Wednesday, 22 December 2021

[NEWS] Helvéczia – Spanish Edition Crowdfunding Campaign, and Further Plans

Helvéczia: the Spanish edition

Some half a year after the publication of the Helvéczia RPG, it is time to announce some big news on the horizon – and to take stock of where the game is, and in which direction it is going. So far, 275 of the 500 copies have found a new home, which is quite nice for something a bit off the beaten path! Moreover, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive; and particularly so from people who have sat down and actually played the thing. Historical (okay, pseudo-historical games) games are a minority interest, making them a hard sell, so to learn that those who have tried it have liked it, and are running adventures or planning campaigns, is the best kind of news.

Which brings me to the big announcement: Helvéczia has been translated into the Spanish, and an initial print run is now up for a crowdfunding campaign. Outremer Ediciones is a new publisher (although one run by experienced gamers who have previously worked with other imprints), and their interests lie in “translating unusual, curious or personal games into Spanish that have never been seen in our language”, as well as original Spanish small print projects. Other games, namely Lands of Legends, Thousand Suns, and Thud & Blunder are also scheduled for later release. This is a noble mission, and I am particularly honoured that Helvéczia has been the first game to be selected for release – especially since Spain is the birthplace and common setting of picaresque stories, including our ongoing Catalonia campaign.

The initial package is
currently being crowdfunded on Verkami, a Spanish crowdfunding platform. There is a nice print version for a princely €40, which includes the rulebook, the regional and adventure supplement (Ammertal and the Oberammsbund), nine maps, a calendar for strict time records, and a deck of Hungarian cards – free shipping within Spain. The digital collection of the same is €15, which may be the most affordable way to obtain the game in Latin-America. (The publishers have informed me that they will gladly ship to Latin-American countries, and you should feel free to contact them to figure out potential shipping costs – these may be steep, but they are steep everywhere these days.)

A number of stretch goals are also in play. These are for a number of extra adventures (on which more below), and the box at €8,500, which will then be added to the physical orders. These will be nice, sturdy boxes like the original, strong enough to withstand even the dreaded International Shipping (I have only received reports of three damaged boxes, not bad from a sample of 275). As for the adventures, they are written, playtested, and only need translation into the English, from whence Mr. José Carlos Domínguez Agüera of Outremer Ediciones (who, I might add, sounds like a Helvéczia player character by such an excellent name) shall adapt it to the Spanish. What to do with the English manuscripts afterwards? Well… that much ought to be obvious!

I am once again asking for your financial support...

Here is where you can come in if you have an interest in a Spanish edition.
So far, about half of the €5,500 target has been met on Verkami, with 32 days left of the 40-day campaign. This is, as they say, “slow but steady”, i.e. it is not on fire, but it has been adding money consistently, a few more backers every day. If the current pace keeps up, it will be funded, but with a niche game from a relatively obscure corner of the hobby, I would assume it needs a little more attention. So, if you are either interested in getting the game in Spanish, or know someone who would like this sort of thing, now is the time to spread the word! It may make for a good present for your friends, or if you think the idea is terrible and/or the author is a jerk, a good way to annoy your enemies. I assure you, they would absolutely detest receiving a copy of Helvéczia in either print or PDF, and they would especially resent getting the three-game pack for a mere €110.

As it stands, the Helvéczia rulebook and Ammertal have been translated in its entirety, so the game can be released with a relatively painless editing/production effort once it funds. A
free 40-page demo version (24 MB) has already been made available with example characters, and the Seven Knaves introductory adventure (a really short tutorial to teach the basic rules and introduce new players to the setting). This booklet is more than sufficient to try the game for yourself, and as I understand it, it has been demoed successfully at various virtual conventions and online games (the Bat Plague is a harsh master, even in Spain!). Of course, it also means you can read the summary and make an informed decision. Outremer Ediciones and Yours Truly would both be delighted.

My personal pledge is thus: if the game funds, even on the basic level, I will ensure that all backers shall receive the adventures in some form – in Spanish or English. This much I can promise.

Now, how do they say “Fight On!” in Spanish?

* * *

What does the current crowdfunding campaign portend for the English version? Nothing directly, but it gives me a good excuse to work on translating the game’s supplemental materials into the English (which would also be the basis of a subsequent Spanish translation). In its first edition, Helvéczia had already collected a number of published adventures, and since they have already been written and laid out, all that remains is translation (my idea would be for an A4-sized compilation, about the size of Ammertal). The following modules are planned – these are mostly the length of the scenarios in Ammertal.
  • Countess Apollonia’s Beauty Treatment of Countess Apollonia: Visit a small, prosperous spa town, where a group of aristocrats have discovered a novel method of restoring youth and physical beauty. Everything goes like the Brandenburg hop, but then the story takes an unexpected turn… Open-ended city adventure with scoundrels, degenerate nobles, and a race against time!
  • Ill-Gotten Merchandise: A wilderness adventure where the company is hired by a petty local noble to recapture the estate he had lost to his brother in an unfortunate card game. Things go wrong at the worst possible moment. Can the players save the day? Will they want to?
  • Gudmundshof: A letter of invitation leads to the nest of the venerable von Ammertal family, where the nobility of seven lands has gathered to make merry and discuss the affairs of the world. Some, however, have infiltrated the party for the sake of personal enrichment, or to play mischief on their generous hosts... Social intrigue / dungeon crawl module set in a castle of noble eccentrics.
  • The Cloister's Secret (by Krisztian G. Laszlo): "Foul weather, a chariot stuck in the mud, and then an unexpected refuge of a monastery with clean beds, company, and plentiful dinner: all is well if it ends well. But it doesn't. What started as the end of a bad day will continue as a most peculiar night!
  • The Serpent Girl (by David Barsony): “Here, we shall learn why Berma Grünwald and Philbert Ostbruch missed their wedding; who and why gets in the way of lovers, and what kind of trials a person who would unravel the whole tangled history has to endure.” Short but sweet.

Wilkommen in Zwillings!
These were all materials developed and published in 2014-2015. The second edition playtest has produced a new corpus of material, some in rough manuscript form, some as handwritten notes. These will make for a second regional supplement, along with the attendant adventures. These shall take the company to Zwillings canton, a backwards and lightly populated corner of Helvéczia, where only a single town and a handful of smaller villages stand surrounded by deep forests. Yet Zwillings is also haunted by a long history of heretics and fallen kingdoms, weird saints and disreputable cloisters. Zwillings was the focus of the second arc of our original campaign, but at that time, I was too burned out to publish the resulting materials. These will now be collected for the game’s new Hungarian edition (since Ammertal is already well known here). A second canton will also be included, but I haven’t yet decided which. It might be Castelmarte, an Italian-speaking conquest under the yoke of a Helvéczian vogt, or the picturesque and rich small towns around the Graubundsee and its seat, the dark city of Heiligengrau.

Until then, enjoy the game, keep those cards handy, and always give the Devil his due (whether it is gold or gunpowder)! Merry Christmas!


  1. No wonder you like my name. I took the Enchanting Name Feat, it Charms temporarily on a DC 17 Charisma Roll.

    1. I am honoured - welcome! And thanks for all your work on this. Really hope people will enjoy it for years to come.

  2. Thanks Gabor. The campaign is advancing slowly but steadily and the game is a blast. I've played it online with 4 different groups and a store from the other part of Spain made a demo (with the demo guide) and they were so fascinated with the game. The picaresque tone is very well liked here and I think the game will be very well received once the people know about it. I know that being our first 'big launch' there are a lot of people that don't really trust us (and I don't blame them, but I know that we are making the best version possible) but I think that in a couple of months the game will be very well recognized.

    And about the box, being that it seems very difficult, I've thought of another plan.

    So thanks for this chance and for being so aboard with the project!

    Javier, from Outremer Ediciones

    1. It will be interesting where Spanish gamers will take the game. Over here, picaresque novels need some explaining before people get the idea (there are of course examples you can point at, but there is often an initial phase of confusion). I get the idea the tradition is better, and more clearly known in what we may know as its original homeland! So let's find out!

  3. Melan, this is really cool news. Merry Christmas to you!

    A while back you mentioned one of the books that influenced Helveczia was Moorock's "War Hound and the World's Pain." Have you read the sequel, "The City in the Autumn Stars"? It follows one of Von Bek's descendants (a classic Moorcock maneuver) as he flees the French Revolution, goes on hot air balloon rides with a con artist and searches for the Grail again.

    1. Thank you indeed, and have a good one as well! (This is a bit belated, so I hope it still lasts.)

      I own City in the Autumn stars, but bounced off of it when I tried to read it. It may be worth another try, since it could be I was just not into it at the time. War Hound has intrigued me ever since I first read it in the 1990s, though. I rate it as one of Moorcock's best novels, which suffers from none of his characteristic sloppyness. I actually tried to run a proto-Helvéczia game with WFRP once, and set in the Mittelmarch, but at the time, I didn't really know what I was doing so the campaign went nowhere.

    2. I'd love to run a War Hound campaign but not sure how.

  4. No One Expects the Spanish Edition!

  5. I'm happy to say that shorty before Christmas, we've started playing Helvéczia in Brno, Czech Republic. So scratch that one. Even though I bought the boxed set, I'm just a player in this. One session in and my German tailor/wannabe opera singer/student, along with two other members of the group, has already signed a contract with the devil. Only the last remaining adventurer hasn't signed, and that's because she's a nun. After some deliberation, she decided to stay with us anyway to try and save our immortal souls.

    So I guess that's a good start? :)

    1. That sounds about right! :D The Polish Hussar in our freshly started campaign signed the writ on the first session - that was fast.

      I was really curious how people in nearby countries would react to this game, since while set in Switzerland (a fascinating place in its own right), it has a distinctly Central European approach.

  6. "Now, how do they say “Fight On!” in Spanish?"

    > "A seguir luchando!"

    1. Thank you! Something to remember!

    2. Check your e-mail Gabor. After 1 year and 8 months, Castle Xyntillian is in my hands! Planning to get a game running soon!

  7. Where do you buy the english version?

    1. Thanks for your interest! At my shop, available through the link in the upper right column. It is closed for the holidays (I am out of town visiting relatives), but it shall reopen early January.