An upcoming RPG headed to Kickstarter later this year sees players racing - and rolling - against a real-life clock to save the world from oblivion.
Arc is the latest RPG from designer Bianca Canoza, and is notable for its use of a timer to count down the game world’s inevitable apocalypse. Depending on whether players aim to play the game over several sessions or in a single sitting, a ‘doomsday clock’ gradually fills in segments every half-hour, hour or session, with the world destroyed when all segments are filled.
It’s up to the players to stave off destruction by completing omens - for instance, by dealing with a malicious cult or defeating a powerful villain - buying them more time before confronting the main cause of the doom and (potentially) saving the world. Should the world be destroyed, the rules allow players to rewind time for another stab at victory or start a new story in the ruins of the former world.
Arc’s gameplay is powered by light roleplaying rules, with players rolling a single six-sided die against the combination of their character’s skill and approach scores, which determine how they perform a specific action - for example, a careful physical skill such as remaining calm or creative practical skill such as inventing. If the player rolls under the target number - adjusted for additional difficulty or advantages - they succeed, while matching the target number leads to complicating consequences. Canoza described Arc as being suitable for first-time GMs due to its easy-to-grasp system.
Characters can also cast spells and form bonds with their party members, gaining bonuses to certain actions or spending their blood and guts to modify rolls at the cost of exertion. Spells require various rituals - with one of the more surreal requirements being to literally eat a door. Combat is similarly simplified and fast, resolved using straightforward skill checks and an initiative order determined by the action each character is performing.
Arc will be released by Exalted Funeral in 2021 following a Kickstarter campaign later this year. The game will be available in both a physical hardback book and a digital version, with the PDF release expected in the first half of next year. A preview of the upcoming RPG is currently available to download from Canoza’s Itch.io page.
Edit: This article previously stated that Exalted Funeral is the publisher of RPGs Mothership and Troika. Exalted Funeral is the US distributor for Troika and a retailer of Mothership. The text has been updated to reflect this.