Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Another RPG bundle offer - Spire: The City Must Fall

This is a game I don't know much about, which seems to have some excellent reviews. It's an urban setting combining technology, magic, and revolutionary politics, in which the adventurers are members of the oppressed Drow race of dark elves, living in the bowels of a city / arcology and fighting to restore their old gods and freedoms.

Spire: The City Must Fall is a game of revolution in a towering industrial fantasy-punk city of a thousand gods, where retro-engineers dig up arcane technology from forgotten dungeons, then hotwire it and sell cheap copies. Underground lakes brim with algae; bloodwitches from the Heart, a rotten hole in reality at the city's center, carry mystical diseases that rewrite minds; spider-skinned midwives sprout chitinous limbs to defend unborn drow; magic masks are sutured to unwilling faces; mysterious Morticians pluck out hearts and store them in jars, so the owners gain eternal life.

Spire tasks you with changing this city, whether for good or ill. You are a dark elf, hiding from the light in Spire's lawless undercity. The monsters you fight aren't out in the wilderness; they're living above you in obscene luxury, dominating your people in the aftermath of a brutal war. Capricious high elves, the occupying rulers, are destroying your religion, your culture, and everything you hold dear. You've joined the secret Ministry of Our Hidden Mistress and have sworn in blood to destroy the high elves through subterfuge, insurrection, and terror. What -- or who -- will you sacrifice to achieve your aims? Will you evade the attention of the authorities, or end up shot in the street like so many before you?

Funded in a July 2017 Kickstarter campaign, Spire was the biggest game to that time from Grant Howitt (Goblin Quest, Paranoia Red Clearance Edition, Honey Heist, Crash Pandas) and his co-designer, Chris Taylor. Using a straightforward skill-based D10-pool system, Spire puts a new and flavorful twist on many fantasy tropes. You don't just play a Ranger; you play a Carrion-Priest, a hyena-worshipping death cultist. You're not a Rogue; you're a Bound, and you pray to the small gods in your ropes to stop you from falling off the side of the city. You don't play a Fighter, but a Knight of the North Docks, from a long-fallen order of nobles who now swagger in flashy quarter-plate and operate Spire's bars. Yet in this setting saturated in weirdness, players face dilemmas of compliance versus resistance -- conformity or courage -- that speak to all of us today. Like a citybound D&D crossed with Unknown Armies -- Gormenghast meets Necromunda -- Spire is a game of hard choices, painful decisions, and personal loss.

This new offer presents much of the Spire line -- everything you need to bring bloody revolt from the lawless undercity of Red Row to the frozen mile-high towers of Amaranth. We provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their devices.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to this Spire offer's pandemic-related charity, Direct Relief. Direct Relief gets protective gear and critical care medications to health workers, with emergency deliveries to medical facilities across the US and to regional response agencies across the world.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer is US$80. Customers who pay just US$12.95 get all five titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $45) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete Spire: The City Must Fall core rulebook (retail price $25; previously presented in the November 2018 Indie Cornucopia 6); the Strata sourcebook (retail $20); and three "campaign frames" that get you started playing quickly: Blood and Dust Eidolon Sky, and The Kings of Silver (all sold on a Pay-What-You-Want basis).

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $19.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with twelve more titles worth an additional $35, including the scenarios and sourcebooks Shadow Operations (retail $9), Black Magic (retail $10), Codex of the Deep Spire (retail $5), Book of Masks (retail price $9), and Secrets Kept from the Sun (retail $2), as well as seven MP3 tracks from Tabletop Audio composed as backer rewards for the Spire Kickstarter campaign and not for sale anywhere else.

This offer also includes a discount code good through January 11, 2021 for 20% off all purchases of Spire print products at the Rowan, Rook, & Decard webstore.

I've only had a quick look at the rules etc. but it seems to be a reasonably playable game, provided the GM is prepared to put some work into it, inverting a lot of the tropes of fantasy RPGs; the adventurers are members of the underclasses, not aristocrats or knights, and many of their actions are attempts to subvert or overthrow the "legitimate" high elf government and bring about bloody revolution. Some of the character illustrations are reminiscent of revolutionary propaganda posters from various eras, others look like a cross between fantasy and Judge Dredd. It looks like you get quite a lot for your money, and I can't think of any other RPG that quite covers this territory. Recommended.

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