A downloadable game

Buy Now$35.00 USD or more

The Reviews

"Aether is everything you want from a full-priced fantasy RPG...It's meaty, but also streamlined; innovative without being too complicated. Aether can definitely stand with it's head held high among other setting-agnostic fantasy RPGs."
"A beautiful system, lovingly crafted by Crow...In an industry dominated by dice, a system that uses a deck of playing cards is a nice, refreshing change. I would recommend this system to anybody who wants to tell heroic stories about characters who are flawed."
"Some of the best moments of Final Fantasy Tactics distilled in an RPG... The card based mechanics are elegant and well suited to switch seamlessly between RP and Combat."

A lone swordsman stands to duel a tyrant, silhouetted on a hill at sunset. A heavily armored woman holds a door against a tide of undead, defending the innocents behind her. With their last arrow, an archer shoots a devastating dragon out of the sky. Crackling with power, a mage discovers a spell to create rain during a drought; emanating warmth, a holy leader lays the spirits of the dead to rest. 

Acts of heroism come in all shapes and sizes. Play your cards right, and you too can become a hero.

Heroic Fantasy Done Better

Aether is a card based Fantasy TTRPG focused on giving you a cinematic, character-centric story structure and helps you choose how much depth your character's abilities have and how they interact with the world around them.

You choose everything from your character's fate, to what they value most, to what they try to hide, and then your play group will collaboratively build a setting with as much or as little detail as you want to help the Narrator (GM) give all of you a place to start. The game is built to make your character choices matter, as each Goal your character has, each Value they stick to and each Omen that impacts the game becomes your way to earn Experience to grow stronger, or earn Limit Breaks to succeed in dire moments. 

The game also includes a full suite of tools to guide new Narrators (Game Runners) get used to the flow of gameplay, planning encounters and building their own monsters to use (complete with random generators).

Aether Game Features

  • One PDF for all the core rules. 
  • Playable with a standard 52 card deck.
  • Full colour, print-friendly and dark-mode versions of the core rules.
  • Fully integrated Safety Tools.
  • Classless character creation.
  • Character creation generates parts of the story through Omens (future events for the player characters to experience in-game), Bonds and Values (the things player characters care about).
  • Skills based core resolution featuring 52 different skills and 80 different player Abilities to choose from.
  • Straightforward math that derives everything (range, damage, effect duration) from a player's Skill Level.
  • The ability to randomly generate monsters for encounters, and each creature statblock has built-in turn cycles for their abilities.
  • Grid based or theater of the mind combat.
  • Combat, dungeon crawls, chase scenes, travel encounters and more can all be run with the same encounter framework, making them easy to learn and run for game runners.

Included Files

  • Fully bookmarked PDF with a linked table of contents for easy navigation
  • Print Friendly, Dark Mode and Full Colour versions of the core rules. 
  • Portrait and Landscape versions of the core rules available.
  • Form-Fillable Character Sheet
  • Form-Fillable NPC statblocks
  • Form-Fillable Party and Campaign Planning sheets. 
  • A How to Convert from D&D5e package
  • My eternal gratitude.... seriously.

What You'll Need

A deck of 52 playing cards, the files, and a way to keep notes. 


Crowdfunding 

September 2022

So why crowdfund? Well for two years Aether has been a one person project, and I (Eldritch Crow) have taken it as far as I can on my own. So, the crowdfunding campaign is to raise the funds for me to hire a team of sensitivity readers, an editor, a layout artist and an illustrator to take Aether to the next level, as well as to fund a physical print run of the game. You'll find a rough breakdown of the budget below for the sake of transparency and so that you know where the money is going before the campaign even begins. Check back here for devlogs with regards to the platform that Aether will be crowdfunding through!

Budget Breakdown

Note that this is all subject to change once I decide on an alternate platform to Kickstarter. With their stance on NFTs and worrying exploration of the technology behind it, I simply don't trust their platform to fund Aether ethically. Likely alternatives include Gamefound and Itchfunding through this page, though some research needs to be done for etiher. The goal at current is $31 000 CAD for the initial funding goal. Note that the budget breakdown below doesn't exactly add up, and that's because I'll be paying the team in USD so I am increasing and rounding up heavily for the exchange rate, fees and taxes etc. This goal might rise before the campaign begins.

The Budget

  • Writing $3200
  • Line Editing $3200 (10c/word)
  • Sensitivity Reading $3300 (2 readers at $12 per page)
  • Layout and Graphic Design $1500
  • Illustrations $2000
  • Incidentals $1000
  • Minimum 100 copy print run $3000

And then increase the above total by 30% roughly to account for fees and conversion.

The Team

The team I have lined up includes a group of fantastic creators and friends: 

Stretch Goals

There are only two stretch goals. At $33 000, Dee has agreed to design an entirely web-based version of the core rules to be viewable in browsers etc. This will make the core rules more accessible for screen readers and give you another avenue to access them. 

Any money made past the first stretch goal is to be divided evenly among the team as bonuses. This includes any money left over after the project is completed, as my personal goal is to pay the team more money without adding additional work or stress.

What You're Paying For

As a backer, you're paying to get Aether fully illustrated and laid out professionally. You're helping level the game up and (hopefully) create a print version of the game. David Joyce is currently on deck to be the illustrator for the game, and he has done a wonderful sample piece to give you an idea of the monochromatic colour scheme we want to go with, giving the game an almost Final Fantasy concept art vibe as you can see below:


I'm so excited for you all to get to see Aether with a full team behind it. Keep an eye on this page for more information as time goes by!

Purchase

Buy Now$35.00 USD or more

In order to download this game you must purchase it at or above the minimum price of $35 USD. You will get access to the following files:

Aether Core Rules Dark Mode.zip 153 MB
Aether Core Rules Full Colour.zip 18 MB
Aether Core Rules Print Friendly.zip 11 MB
Aether 1.5 Sheets and Play Materials.zip 1 MB
Campaign Starter: Beyond the Lamplight- Pages.pdf 24 MB
if you pay $40 USD or more
Campaign Starter: Beyond the Lamplight- Spreads.pdf 40 MB
if you pay $40 USD or more
Expansion: Aetherpedia Vol 1- Desktop Full Color.pdf 39 MB
if you pay $40 USD or more
Expansion: Aetherpedia Vol 1- Pages Full Color.pdf 21 MB
if you pay $40 USD or more

Community Copies

Support this game at or above a special price point to receive something exclusive.

Community Copies

Every purchase of Aether goes towards giving anyone who wants to play the game but maybe can't afford it the chance to try it out. Community copies are free, and each purchase adds 1 to the pool so it's like you're buying a copy for a friend! 

I also have a Ko-Fi goal set: every $100 that's donated will add 5 copies to the pool, so if you take a copy and feel inclined to give back, but the price is a bit high, you can still contribute and keep things going. If you want to donate you can do so here: https://ko-fi.com/eldritchcrow. If you really want to play the game and there are no community copies available, DM me on Twitter or email me at eldritchcrowgaming@gmail.com and I'll get you one.

Development log

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Comments

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(+1)

One of the most innovative game systems I've read. Easy to learn, very flexible and fun. The card system adds a layer of resource management and luck mitigation I love. Rolling dices? As Tokyo N@va RPG says "professionals don't trust in luck". LUMEN+card system it's a winner combination for me. 

That card system gets me intrigued. Seems adds a layer of resource management to the game that my tabletop eurogame soul could love. Also seems the game could be very soloable. Purchasing the game in itch.io will provide access to the final version of the game? Or have to wait to september crowfunding to get the full version?

You get the full version of the game if you buy it here! And once the crowdfunding is complete the files here will be updated so you'll have access to the crowdfunded version.

Also Aetherpedia Volume 1 has additional solo play rules for the game if that's what you're interested in!!

Nice. Also... Can we get an sneak peek of how magic system/spells work? For me it's the most important part of a fantasy rpg. 

There are no spells, instead since it's all skills based, you have Magic Skills as a category to choose from during character creation and when you level up (things like pyromancy, blood magic, shadow magic etc). So those skills work just like any other skill check in the system; you decide what skill you're using and how you're using it, then make a check for degree of success. 

There are also player Abilities that function as basically shortcuts that don't require skill checks, and you get to make your own for your character. So if you want to create shortcut spells that just work, you can do that in exchange for spending a resource. I made the magic system and abilities specifically around the idea of "i have a category of magic i can use, but I decide how I use it," so if you want flexibility in your decisions, you'll enjoy the magic system.