Coyote & Crow the Role Playing Game

Created by Coyote & Crow RPG

A science fiction and fantasy tabletop RPG set in a near-future where the Americas were never colonized, created by a team of Natives.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Update #13
7 months ago – Sun, Jul 04, 2021 at 02:17:26 AM

We’re marching ever forward, folks. Let’s jump right into all of the news.

First, based on the overwhelmingly supportive comments from our last update, we’re taking our foot off of the gas a bit and adjusting our timelines. While we still technically might get physical books to people by December, that’s looking less likely every day. Our biggest slow down at this point is art. Currently, we have about two thirds of our art either complete or in progress and about one third to go. We’ve currently got art from 18 different artists and likely at least three more coming on board. If you’re an experienced artist, and you’d like to contribute, it’s not too late if you can work on a clock. See our job listing for more ( https://coyoteandcrow.net/2021/05/09/coyote-crow-creative-opportunities/)

Our writing is about 96% done and we’ll hopefully be wrapping the last of it in the next week or so. Our editor has already started tuning up our finished chapters. Play testing is under way and we’re going to be working on final tweaks in the development process over the next month.

We also have a special treat for you. While this isn’t 100% locked in yet, this should give you a really clear sample of how our layouts are going to look. And oh my, do I love them. I hope you do as well.

Sample Layout

These pages come from the chapter, “Waya’s Lesson”, which is a short story at the start of the book that helps sets the tone for the game and is a soft introduction to this really big world.

All in all, everything we need for the PDF and physical book are not that far off of our original timeline. However, assuming we wrap everything and have files ready for the printer by September, we’re still looking at least 13 weeks for the printing process, plus shipping time to our warehouse. Then, allowing for time for backers to get their individual books shipped out, we’re looking at the end of the year already. This puts us in a situation where what will likely happen will be a late 2021 delivery for digital rewards, early 2022 (January or February) for the physical book and a month or two after that for a retail release of the game.

The mobile app development and website are coming along and we’re going to be able to release those alongside all of our digital rewards, as planned, in November.

We have some pre-news to share. This information is subject to change and isn’t official yet, but I want to keep everyone as up to date as I can.

  • We’re currently working on TWO tabletop games that are set in the Coyote & Crow universe. I’ll have more to say about those as they become more “official”.
  • We have an opportunity for an Ojibwe game designer. This would be a co-design role for a tabletop game that C&C LLC would publish but is NOT set in the Coyote & Crow universe. Please see this post for more: https://coyoteandcrow.net/2021/05/09/coyote-crow-creative-opportunities/
  • We’re developing our next Kickstarter for Coyote & Crow which will have a TON of cool stuff to add to your Coyote & Crow TTRPG experience.
  • We’re also taking applications for a Native writer with publishing experience to write a novel set in the world of Coyote & Crow. For more, go here: https://coyoteandcrow.net/2021/05/09/coyote-crow-creative-opportunities/

So, that’s where everything is at as far as production and timelines.

Now, let’s talk about the game! In this update, I’d like to transition from Paths, which we discussed last time, over to Abilities. Abilities in Coyote & Crow are the true leap from science fiction to fantasy for your characters, allowing them to do things that normal human beings can’t do. All humans who undergo the Adahnehdi choose a Path, but only 20% of people gain an Ability. In the case of Player Characters, all of them fall into that 20% and get an Ability. But that means that one in five people walking down the street has an Ability as well.

These Abilities can be very potent, but none of them are so powerful, rare, or encompassing that they turn the person who possesses them into a god or a superhero. And as utilitarian and cool as they can be, they can also be sources of social concern and societal friction.

Abilities are tied to Stats. Each Stat has three related Abilities. There are nine Stats, so in the core book there are 27 Abilities. The ones listed in this core book are only the most common ones found in Cahokia. There are plenty of other Abilities that will be discussed in future. Every Player Character gets one Ability to start and can gain further Abilities as part of Character progression. Players can choose from any of the Abilities that are tied to the Stat related to their Path. So for example, if you’ve chosen the Path of the Snake, which is tied to Spirit and Endurance. The Player can choose any of the Abilities that are tied to Spirit and Endurance.

Abilities have costs to activate as well, so that that can’t be used endlessly.  Additionally, some take a full action, while others take a secondary action to use, leaving the Character free to do something else.  Some require a Dice Check, others are simply on or off. Almost all Abilities though have some sort of cost paid by either Mind or Soul, which are limited point pools that have other uses as well. Spending these to activate your Abilities means that your Character needs to be smart about when they use them or they may end up exhausted at an inopportune time!

So what are some examples of these Abilities? I’m so glad you asked. Each Ability ties thematically and mechanically into the Stat it is connected to. There is also a mix of defensive, offensive and utilitarian flavored Abilities.

Eagle’s Insight, linked to Intelligence, allows players to substitute their Intelligence for any other Stat during a Skill check. It displays itself as a sudden and sharp intuitive understanding of a situation, allowing the Character to adapt quickly. During Encounters, Characters can use this Ability to suss out the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of foes.

Chameleon’s Shine allows Characters to become semi-invisible to natural eye sight, only able to be seen by others in their peripheral vision or with technological assists. This is an example of a power that costs a point of Soul to activate and an additional one every hour the Character keeps it active.

Ancestor’s Storm gives the Ability for a Character to give points of Mind and Soul to their allies during an Encounter at a lesser cost to themselves. The Character trills, shouts, chants, sings, or prays, empowering their friends, lifting their spirits and renewing their focus.

These are just shortened descriptions to give you a little bit of flavor and feel. Again, there are 27 of these Abilities in the core book and they cover a wide range of effects and concepts.

To recap a bit, this means that you pick your Archetype, which is more of a general job or role description than a ‘character class’, a Path, which determines your Stat bonus and animal connection, and your Abilities, based on your Path which give you a superhuman power. These all give you a decent idea (along with Skills) of what your Character can do. But it doesn’t really tell you who they are, which I think is far more important.

In our next update, I’m going to discuss Gifts and Burdens, which is one of my favorite aspects of Characters in Coyote & Crow and is a big part of crafting out who your character is and what drives them.

And I’ll leave you with a great piece of art from Kameron White!

Art from Kameron White

Update #12
8 months ago – Wed, Jun 02, 2021 at 02:30:32 AM

Things are moving at a break neck pace, folks. There’s so much happening that it’s hard for me to summarize it all while also conveying how cool and exciting each of these things is. So, I’m splitting this update into two parts. We’ll talk about the where we’re at with production of everything related to the Kickstarter as well as other news. Then we’ll jump in to more game development discussion.

But first! A quick note! We’ve locked down current orders. Don’t worry, you can still pre-order or make late pledges through BackerKit and we haven’t locked down addresses yet. We’ll do that much later. So if you’re moving or not sure yet where you need your personal book shipped to, you have plenty of time. Also, please fill out your surveys if you haven’t yet. There are still around 1500 of you out there. Don’t make me wag my finger.

The good news on the Kickstarter is that most aspects are running on time or ahead of schedule. There’s one wrinkle in there that I’ll get to a minute, but for the most part, I’ve got nothing but good news.

  • We currently have eight Native writers and a copy editor working hard on finalizing the written copy.
  • We’ve got more than two dozen play testers digging into the mechanics and game play
  • We’ve brought on a layout designer to start assembling the pages of the book and they’ve hit the ground running
  • We currently have ten artists working on pieces for the game (eight of them Native)
  • We’ve signed on with an app developer to create our mobile app (which includes the dice app) and they are going to be including some fantastic touches that we hadn’t originally planned on
  • Our web designer and conlanger are deep into the work for our online name generator, language wiki and game forums
  • We’ve just signed with a fantastic publisher who will be doing our first localized version of Coyote & Crow outside of North America in a foreign language.

We’re also working on some...stuff. I can’t be too specific yet as deals are not in place. But here’s what I can say:

  • We’re in talks with an established board game designer about pairing with a Native game designer who wants to break into the industry and the two of them designing a Coyote & Crow tabletop board/card game together.
  • We’re working out the elements for our next Kickstarter. Including signing on an artist that I’ve wanted to work with for awhile now.
  • ...and other really cool stuff that is going to have to stay in the shadows for now.

Speaking of shadows, let’s talk about the one dark spot amongst all of this light. I’ve spoken about this in previous posts going back more than two years and the issue is rearing its head again. While it hasn’t broken our timeline, it’s a looming threat. That issue is getting all of the art assets we need in time to hit our production deadlines.

If this is all more detail than you need, feel free to skip down a few paragraphs after the image, where I’ll get to more fun stuff. But in the interest of overall transparency, I’d like to fill you all in on this process.

Any book with a lot of art – comics, rpgs, etc – often has its schedule dictated by the artists involved. Each artist has their own pace and process. Some of them have backed up schedules. Others have day jobs. This situation is magnified in Coyote & Crow because unlike some other games, we’re trying to work with as many Native artists as we can. Many of these who are amateur have day jobs or other responsibilities. The ones who are professional often have long leads.  Compounding things even further is the fact that our budget changed radically last month.

So when the Kickstarter launched and we were looking at a tiny amount of art with a fraction of our current budget, December seemed pretty reasonable. You’d think with more money, there would be fewer issues. And trust me when I say I have an inbox FULL of artists from all over the world looking to work on Coyote & Crow. But there’s the rub. I don’t want artists from all over the world. I want Native artists. And I want good art. And I want it fast. And sometimes we don’t get everything we want. It's like that classic pyramid. You've got fast, cheap, and quality. You can only pick two.

Which brings us to now. Realistically, we don’t have much longer to get the art we need to finish the book if we still want to get you the physical books by December. And I really want that to happen. I’m pulling out all the stops to get it done, but I want you all to be prepared that we may not hit our original deadline. And look, I get it. How many Kickstarters actually hit their planned date? Most of them, awesome as they may be, hit snags. Especially in our current global environment where shipping, freight, and logistics are absolutely all in chaos right now. There’s probably a good chunk of our supporters who wouldn’t be shocked if this took two years to get to you.

But it’s important to me to convey to you that while we still aren’t going to sacrifice quality, we’re doing our damnedest to get it to you on time as well. I believe we’ve settled on a new lead illustrator who is going to pick up the bulk of the work between now and when we go to print. I’m excited about having them on board and hopefully I’ll be able to tease some of his work soon.

Lastly, I want to mention the roles we’re still hiring for. First, as I just mentioned, artists, especially Native artists are welcome to apply. If you think your art style is a fit for a science fantasy RPG, please do contact us, following the instructions in the link below. At this point, any artists we bring on will be for future Stories, expansions or materials beyond the core book.

We’re also hiring for a community leader. More than just monitoring forums, this role is about making how-to videos, leading streaming game plays, being a know-it-all on the rules and generally being the face of the Coyote & Crow RPG. We strongly prefer a Native candidate, but if none steps forward, well then, we’ll consider our options. Again, please refer to the link below for details.

Creative Opportunities with Coyote & Crow: https://coyoteandcrow.net/2021/05/09/coyote-crow-creative-opportunities/

And with that, just for fun, here’s an art tease for you of a Character using the Art Skill to create a mask. This is just a slice of the full piece. Art by Charles Utting.

Creating a mask with the Art Skill.

Let’s talk about the game now! Last time I discussed the six Archetypes. This time around we’re going to talk about Paths. Paths are really exciting to me and one of my favorite parts of both the in-world game play as well as character creation. They’re somewhat like the traditional concept of clans, given a fantasy spin and turned up to eleven.

From both a Player perspective (while you’re creating your character) and from the character perspective (as they’re transitioning into adulthood), Paths are something that are chosen. There are many, many Paths in Coyote & Crow. They’re a social construct combined with a specific biochemical product introduced to the character at a key moment in their adolescence in a ceremony. The biochemical product is produced from the cells of the Adahnehdi taken from various animals. We’ll get more into what the Adahnehdi is and the details of this ceremony and its cultural relevance in later updates.

For now though, what you need to know is that when the time is right, people in this world choose a path based on an animal. It’s a permanent, one time choice. In the core book, we focus on the city of Cahokia. In that region there are fifteen common Paths that people regularly choose from and that your character will have access to. Each Path has two effects. The first is a bonus to two specified Stats. For example, the Path of the Stag gives a character a +1 to Wisdom and Charisma during Character creation.

The second effect is the granting of an Ability, which we’ll also talk about in detail in a further update. While only 20% of people who go through the Adahnehdi gain an Ability, all Player Characters do. Abilities can be thought of as mild version of a super power. They don’t allow anyone to be god-like or flying around with a cape, but they do let your character do things that a normal human couldn’t.

These Stat bonuses and Abilities are often tied thematically to the animal named in the character's chosen Path. When combined with Archetype, you can start to get a very rough sketch of what your character can do, but it can also give you some insight into who they are, which is far more important.

Paths aren’t just mechanical. Yes, they dictate a couple of Stat bonuses and an Ability. But they also say something about who your character is in the world, how they view themselves and how others see them.

As a social construct and a choice made going into adulthood, many people proudly display tattoos, jewelry or other adornments that announce their Path. Some families strongly pressure their children to go down one Path or another, either the same as them or intentionally deviating from them. Some Paths are looked upon more favorably or more suspiciously, depending on the kinds of Abilities that are commonly associated with those Paths. Some people want to socialize with others of their Path, even more so than members of their family or tribe. Others want nothing to do with other members of their own Path. Some cults, clubs and militant organizations require their members to be from specific Paths. While Archetypes are out-of-game mechanical labels to help build your character, Paths have in-game social significance and are often an important part of a person’s identity.

Currently, here are the Paths offered in the core book:

  • Path of the Eagle
  • Path of the Bison
  • Path of the Beaver
  • Path of the Coyote
  • Path of the Fox
  • Path of the Owl
  • Path of the Stag
  • Path of the Spider
  • Path of the Falcon
  • Path of the Snake
  • Path of the Crow
  • Path of the Salmon
  • Path of the Bear
  • Path of the Raccoon

In expansions, we’ll offer new Paths and Abilities based on geographical regions and cultures. There are also icons associated with the Paths that are also commonly seen around Cahokia in jewelry, tattoos, clothing, and on some business signs. However there’s no such thing as an ‘official’ in-world symbol of a Path and lots of folks don’t display their Path at all or find their own unique ways of conveying it.

A few Path icons

That's all for now. I hope you're having a lovely Memorial Day if that's something you celebrate. 

All my best,

Connor Alexander

(this post will also appear on our website as a development blog post)

Update #11 - Surveys!
9 months ago – Mon, May 03, 2021 at 09:51:19 PM

Folks, they are here!

A few of you may have already received them and for the rest of you, they'll be sent out in waves over the next few days. If you're new to Kickstarter, you'll be receiving an email from BackerKit, the pledge manager we're working with.  Here's what's in it and what you need to know.

  • If you pledged extra money over an amount for a pledge for an extra book, it should show as a credit in BackerKit. You'll be able to specify where you want that extra spent.
  • We'll be asking you a few questions, including: What products would you like to see from Coyote & Crow next, details on where you'd like donated copies sent to, questions about your retail stores, etc. Questions should only be relevant to your pledge.
  • We'll also confirm your shipping address, but don't worry, you'll have plenty of time to change this later as we'll look confirm and lock that information down shortly before shipping.
  • If you have issues or concerns, please email us CoyoteAndCrowRPG@gmail.com (and considering how many backers we have, please be patient, thank you!)

That's it!

We're also going to have our next development blog up on our website, hopefully this weekend. So if you haven't signed up for our newsletter yet, now is a great time. Head over to our website: www.coyoteandcrow.net

Have a great weekend folks!

Connor

Update #10!
9 months ago – Tue, Apr 20, 2021 at 10:34:29 PM

Greetings!

With the campaign officially wrapped and the dust settling, we're finally in a position where we can give you all some news. Happy to report that it's all good stuff!

First, I want to thank all 16,269 of you that backed Coyote & Crow. It was more than just a vote of confidence in our game, it was a clear mandate for us to move forward with taking our RPG and launching a full fledged publishing operation.

Your enthusiasm and support has helped ensure that we're going to be able to not only put out fantastic accessories and expansion products for Coyote & Crow, but that there's a demand for other games and media set in the world of Coyote & Crow.

For now though, let's jump back to the product you backed. Currently, we're still holding to our estimated timeline.

  • We should have surveys out to you within the week.
  • For those of you who donated books, there will be a question in the survey about your preferences. Please provide as much information as possible as we want to do our best to honor your requests. At the same time, if you don't have information or preferences, we'll be making sure every donated copy finds a good home.
  • Late pledges will remain open for as long as we can keep them open.
  • We're already hard at work on some of the stretch goals, like the Kag Chahi Wiki and Character Name Generator. We'll release those as soon as they're ready and it makes sense.
  • We'll be working on organizing community support tools (website forums, Discord, Facebook Group, etc.)
  • We'll also be hiring some new folks, including play testers now that we're re-working our budget. We'll have a blog post about that on our site soon.
  • We're going to be doing Development Blog posts over the coming weeks and months covering various thematic and mechanical aspects of the game. So, if you haven't yet, sign up for our newsletter here: https://coyoteandcrow.net/newsletter/ 
  • Our plan is still to release all digital rewards by November and get physical rewards to you by December. We'll update that timeline as we know more. Obviously our timelines can be affected by development as well as shipping and Covid concerns but we're doing our best to account for those issues.
  • We won't be doing any media (interviews, streamed play throughs, cons, etc)for awhile as we want to stay focused on development. As we get closer to a retail release, we'll begin to schedule those again.

Until then, take care, be safe.

Stiyu,

Connor Alexander

The Finish Line
10 months ago – Sat, Apr 03, 2021 at 04:41:44 AM

We did it folks. In just 30 days we:

  • Smashed through our 18k original goal in just 45 minutes
  • Hit all of our original stretch goals in less than a week
  • Made waves across gaming media
  • Hit the $1 million+ mark, putting us in the top 6 RPG books of all time
  • earmarked 5000 books for donations to reservation and tribal libraries, schools and community centers (more on that below)

Those are just a few of the highlights. We here on the C&C team are all so appreciative and grateful for the incredible show of support and enthusiasm from Natives and gamers (and Native gamers!) alike. Now that the Kickstarter is done, we'll continue to be as transparent about our process as possible. Please bear with us as we're having to jump through a number of hoops to scale up our project from what we assumed would be 300-500 backers, to more than 16,000 folks jumping on board. But as we start the next leg of our journey, I wanted to share with all of you our goals and mission, both for this Kickstarter project and for Coyote & Crow going forward.

  • We want to deliver you an amazing core book, full of incredible content, smart game play, inspiring art, and Native imagination. We want to deliver it to you as quickly as we can but never by sacrificing the quality of the book.
  • We want to produce additional digital content that is accessible, exciting, and supportive of the core book. This includes all of our stretch goals and a number of other initiatives we're working on. Our digital tools should help make your game play easier and more immersive.
  • We want to reach beyond traditional RPG circles and bring new folks to the hobby, especially Natives. This means fostering organized play and bringing the game beyond the walls of hobby stores and out into the broader community. The donated books are wonderful but we also need to make sure they're played and that the people that want to play have access to all the tools and toys that we can make available.
  • We want to use your support and generosity to put more Native creatives in the spotlight. We'll do that by continuing to hire Natives for future C&C projects, but we want to do more than just that. We want this seedling to help foster a garden. Over the coming months, we'll hopefully have more news on exactly how that will happen.
  • We want all of our products to have a minimal environmental impact and to push our industry to do better when it comes to sustainable production practices.
  • We want to make sure that there's always a sense of giving in what we're doing. For me personally, that means helping ensure that I'm doing my part to preserve Native languages. Part of our website will be dedicated to a crowd sourced effort to translate Coyote & Crow into Native languages and to make those translated versions (in PDF or POD), free to educators.

I also wanted to take this opportunity to revisit what our plans are for all of the donated copies. When we created the pledge we were hoping for maybe one or two hundred copies and if it came down to it and we couldn't find a better way, I could handle delivering each of those books, one at a time, to the appropriate libraries. But with 5000 books, that's a little more than is practical to do that way.

We're currently working on partnering with a number of organizations, including the American Indian Library Association and the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries & Museums, and likely others. But more than that, with so many copies we're able to move beyond just libraries. We can now start getting the books into appropriate schools, community centers and more. Our goal is still the same, to get the game into the hands of Natives who might not otherwise have access to it. To build community through aspirational game play and story telling. To let Natives know that they have a valued space and voice in the gaming world.

When it comes time for the survey, we'll ask you all the usual questions, but we'll also be asking you if you have a preference for where you'd like your donated copy to go to and if you want it donated in someone's name. Once the books are out, we'll list their locations on our website along with any contributor names that you've offered.

Thank you all so much for not just proving me right but for doing so with a deafening roar. When I started this project more than two years ago, I was convinced that this world wasn't just interesting or fresh or unusual, it was something that was deeply needed. A million dollars in 30 days sends a powerful message to the world. If I have my way, this is just the start for Coyote & Crow and I'm so happy that you're all in on the ground floor with me.

Over the coming months, I'm sure we're going to have plenty more great news to share. 


Thanks/Wado,

Connor Alexander