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Project Black Flag Update: Sticking To Our Principles

Project Black Flag Update: Sticking To Our Principles

An iron clad warrior shouts in fury on a battle field raising the black flag.
Special thanks to William O’Brien for the Project Black Flag inspired art. (Man of War, William O’Brien)

We want to start by saying thank you for all the outpouring of love and support this last week. Project Black Flag is sailing new waters toward its next destination, and we aim to continue to update you weekly.

Special thanks to William O’Brien for staying up all night listening to Manowar and painting our feelings into this beautiful piece of art. William painted the image shown here out of passion for Project Black Flag and what it stands for in our community.

We know you’ve got questions, and we’ve got some answers!

What exactly is Project Black Flag?

Project Black Flag is the code name for an upcoming Kobold Press new core fantasy RPG system, available to any publisher or creator who accepts the terms of the soon-to-be-released Open RPG Creative License (ORC). This new open, perpetual, and irrevocable Open RPG Creative License (ORC) was announced on January 12, 2023, and will be shared with the community soon.

Kobold Press expects to support both print and digital formats for Project Black Flag’s final release, and Deep Magic (both volumes) will be forward-compatible with the Project Black Flag rule system.

What about the Open part?

Project Black Flag will support Open RPG Content under the Open RPG Creative License, usable by anyone. Open Content will be released after playtests conclude.

When are the playtests coming?

We aim to release the first phase of the Black Flag Playtest Pack in February 2023. To receive information on the playtest process, please fill out the form here.

More phases of Project Black Flag playtesting will roll out over the next few months as we build to a Kickstarter. Your review and comments will help shape the game’s final form.

How do I playtest in person?

Gen Con 2023 is right around the corner, and we need volunteer GMs to help us with our first convention playtests of Project Black Flag. To volunteer for GMing and even earn convention badges or accommodations for Gen Con 2023, sign up today

Who is working on it?

Celeste Conowitch, our Senior Game Designer, is the lead on game design for this new fantasy RPG. She has been working on Project Black Flag behind the scenes since the summer of 2022. Additional designers and developers are currently engaged with the project, as well as several partners from the community. We will have more announcements on the creative team and project partners soon.

How can I support Project Black Flag now?

We know you are excited to raise the Black Flag and support open gaming! Though Project Black Flag is in the early stages, you can support our ongoing efforts for an open Core Fantasy RPG system and the ORC today. 

As of today, the Project Black Flag logo is available on various merchandise at our Tee Public store!

In addition, over at the Kobold Press store, every purchase of a printed product will include a free Project Black Flag sticker while supplies last.

As with any new system, there will be a lot of playtesting, and we need your help! Sign up to playtest the new Project Black Flag once it’s available!

77 thoughts on “Project Black Flag Update: Sticking To Our Principles”

    1. You know that the cover from Molly Hatchet – The Warriors of Southern Rock also looks like it. I am partial to Molly Hatchet.

    2. Frank A. Overton

      Dear sirs, madame, and otherwise;

      If it would please you, kindly do include a open license to an “ORCcompatible” logo, if the one on the t-shirt is not CC, GNU, open, free as in both speech and beer, etc? If would pleaseyou to respond such, if it is intended for such, if it wouldn’t be too troublesome, please give an explanation of that in the license or your next post?

      Graciously yours,

    3. My go-to for inspiration there is Sons of Odin and Hand of Doom. Together, they get me in the mood for antagonists serving the god of war in my homebrew setting… who is simply called “Kreig”.

      1. Scrivener of Doom

        For me, metric doesn’t work with fantasy. If you want that primitive, backwards feel of pseudo-medieval times, imperial measurements are the way to go.

        I would love to see real English spelling used, however. :)

        1. As a compromise between modern metric and historical imperial I propose historical German measures, specifically for lengths:
          Punkt (point) = 1/72th Zoll
          Linie (line) = 1/12th Zoll
          Finger = 1/24th Elle
          Zoll (inch) = 1/10th Fuß
          Fuß (foot) = 1/2 Elle
          Elle = 50-85cm
          Lachter = 6 Fuß + 8 Zoll
          Etmal = Distance a ship sails during 1 day

          And for numbers:
          Paar (2)
          Wurf (5)
          Dutzend (12)
          Großes Dutzend (13)
          Hocke (15 Große Dutzend)

          If you combine the two, I‘m sure sufficient historical atmosphere will develop ;-).

  1. Looking forward to a new open standard TTRPG that’s easily convertible from use with 5E content. That keeps everyone’s previous investments in 3rd party 5E content still usable. I also hope it has optional rules that allow it to be played in the popular OSR style format. One game system that unites both houses by being flexible enough to do both gaming styles and has huge 3rd party support by being an open gaming standard. I wish you guys all the best and I will see you at GenCon this year!

    1. If we are posting a wish list, I would like to get all of my content into one location (easily and without selling a kidney or my soul to a perpetual subscription demon). I would like to see all the spells, feats, abilities and so on in one early searchable volume. So you have you player’s guide, and then introduce the wizard supplement “Zarinda’s 101 Ways to make a Dead Ranger.” There is quickly some way to add these PDF pages to my Player’s Guide book (and replace a couple) so everything is easy to find. The same would apply to errata.

      Easy licensing system to add to your favorite VTT. If I own “101 ways to make a Dead Ranger,” it should be easy to, for a reasonable fee, get that into my VTT, even if I supported my local brick and mortar establishment by purchasing there.

      I want an option that makes subtle magic work without leaving spell casters feeling underpowered. Instead of first level mages flinging firebolts every 6 seconds, have an option where they are still powerful, but it isn’t as flashy and obvious: Hastes, Slows, Charms, Buffs, Debuffs, and so on. Again, I don’t want to make mages underpowered, but I would like a world where powerful magic isn’t glaringly obvious. Combat would need to support hastes and slows effectively (extra/fewer actions granted on your turn?). This isn’t low magic. Its just not a traveling band of murder hobos who can double as a fireworks stand.

      I could go on, but I would be halfway to writing a rulebook myself.

      1. I agree with most of this… It would be nice to have some type of pre-defined community shared conversion tool or chart or something. We can do the work just we need to know the metrics used to establish your numbers!

        Now for wish list stuff, I too would love to be able to import my already purchased products into the popular VTT’s who have signed onto this movement. If were addressing the issues at hand here we need to stop the flagrant double dipping that has been happening from all parties. I own no less than 3 copies of almost every single book I have in physical, PDF, and VTT. This is absurd. *And where applicable I purchase the pocket editions because why wouldnt I want a smaller version… I know Im a monster.

        1- If I buy the Physical I should get both PDF and VTT included. Its a higher price (VTT and Physical items) because of costs but the PDF is free money here you use that to print the physical copy in most cases. VTT is a hard cost due to coding after the fact.
        2- If I buy the Digital version only I should get both PDF and VTT. So i can read this on my favourite throne to prep or grasp the adventure for digital spelunking. (As with above VTT is the only real cost here)

    2. 100% this. I have a massive library of 5e materials, most of which have a Kobold on them, in addition to having a ton of Kobold Press materials on Shard Tabletop VTT. I really do not want to lose the use of all of these materials. Thanks!

      1. Yesss, my monster books, I want to keep them for this new RPG too, I’m excited to see what comed from this project!!

  2. Manowar! Yes! Perfect inspiration music there.

    Super excited for Project Black Flag. Can’t wait for the playtest materials to roll out.