Carts full of corpses slide through the muddy streets of a deserted city. Monks copy manuscripts silently in their cold monastery rooms. A hammer falls again and again on glowing red metal in a blacksmith shop. Fragrant flowers perfume private courtyard gardens. Grim and silent soldiers march the dusty roads in search of enemies, both infidel or faithful. This is the world of the Middle Ages, which our ancestors knew, and which shaped our present.
But beyond this human world, in the most shadowy depths of the woods, in the loneliest cave, in the most obscure cell, in the dimmest chambers of the human heart, legends live. Here, demons haunt castles, elves skulk in the forest, alchemists concoct spells, and witches laugh and laugh around their campfire in a forest clearing bathed in moonlight, as the demon sitting among them raises his goatish head and grins, directly at you, dear reader, saying, "Welcome to the aquelarre; welcome to the coven."
SIXTH STRETCH GOAL ACHIEVED! Next up... the the mini-campaign!
AT 666+ BACKERS FREE DICE to all dice add-on supporters!
Almost 25 years since it was first released in Spain, Aquelarre ("Coven") finally receives an English translation. Aquelarre is available from Spanish publisher Nosolorol in a gorgeous 500-page full-color hardcover edition, and while we'll also offer a smaller and less expensive b&w softcover, this full-color, deluxe edition of the game is the primary ambition of this Kickstarter project.
Add Aquelarre to your collection and your game rotation and help us make this classic RPG available to players in the original language of roleplaying games.
*Confused by the King Arthur Pendragon (KAP) pledge rewards? It's because Nosolorol, the original publisher of Aquelarre, recently published a Spanish translation of KAP and as the owner of this classic roleplaying game by Greg Stafford I'm working an ENGLISH-language edition of KAP into this project as well. See below!
Like making a deal with a devil, Aquelarre is not for the faint of heart. It's not an introductory RPG for younger players. The realistic historical setting is dark. Some of the artwork is disturbing. Nosolorol describes this new edition of the game as "more medieval and more demonic than ever" and they are correct on both counts. These are not the watered-down demons that caused trouble for D&D in the 1980's. This is seriously scary stuff. Judge your threshold with this illustration.
The Aquelarre Team
I am running this project as the owner of Nocturnal Media and publisher of the English edition of Aquelarre. I've funded a few projects on Kickstarter, but this is my return to that for which I'm best known: roleplaying games. You can click See Full Bio, but briefly I'll remind you that if you know my name it's probably because I founded White Wolf, the creator and publisher of the World of Darkness games like Vampire: The Masquerade and Mage: The Ascension. At White Wolf we embraced quality games that often had a darker aspect, including translations such as the German game Engel.
I believe Aquelarre deserves an English-speaking audience, and based on reviews and forum comments posted online, there's a good number of people who seem to agree with me. I hope all of these potential fans find our Kickstarter project!
My partner in this effort, and the one who is doing the really heavy-lifting of translating 500 pages of game- and medieval-jargon filled text, is Lester Smith.
Lester is a multiple-Origins-award winning designer best known in the roleplaying community for his Dark Conspiracy RPG of ecological horror, his work on the Planes of Chaos set for D&D Planescape, and his recent D6xD6 RPG. But he is also a lifelong student of Spanish language and culture and a longtime admirer of Aquelarre. He views this translation project as a labor of love.
Lester will also produce a D6xD6 Aquelarre that he's offering as a free extrato everyone who pledges to support this project at any level $5+.
Game and Setting
Aquelarre is a complete roleplaying game. In fact, it's a huge and very complete game. At about 500 pages, Aquelarre offers everything you expect to find in a fantasy RPG: character creation, game system and magic system. It also includes detailed information about the medieval Iberian setting, the cosmology of angels and demons, and a bestiary.
It is gloriously illustrated throughout. Examples of the brilliant artwork by Jaime Garcia Mendoza illustrate this project page.
Game In Brief
Player characters in Aquelarre begin life in one of five kingdoms that dominated the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages—Castilla, Aragón, Granada, Navarra, or Portugal. Based on their region, characters may be of various cultures—Arabian, Basque, Castilian, Catalan, Jewish, Muslim, and many more. Social position (from nobility to slave) and father’s occupation affect their capabilities, including profession. Of course, personal characteristics (shown on the character sheet below) play their part, too. One such is the Rationality/Irrationality rating, which determines how attuned a character is with the Irrational world, how capable with magic, and how susceptible to it. Rituals of faith depend upon a high Rationality instead. Advantages and Disadvantages help to round characters out.
The game system itself relies mainly on percentile rolls against either characteristic ratings or skills based on those (and on character experience). As might be expected from a game that has thrived for several decades now, rules for combat, weapons, and healing are all nicely detailed, with options to suit a variety of playing styles.
The book also includes considerable detail about medieval life in Iberia, from daily business to social mores to fairy tales, besides the expected focus on angels and demons.
Here are examples of two spells and one ritual of faith from Aquelarre. Lester believes these represent the game well. The first spell is an example of a level one "white magic" witchcraft spell, and the second spell is an example of "black magic" alchemy. Lester notes, "For this Kickstarter, I avoided listing a major summoning or anything that requires human sacrifice."
We include this sample ritual as it serves to demonstrate that the game isn't filled entirely by demons!
Creatures of Aquelarre
Besides the legendary Mateo-Txistu listed here, the game includes nearly 60 pages of creatures, from earthly animals to angels, demons, and others.
Why Retailer Pledge Levels Fail
I have contributed to over 100 Kickstarter projects and I have looked at countless projects beyond those I've backed. Without fail, the retailer-only reward levels fail to generate more than a handful of backers (that may happen here too, but I hope for your help!). I believe the reason is because backing a project requires a retailer to put aside precious capital. The money they are charged for backing a game project can be tied up for months, even a year or longer. The retailer's money is probably better invested in stocking games that are available NOW and that they can sell to customers NOW.
Be Part of the Solution
I have a solution: you! Instead of asking game stores to directly back our project (although they are welcome to do so!), we’re asking you to go to your FLGS and see if they will accept you as their FLGS Ambassador.
How does this work? First, talk to the owner or manager of your FLGS and request that they contact me to name you as their FLGS Ambassador. They just need to send a simple email (subject: Aquelarre FLGS Ambassador) to me at (info [at] nocturnal-media [dot] com). They should include the name and physical address of the store, and also your name and email address.
Next, make a pledge to this project at the $100 "Merchant" reward level. Here’s where you’ll see what a great deal this is for both you and the game store. You’ll receive a reward of four copies of Aquelarre, two each of the Brevarium and the full edition. You may keep one copy of each book for yourself (at significant discount) and then you’ll take the other copies to your FLGS and swap those value for value for anything else in the store that the owner or manager has agreed to exchange with you (maybe even including product they special order at your request). Since you’re trading goods to the store at a discounted price, your value of Aquelarre games should exchange for product of your choice also at a discounted price. Of course, you could simply arrange to sell the extra three copies to the retailer, in which case you have very graciously acted as lender to your FLGS because you advanced the payment for the books.
I win because I have your support for my project. You win because you get discounted Aquelarre plus additional discounted game product from your FLGS. Your FLGS wins because they have brand new product potentially unavailable anywhere else nearby and they financed that purchase with other product they had on hand (or ordered at a discount on your behalf).
*Please note: If you pledge at this level without the support of a FLGS, then at the conclusion of the project your $100 pledge will be rewarded as the "Master" pledge level + a Deck100 Original ($85 pledge level + $15 add-on).
King Arthur Pendragon?
Nosolorol recently published a Spanish-language edition of this classic roleplaying game by Greg Stafford that is published by Nocturnal Media. The Spanish edition of King Arthur Pendragon (KAP) includes all-original artwork that should be enjoyed in an English-language edition of the game.
As such, we thought it would be fun to include a very slightly updated edition of English-language KAP in this project. This new Edition 5.2 will replace the current artwork of Edition 5.1 with the cover and interior artwork featured in the Nosolorol edition. You can read all about this in Update #5.
Please Note: Current owners of KAP Edition 5.1 will receive the PDF of KAP Edition 5.2free of charge via DTRPG. If this is you, then please support Aquelarre, or pledge for a printed copy of KAP Edition 5.2, but you'll receive the PDF at no charge.
This project is primarily about the translating and publishing Aquelarre as a deluxe English-language RPG, but in addition to extra copies of either edition of the game, there are several items available in return for increasing your pledge. In all instances, you must be pledging for a physical copy of a game (either edition, or KAP 5.2) in order to add any of these items to your pledge:
For an extra copy of the Brevarium, please add $25. (Includes the PDF.) This is an additional ENGLISH-language copy. The Spanish edition is only pictured above for reference!
For an extra copy of the full-color Aquelarre, please add $55. (Includes the PDF.) This is an additional ENGLISH-language copy. The Spanish edition is only pictured above for reference!
For a gorgeously-illustrated and bullet-proof sturdy Aquelarre Gamemaster Screen, please add $20. This is a four-panel screen that includes the tables you'll need to reference the most.
For a box of Aquelarre-themed Deck100, please add $20. During the course of the project we'll select black, red, blue and yellow artwork from Aquelarre to place at the top of a new version of Deck100. (Includes the PDF.)
For a printed copy of King Arthur Pendragon Edition 5.2, please add $35. (Includes the PDF.) This is an English-language edition featuring the artwork from the recent Spanish translation. Update #5 discusses this book.
For an Aquelarre silver coin, please add $5 for the first coin and $3 for each additional coin. These coins feature artwork from the game: a demon head on one side and an angel on the other. This artwork will be a raised element on the coin, which will be minted by Campaign Coins, who ran their own successful project on Kickstarter earlier in 2015. These coins are quite large at 39mm wide — the size of a poker chip. We'll add some text and other detailing as discussed in Update #4. We're very excited about this coin!
Because of the fees applied to the funds that you pledge to our project via Kickstarter, it makes more sense to collect shipping charges from you after the project has ended. This allows us to charge you less as otherwise we'd have to charge 10%+ extra in order to cover what the fees and still have enough to pay for the actual shipping!
At the conclusion of this project, you'll complete your survey on BackerKit and will at that time add a bit extra to cover your shipping charge.
Shipping within the USA and to Spain
Brevarium only = $10 ($2 per additional copy)
Aquelarre or KAP 5.2 = $12 ($5 per additional copy)
Deck100 = $8 ($2 per additional deck)
Example: Full-color Aquelarre + 1 Brevarium + two Deck100 you pay the base $12 for the full-color, then +$2 for the additional Brevarium + $4 for two Deck100 = $18 total shipping charge.
Example 2: Brevarium + Deck100 Aquelarre you pay the base $10 for Brevarium, then +$2 for Deck100 = $12 shipping charge.
Shipping to Canada, United Kingdom, Germany & France
Brevarium only = $12 ($4 per additional copy)
Aquelarre or KAP 5.2 = $15 ($8 per additional copy)
Deck100 = $10 ($3 per additional deck)
Example: Full-color Aquelarre + 1 Brevarium + two Deck100 you pay the base $15 for the full-color, then +$4 for the additional Brevarium + $6 for two Deck100 = $25 total shipping charge.
Shipping Everywhere Else*
Brevarium only = $20 ($5 per additional copy)
Aquelarre or KAP 5.2 = $29 ($8 per additional copy)
Deck100 = $12 ($4 per additional deck)
Example: Full-color Aquelarre + 1 Brevarium + two Deck100 you pay the base $29 for the full-color, then +$5 for the additional Brevarium + $8 for two Deck100 = $42 total shipping charge.
(*) "Everywhere Else" means these countries. If your country isn't listed by name in this list or above, then please send me a message about your shipping rate.
As our primary ambition in this project is to fund an English-language edition of Aquelarre that is as gorgeous as the full-color, 500-page edition by Nosolorol, we're approaching stretch goals a bit differently. Instead of basing the goals on the total dollar volume of the project, our stretch goals are dependent on how copies of the full-color editions our backers request as pledge rewards.
The "Disciple", "Master" and "Merchant" pledge levels all include physical copies of the full version of Aquelarre. We'll total the pledges made at these levels (counting each "Merchant" twice as it includes two copies) and compare that total to our stretch goal numbers.
The "Acolyte" and "Virtual Scribe" pledge levels include the PDF of Aquelarre, so we'll also add 1/2 of the pledges at those levels to the stretch goal count!
Note also that these goals are primarily for additions to the full-color edition of Aquelarre. However, all reward levels $15+ will receive additional game material as PDF downloads.
STRETCH GOAL COUNTER: 615
*As of 11am CST November 16th.
!!! UNLOCKED !!!
200 copies: Play of Shadows (4-page adventure)
The Spanish edition of Aquelarre includes three adventures that we cannot include as part of our starting edition of the game. They add a lot of additional translation time for Lester. We've cleared 200+ copies, so we will add the shortest of the three adventures.
!!! UNLOCKED !!!
300 copies:Pre-Made Characters
These are six ready-to-play characters that you may use to get a game started quickly or have on hand as full-developed NPCs.
!!! UNLOCKED !!!
350 copies:New Advantages & Disadvantages
We're adding 40 new Advantages and 40 new Disadvantages that you may select for your character.
!!! UNLOCKED !!!
450 copies:Love Letter for a Book (12-page adventure)
There's one more adventure we'd like to include, and we will at 600 (below).
!!! UNLOCKED !!!
500 copies: Silk Bookmark
The Spanish edition of Aquelarre includes a lovely sewn-in red silk bookmark and one will now be part of the English edition too!
The third adventure we'll include in our full-color edition is a solitaire adventure.
If we achieve this goal, then as a bonus we'll provide all backers at $15+ with a PDF of a three-part mini-campaign in which the characters must sort out the story of the daughter of a child of an angel and a demon. A printed version of the adventure will be added to the Game Director's Screen, so if your pledge includes this item (or you select it as an add-on), then you'll receive the printed version too!
And there's plenty more. We'll will gladly continue to provide additional material for Aquelarre if there is outstanding support for the project.
Latest Updates from Our Project:
Chapter 12 for Backers!
8 days ago
– Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 12:16:25 AM
The good progress continues! Please go to the backer-only Dropbox to have a look at Chapter XII: Mores. The link to the folder is in this prior backer-only update (so this update can be seen by anyone who's interested in our progress).
And here's some great news! It's possible that the PDF of Aquelarre will be in your hands by the end of July. As an outside deadline, you'll absolutely have a digital version of the game prior to GenCon in August. (So I won't need to hide from you at the convention!)
As editor Roderick has been saying, "There's light at the end of the tunnel!"
Next Books for Aquelarre
I asked in the prior update what you'd like to see next for Aquelarre, and the result was a virtual dead-heat between Asturies Medievalia (setting), Ars Malefica (pagan and witchcraft sourcebook), and Bestiarium Hispaniae ("monster book"). While that voting and discussion was underway, Cabell completed translating the 25k words of material that remained in the Game Screen, which includes a three-part adventure.
He's now started on Asturies Medievalia which was his own first choice, a choice I liked because it's the shortest of the books. However, he's set out an aggressive plan to complete all three of these books over the next nine months with the intent to be finished end of February 2018. That means, shortly following your receipt of your rewards for this project, we'll be ready to bring a second Aquelarre project to Kickstarter, something I don't want to do again without the translated text already in hand.
Which reminds me...!
Current Kickstarter Projects
There are two small-format RPGs funding on Kickstarter now that might interest you! Tiny Wastelands will be published under our Gallant Knight Games imprint, while Clink is published in association with Sigil Stone Publishing.
Both of these project creators have outstanding track records on Kickstarter, so please take a look!
Chapter 11 and the Future of Aquelarre
27 days ago
– Fri, May 26, 2017 at 10:04:01 PM
Available now in your backer-only Dropbox is Chapter Eleven, which describes the setting of Aquelarre:
The world in which the adventures of Aquelarre take place is that of the peninsular kingdoms of the 14th and 15th centuries, two centuries in which various conflicts and events of great portent take place; and for their inhabitants, a time in which war is a daily reality, Hunger comes in the form of drought for the fields, disease appears in the form of the Black Plague, and Death is a dinner guest in every house.
(ASIDE: While you're at the site, you should go to the home page to catch the ad for Mage: The Ascension 20th Anniversary Edition. Phil Brucato did the development work on this edition and he's borne the heavy weight of Mage for some time now, but as the game's original designer at White Wolf, it's fun to see Nosolorol putting such a huge effort into THEIR translation!)
So, What Do You Want Next?
Cabell is working on the long, three-part adventure from the GM Screen that did not get unlocked in this project, and that virtually completes the Saeptum Arbitri because the other portions have been added to this project.
I think an expansion of the setting material makes sense, so perhaps Asturies Medievalia is a good place to start. Then maybe the relatively new Bestiarium Hispaniae because more monsters is always great! Then I think to double down on demons, and translate Ars Malefica. I only suggest this as third instead of second because the bestiary is only about half as long.
But perhaps you'd like more adventures sooner? Do you want Ars Malefica first?
Let me know with comments here, please.
The Moods of the Mad King
And last, Alan Bahr, who will be instrumental in Nocturnal Media's future of more timely Kickstarter delivery, has a fourth project of his own currently live. With less than a week to go, his card game The Moods of the Mad King deserves your attention. It's a 15-minute micro game for 2-4 players. Please take a look!
Chapter 10 - Bestiary!
about 2 months ago
– Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 10:57:28 PM
Available now in your backer-only Dropbox is Chapter Ten, the Aquelarre Bestiary!
Hop back to the prior update for the link to this DB. I'm not flagging this update as backer-only so that other pre-order supporters of Aquelarre can find information here.
We're drawing very close on the text. Translators Cabell and Lester are both working on stretch goal scenarios now that the rules themselves have been completely translated. Editor Roderick has been pouring over all the comments from backers on the posted chapters and has implemented changes for a host of the prior chapters as well as editing the recently translated chapters. Yes, this means you have more to come soon.
Once I come up from air from the current project for Talislanta: The Savage Land RPG, I'll look more closely at a possible schedule for getting this amazing book into your hands.
Speaking of the new Talislanta game, the project is in its final days, and it has some pretty cool creatures too! Below is a wood demon I've not even shown backers of that project! It just strikes me as something that would appeal to future Aquelarre players. Of course, I'd love to have your support for the new project as well. In the meantime, enjoy the Aquelarre beasts in the new text chapter.
Brief Translation Update
5 months ago
– Mon, Jan 23, 2017 at 11:01:08 PM
Welcome to 2017... the Year of Aquelarre!
I do not yet have a link to new edited content for you, but the translators have been making excellent progress. I reply in the Comments on the main project page with snippets of progress reports, but not everyone sees those and they're also difficult find after they get buried, so a brief note directly to all of you seemed in order.
Lester has continued to make progress through the huge spells chapter (Chapter Six). He's now completed through the 3rd level spells.
Cabell is picking up steam! In addition to a completed Chapter Seven (Ars Theologica) that I reported earlier in January (in the Comments section), he has now also completed Chapter Eight (Rerum Demoni). Both of these chapters are about 30 pages long in the printed rulebook.
We're still aiming toward end of March to have the translation complete, though that will require this pace to continue to accelerate up as it has over the month.
Thanks for your patience and support!
Translation Update + New Links
8 months ago
– Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 10:06:29 PM
Lots of ground to cover in this update, so let’s get right to it!
I’m pleased to release a new chapter of Aquelarre to all of you (see below), but as you know, the translation is well behind schedule. I assure you that Lester shares your chagrin. As was posted in the Project Comments, Lester has had a rough stretch recently, and he discusses it in a blog on his own website.
The short version is that Lester is suffering through medical troubles severing affecting both himself and family members.
The net result is that he is months the pace of translation that he anticipated. As a result, we’ve added a new translator to the team. Cabell Venable has enormous experience translating Spanish to English and he’s already started on Aquelarre. He will be slow to start as we catch him up on the translation decisions we've made thus far, but he'll soon be rolling. Meanwhile, Lester will continue translating through Chapter Six: Magic.
The goal is a completed translation in five months. So, end of March 2017 is approximately when we expect the entire rulebook to be translated. Roderick’s copy editing will require a month beyond that, and then there’s a month for layout. This process hopefully puts a PDF of completed game in your hands before the end of May 2017.
New Backer-Only PDFs
Chapter Four: Combat is now available for your comments. This chapter has been added to a folder that also contains all-new versions of the Introduction and Chapters 1-3. All of these new versions incorporate the feedback provided by several generous and helpful backers.
Also included in this new folder is the Example of Play that appears in the rulebook immediately after the Introduction.
The new arrangements for translation will result in more chapters very soon. I’ll continue to send an update as each new one is available.
Thanks for your patience as we put this new plan together. It’s been clear for a while that Lester was slipping from his schedule, but we hoped things would clear up for him and he could complete the work by himself even if it would be a bit late. Once it became clear that was not going to happen, Lester and I decided it was time to enlist help.
We regret the delay, but I guarantee that you will eventually have an English-language version of the great Aquelarre.