.

The main motivation for this campaign is to introduce roleplaying to the new generation. Thanks for your help!

Who is this guy?

My name is Mike Pohjola, I'm a game designer and writer from Finland. I've written novels, screenplays, transmedia productions, mobile games, stage musicals, comics, and have been recognized for them in the real world with an Emmy nomination, a Prix Europa, and that kind of stuff. But my real passion lies with role-playing games.

I started playing role-playing games in 1988 when my scout master introduced us to the Dungeons & Dragons "Red Box" set. Since then I've played and run countless table-top role-playing games and larps, and designed four table-top role-playing games myself.

I'm one of a generation that started playing with the many beginner-friendly games of the late 80s and early 90s. Since then there's always been role-playing games available for us, of increasing complexity, and always speaking to us at a level suitable for our age and interests. So right now there are really many excellent role-playing games for 30-40 year-old experienced gamers.

But there are no role-playing games for a kid of eight or ten or twelve who's kind of interested, but doesn't know where to start. We fixed this problem in Finland last year, and now you and I will to fix this problem around the world!

Roleplaying for kids

Age of the Tempest is an entry-level tabletop roleplaying game for kids. Nothing like this has been available for a generation, so it's up to us to remedy the situation.

The story is a fantasy adventure about a group of brave rebels who live in a secret camp in the forest and fight against an evil witch emperor, in the vein of Robin Hood, Star Wars and Knights of the Round Table. And yes, it has lots of strong female characters!

A good introductory roleplaying game and a good kids' roleplaying game are not necessarily the same, but this one is both.

The whole thing begins with a short solo adventure that is an introduction to roleplaying, to the world and the story, and to the basic rules mechanics. (If you remember the Dungeons & Dragons Red Box with Aleena the Cleric and Bargle the Magic-User, then this serves the same purpose.)

After that we take our time explaining all the concepts you need to know when creating a character (from seven exciting archetypes), and so on.

Character creation is fairly streamlined with giving you a few choices ("choose one of two skills/weapons", "choose your weakness"), but not forcing you to go through skill lists or anything like that. There's plenty of time for more complex stuff later.

The Game Master's Guide is also targeted for beginners, meaning that if you just got the game as a birthday present this morning, you can run it for your friends at the party in the afternoon. While you're doing that, you learn the tricks of the trade, and eventually will get to do a bit of designing, too.

Most of the GM Guide is a pre-made campaign which continues directly from where the solo adventure left you. It has twists and turns, memorable characters and -- of course -- interesting opponents, puzzles and decisions. I'm a professional writer with experience in writing for children and young adults, so while the story is cool and exciting, it doesn't have any elements that you couldn't have in a Star Wars film or a Harry Potter book.

There are Age of the Tempest clubs and groups springing up all over, some of them with an experienced or adult GM, others where the kids play by themselves. Judging from the feedback, both have worked really well.

I've played the game with my 60+ parents, and my son who's almost four, and all of them have enjoyed it. It would help if he could read, but we're doing ok. (There's one monster that I won't show him until his six, though.)

What We Need

We're not asking your money to make the game. We already have the game! We crowdfunded it two years ago in Finland, and published it last year in Finnish. We have the game design, the story, the art, the lay-out, all the content is there. It's available in Finnish gaming stores, book stores, toy stores, libraries, and even supermarkets, and people are starting role-playing clubs all over the country.

We already have an English translation, and demoed it at the Essen game fair last October.

Next, and this is where you come in, we want to properly publish and distribute the English version in English speaking countries and for those who want it in other countries. And create supplements for it: adventures, new character classes and skills, monster manuals and such.

Our initial goal is an original Age of the Tempest adventure designed by Finnish game design guru Ville Vuorela (of Stalker and Praedor fame).

If we reach 6000€, we'll release a second supplement: A monster manual. And I hope to make it the best monster manual in the world with not just statistics, but also great pictures, stories, and references to real world science, mythology and psychology from which these creatures come from.

If we reach our 50000€ stretch goal, we'll be able to afford a new translation, and have Age of the Tempest available in a third language. We'll contact you then, and have a vote on which language it should be!

So thanks to the people of Finland, we already have the game. Now we need your help to make it available for you! (The game is in no way specific to Finland, international distribution was our secret master plan all along!)

What You Get

So what do you get out of it? For me one key motivation was to make sure my own son will have a chance to play role-playing games when he's a few years older. (Actually, I couldn't resist, we're already playing Age of the Tempest. He's almost four years old, and he plays the big brutish warrior guy Stallo.)

The main product of the campaign is, of course, a beautiful boxed set of Age of the Tempest - Sword of the High King. Plus we have tee shirts, wallpapers, and other fancy stuff.

Then, if we get enough funds, we'll be able to make supplements, sequels, adventures, monster manuals, new skills and character classes, prose anthologies, comic books, and apps to help you get further into the world of Age of the Tempest.

If you're feeling really generous, we have some high-end stuff available, as well, such as signed art prints, deluxe edition books, exclusive gaming sessions and more!

The story so far...

This whole thing started two years ago with a crowdfunding campaign that I launched in northern Europe's biggest RPG convention Ropecon in Finland. The goal was $12 500 and we made $16 029. Yay!

The project back then was to self-publish a prototype thousand-copy print-run of the game in Finnish re-using existing art I'd get from friendly artists. And to use that prototype to convince publishers, distributors, and retailers that they need to make a proper version of this game available for the kids of today.

Things escalated quickly. I got offers of help from artists, proof-readers and many other people, and suddenly we had a plan for getting proper new art for the game. Then we got lots of publicity for the project. Then we made our funding goal in about half of the time we'd reserved for it. It started to look like this would be a pretty well-made prototype.

And then the success of the crowdfunding campaign right here on IndieGoGo convinced Europe's fourth biggest board game publisher Tactic (based in Finland) that there was something to this thing. Boom! Now we had a publisher and a distributor, and a print-run of many thousands. And then together with them, we were able to use the successful crowdfunding campaign to convince retailers that they really have this game on their shelves.

And thus for the first time in twenty years bookstores, toy stores and supermarkets are selling a role-playing game. In a box! And people are buying it. And best of all, kids are playing it! Kids who'd never role-played before. (Also many other beginners, including my parents, who are both over 60.)

The Finnish-language boxed set was published in Ropecon in July 2013. We've shipped the copies to crowdfunders, and are planning sequels and supplements now. 

At the Essen game fair in Germany in Octoboer 2013 we already had an English language prototype under the working title "Heroes of the Storm". Now we've settled on Age of the Tempest - Sword of the High King!

How your money is used

How will the money from the crowdfunding campaign be used? The exact percentages are dependant on the money we make and the perks selected, but if we make exactly 5000€ and everybody selects the "Boxed set" perk for 60€, the money will be divided like this.

Which means if we get 5000€, we'll have enough to make the new adventure supplement. If we get 6000€, we'll make a little monster manual. But if we get more, we'll have new stuff we can make. And (as per our earlier goal), if we make 50000€, we can afford a new translation to bring Age of the Tempest into a third language.

As we go bigger, some percentages go up, others go down. But this is the rough outline. We will keep updating the budget to reflect the current status of the campaign.


Postage

If you've paid for something physical (such as the game box), and you don't want to pick it up from wherever we happen to be, you will probably have to pay for the postage and packing. (Unless your perk says otherwise.)

Finland: 11€
Europe: 17€
Globally: 25€

The only exception to this is, if you just want the Player's Guide without the box. In that case we can send it as a regular letter, and it's only 5€ no matter where you live!

Risks

No crowdfunding campaign is entirely without risks, but the ones here aren't too big.

The worst case scenario is that we don't reach 5000 €, and can't afford a new supplement. But we will still have the game available in English and Finnish, and you get your perks in one of those languages.

After that, we can use the publicity, the good-will, the community, and the interest to generate translations and distribution deals through traditional channels.

But let's make sure it doesn't come to that, but instead we will get lots of supplements and translations, and have Age of the Tempest available in your local supermarket, too!

Other Ways You Can Help

We don't just need your money! I mean, we do need your money, but there are many other ways in which you can help us.

  • Tell everybody about Age of the Tempest!
  • Use IndieGoGo's sharing tools, or just post the link to your social medias of choice.
  • Join the team! We need translators, proofreaders, play testers, and lots of other people to help make this happen!
  • Contact us with feedback about the campaign, and new ideas for perks, stretch goals, and other stuff.
  • Get really excited about this. :)
Thanks!

In the news!

We've been featured on several media. Here's a small selection.

Daily Illuminator: Crowdfunding focus: Age of the Tempest

GMS Magazine: "The game itself is fine. Fine indeed, I’d say. It’s easy to get to grips with. The division between the Player and the Game Master’s Guide is well thought out, the classes are very nice and with plenty of opportunity to expand… everything is there!"

Turun Sanomat: Mike Pohjola creates Finland's first crowdfunded roleplaying game. (In Finnish.)


Dome: Crowdfunded Age of the Tempest published.
(In Finnish.)

Yle Radio: Mike Pohjola talks about roleplaying. (In Finnish.)

Burger's Notebook: "the concept and theme of Myrskyn Sankarit are solid gold. If you want to use a traditional fantasy setting for drawing in new players, this is the setting for you."

Find This Campaign On
InDemand
€5,660EUR
total funds raised
Original campaign was 111% funded on June 26, 2014
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for Age of the Tempest: Roleplaying for beginners and Mike Pohjola!