Silven Crossroads

-May 20th, 2008

Silven Crossroads is the intersection of of roleplaying games and e-books, of quality and imagination, and of fantasy and adventure. Silven Crossroads is the fantasy division of RPG publisher 12 to Midnight Inc. The Silven Crossroads catalog of RPG titles includes more than two dozen titles from the former Silven Publishing, but also includes fantasy titles original to 12 to Midnight.

The latest such title is Steamworks, available at RPG Now, DriveThru RPG, e23, and our very own Midnight Cellar.

Steamworks Book Trailer

-May 20th, 2008

No matter the time, no matter the place, no matter the character class… some things never change.

Steamworks is available in Standard or Deluxe formats from Midnight Cellar.

thumbnail of Steamworks cover, showing technologist and two automatons in a cloud of steamPINEBOX, TX — 12 to Midnight is very pleased to announce the release of Steamworks and Steamworks Deluxe edition.

We’ve been writing about Steamworks for several months now. It’s the 165-page ultimate guide to introducing technology to your fantasy setting. Our first title under our new Silven Crossroads fantasy imprint offers classes, skills, feats, devices, prestige classes, and more. You’ve probably read the designer’s journal, and you’ve even maybe seen a preview. Now you can bring a little steam to your own game.

The Standard edition comes with both a printer-friendly PDF and a fully illustrated PDF. The “full” PDF is hyperlinked with hundreds of cross references to help you quickly find the information you need.

thumbnail image of Steamworks html editionThe Deluxe edition includes a third file in zip format. Inside this archive is a directory with the entire Steamworks book in HTML. This special edition is ideal for running on a laptop in a tabbed browser, as it allows you to keep several sections of the book easily accessible all at once. If a laptop isn’t your thing, consider that it also means Steamworks is easily accessible and readable from your PDA. (Click on the thumbnail for a larger image.)

Steamworks is available from our own Midnight Cellar (which of course we’d prefer), or as part of your shopping at DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, and soon from e23.

As you hopefully remember, we’ve been writing about Steamworks since December. If not, Steamworks is our first new title under the Silven Crossroads fantasy brand, and it’s a doozy! This 150+ page fantasy supplement for the d20 system is a complete guidebook to introducing technology to your fantasy setting. Whether you want to introduce strange, clockwork artifacts in the tomb of a long-dead race, or play as an adventuring inventor, Steamworks is your comprehensive guide.

To give you a small taste of what is to come, here is just one of the cool gadgets found in Chapter 8: Technological Items.

Goggles of Echolocation: This pair of goggles has dark lenses, with a conical attachment on either side. While wearing these goggles, the wearer has blindsight to a distance of 20 feet. These goggles do not function in areas affected by magical silence.

Faint energy; SL 5th; Build General Item; Price 18,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

Be on the lookout for more sneak peeks, including items and artwork, in the coming days. Also be on the lookout for a contest announcement, coming soon!

So far, I’ve talked about how technology affects the party, and some of the mechanics regarding technological characters; this week, I’m going to talk more about how technology affects your campaign setting.

Integration of technology into a setting is a big deal, and isn’t something to be done lightly. Just as with psionics or any of the other myriad different magic systems in d20, the impact of technology should be deeply considered before you begin using it. If you’re designing a fresh new setting with technology in mind, great – but chances are that you already have an established setting, and technology will be a newcomer. SteamWorks goes over a few different methods you can use to ease technology into your game.

In SteamWorks, three primary ways of introduction are discussed, those being ancient technology, gradual technology, and rapid technology. All three models allow you at least a degree of control over the proliferation of technology, as well as the types of technology available.

Ancient technology is the idea that some ancient culture had technology at its disposal, and is just beginning to be uncovered; this allows you to limit technological supplies and knowledge, making it a rather limited resource – at least until someone figures out how to replicate the technology. The section on ancient technology introduces the archaeologist prestige class, a class with a smattering of technological knowledge mixed with various dungeon-delving abilities.

Gradual technology is the concept that technology has begun to sprung up, but the various peoples of the setting are slow on the uptake – adoption of technology is slow, or it is not taken seriously by the majority of the population just yet. In this model, technology is something brand new, but seen only as a curiosity. Gradual technology allows you to control the kinds of technology and the pace at which it is introduced, but provides a solid enough background for technological classes to be reasonable choices. This section also introduces the researcher prestige class, essentially a precursor to the technological base classes: the researcher gains a handful of devices, all with fewer charges and higher malfunction rates – indications that technology is still in its infancy.

Rapid technology takes the route that, somewhere in the world, there is either an individual or a small group that is making frenzied progress in the field of technology. While the technology that person or group constructs becomes rapidly more complex and intriguing over a rather short period of time, the impact on the setting can be controlled, based upon how easily the lone inventor or group can distribute their work. This framework allows you to use the full extent of technology without changing the entire face of your setting: technology becomes an exotic, eccentric option.

There are also other campaign options detailed, such as how arcane magic and psionics interact with technology. In addition to these, the nature of technology developed by the various humanoid races – including orcs, kobolds, and goblins – is discussed. While these descriptions may not fit all settings, they at least provide a springboard for thinking about how the various races regard and interact with technology. The integration of technology, as discussed in SteamWorks, is not meant to be comprehensive, but instead it is meant to act as a starting point, to give you at least an idea of how to begin dealing with the complex task of integrating technology into your setting.