Thunderscape: The World of Aden

Have you ever loved a game so much that you have wanted to be the one to own it? Well, for one lucky group of geeks, that dream just so happened to come true! When first meeting this band of gamers, I was actually surprised that they were stationed not just in one town, but in different corners of the world. From school teachers to engineers, these men are living the gamers dream.  I recently had an interview with Kyoudai Games and got to pick the minds of the writers and re-creators of a once great tabletop RPG: Thunderscape: World of Aden.

Before I delve into the men behind this intriguing game, left me first state that I have never played a tabletop RPG. I went into this interview knowing little to nothing about this kind of gaming, but I came away knowing much more. I viewed the progress of the long finished Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1860935013/thunderscape-the-world-of-aden) and beheld all of the amazing unlockables that were available as different stretch goals.  Most of these unlocked classes and options meant nothing to me at the time, but I soon came to understand them better.

The most current map of Aden Cartographer: Paul Meador

Upon meeting with the Kyoudai Games team, I could tell that they were passionate about their dream. I learned that they played the game of their creation every weekend with the members that were local and they had advanced plans of continents and classes on a bulletin board. There was nothing that these men had not planned out.

As for what genre this game is, Rich had the answer for us, “It’s a blend of Steampunk and Fantasy… the original genre was purely fantasy and it died pretty quickly. EWith the rise in Steampunk styles, this game has risen to the occasion as well. “We liked the hints of Mecha-Magic, EMatthew stated, “…as a catalyst to improve the technology. EJust this concept alone has already made the game much more adaptable, in my eyes. There are so many more classes that can be added with the elements of Steam Punk and Fantasy.

As I mentioned previously, these men, for the most part, are not professional RPG gamer creators.  “We’re a really diverse group, Esaid Ryan Carmen, one of the game’s core team members, “from school teachers to engineers… EThere are two professional writers in the crew that have worked in the RPG industry before: Shawn Carmen and Rich Wulf, whom have worked diligently on setting up the history and mechanics behind the game. But as for the rest of the group: Ryan Carmen, Matthew Schenck, Rob Dake, and Butch Carmen, they are just ‘regular joes Ethat fell in love with a game.  “We’ve created an LLC…, as you can see, this is not a passing fad. Estates Butch.

Starting in the early 2000s, Kyoudai Games was already pursuing the IP for this property. “We started playing around the early 1990s and began talks as early as 2000 for purchasing the IP, ERyan shared. For over a decade, the group was in talks for obtaining the IP, or Intellectual Property, for the original RPG Thunderscape. This IP included the original game, two PC games, and 3 novels. With the purchase of the Thunderscape name, all of the IP is now in their possession. The RPG is being completely revamped, while the PC games will be re-released on Good Old Games (www.GoG.com).

The cover of the original PC game (1995)

While talking to this group, I learned a lot of history about the RPG industry. This merely goes to show that these guys really know their stuff. From the origins to the game Pathfinder to the throes of Dungeons and Dragons, this group truly knows the business. I learned that the history and mechanics of Thunderscape: World of Aden meshes extremely well with the world of Pathfinder and the classes and mechanics can even be used interchangeably. “We had to introduce entirely new rules in some areas… we’ve made it work. It would have been much more work: how does combat work? How does character creation work? Pathfinder more of less takes care of for us. … We’ve really not had to take anything away… Even someone that is not playing in the Thunderscape setting can take our rules and classes. It’s very modular. ERich informed me.  The sheer adaptability of the game is astounding.

Since we are on the subject of adaptability, I would like to praise Kyoudai Games for giving the fans and backers from Kickstarter the ability to help form the game. According to Rich: “We kept adding more classes and options as stretch goals… If someone commented on a class that we should have, we gave it thought. That’s how the SteamWrights came about. EThese guys truly want the input from their fans and will put it in the game if it fits. Does Halo generally do something like that? I think not! Speaking of the Kickstarter for Thunderscape, I am more than happy to state that the game made far more than the goal was originally slated for, which made stretch goals for several new classes and even two new continents for the game.

With the technological advances in the world, video games that are MMO (mass multiplayer online) are the top of the food chain right now. I would never have thought that a tabletop game could compete with video games; however, I was wrong. There is now an application, funded by kickstarter, that can actually connect you with other people wanting to play Thunderscape, or any other RPG for that matter. “In fact, we play every weekend. EMatt informed me, “we have meetings and play in person and over Skype. EIt is great to see that tabletops have branched out from small close knit groups to multi-country affairs.

I could go into the game itself, but I cannot explain it nearly as well as the website does! Be sure to visit: http://kyoudai-games.com/aden/ to check out all of the different classes, rules, and continents. In addition, you can be kept abreast of the news by ‘liking Ethe Thunderscape Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Thunderscape.

After this interview, I left wanting to give this game a shot. If you’re into tabletop games or want to give Thunderscape a shot, please make sure to pre-order the book on the website or drop by their booth at Gen Con this weekend in Indianapolis, Indiana! If you happen to go to this convention, please drop by and tell them that 2 Shots of Geek sent you!  For more details about this gaming convention: http://www.gencon.com/

As things come along with the game, I will be keeping you updated. They do plan to do another Kickstarter in the future, so keep an eye out!

Concept Sketches of one of the classes featured in Thunderscape – The Golemoid Warrior class (Art by Dan Moenster)

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