The English version of Kalymba RPG is about to fail its Kickstarter campaign. If you can still support it, please do!! A short description follows below.
What do you guys think about bringing to English other International games? The biggest Brazilian RPG is Tormenta.
In early 2000's, they converted it to d20, and it was a massive Brazilian hit. It was originally launched inside a monthly TTRPG zine called Dragão Brasil for multiple systems, than for their own system that cost less than USD 5.
In the late 2000's, when Pathfinder was booming and still had not been translated to Portuguese, they decided to create their own version of d20 (more inspired by SW Saga than PF). A decision I personally hated - the lack of compatibility with Pathfinder made it lost most of its potential to connect with other PF contents. The book became bloated with rules that English speakers would not use; if instead they had used that effort to translate the PF's SRD, at least it could have sparked other projects, and helped players that didn't speak English to connect with GMs that did. The game could be reviewed and spread more easily to d20 enthusiasts, maybe attracting people interested in licensing it. The chances of making success for being published in English would be much bigger, because PF had a massive fan base back then. It was such a loss of opportunity: I already had the setting in the older book, and other settings to use with PF rules - although I must translate myself pieces of content about the setting to my non-English speaker players (BTW, sorry about MY bad English...).
Worse, they did it again. Tormenta was the biggest Brazilian crowdfunding overall, not just games, when it was launched (it is still on the top tier list of most successful projects). It is one of the most played games on Roll20. But they, once again, decided to invest in their (now weirder) d20 version, instead of, once again, translate an SRD D&D 5th edition before the original was published in Portuguese. Same loss of potential to connect it to the rest of the world. If they launched a campaign to publish it in English, why would people waste their money in a d20 inspired game? Compare it to projects like Italian Bracalonia or French Fateforge. Such a waste...
Anyway, Kalymba, is a non-d20 like Portuguese RPG which was successful in the Brazilian crowdfunding, but it seems to be a failure on its International version. I personally believe this is in part because of its lack of compatibility with 5th edition, OSR, Apocalypse, Fate, or any widespread open license systems.
It isn't a case against alternative systems. It is a case of how to connect regional success TTRPG to other audiences. I believe that, when you do this, you amplify your potential audience. Open licensed systems have this advantage: there are people interested in investing in new ideas to play, but don't want to engage in new systems they don't know, specially systems that is too hard to see English reviews or discussions about it.
Cubicle 7 made something amazing with the One Ring: published a 5th edition conversion (now in Free League hands). I am sure this brought the attention of more players that, after seeing the quality of their content, could eventually be interested in knowing the One Ring's native system afterwards.
So, I would like to open this to debate:
(1) If Kalymba or any other setting had been published in an open system (not necessarily 5th edition), would you make a pledge?
(2) Should regional or indie publisher do this conversion at all? I do not believe that changing systems ruin the theme of a game, but I know most people do.
(3) Are there cases of success that brake my argument apart?
You know, even being able to read the opinion of people from other countries is an evidence for me of how powerful it is to publish content in English: this post on Portuguese forums would have a limited amount of opinions.
On the other side, one thing I believe is that content published in Portuguese is of an immense value. I am an upper middle-class Brazilian, living in rich places with players that received good education, and I still have lots of problems with players that can’t read English. Imagine poorer and less educated gamers - our social inequality is absurd, so I know our group condition is way better than most.
Kalymba: The Roleplaying Game from Craftando Games
- END DATE: Thu, November 18 2021 11:00 PM EST.
- SYSTEM(S): An original system
- PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebooks
- MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $50 + S/H for the PDF and print of the core book plus PDFs of the other books and more
- WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This campaign will translate the Brazilian RPG, Kalymba, into English. Inspired by the cultures and mythologies of Africa, this game offers a fantasy world of sword and soul. Coming out as multiple books, you’ll get everything you need from rules to setting to adventures and inspiration for this campaign. This Kickstarter offers Kalymba’s core book, which is over 330 pages of rules, Cursed Tales is an 180-page sourcebook designed for players that want to participate in villainous campaigns, and, in addition, there are adventures and short stories to flesh out the setting. If you’re looking for an original African inspired fantasy world and system, check this one out.