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Tabletop RPG Into the Mother Lands is crowdfunding stories about “a brighter, blacker future”

Home is where the dice roll.

Image credit: Tanya DePass/Kickstarter

Upcoming tabletop RPG Into the Mother Lands officially launched its Kickstarter campaign in an effort to crowdfund a sourcebook for its original setting designed by a team of Black and POC creators and geared towards empowering unabashedly Black stories.

Mansa Munsa, an African king who ruled a millennium in the past, sent explorers into the expanse of space in search of a new world. Instead, that expedition stumbled through some kind of anomaly and landed on what they would eventually christen Musalia - an already inhabited planet these castaways adopted out of necessity but eventually learned to call home.

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Players will create characters in Musalia’s present day, where humans have established a vibrant society alongside several other peoples, including the sagacious and history-minded Hyeanole, the synthetic Mansegene and at least two symbiotic human offshoots who have better learned to adapt and grow alongside Musalia’s indigenous flora and fauna. The balance of honouring one's past while maintaining peace with planetary neighbors looks to be one of the title's core themes.

Creative Director Tanya DePass - creator of not-for-profit foundation I Need Diverse Games - first debuted Into the Mother Lands on Twitch as a campaign-long actual play series that included several other streamers and artists in the party. That initial version was built around the Cortex Prime roleplay system, notable for its dice-ranked skill system and emphasis on player character interaction and which will power the upcoming Dragon Prince RPG Tales of Xadia. The series has entered its second season and can be watched on Twitch where new episodes livestream every Wednesday.

The Kickstarter FAQ says that Into The Mother Lands’ design team is currently shopping for a system to support the official sourcebook but has not yet reached a decision. “Multiple publishers have contacted us, and we are also considering creating our own unique rule set as well,” it reads. “Ultimately we will do what will let us create the best possible game experience for you and your table!”

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Alongside DePass is lead director B. Dave Walters, a comics writer who has a history of leading livestreamed RPGs in several systems. The team also includes indie game designer Gabe Hicks, artist Vanessa B and Sharang Biswas, a designer and artist who previously worked on both Jiangshi: Blood on the Banquet Hall and Rowan, Rook and Deckard’s Spire RPG.

Into the Mother Lands’ Kickstarter chiefly benefits the production of a core sourcebook that will provide players everything they need to begin exploring the team’s science fiction worlds. Digital and physical editions of the book are available for $25 (£18) and $50 (£35), respectively.

Backers will gain access to a digital quickstart guide, with atlases and themed dice sets available at higher tiers. Writing and design is reportedly ongoing, and shipment of the complete sourcebook is expected to begin in August 2022.

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