Swordsfall isn't just a story, it's a world. It's a dive into pre-colonial Africa for all the rich lore you've never heard of. It's an exploration into a world where the majority of the faces are dark, yet isn't constrained to one corner. It's a world where women hold power equal to men and the merit of ones soul is what propels them through life. It's a world where spirits aren't to be feared, they are to be embraced. In a time where we know that representation matters, this project is an effort to add to that spirit in the way I know best. Narrative fiction in the nerdiest of flavors.
Swordsfall is made up of three key parts; World Anvil, Tabletop RPG and Stories/Novels. Each of them telling a different part in the lore that is the world of Tikor. This Setting and Artbook is part of that synergy and the first step toward realizing the Tabletop RPG.
For the Full Plan - Check out the Swordsfall Patreon
Read our Feature in Kotaku!
The Story So Far...
In the beginning... Tikor is a world where deities and spirits are as real as the nature that surrounds them. Since the earliest writings of mankind, the gods have been there with them. They are a vital part of the makeup of human societies across the globe. This is in a way to be expected. Humans were in fact, created by the gods. Various great deities created cultures of their design and ethos. As time marched forward, these various cultures and groups co-existed. Sometimes contentiously, sometimes harmoniously, but always striving to co-exist. Concept Art for the Dihoma - Artwork by Tumo Mere
History, however, would change over the course of a tragic day and its horrific night. Mime, the Garuda deity of Wisdom, is assassinated at the hands of an alleged Vinyatian assassin. Mortal hands had never slain a deity. As tensions between the rival nations of Garuda and Vinyata soared under a long Tikor night, a bloody battle erupted between the two sides. A truce was called once the truth was revealed, but not before irreversible damage to both sides was done.
Despite the armistice between bitter enemies, the wounds of that day will forever linger. The world heaves as the one constant, the gods themselves, waver and a new struggle begins.
THE YEAR 10 A.R
As the world still recovers, ten years after the bloody events that ended the Era, its fallout begins to appear. Rumors begin to give rise around the world of the arrival of a new kind of weapon. Instruments capable of killing gods, Grim Arms. Could this be related to the unsolved assassination of Mime?
In Garuda, a power struggle is in full effect as the current ruler of The Divine Order of the Phoenix, Amma Zencora, vies to hold onto his ill-gotten throne. How far will the ruler go to defend the throne he so desperately wants to hold on to?
Vinyata is adjusting to a world with one less major city and cultural hub. The Eastern Nodehaving been destroyed during the bloody war at the End of the Era. An unpleasant surprise emerges as they rebuild and a rash of malevolent spirits now roam the region. The souls of those lost 10 years still attached to the mortal plane, hungry for vengeance and retribution.
Hawklore's neutrality during The Longest Night has finally paid dividends. Literally. The God King, Hawken, basks in the increasing wealth of his nation. On the outside, it seems like a rich paradise where any want can be attained. Yet below, in the dingy streets of the capital city, High Perch, dissension stirs.
Rumors abound that the desolate stretch of land known as the Ebon Cascade has stirred with a new form of horror. Something cunning. And it's uniting the monstrous beings that call it home. Whispers say a Raksha is on Tikor, hiding away, building an army. None want to believe the horrifying rumor, yet none dare to confirm it either.
In the boundless waters of The Grand Divide, new forces stir as the largest pirate fleet of them all, Heaven's Fall, begins to marshal. With the cold genius of Nubia leading them, her power has begun to make those on land to take notice. The law of the sea changes as rumors of an alliance between her and the tech genius, Ken Musa begin to stir.
In all corners of the world, events are in motion.
Visit the website - Official Swordsfall Website
Welcome to Tikor will be an 8.5" x 11" hardcover book, printed on premium color for the richest and vivid colors. With this being an artbook, the quality and feel of the book is important.
*Update* Due to the overwhelming support of our backers, we hit the goal for OFFSET PRINTING! The book will be printed by PrintNinja, with the solid binding and paper quality you wanted!
The main point of this Kickstarter is to raise money for the art. Being able to see the dynamic characters and unique setting with your own eyes is something that can't be replaced. The goal represents the minimum needed to make that happen.
As for the book, the length will be around 150 pages, though it could be longer depending on the amount of money raised. The max page count will be around 200 pages no matter what.
The Setting and Art Book will be a combination of T'umo's art, and Brandon's lore. Each piece of detailed full-color art will be accompanied by information about the person, place or thing it depicts For those only interested in the art, this lore will help bring the art to life and give it meaning. The kind of book you can sit down and just read.
However, for those interested in the setting for their own games of the future Swordsfall RPG, then this serves as your window to the Afropunk setting. Throughout the pages, you will find a living world that easily makes the backdrop the right Tabletop System. However, this Setting and Artbook contains NO RULES. Just pure, sweet narrative world-building and fantastic art.
Swordsfall itself has its own custom system that is deep into development. Much of the art from the artbook will be used in the Corebook itself. Supporting this Kickstarter makes the Corebook's development even faster.The Wallpapers
As a bonus to our backers all of T'umo's gorgeous work will be turned into amazing high-quality Wallpapers for your PC and phone. While the art will be used in both the Art Book and Corebook, I also want to share it with you the fans. And nothing is better than a gorgeous wallpaper on your home screen.
Almost every piece of art that is generated through this Kickstarter will be turned into a vivid piece of wallpaper. As well, there will be multiple resolutions available so you can always have the right size for your screen. We'll be conducting a poll after the Kickstarter to find out what the most used resolutions are. (I doubt we'll be able to do 15 resolutions for all the art)
That means you're not just getting the World Map as a wallpaper, but a ton of different ones with different art on it. Do you have a favorite profession? Or a favorite city in Swordsfall? Well, I'm sure there will be a wallpaper with it on it. We plan to have over 50 wallpapers in the bundle.
A big ol fat zip of Wallpaper goodness.
For the Kickstarter there will be a Limited Edition run of a full-color Poster of the final book cover. The final art cover hasn't been finalized yet, but watch for updates on Kickstarter or the Swordsfall Patreon to see what the final image is. As well, a digital version will be included with all Kickstarter PDF's as part of the Digital Stretch Goals!
If you like the art, like the poster, then check out our shop! We already have shirts, stickers, and more already available. Buying Swordsfall swag also supports the artists! All our artists receive royalties on shirts their art is featured on.
Check out our Official Merchandise: The Swordsfall Shop
So, what exactly is the world within the pages of this book? Well, Tikor is a world divided, both in idea and land. Yet, hope remains as the two halves are only divided, not separated. The Northern Hemisphere of Tikor sports much more moderate temperatures and expansive grasslands in the center. The tip of the northern region is snow-capped, with the furthest tips permanently covered in ice.
The Southern Hemisphere of Tikor, on the other hand, is essentially a desert wasteland. Or at least that's what some will say. Despite the harsh conditions and cunning predators, various cultures have made a home among the barren sand and oppressive heat. With dunes that sing hypnotic lullabies, mammoth beasts and a second sun that relentlessly bakes the land, the southern half is worlds different from the North.
- Garuda - The largest nation in the Northwestern Hemisphere of Tikor. A land of green and grasslands, it's headed by the Order of the Divine Phoenix. The organization itself was created by the deities of the land, The Divinity.
- Vinyata - The eternal rival to Garuda and the largest nation in the Southern Hemisphere of Tikor. The desert land is home to the Dracon, a culture descended from the only heroic dragon in history, Ryuu-jin. Despite the unforgiving landscape, the people of the desert have found solace underneath enormous domed cities.
- Hawklore - On the eastern edge of the Northern half of Tikor, lies a nation sitting singular. The country is embroiled in no battles, sieges or upsets to the throne. Instead, it's been lead by one single man, a god in fact. Hawken. And within his cool and steady grip, the nation has remained at the forefront of Azurean mining and economics.
- Grimnest -The living mountain, Enkai, separates Garuda from the western portion of the Northern Hemisphere. The wrathful deity hasn't allowed a single person to cross his crags in a millennia. It's in this isolation that the rule less land of Grimnest sits. With no official government or ruler, its a land truly free. And also home to pirates, raiders and the spirit powered bounty hunters to reign them in.
- Ramnos - Nestled in the southernmost part of the Southern Hemisphere, this reclusive nation avoids attention at almost all cost. For them, being forgotten is the best thing they could do. Trade in and out of their nation is limited, and trust is a temporary arrangement in Ramnos. And with it being located between the horrors that wait in Ebon Cascade and the Outskirts of Vinyata on the other side, most who are born there stay there.
- Independent Freeland of Teslan - A small island located off of Grimnest. Tucked away in the turbulent ocean, Crystal Priest train to control their gift, all while studying the secrets to Hekan itself. The school for these Azurean molders, Druse Academy, rarely allows visitors into its halls. And the ring of Sentrylocks guarding the island makes it a place people only come to by invitation.
- The Grand Divide -The vast ocean that almost splits the land in two has its own personality. Its sparkling blue and green seas can turn harsh at any given moment. With hellish winds and torrential rain coming on seemingly at its whim. And if the weather doesn't get you, the pirates may. Yet millions flock to the sea everywhere. In search of glory, freedom, and prizes on its sea.
- Ebon Cascade - This perilous zone has swallowed up a chunk of the western part of the Southern Hemisphere. The air near the plagued lands seem to make every pore cry out, threatening to vomit. The waters run yellow with poison and the air feels stiff with suffering. Yet throughout the harshness, humans continue to visit the lands. Pushing their luck, and eventually their lives.
- The Canopy - Located on the very western quarter of the Northern Hemisphere, this mountain region is unlike anything on Tikor. The peaks of the half a dozen mountains can't be seen from the ground level. Even if you could see them, these majestic peaks are not safe for visiting or habitation. Tales float around about mysterious creatures that whisk away anyone that dares venture into these lands.
For More Lore: The Swordsfall World Anvil
Moar art from T'umo Mere
At this Pledge level we'll be able to add more fantastic artwork to the Welcome to Tikor. Drawn by Swordsfall team member, T'umo Mere. We'll be adding in more characters to help further illustrate Tikor's diversity with more their detailed illustrations.
Landscapes and Cities from Sabina Lewis
A world simply isn't complete without vivid scenery to immerse yourself in. To accomplish that, we've enlisted the help of a master in landscape design. The amazing Sabina Lewis!She's agreed to be a guest member on the Swordsfall to help bring the luscious world to life. When we hit this pledge level she'll be able to bring Tikor's incredible world to life.
Second PDF "Tikor: The Professionals"
With your continued support we will be able to release a SECOND PDF as part of the Kickstarter. In the future this will be sold separately, but this and any other unlocked PDF's will be included as part of your Kickstarter!
Tikor: The Professionals will detail the 34 unique professions used in the Swordsfall Corebook. However, they are not classes, they truly are Professions. They are a symbol of not what someone is, but truly what they accomplish in life. The Professionals will talk about these professions in detail including history, location and important figures within each. Each Profession will be accompanied with full page art from T'umo Mere.
Chibi Profession Art and Pins
Swordsfall team member Taylor Ruddle has long had a love for Chibi art, even studying in Japan to hone his art. He's bring those skills to Tikor by designing Chibi versions of all 34 of Swordsfall's Professions.
Then we're going to take those adorable creations and craft quality pins from them. They're cute, and fiercely adorable.
10 page Comic "The Rise of Nubia" Prologue
The story of Tikor's most famous and powerful pirate is one that needs more than just words. To describe the true depth of the character, only a comic can suffice. And so if we hit this goal Brandon and T'umo will credit a comic of Nubia, leader of Heaven's Fall.
Nubia has become a fan favorite among those who have read the Swordsfall World Anvil. Her strong spirit and fire has made her a often talked about character. The story of her rise may be known by some already, but it's never been shown in this kind of detail or color.
Third PDF - "Pantheons of Tikor"
The world of Tikor would not be where it is without the help of its divine beings. Almost the entire world is covered in various spirits and deities. Some influencing the people, and some hindering them.
If we reach this goal another PDF will be produced. This one all about the Pantheons that exist on Tikor. From the The Divinity in Garuda to the Orisha in the Outskirts of Vinyata, each pantheon will be detailed. Each pantheon will have gorgeous art alongside of it to show you the lives the divine live.
Top Notch Editing and Formatting
At this point with now three books in the lineup, we've more than maxed our ability to edit in house or within our circles. It's official become time to bring in the experts.
If we hit this tier we'll be able to commission the help of a number of freelance editors to help make the books truly shine. And most importantly, be effortlessly readable (because sometimes English is hard).
Dragons and Creatures from Jonah Lobe
A true legendary figure has joined the Swordsfall team for a limited engagement. His creatures are ones you've certainly seen before. Jonah was the genius behind many of the Tamriel's most famous creatures such as the Dragons, Giants, and Draugr. He was also the whiz behind the grotesque Deathclaw and freakish Super Mutants from Fallout 4.
If we reach $35,000 the master Jonah himself will apply his dragon scales to the Afropunk style of The Wretched Ones. Swordsfall's own winged horrors. As well, he'll also draw other varied creatures from Tikor's wildlife.
Character Design From Venus Bambisa
The look and feel of characters is important to Swordsfall, we want to create truly something unique. To help make the Tikor as rich as possible, we're bringing one of South Africa's most talented Character Concept artist, Venus Bambisa.
Her design's are just jaw dropping in the way they same to flow an anime style with black faces. Her Artstation has character designs of all sorts, each of them elegant, sleek and badass. I especially love how she shows a characters increase in power. Who doesn't love transforming heroes?
Fourth PDF - "The Animalists' Guide to Creatures" - Art by Jonah Lobe and T'umo Mere
The final and ultimate goal. A FOURTH book through this kickstarter, and the most expensive. That's because this book will be the most art heavy of them all, featuring art from both Jonah Lobe and T'umo Mere.
At this final amount we'll craft a trip through the wildlife across Tikor. From the monstrous Nandi Bear to the adorable and house trained Aardwolf. Each animal will be drawn by one of these dynamic pair. This is not a Monster Manual however, this, like the other books, will be narrative journey through the world. Instead focusing on the the animals and how they fit into the world. Their tales and even their bestial gods.
The Azurean Finish
When we hit the $100,000 goal, I can do what people have wanted for over a week, ALL of the books printed. However, I'm going to do one better and not just print all four books, but print them in stupid high quality. And put in a few little extras. Lets see what your getting!
- All four books printed
- Two Variant covers for the Setting and Artbook
- Embossed covers on all books
- Silk Ribbon bookmark on all books
- All tucked in a Custom Slipcase with special art
Unleash the Beast
When we hit $130,000 the Formation of Swordsfall Studios will begin! This will allow the core team to work full-time on future projects! Brandon and T'umo will be able to devote their full time and energy to the world!
That means more content, the RPG sooner and more! We have so much stuff planned, short run comics, adventures and even modules. All together with a part-time editor, we can bring the project to the NEXT LEVEL!
Want to change your order to include more extra items? No worries, you can increase your pledge reward to include them! You can even add multiple of the same item, including the book.
- Welcome to Tikor | A Swordsfall Setting and Art Book PDF - $30
- Welcome to Tikor | A Swordsfall Setting and Art Book Hardcover- $50
- Limited Edition "Welcome to Tikor" Poster - $5
- Chibi Pin - $5
How Add-On's Work - First off, you have to currently pledging to a reward level. Once you've done that, add on however much money the addon's you want cost. That's it. Just add on the extra cost of the Add-ons onto of your level when you pledge.
We are now doing our Printing through PrintNinja! It'll be Offset printing and all sorts of extra goodies are going to be in it. Thanks to our backers we were able to bump up the quality!
For this Kickstarter we will not be paying for your shipping. However, since we are going through Magpie Games, the shipping cost are fairly standard. Shipping will be taken separately through Backerkit.
The average price for someone in the US is $6 for shipping.
The Swordsfall Team
Brandon Dixon - Creator and Author of Swordsfall. He's a longtime omni-nerd who grew up during the golden days of Toonami, Spawn comic books and G4. (yeaaa remember that?) However, as a black man in the hobby, he found himself longing for more stories that told the adventures of people that looked like him. Creating Swordsfall has not only been an effort to be the change he wanted to see, but also as his own personal journey.
While this is his first major property, Brandon has moonlighted in designing before. Having built a number of smaller, unreleased tabletop games, freelanced in the gaming industry and built his own small convention - its easy to see that creating things is what he loves the most.
T'umo Mere - Lead Artist. T'umo is the lead artist on Swordsfall and an exceptional illustrator. Hailing from Botswana, |||| Hailing from Botswana, T'umo uses their knowledge of Africa's intricate art and culture to bring a local's modernized ideas to Swordsfall. ||||| they bring their local knowledge of Africa to Swordsfall. T'umo incorporates a modern African style through their intricate art and cultural knowledge. They consider themselves an aspiring concept artist and illustrator specializing in video games and comics.
Taylor Ruddle - Graphic Designer. Taylor is the lead Graphic Designer for Swordsfall and sultan of making things gorgeous. He currently resides in New Zealand, where he knocks them dead with his stand up comedy whenever he's not designing logos and other art. Taylor designed the newest Swordsfall logo, Chibis, icons and more.
Sabina Lewis - She's an enthusiastic artist who loves creating art with a cinematic mood and storytelling. She builds her worlds and images with creativity, aesthetic and knowledge to create designs that effectively communicate visual intentions to the viewer.
She has over six years experience as a designer and artist, working the games, corporate, and fashion industries, working on a wide variety of projects. She's always looking for new opportunities to take up in film, games, and illustration!
Jonah Lobe - He's an artist, game developer, educator and author who specializes in concept art, digital painting and 3D art for games. He previously worked as a Character Artist at Bethesda Softworks, where he was responsible for many of the monsters, characters, and weaponry that populate titles like Fallout 3, Fallout 4, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and Oblivion: The Shivering Isles.
After seven fantastic years with Bethesda, Jonah left to pursue his dream of writing a fantasy series code-named “The Alvani.” The first book - currently represented by Gabrielle Piraino at DeFiore & Co - is currently being shopped around to publishers.
Jonah lives with his wife Julia in Brooklyn. He is immensely grateful to have found a way to translate his affinity for daydreaming and monster-making into a career.
Find him on:
- Twitter - @jonahlobe
- Instagram - @iamjonahlobe
- Artstation - jonahlobe
- Facebook: @jonahjonahlobe
- DeviantArt - ConejoBlanco
Risks and challenges
While there is always risks when it comes to a project, this one has almost no risks.
The setting and lore for Swordsfall was one of the first things created. The World Anvil currently has over 125k words on it. That lore is not only what the art is based on, but it will be what's in the book itself. All that's needed is to tailor the information to the books art based layout.
The project is being printed and fulfilled by Drivethru RPG to reduce any risk exposure to printing and shipping costs.
The only challenge will be your patience as I await for the art to be finished.