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James Jacobs' Unspeakable Futures


Off-Topic Discussions

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8 people marked this as a favorite.
James Jacobs wrote:
Although Unspeakable Futures (which is the name of this unpublished, long in design game by me) is where the first draft of the gunslinger class came from... the gunslinger touch AC issue that causes problems in Pathfinder doesn't cause problems in Unspeakable Futures, because guns work a little differently, and because the game is built from the ground up with the assumption that most PCs will be using ranged weapons, not melee weapons. It's sort of a reverse of the general expectation of D&D/Pathfinder in that regard.

and!

James Jacobs wrote:

Unspeakable Futures is not a Paizo product. It's a James Jacobs project. One I started working on back in 2000 or thereabouts, when the brand new 3rd edition d20 system inspired me to do just that—to see if I could build a d20 science fiction game. Sicne then, I've revised it to utilize the d20 Call of Cthulhu Rules, the d20 Modern Rules, the 3.5 D&D rules, and most recently, the Pathfinder rules.

It's not something that Paizo's design team is working on, since I've not allowed anyone but me to work on it, since it's my little vanity project. Something I'd love to publish at some point—be it through Paizo, through Kickstarter, or simply on a website as a PDF.

Not certain this is the correct section. But thought the discussion should continue.

Greg


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

All IN!


Still think James should drop in some teasers or some fiction to get folk drooling over this. I mean really, he probably sleeps at least four hours a night. If he would use this time for a much more productive use, he could have this done in two or three years. TOPS!

Greg


HAH! C'mon James...crowdsource it to us!!


Yup still all in on this one

Dark Archive

Yes, please.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

I've dropped a few teasers here and there, but never really in a big public place. The biggest teasers manifested at PaizoCon 2 and 3, since I ran an Unspeakable Futures game for some folks at each of those conventions. I've also posted a few teasers on the probably-too-big-for-its-own-good "Ask James" thread... they're buried in there somewhere...

Of course, one of those players was Jason Nelson, who already knows about the game, so in a way he kinda robbed someone from the chance to find out about it. Ha!


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I wonder if it is a horror based apocalypse? *ponders* Hopping vampires broke the back of civilization. Or or um....more science fictiony, like Giant Radioactive Ants from Arizona! Yeah! It could be THEM!

Greg


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
*** It's a science-fiction/fantasy hybrid though (sort of Fallout meets the Dark Tower meets Lovecraft), not just fantasy (like Dark Sun).

This reads like a campaign candy store. Yes, please.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:

I've dropped a few teasers here and there, but never really in a big public place. The biggest teasers manifested at PaizoCon 2 and 3, since I ran an Unspeakable Futures game for some folks at each of those conventions. I've also posted a few teasers on the probably-too-big-for-its-own-good "Ask James" thread... they're buried in there somewhere...

Of course, one of those players was Jason Nelson, who already knows about the game, so in a way he kinda robbed someone from the chance to find out about it. Ha!

...and if you manage to rope Jason into this too, I'm going to have to just send you signed blank checks.


2 people marked this as a favorite.

Smells like a Kickstarter to me. :)


It sounds really interesting, I'd love to see it happen.


A couple of googled threads.

ENworld

BigFootCountry

Not much info, but a few teases.

Friend of mine won a copy of Darwin's World for me. I have been tempted to poach from it. On its own, it seems lacking for my style.

Greg

EDIT alot more references searching the james jacobs thread. But I tired of scanning :P

Shadow Lodge

dotting!


Though, this one does give a hint of what characters are capable of...

James Jacobs wrote:
I'm not familiar with the machine smith. In my homebrew game "Unspeakable Futures," I have a class called the scavenger which patches together junk and artifacts scavenged from postapocalypitc wastelands to make weapons and robot minions, to fix vehicles, and to make armor... so if that's what you're asking about, then my answer is "probably some day, yes" because I'm quite fond of both Unspeakable Futures AND the scavenger class and would like some day to see them in print.

Greg


1 person marked this as a favorite.

I will back this in a kickstarter....


I wonder if those that have played it in the past are sworn to secrecy. OR maybe given a poison and James has the only antidote, so they cannot share info under pain of death. ( assuming it is a painful poison)

Greg


I once created my own RPG ruleset which I played with my then gaming group. Anyone who has gone through the pain and suffering of creating a reasonable character building process alone deserves respect and admiration. Throw in combat mechanics, skills abilities and whatnot...

It's an endeavor that at least approximates writing a full fledged novel.

The problem I found is that only my core gaming group knew how to play it, and then they started doing crazy stuff like getting married and moving away and stuff.

Dang life. Ruined way too many of my big plans of my youth...


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'd be very interested in this project.


Adamantine Dragon wrote:

I once created my own RPG ruleset which I played with my then gaming group. Anyone who has gone through the pain and suffering of creating a reasonable character building process alone deserves respect and admiration. Throw in combat mechanics, skills abilities and whatnot...

It's an endeavor that at least approximates writing a full fledged novel.

The problem I found is that only my core gaming group knew how to play it, and then they started doing crazy stuff like getting married and moving away and stuff.

Dang life. Ruined way too many of my big plans of my youth...

Back in the eighties, I played with two groups that were testing their gaming systems. The better more well thought out was based on the Mack Bolan: The Executioner series of books. Very well thought out, the designers knew it backwards and forwards, answered questions quickly and ran a very smooth game. Detractor for me was the content. Read three books from the series and even though I am a Destroyer and Matt Helm fan, could not relate to Mack Bolan at all.

The other system, was the most convoluted weighty klugeset of rules I have ever encountered. Over forty races, every die required, combat charts that required use of calculators because all stats were carried out to the third decimal point!! *sighs* Pregenned characters, and all I can remember about it was I had a cat head and tentacles instead of fingers. I think those guys had input into the Enforcers superhero game. *shrugs* Good times.

Best I have ever done on my own was mix Chaosium's Ringworld with Avalon Hill's Lords of Creation.

Kudos to those that can create.

Greg


I'm also hyped now.

Liberty's Edge

I would subscribe. There is a major gap in the RPG universe that this could fill.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I, too, am interested in this thing, this thing you are making.


I would back that Kickstarter in a heartbeat.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Dark Tower mixed with Kthulu? Well Respected and proven author? Lots of connections through paizo to developers and writers who could help him make the project happen? Gunslinger class without the wonky gun rules from pathfinder? Sciencefiction mixed with fantasy in a post apocalyptic setting?

I believe the phrase many are looking for is 'shut up and take my money!'.

You show me where to kick and I'll get started.

PS: I am fully aware that in his current position James doesnt have time to really commit to making this a real project, but my hope is if there is enough interest it could be seen as a viable project either with paizo or independantly, so I am demonstrating my interest.


Paizo presents a James Jacobs creation...Unspeakable Futures!

Yeah, I'd skip a few meals to contribute to that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Legends Subscriber

The general description reads kinda like a condensed version of the Deadlands setting across it's timeline. (Deadlands + Hell on Earth + Lost Colony) And the rules assumption and key design harkens back to what Boot Hill was to D&D.

Having enjoyed all of those, I am eager to know more.


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Pendin Fust wrote:

Paizo presents a James Jacobs creation...Unspeakable Futures!

Yeah, I'd skip a few meals to contribute to that.

You, me, and a lot of others might be willing to back a Kickstarter for UF. The question is whether James is willing to skip a whole lot of sleep to make it happen. And (speaking from experience), it's hard to be creative when you're sleep-deprived and stressed out with too many projects!

I know all about sreading myself too thin to effectively manage all the projects I'm responsible for in my personal and professional lives. So, let's respect the Creative Director's decisions to focus on Pathfinder, at least for now.

Because no one would want a half-baked game with James' name attached-- least of all James. And Pathfinder would suffer if the Creative Director decided to split his time between Golarion and a personal vanity project.

So, James, while we all would love to see Unspeakable Futures in print, we understand that we're going to have to wait a while... possibly a very long while.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
Pendin Fust wrote:

Paizo presents a James Jacobs creation...Unspeakable Futures!

Yeah, I'd skip a few meals to contribute to that.

You, me, and a lot of others might be willing to back a Kickstarter for UF. The question is whether James is willing to skip a whole lot of sleep to make it happen. And (speaking from experience), it's hard to be creative when you're sleep-deprived and stressed out with too many projects!

I know all about sreading myself too thin to effectively manage all the projects I'm responsible for in my personal and professional lives. So, let's respect the Creative Director's decisions to focus on Pathfinder, at least for now.

Because no one would want a half-baked game with James' name attached-- least of all James. And Pathfinder would suffer if the Creative Director decided to split his time between Golarion and a personal vanity project.

So, James, while we all would love to see Unspeakable Futures in print, we understand that we're going to have to wait a while... possibly a very long while.

There you go being all reasonable. And here I was thinking we should all mail James a case of redbull each with $50 taped to it and call it done...guess I'll have to wait for my dream of running a d20 dark tower game...sigh


1 person marked this as a favorite.
Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I'd be interested in this as well, but I understand the whole time constraints thing.

Still, I've heard that some personal projects have turned out to be quite profitable, especially where there's customer demand.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Id Kickstart this too

Scarab Sages

I'm all over this. I really like the idea of something that explores the Call of Cthulu / Dark Tower type universes (universii? Multiverse?) with the Pathfinder ruleset as its skeleton. It also seems like James has put an astonishing amount of work into this already, I'd love to see some of it.


dot

Paizo Employee Creative Director

Greg Wasson wrote:

I wonder if those that have played it in the past are sworn to secrecy. OR maybe given a poison and James has the only antidote, so they cannot share info under pain of death. ( assuming it is a painful poison)

Greg

They are not sworn to secrecy. I even let them keep their character sheets.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

6 people marked this as a favorite.
Haladir wrote:
Pendin Fust wrote:

Paizo presents a James Jacobs creation...Unspeakable Futures!

Yeah, I'd skip a few meals to contribute to that.

You, me, and a lot of others might be willing to back a Kickstarter for UF. The question is whether James is willing to skip a whole lot of sleep to make it happen. And (speaking from experience), it's hard to be creative when you're sleep-deprived and stressed out with too many projects!

I know all about sreading myself too thin to effectively manage all the projects I'm responsible for in my personal and professional lives. So, let's respect the Creative Director's decisions to focus on Pathfinder, at least for now.

Because no one would want a half-baked game with James' name attached-- least of all James. And Pathfinder would suffer if the Creative Director decided to split his time between Golarion and a personal vanity project.

So, James, while we all would love to see Unspeakable Futures in print, we understand that we're going to have to wait a while... possibly a very long while.

Doing Unspeakable Futures via Kickstarter would in a lot of ways equate to me taking on a second job. Because that's what it would be—I'd be not only the author, but the coordinator, project manager, publisher, marketer, PR Guy, an so on. If I got enough money from the kickstarter, I'd be able to hire graphic designers, artists, editors, and developers, but if I didn't I'd do all that myself as well (or at the very least pay for those services out of my own pocket).

I do NOT want to start up a Kickstarter for an RPG product and then have it fail to deliver because I bit off more than I could chew. There's been enough of that in the industry for my taste, and I don't want to do that to my reputation.

That said, it's really pretty rewarding and wonderful to see how many people would be interested in seeing the game, and that in and of itself makes me want to step up from the idle tinkering back into the actual design of the game—right now, I need to finish off the technological artifacts chapter (the Unspeakable Futures version of the magic item chapter in the Core Rulebook), stat up a few dozen monsters, and get my scattered notes of the game world in order before it's even in a place where it could serve as an alpha release...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Ssalarn wrote:
I'm all over this. I really like the idea of something that explores the Call of Cthulu / Dark Tower type universes (universii? Multiverse?) with the Pathfinder ruleset as its skeleton. It also seems like James has put an astonishing amount of work into this already, I'd love to see some of it.

Yeah... I've run an entire campaign with the system up to about 18th level, have run several other shorter games with it, and have had several game designer buddies run games or campaigns with the rules. I've even had the chance to play the game and see how it works as a player. A lot of work... and I'll get it out there for folks to see some day.

But to put it in perspective, a lot of what folks are seeing in Golarion is from my homebrew campaign, and I started working on THAT setting back in 1985 or thereabouts. It took that one about a quarter of a century to get out into the world in a significant way... I'm hoping Unspeakable futures, which is 12 years into its design cycle, won't take quite so long...

Scarab Sages

James Jacobs wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
I'm all over this. I really like the idea of something that explores the Call of Cthulu / Dark Tower type universes (universii? Multiverse?) with the Pathfinder ruleset as its skeleton. It also seems like James has put an astonishing amount of work into this already, I'd love to see some of it.

Yeah... I've run an entire campaign with the system up to about 18th level, have run several other shorter games with it, and have had several game designer buddies run games or campaigns with the rules. I've even had the chance to play the game and see how it works as a player. A lot of work... and I'll get it out there for folks to see some day.

But to put it in perspective, a lot of what folks are seeing in Golarion is from my homebrew campaign, and I started working on THAT setting back in 1985 or thereabouts. It took that one about a quarter of a century to get out into the world in a significant way... I'm hoping Unspeakable futures, which is 12 years into its design cycle, won't take quite so long...

What does the class system in the game look like? You mentioned that the original gunslinger was fleshed out from a concept in this game, was that based on an actual Gunslinger class from Unspeakable Futures or just a collection of general rules/mechanics?


James Jacobs wrote:


...

That said, it's really pretty rewarding and wonderful to see how many people would be interested in seeing the game, and that in and of itself makes me want to step up from the idle tinkering back into the actual design of the game—right...

Add my voice to those who would support you doing this. I realize the contraints you have and only hope that at some point you will be able to tackle this in the manner you want.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
James Jacobs wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
I'm all over this. I really like the idea of something that explores the Call of Cthulu / Dark Tower type universes (universii? Multiverse?) with the Pathfinder ruleset as its skeleton. It also seems like James has put an astonishing amount of work into this already, I'd love to see some of it.

Yeah... I've run an entire campaign with the system up to about 18th level, have run several other shorter games with it, and have had several game designer buddies run games or campaigns with the rules. I've even had the chance to play the game and see how it works as a player. A lot of work... and I'll get it out there for folks to see some day.

But to put it in perspective, a lot of what folks are seeing in Golarion is from my homebrew campaign, and I started working on THAT setting back in 1985 or thereabouts. It took that one about a quarter of a century to get out into the world in a significant way... I'm hoping Unspeakable futures, which is 12 years into its design cycle, won't take quite so long...

I recommend playtesting pieces of the material through I dont know, some sort of online forum, where lots of gamers reside that happen to be fans of, lets say 'other work' you have done to speed up the process. And if opening it up to public consumption isnt palatable for an 'unpolished' product, i am sure you would have lots of volunteers to do so separately.


What's this? Oh, it's a dot.


Dot.


I'd kickstart the hell out of this. At least a few hundred dollars.


3 people marked this as a favorite.

I suspect some folks would pay to see James Jacobs' Unspeakable Past in print...


Just adding my voice to the crowd. I'd love to see this in print some day.

Dark Archive

To unspeakable futures and beyond!

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

I am patiently awaiting the day James Jacobs announces his mad plan to release these rules and setting unto an unsuspecting population. Unspeakable Futures indeed.

Liberty's Edge RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32, 2011 Top 16

James Jacobs wrote:


Doing Unspeakable Futures via Kickstarter would in a lot of ways equate to me taking on a second job. Because that's what it would be—I'd be not only the author, but the coordinator, project manager, publisher, marketer, PR Guy, an so on. If I got enough money from the kickstarter, I'd be able to hire graphic designers, artists, editors, and developers, but if I didn't I'd do all that myself as well (or at the very least pay for those services out of my own pocket).

I do NOT want to start up a Kickstarter for an RPG product and then have it fail to deliver because I bit off more than I could chew. There's been enough of that in the industry for my taste, and I don't want to do that to my reputation.

That said, it's really pretty rewarding and wonderful to see how many people would be interested in seeing the game, and that in and of itself makes me want to step up from the idle tinkering back into the actual design of the game—right...

I'd love to see this product come out, but understand why you wouldn't want to take the 2nd job to Kickstart it yourself. With the precedent of the Pathfinder Online Kickstarters though, maybe Unspeakable Futures could be a Paizo product that was Kickstarted to cover the costs of hiring additional headcount to manage the extra products involved.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
JoelF847 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:


Doing Unspeakable Futures via Kickstarter would in a lot of ways equate to me taking on a second job. Because that's what it would be—I'd be not only the author, but the coordinator, project manager, publisher, marketer, PR Guy, an so on. If I got enough money from the kickstarter, I'd be able to hire graphic designers, artists, editors, and developers, but if I didn't I'd do all that myself as well (or at the very least pay for those services out of my own pocket).

I do NOT want to start up a Kickstarter for an RPG product and then have it fail to deliver because I bit off more than I could chew. There's been enough of that in the industry for my taste, and I don't want to do that to my reputation.

That said, it's really pretty rewarding and wonderful to see how many people would be interested in seeing the game, and that in and of itself makes me want to step up from the idle tinkering back into the actual design of the game—right...

I'd love to see this product come out, but understand why you wouldn't want to take the 2nd job to Kickstart it yourself. With the precedent of the Pathfinder Online Kickstarters though, maybe Unspeakable Futures could be a Paizo product that was Kickstarted to cover the costs of hiring additional headcount to manage the extra products involved.

I dont know that this would happen any time soon. Paizo brass are pretty set against dividing the community. This product would more or less be its own game, and certainly its own setting. Something Lisa herself has spoken against when people asked about a 'space opera', modern or future game. It woud also mean that James' responsibilities on primary paizo products (Adventure paths, the campaign setting, etc) would be drastically reduced to cover this whole new band of products. Even if they did hire the people to support him, he would have to spend a big chunk of his time managing it. Somehow i dont think paizo is willing to direct half or more of James' attention away from golarion.

On the other hand...mad scientist style plans to clone James to double the amount of work he could do is seeming more and more like a good idea...

Paizo Employee Creative Director

5 people marked this as a favorite.
Ssalarn wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
Ssalarn wrote:
I'm all over this. I really like the idea of something that explores the Call of Cthulu / Dark Tower type universes (universii? Multiverse?) with the Pathfinder ruleset as its skeleton. It also seems like James has put an astonishing amount of work into this already, I'd love to see some of it.

Yeah... I've run an entire campaign with the system up to about 18th level, have run several other shorter games with it, and have had several game designer buddies run games or campaigns with the rules. I've even had the chance to play the game and see how it works as a player. A lot of work... and I'll get it out there for folks to see some day.

But to put it in perspective, a lot of what folks are seeing in Golarion is from my homebrew campaign, and I started working on THAT setting back in 1985 or thereabouts. It took that one about a quarter of a century to get out into the world in a significant way... I'm hoping Unspeakable futures, which is 12 years into its design cycle, won't take quite so long...

What does the class system in the game look like? You mentioned that the original gunslinger was fleshed out from a concept in this game, was that based on an actual Gunslinger class from Unspeakable Futures or just a collection of general rules/mechanics?

The classes available in Unspeakable Futures (and sample inspirations from media) are:

FULL SPELLCASTER CLASSES
Cabalist (focuses on summoning, necromancy, and divination—the classic Lovecraftian wizard)
Esper (focuses on illusions and mind control and psychic stuff—an ESP expert you might see pop up in a Stephen King or Brian Lumley story)
Mystic (focuses on healing, "buffing" spells, and transformation magic—a druid who doesn't turn into animals; a shaman)

FULL BASE ATTACK CLASSES
Mercenary (a fighter/barbarian hybrid who can take a lot of damage—Humungos from Road Warrior)
Gunslinger (a ranged specialist who focuses on using pistol-sized firearms and has some charisma-based leadership powers akin to a bard or paladin—Roland from the Dark Tower books)
Survivalist (this class is the least developed currently—it's sort of akin to a post-apocalyptic ranger/bounty hunter—Mad Max from The Road Warrior, or Eli from the Book of Eli)

SPECIALIST CLASSES
Wastrel (a rogue type character who specializes in unfair and dirty fighting—any of the raiders you see pop up in Fallout games)
Scavenger (someone who builds their own weapons, armor, and robot companions out of junk and spare parts—John Conner, perhaps, or the helicoptor pilot guy from Road Warrior)
Sniper (a specialist with long range attacks and stealth—the sniper character from pretty much any war or action movie)

Paizo Employee Creative Director

3 people marked this as a favorite.
JoelF847 wrote:
I'd love to see this product come out, but understand why you wouldn't want to take the 2nd job to Kickstart it yourself. With the precedent of the Pathfinder Online Kickstarters though, maybe Unspeakable Futures could be a Paizo product that was Kickstarted to cover the costs of hiring additional headcount to manage the extra products involved.

If Paizo approaches me to publish Unspeakable Futures... I suspect it won't need a Kickstarter. Paizo's got enough money and resources that if a book like this were put on the schedule, it'd just happen normally. The problem there is that we don't currently do games beyond what directly supports Golarion, and so there's not really a corporate urge to do something that delves into another genre at this point. I do keep chipping away at that urge, though, I like to think.

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