Kickstarter Coming ...
Not final covers
Volume 1: Characters
8.5"x 11" softcover
Knuckle Die game system
Introduction to the game setting
33 Species plus sub-species
10 Professions & sub-professions
Background, personality & other tables
Maps, tokens et al resources
Volume 2: Worlds
8.5"x 11" softcover
Resources for the Host
Detailed background on the game world's history, science, mythology and culture
Occult rules and spell lists
Bestiary and characters
3 full Intrigues and Intrigue arc
Full map of Fen et al resources
Story-Focused Rules: Io's 'Knuckle Engine' is a d10 Success Die system that rewards storytelling with additional dice, Elaborations and Complications.
Original Setting: Io has no traditional fantasy races. Fen is a haunted planet where fungal, floral and primate sentience propagated through the ecosystem in a series of 'Wallowings'.
Diverse Characters: There are 33 base species, ten base professions, with sub-categories, and generous resources for unique, detailed characters.
Cross-Genre: Io mixes low fantasy, supernatural horror, sci-fi, detection and realism but can accommodate different styles and settings.
Higher Dimensions: The supernatural in Io is treated as a higher-dimensional phenomenon of enormous threat to individuals and the ecosystem.
Brutal Combat: Io has a quick and brutal combat system that combines Vitality and Health icons to represent fatigue and damage to body parts.
Rule Variants: Play the full version, or apply variety of rule variants to strip he game back to a lighter version.
Surreal Design: Quirky, disturbing and hybrid creature designs, with cheeky use of historical scientific, woodcut and marginalia art.
Scientific Detail: Io provides rich resource material on ecology, higher-dimensions and the occult.
'The Eloi’s tentacular fingers extended out in a fan and alighted onto the stalk with the lethargic grace of a snail’s eye. The shaggy roots around its feet and ankles rustled into the loose dirt, and its fingers seemed to salivate with what she guessed was a digestive fluid.'
Two hundred and fifty million years ago, Fen’s golden ages of fungal and floral sentience were ended by a global extinction event. Primates evolved and migrated from the mountain forests of Pangolin and their sentience, dreams and nightmares spread like a virus. Fen’s largest continent, The Wode, became host to manic-depressive fungi detectives, alcoholic venus fly-trap celebrities, robot houses with commitment problems, shapeshifting land-octopus philosophers, and other eclectic lifeforms.
Now, in the year 1818 of the Colonial Age, adventurous folk choose careers suited to travel as archaeologists, explorers, traders and diplomats. Merchants may set sail on the famed floating city, the Iocalla, to trade across the exotic Menucapari. Idealistic youth set course for the Moravolde to explore the Polifon: a vast region of utopian city-states that has remained apart from the rest of the continent since the Sixth Age of Predation. The bravest visit the lawless Vold, the dread fog of the Gallowsweldt Moors, or the cannibal isles of the Welfe Kaluda...
Only a few choose to explore the planet’s most mysterious frontier: its higher-dimensional ecology. Throughout history, supernatural species have evolved in Fen’s hidden dimensions and expressed weird landscapes and eccentric phenomena across the planet.
Moulen, by Angela Liu
Nisse, by Angela Liu
In some places phones ring at odd times, spectral limbs appear above beds, phantom carriages race by, silhouettes appear at roadsides to wave at nothing. Where such things are commonplace folk merely pause, assure themselves that there is no immediate threat, and continue with their business. Whatever the spirits evolved into, history has taught that they usually keep their worst for the dark, forgotten corners of the world...
But the last millenium has seen the dark underbelly of the world slit open. You may turn to see your daughter answer the wrong phone and disappear forever. A wet thing may appear behind you and pull you into its quivering, anemone chest. You sink in, until the skin of your face sits on the surface like oil on water. You may hear a Tommyknocker’s true knock and know that, one night, you will awaken to white eyes, a shadow-black silhouette, and the creep of spider-fingers reaching to steal your eyes and nervous system. Spectral viruses have evolved that could deform all life on the planet, and continent-spanning siphers are poised to suck Fen’s atmosphere into space. Everywhere, countless spirits are awakening to unknown intelligence and purpose.
This is Fen’s Seventh Age of Intrigue: a time of uncertain diplomacy on a haunted planet, and only the reckless, desperate or unlucky sharpen their wits against the twilight veil.
‘Every night a silver door appeared in the hallway of her house for a minute at midnight. It was four days before she gathered together the will, or foolishness, to turn its handle and pull... She felt cold winds, gently trying to suck her into an infinite void. She screamed, slammed the door, and ran from the house. '
All rule books are written in Word, composited in InDesign, exported as PDFs, and printed in standard 8.5" x 11" format.
By default, printing will be done by DriveThruRPG, a staple of many indie and kickstarter RPGs. As a backup, printing will be done locally as a limited print run with a pdf release.
The default printing will be full colour softcover. The success of the Kiskstarter will govern the size of the colour print run, with the possibility of an additional b/w run and/or an extended hardcover full colour version.
A cheaper full colour pdf will be available online for those who do not want a hardcopy.
Free downloadable PDFs of the core rules, character sheet, maps, tokens and other resources will be available in US Letter and A4.
A free character creator also will be available at launch.
Volume 1 introduces all the core rules need to play the game and create your own characters, drawing from the unique species and professions from the world of Fen.
Volume 2 covers additional rules useful for the Host as well as background history, geography and culture of Fen, focusing on the Wodan continent.
* Not final layout
A white face, gasping with the pale discomfort of a suffocating fish, slid up the bedroom door with the sound of a nail dragging on metal... Cullen shivered, for he recognised not just the face but the fingerprints around its neck. He looked down at his hands, then closed his eyes. He hoped that, whatever he had helped give birth to on that grim night, it disposed of him quicker than he had disposed of her.’
- From Selis Lant’s ‘The Courting of Cullen Dardelot’
Io's art style is a mix of art nouveau, low fantasy, natural science and medieval woodcut and marginalia, evoking a world of ecological richness.
Anqi Liu is providing art for some of the core character species, drawing from her background in animal art, fantasy and chimera.
Gaye Godfrey is providing design elements including some lettering and medieval-styled marginilia, drawing from her long career as a calligrapher.
Glen Spoors is providing a mix of sketches and digitally coloured art for some species and creatures as well as maps and other elements.
All additional art in Io draws from historical sources, which represent the flavour of the game.
Each chapter is opened with a full page print of work from Ernst Haeckal, the early natural scientist, whose beautiful works represent the game's emphasis on the evolutionary sciences and fascination with biology.
The page border is an art nouveau-style wood and bronze frame, with a mix of medieval marginalia from illuminated manuscripts. Interior art tends towards medieval woodcuts, drawings and marginalia sourced from a range of old artists and books.
Welpenkrupe, by Angela Liu
How To Play
‘Each time the house was photographed a weary, disshevelled farmer could be seen in the frame holding a child-sized mound of loose intestines up to his chest in an expression of grief...'
- Dardanel and its Hoaxers
Make this your own. Click here to add the content you want.
Zipped (.zip) 2 page character sheet in .jpg and .pdf format.
‘For over a week people had reported that the people in a photograph in the foyer of The Historical Charity of Dardenel was moving in the corner of their eyes - but only ever for a second, so everyone doubted they saw or heard it . . . Then the same effect spread to other paintings in the building, and, to much dismay, two people reported the same effect superimposed upon a lady employed at the front desk, who became understandably hysterical.'
- From ‘Signs and Wonders in the Moravolde’, Volume 4
Game and world design, layout and art
Glen has taught Media, Culture and Game Studies across Edith Cowan University, Curtin University and the University of WA, and now teaches game design at SAE Perth. He completed a PhD on Emotion in Games in 2004.
His creative work ranges from drawings, short stories, novels, poetry and music to board and digital games. You can find his work at Lost Isle Media.
Angela (Anqi) is an artist with expertise in graphic design, creature design, animal illustrations, life drawing, portraiture, traditional media and digital painting. Her Masters project was X-Breeder, drawing hybrid species from a pool suggested by an audience.
Design elements and calligraphy
Gaye Godfrey-Nicholls is a professional calligrapher with over 20 years of experience working in Perth, Western Australia. All her artwork is hand lettered using a variety of instruments and media.
Gaye published Calligraphy, Tools and Techniques for the Contemporary Practitioner (UK) in 2013. You can see her other work at her website, Inklings.
Design feedback, story and character ideas
Group 1: Ben Campbell, David Erceg, Andrew Mitchell & Adrian Smith spent a semester with me refining some game elements, played a two-session intrigue, and provided story and character ideas, content and sketches.
Group 2: Krystina Atkins, Agnieszka Pelczar, Annie, Tim Pullen & Aron Shick.
Group 3: Jonathan Durnford, Kimberley Larkin & Greg Baatard.
Group 4: Upcoming (colleagues at SAE Perth).