Apocalypse the Risen RPG (5E / 5th Edition & Pathfinder)

Created by Rusted Portal Games

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Pre-Apocalypse Post: AtR
17 days ago – Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 06:06:52 PM

Greetings, Survivors!

Before anything else, we want to express our sincere well wishes for you and your loved ones to stay safe and (seriously) sane during these crazy times. None of us have quite experienced anything like this in our lifetimes. Doing so absolutely requires our colonies to be tight and supportive.

We also want to express our deep appreciation for your patience and continued interest in Apocalypse the Risen. We have endless love for those backers that can’t wait to get their hands on AtR and especially those who continued to run convention games (prior to event shutdowns). Without you we are nothing in this industry that we love dearly. It is because of that we have worked so hard to bring a fantastic game to life. Anyone can have a great idea, not everyone can bring it to market. We will be bringing this game to market and in print.

And that, my friends, leads me to the latest update on what you really want to know. Development, printing, and delivery.

AtR Pathfinder Edition:

We know that most of our backers are awaiting the 5E version; however, Pathfinder was first in development and will be delivered first.

We have provided full book feedback to our layout artist for the Pathfinder Compatible edition of Apocalypse the Risen. We expect to get a full turn on that feedback and work to final approval by early April. Simeon (layout artist) has suggested that will be tight but doable.

There are a few odds and ends (cover print layout both standard and leather, opening binding layout, back cover copy, and index) that need added. These shouldn’t take considerable time and should be completed along with the rest of the book. We are again researching our best printer option as things have obviously changed since our initial research.

Provided finalization happens as described, we will look to get on a printer’s calendar by early May. That should put Pathfinder books in your hands sometime in early July (unless Covid-19 is the actual cause of the Rise).

---> Target AtR Pathfinder Delivery: July 2020

AtR 5E Edition:

To start here, I want one thing perfectly transparent. We have not stopped development on the 5E Compatible edition while we finalized Pathfinder. The team orientation has been split up to make sure we made continued incremental progress. And we are really stoked with how the classes and archetypes for each are shaping up. All classes and all creatures have been updated from those seen in past conventions. By that I mean, full rebuild and play balancing. That will happen at least one more time over the coming months as the team transitions fully to 5E development.

Once the Pathfinder book ships off to the printer, the full team will begin working on 5E in both design scrub and playtest sessions. We already have a few GMs running the new build for the 3rd level adventure (Endless Descent), for which we could not be more thankful (with understandable delays due to the global pandemic).

Regarding timing, our present (and conservative) goal is to begin editing AtR 5E when AtR Pathfinder ships. Provided that holds true that would put us on track to deliver AtR 5E in the October timeframe. We know that’s not what you want to hear, it certainly isn’t what we want to say. This update is an attempt to provide a target expectation we can hit based on turnaround times we have seen with our partners. That said, it is possible our final draft for AtR 5E will be much cleaner when it reaches editing and layout. That’s our goal, and if that is true, we could move faster through those timelines.

---> Target AtR 5E Delivery: October 2020

COVID-19:

The Rise jokes aside, we are obviously in the midst of major world disruption with this global pandemic. This could have significant impact on all aspects of development through print and delivery. While we do not have reason to believe that will be the case at this time, we understand it is a possibility. We do not expect this disease to interrupt our development timelines, though we will alert backers of any changes. Development and production are presently full steam ahead, with a focus on remote work sessions and playtests. We have already launched remote Zoom dev sessions and expect to do the same with playtests in the coming weeks. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy. Support and look out for each other, we’re all we got (we’re all we need).

Building a Colony

Build Your Colony:

In all times, a colony helps keep you safe. In Apocalypse the Risen the colony is a physical place with physical defenses. In real life, your colony might just be friends, and family, and strangers looking out for each other. It’s really important right now to find or build or maintain that colony for you and everyone else. And probably not in a physical place. (Laughter is important). Anyway, here’s some page selections from Chapter 9: Narrating. This chapter covers the rules for colonies and the session zero colony builder. I’m including because I’m reminded how important your choices are in determining the colony in which you live.

Session Zero Opening

The Bottomline:

Rusted Portal will deliver high quality full color Apocalypse the Risen books for both Pathfinder and 5E systems as sold in our Kickstarter campaign. We are very late and well aware. Our solution is to overdeliver quality content and physical presentation. We can only hope our wonderful backers will understand and forgive once you get your hands on this campaign setting. AtR is far more epic and deeper than ever communicated during the Kickstarter. You don’t have to take my word for it, you will eventually have your hands on it to find out.

Session Aftermath

War Chest Stretch Goals:

We have completed development of the convention versions of all three adventures unlocked during the Kickstarter. Each of these games will be expanded with additional narrative, encounters, and story hooks before final delivery. The final product will be PDF with formal layout and art. The convention versions are intended for 4-5 hour sessions which play well as one-off home games.

In the coming weeks we will be putting a shared folder together for backers to distribute all three convention games. These include pre-gen characters for all 9 classes, multiple creatures (including some found only in these games), and environmental effects not previously released. This release will include both Pathfinder and 5E versions, so all backers can get a feel for AtR with their home groups. Bear in mind that these shared conventions versions do not include final publishing publish. They will before the final delivery.

Dead in the Darklands: 1st Level – “Grave danger is discovered near your colony, putting its very existence in jeopardy.” Upon final delivery will include the printable PDF Scavenge Map of an encounter/location in the adventure.

Demon Divided: 2nd Level – “Food stores in your colony have gone missing and your hunting party definitely smell a rat in this twisted who-done-it.” Upon final delivery will include the printable PDF Scavenge Map of an encounter/location in the adventure.

Endless Descent: 3rd Level – “There’s nowhere to go but down when old problems arise from the depths. Will you and your hunting party survive the intrusive dark?” Upon final delivery will include the printable PDF Scavenge Map of an encounter/location in the adventure.

Adventure Stretch Goals:

While the focus has been on the campaign setting for both systems, we are still keeping track and making progress on all additional deliverables unlocked as part of the Kickstarter. All rewards will be delivered. Some of these stories are complete and progress continues. All will be included in layout with the complete PDF journal and written agnostically with regard to either system, save for any necessary stat blocks.

Iconic Intro Stories – 9 tales of travel from Dr. Dobrin as he meets each of the iconics. Get to know the characters and art that inspired the best examples of each class.

Micro Adventure Hooks – 45 micro-stories from the travels of Dr. Dobrin. Each is roughly 250 words and introduces a new item, creature, people of interest, or place of intrigue meant to inspire your own games.

Ghost Stories (Emotes: Grief, Terror, Loathing, Rage)– 4 ghost stories covering Dr. Dobrin’s encounters with each of the four known Emotes. Each short story will be around 1,500 words.

Ghost Stories (Apparitions) – 4 ghost stories recanting Dr. Dobrin’s run-ins with terrible Apparitions, the true ghosts in Apocalypse the Risen. Each short story will be around 2,000 words.

Ghost Stories (Poltergeist) – 3 ghost stories telling of Dr. Dobrin’s narrow escapes from tormenting Poltergeist. Each short story will be around 2,000 words.

Truth Transmissions:

Includes 12 broadcasts from the post-apocalyptic ham radio operator, “Truth” who discusses the rumors and events happening around the globe. We have the equipment, some of these are written, and more importantly once these are done this will become an ongoing support element for your games.

We haven’t forgotten about them at all. We are actually really excited about how impactful these can be for GMs and players. Obviously that impact is only real once you have the campaign setting and can start to play. So, cheers… more depth, fun, and content support to come post-delivery!

Apocalypse the Risen Progress Recap:

The Rusted Portal team is working diligently to get both campaign setting books off to the printer this year. We have thought we were here before and aware of similar communications. Publishing is a learning experience for which we are grateful to have this opportunity. There’s a reason companies like us use Kickstarter. The reality in that for all of our backers is that we are smaller and less experienced than other majoring game publishers who also use Kickstarter for their products. We hope you continue to remember that difference as we work closer to delivery. We especially hope you remember that difference when you ultimately receive your books. Ours will stand up fantastically to the quality you’ve seen from much better funded and staffed operations. We are small but talented and feisty. Trust.

In close, just an extra thank you for your support, questions, and feedback. All of it is truly appreciated. We will continue to engage in comments and answer questions. It would be awesome if you had some world or multiverse questions to pick our brains about, but I’m happy to field the criticism and challenges as well. You’ll find we are not afraid of tackling challenges head-on, which is exactly what continues to happen in bringing our first game to market. I keep saying first game, because we are really excited to use this learning experience to bring even more awesome games to our backers and fans.

Until next time, keep shining light into the dark corners.


Sincerely,

Donaven – Rusted Portal Games

Apocalypse the Risen Campaign Setting: C1-4 Preview
4 months ago – Sat, Nov 23, 2019 at 10:02:57 PM

This post is for backers only. Please visit Kickstarter.com and log in to read.

Truth Transmission: AtR Update!
5 months ago – Thu, Nov 21, 2019 at 04:38:43 PM

Indisputable. Irrefutable. Undeniable. This is Truth. Shining light into the dark corners, one broadcast at a time. Or in this case, one lonely update at a time.

Greetings our loyal backers and fellow survivors!

I regularly ponder time, especially how the last two years have so quickly passed into the ether. Time slips by so easily, though it bears such weight. That weight is especially present as the faithful at Rusted Portal press to finalize the Apocalypse the Risen tome. And a tome it is, with the Pathfinder pages pushing close to 450. A larger volume than you expected? Certainly, more than we expected. Before showing some of that content, let me answer the most pressing questions...

* AtR Pathfinder Compatible Edition: Layout first draft is one chapter short of final review. Our layout master Simeon Cogswell is as patient as talented, guiding our first time laying out such a book. The time in layout is much longer than anticipated, for which we take responsibility. Simeon has provided amazing feedback for tweaking how the information is structured to give you the best book possible. We asked for a sample to provide our wonderful backers and we’ve got that ready to share. An email will be going out to all backers at any product level shortly after this update. If you do not see that email, verify it did not hit your spam filters and then feel free to message and let us know.

Note that we will have one final pass before finalizing layout. There’s a handful of tweaks on what you’re seeing in the first 4 chapters, but this is how layout looks throughout the book. We hope you like how it’s turned out as much as we do.

* AtR 5E Compatible Edition: I know a larger percentage of you are really eager to get your hands on this version of AtR. While layout makes progress on PF, requiring a significant amount of bandwidth, Chad has been working diligently on progress for 5E. We’ve found a number of play balance issues that we have corrected and will continue making sure we’re solid before hitting editing. We are unlikely to hit editing prior to the PF version going to print. However, getting that initial milestone behind us will allow for full attention to 5E which is exciting. Simeon hasn’t murdered us yet, so once we are through editing, we hope to roll straight into layout. I’m not giving you a date on this because I don’t want to miss a target again. Please know we are for sure working hard on it.

* Adventure Series: I have recently pulled files out of the backer share as they need to be replaced with some updated versions. We have some GMs running convention games (THANK YOU!) and we will be prioritizing getting them the updated 1st level adventure “Dead in the Darklands”, the newly playtested 2nd level adventure “Demon Divided”, and a physics bending 3rd level adventure “Endless Descent”. As those playable files are ready to share, we will update all backers with a version to run at home. Trying to get some AtR in your hands as soon as possible. The sooner we do, the sooner we can enjoy relaunching our home campaign! :)

* AtR Pathfinder Layout Previews: As discussed above, you will shortly have a PDF of the first four chapters of AtR Pathfinder. However, we want to make sure you know those aren’t the only chapters that exist. The following images show off some select spreads from chapters 5-12 as proof of concept. We know we’re late and now you know we’re working hard to deliver an awesome book.

Chapter Five: Feats

Fan that hammer, darlin'!

Chapter Six: Skills

Good stuff in the Darklands

Chapter Seven: Trading Post

Pre and Post Rise Firearms Matter

Chapter Eight: Magic

Types of Magic Multiverse Design

Chapter 9: Narrating

Colony Features

Chapter 10: The World

Regional Darkland Hazards

Chapter 11: The Multiverse

Multiverse Planar Rules

Chapter 12: Catalog of Beasts

Ghosts are No Joke

So why the delays and what’s next?

That’s a great question and where the weight of time bogs down. At the end of the day, Apocalypse the Risen and the surrounding Worlds of the Portal multiverse was a much larger endeavor than expected. Part of that came from stretch goals, but mostly from my desire to deliver players a complete framework of the multiverse I imagined. We firmly believe Apocalypse the Risen and future connected projects benefit immensely from that consideration. Do we wish we could have delivered much faster? Of course we do, there’s a lot more content to develop! But we are building a gaming universe that we know will occupy your tables for a long time and that the risk in delays will be worth the reward in depth and quality. I personally can’t wait to put these books in your hands to prove that hypothesis.

Going forward, keep talking with us in the comments. We really do read them all. Ask questions that may come up from the shared pages. Dig on the world, multiverse, classes, races, creatures, and upcoming additional content. Writing these updates takes limited time away from production, but I will always spend time engaging with our backers. You all are awesome. Thank you again for the time and love and a big thank you to those running the content we’ve shared!


Sincerely,

Donaven – Rusted Portal Games

Apocalypse the Risen: Layout & 5E Progress!
10 months ago – Mon, Jun 24, 2019 at 05:07:08 PM

Hello Survivors,

The natives are again restless and marauders circling the colony. But don’t stress, we have what you need. A crisp clean update with some insights into just how this book is coming together. 

We told you back in April that layout was underway, and that is still true. We’ve burned through the most difficult chapters, and we want you to see a few snapshots so you know what’s up. Below are 24 pages of insight into races and classes. In the chapter opening for Races you’ll see a blank page on the left and placeholder text in the small paragraph at the top. Sorry, you don’t get to see all the special text yet. These pieces hold narratives from key NPCs in the world you can use in your games and help establish the flavor for the world. Each chapter opens with these narratives to set the mood. 

Each of these images are two page spreads:

Races Chapter Opening
Races Chapter Opening
Descended - Cherubim
Descended - Cherubim
Descended - Seraphim & Throne
Descended - Seraphim & Throne
Humankind & Start of Lazarus
Humankind & Start of Lazarus
Arbiter p1-2
Arbiter p1-2
Arbiter p3-4
Arbiter p3-4
Arbiter p5-6
Arbiter p5-6
Arbiter p7-8
Arbiter p7-8
Splicer p1-2
Splicer p1-2
Splicer p3-4
Splicer p3-4
Splicer p5-6
Splicer p5-6
Splicer p7-8
Splicer p7-8

We also told you that the cover art was looking fantastic, well that might have been an understatement. Here’s some mockups so you have a full taste of what’s coming. Simeon (layout) hasn’t done his magic, but this should give you a good idea. That's a full front, spine, and half back cover wrap scene. Oh, you didn’t think we’d share the back cover copy just yet, did you? Also know that the cover iconic is highlighted throughout the book and will be another important NPC in the future. :)

AtR Front Cover Mockup - PF
AtR Front Cover Mockup - PF
AtR Cover Spine Mockup
AtR Cover Spine Mockup
AtR Back Cover Mockup - PF
AtR Back Cover Mockup - PF

Overall art additions: we have added dozens of pieces of art since our last update! From full page pieces to found artifacts in game, you are getting significantly more art than previously announced. Our goal from the start was to come out like an established company rather than some indie startup. We know you’ll agree when you get this book in your hands. And it IS coming. 

Bloody Enforcer Weapon
Bloody Enforcer Weapon
Harbinger Denial
Harbinger Denial
Found art, sketch weaponry, and full page color scene!
Found art, sketch weaponry, and full page color scene!

While Simeon (layout) and I are hard at work finalizing chapters, Chad (lead developer) has been tearing up progress of 5E. Significant work has been made on locking down Races, Classes, Weapons, and Gear. That includes direction on what to trim for the slimmer ruleset and what to add for AtR flavor. AtR 5E has been playable for over a year, so changes are intended to maximize 5E rules and introduce changes unique to Apocalypse the Risen (such as insanity, ballistic AC, etc). Our goal is still to trail the Pathfinder print by about 3 months. Layout will be simpler, with art placement and direction decided. Classes are less complex to format, so we will be well ahead of this piece allowing us to hit the next layout running.

Overall message: Look, we are small team and are busting our asses to deliver you a freaking amazing game. We’ve been slower than hoped, but we have not been slacking. We aren’t playing by the typical small company rules and have long been dedicated to making sure the AtR Campaign Setting is foundational in establishing us with our fans. We’ve lost two backers that didn’t believe we can delivery on that promise. And we’ve gained nearly ten times that in people that have played our very well designed game and adventures in the time since this Kickstarter. Hopefully the above progress delivers just that message. Stick it out, you’ll be with us for as long as we are churning out games. And we’ll keep delivering for you for years to come, because that’s what we are here to do.


Sincerely,

Donaven – Rusted Portal Games 

Apocalypse the Risen Campaign Setting: LAYOUT!
12 months ago – Thu, Apr 18, 2019 at 09:32:00 PM

 Greetings, Survivors!

The Rusted Portal Games team has officially entered the afterlife. We are processing this update and future needs from the Veil. Despite the strongly neutral alignment, we are unfazed and continuing production! Our passing is not without benefit to our faithful backers. And things look good!

Writing/Editing: The entire Pathfinder book is written and through editing. Final word count after whittling spells down is just over 331k. We feel great to be providing backers with a significant book that will more than hit our page count goals announced during the Kickstarter. Most importantly, thanks to many talented writers and a saint of an editor in Jennifer Povey, those words will make sense and be neatly organized for your enjoyment.

Layout: We are officially deep into layout with the incredible talented and award winning Simeon Cogswell. Regarding layout completion, timing is a bit out of our control at this stage. We are working hand in hand with Simeon to provide feedback, best text for sidebars, placement of art, etc. However, the process just takes time because of the sheer volume of text. See printing below for anticipated timing.

We have designed some gritty pages and currently working hard on the overall design. I’ve provided a little taste below, but please note this is just a quick pass to share. Our goal is for players and GMs to feel like they have a piece of the world in their hands. A found relic of importance.

Layout Tease - Descended
Layout Tease - Descended

Art: We still have a bunch of art rolling in, plus more photo manipulation pieces that will all be worked in over the next couple weeks. We are really stoked about some b/w pieces from artist Scott Harshbarger who really grasps the theme of the world. And you may also be keen to know that we are working through drafts of the newly illustrated cover art. You haven’t seen anything from us about this artist or the cover, but we are loving it. You can check out Éva Kedves portfolio to get an idea. She’s awesome. Here’s all you get, just a tease! This cover will introduce an important NPC in the world that we hope to tell stories about in the future. 

Zoomed Cover Tease Draft - New NPC
Zoomed Cover Tease Draft - New NPC

And for those of you excited about the leather cover… don’t worry, we certainly haven’t forgotten about you! Simeon will be taking care of laying out that awesome Eclipse devil from Preston Stone in foil for the leather. I might personally hug each copy before shipping. Or not. Just pretend I didn’t write that. The following is just the mock-up provided during the Kickstarter and the final may differ. I just wanted to remind you all how sick this is going to look.

Leather Cover Mock-up - Reminder
Leather Cover Mock-up - Reminder

Printing: We are prepared to start printing Pathfinder immediately upon layout completion. Simeon will assist with the handoff to the printer to ensure the layout file translates smoothly as each printer is slightly different. Our plan of record is still to print Pathfinder domestically. Of course, part of completing files for print is also completing files for PDF delivery. We plan to distribute the final PDF files through DriveThruRPG. As for timing, again this is completely at the mercy of layout finalization. Layout requests 30 days. We should see a May start of printing and delivery in June, pending setbacks outside our control.

5E Design: We are well underway on final development for the 5E build. You’ve seen most of the classes and some of the creatures. There are already some tweaks from those designs, and a number of new AtR design elements that are crossing over between systems. You will still enjoy a colony and resource system in 5E, have the pleasure of personalities and insanity instead of alignment, and our built from scratch multiverse. This is not D&D, even if the system plays that way. You won’t find elves and dwarves in the Worlds of the Portal, trust.

The largest part of these books is the writing itself. Narrative, rules outside of stat blocks, and transition information for you to run and play Apocalypse the Risen. The majority of that writing translates directly to 5E, which means we don’t have that work to do in order to finish the second book. The work now is refining the already playtested rules and adjusting setting rules to the new system. We are still a few months behind Pathfinder, but in much better place to finish sooner than later. 

Lastly, just a message of appreciation and gratitude for your support and patience. I know you’re all very eager to get this book in your hands. And I know we are very late. Rest assured that during that extra time we have been working very hard to fill this book with quality material, creative design elements, and amazing art. It’s important you know we have invested heavily in this book beyond the Kickstarter funds and we have no delays on that front to get through printing. We haven’t run any other Kickstarters or taken on any other projects. We simply put as much time as possible, outside our collective pay the bills job, into making an incredible Apocalypse the Risen Campaign Setting for you to enjoy. And you will be enjoying this game in 2019 for both systems.


Sincerely,

Donaven – Rusted Portal Games