Latest from the Creator
Pandion Games
15 days ago
That's a Wrap!
Fulfillment Update Great news, fulfillment for Substratum Protocol is effectively complete! If you have not received your shipment notification from Backerkit yet, please send ...
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Pandion Games
29 days ago
Books Have Arrived!
Great news, everyone! Substratum Protocol arrived just a mere hour ago and they look fantastic! The books were the last things we needed to arrive, so we now have everything t...
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Pandion Games
about 1 month ago
Substratum Printing Update and Charging Cards This Week
Hello backers! After some back-and-forth with our printers to fix some minor file issues for a successful print job earlier this month, the books are in production, and we have...
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Pandion Games
about 2 months ago
Substratum Protocol sent to the printers!
Hello everyone, We have some very exciting news today: Substratum Protocol is now in the hands of our printers! They are checking our files and generating another print proof f...
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Pandion Games
3 months ago
The Preorder Store is Open!
Hello everyone! The preorder store is online for anyone who missed the campaign! Since the campaign ended, we have been working on getting the Pledge Manager just right before...
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Pandion Games
3 months ago
Protocol Completed! What happens now?
Hello everyone! The campaign is complete and wow! We are so grateful for all the support. The team here is so excited to get Substratum Protocol into your hands and at your tab...
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I have received the shipment (thank you, it looks great,) but one of the add-ons was missing (Badger + Coyote) - Is this being shipped separately, or was there some mistake?

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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
15 days ago

Project Update: That's a Wrap!

Fulfillment Update

Great news, fulfillment for Substratum Protocol is effectively complete! If you have not received your shipment notification from Backerkit yet, please send us an email at [email protected], and we will see what is going on, and get you your tracking information.

However, there are still 25 backers who have not filled out their survey. If you think you're one of them, you can find your survey here.

General Availability Begins

Because fulfillment is complete, we have closed the preorder store on Backerkit. Substratum Protocol is now generally available via our store at pandiongames.com/substratum

The store page includes free print-friendly resources for your players, too!

Substratum Protocol is Going to GenCon '24!

Indie Press Revolution is taking Substratum Protocol to GenCon this year! If you're attending, make sure to stop by Booth 241 and say hello to the IPR team. They are carrying several of our other games at their booth, too.

What's Next for Substratum Protocol

Over the coming months, we plan to release free digital content expansions for Substratum Protocol including new sectors, events, and clues that you can add to your games. These free expansions will be available on our website and on itch.io when they're released. Make sure to sign up to our mailing list so you don't miss them!

Finally, we are looking at hosting a Game Jam to help you to create your own content for Substratum Protocol and share it with the community. More information about that soon.

We Want to Hear From You

We cannot wait for you to get your copies of Substratum Protocol! You can tag us on any posts you make ( @pandiongames ), as we love hearing about your game sessions and thoughts.

Thank you again for your amazing support and generosity, and good luck on all your expeditions to the center of the Earth!

-Andy Boyd
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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
29 days ago

Project Update: Books Have Arrived!

Great news, everyone!

Substratum Protocol arrived just a mere hour ago and they look fantastic! The books were the last things we needed to arrive, so we now have everything to start shipping Substratum Protocol.

I am so happy with the way these turned out, and it's all thanks to our amazing backers and your support. Thank you so much!

Addresses lock in 4 hours (at 7PM EST), at which point we can start fulfillment. If you need to change your address, try to do so before then. You can find your survey here.

As we fulfill orders, you will be emailed a shipping notification with tracking information.

Finally, we made a short first-look video of the game fresh out of the box for you:



Until Next Time,
-Andy Boyd
Pandion Games
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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
about 1 month ago

Project Update: Substratum Printing Update and Charging Cards This Week

Hello backers!

After some back-and-forth with our printers to fix some minor file issues for a successful print job earlier this month, the books are in production, and we have shipping dates for Substratum Protocol from the printers! In addition, we have actual delivery dates for the solo journals and folios.

As we get things ready on our side for fulfillment, we will be charging cards for shipping this week.

For those getting digital files, you should also be sent download instructions once your card is charged, so keep an eye out for those emails!

Preorders are still open for a while longer for anyone who has missed the campaign.

Finally, there are about 56 people who still need to fill out their survey. We can't send you your books if we don't have your shipping information! If you're not sure if you've filled it out, you can get your survey here.

Until next time!
-Andy Boyd
Pandion Games
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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
about 2 months ago

Project Update: Substratum Protocol sent to the printers!

Hello everyone,

We have some very exciting news today: Substratum Protocol is now in the hands of our printers! They are checking our files and generating another print proof for us to approve, and then it's off to the presses! We will update you with the expected delivery date of the books once we have it.

Since our last update:
  • Galen created 4 new pieces of artwork.
  • Eric completed two additional rounds of edits.
  • Elyssa reviewed the layout for a final check.
  • Andy updated the layout with the new art and implemented edits.

Digital Versions

We have the digital versions bundled up and ready to go! You will get an email to download your digital versions once we lock surveys and any final balances are paid. We appreciate your patience as we wrapped up the final changes to the books before getting the PDFs out.

Surveys

We will begin locking surveys today. If you have filled out your survey already, you'll have 48 hours to make any changes.

About 90 people still haven't filled out their survey. We need your address if you'd like to get your books!
You can check your survey and fill it out here.

Preorders

If you haven't picked up Substratum Protocol yet, the preorder store is still open and accepting orders! Preorders will remain open until fulfillment has finished, and Substratum Protocol becomes available via our main store.

Until Next Time,
-Andy Boyd
Pandion Games

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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
3 months ago

Project Update: The Preorder Store is Open!

Hello everyone!

The preorder store is online for anyone who missed the campaign!

Since the campaign ended, we have been working on getting the Pledge Manager just right before we send out surveys. I'm feeling pretty good about it at this point, and we'll get a final review from Backerkit before sending out survey's next week.

We're still targeting May 10th for having files ready for final review and submittal to our printers, and are on track to hit that! This week I'm implementing a final round of edits, and updating the layout for the final artwork.

Until next time!
-Andy Boyd
Pandion Games

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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
3 months ago

Project Update: Protocol Completed! What happens now?

Hello everyone!

The campaign is complete and wow! We are so grateful for all the support. The team here is so excited to get Substratum Protocol into your hands and at your tables!

What are you excited to discover or do while on the expedition? Let us know in the comments!

So What Happens Now?

First, we're going to take a breather over the weekend and let the last 30 days of adrenaline subside!

Over the next two weeks, Backerkit will collect pledges, give people time to update their information if there are errors, and sync everything over to the Pledge Manager. After that, we can start our next steps, such as sending out Backer Surveys and getting final counts for the book orders.

During that time, we will launch the preorder store, finish the layout work to add the artwork you unlocked, and add additional polish to the solo journal. The writing is done, so it's all about polish and editing now.

Once Backerkit is done with their steps, and we have final counts, we'll perform a big final review of the book's documents and PDFs before submitting them to the printers!

We will send you updates along the way, too. 

Thanks again, and if you have any questions or comments, please jump into the community tab or comment on this post.

-Andy Boyd
Pandion Games
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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
3 months ago

Project Update: The Final Stretch, Proof Copies, and More!

Hello!

The campaign is nearing its end, and there are less than 40 hours left to join over 590 scientists to delve the depths as part of the Substratum Expedition!

If you haven't yet, back Substratum Protocol before it's over!


Proof Copies Are In!

That's a good looking book!


We took delivery of the proof prints this evening and they look great! Printed on 80lb uncoated paper, I love how the colors turned out. And even better, there are no major layout issues that need to be corrected, such as margins or colors!

So what do we need to fix? 
  • A couple of handwritten text and images sit too close to the center of the book for my liking.
  • The spine art is too narrow and needs to be widened.
  • I've decided to upgrade the binding style to smyth sewn and add a bookmark ribbon. Both of which are necessary to give you a high-quality book that will hold up to use at the table!

Honestly, that's it. And it's all easily fixable. We'll comb through each page in the coming days to ensure we didn't miss anything else, too.

Dang, I love this map. Illustrated by Galen Pejeau.


A Core Update: The Portal becomes an Anomaly

Anomaly or Portal, we need BeepBoBop around to repair our exosuits! WIP Illustration by Galen Pejeau
 
During our interview with Rascal News, we realized we had made a fundamental mistake in writing the open-ended mystery: We said what was at the core of the planet: an interdimensional portal.

An interdimensional portal being at the center of the earth is now just one possibility. We spent last weekend updating all the writing to now be an anomaly. The otherworldly abilities you get from taking stress are now Anomaly Influences, rather than Portal Influences, for instance.

The Expedition can still decide it's a portal, but calling it an anomaly opens up a huge range of possibilities. What is the anomaly that's splitting the earth open?
 
  • Is it a massive cosmic egg hatching a world eater as part of a natural lifecycle? 
  • Did an advance interstellar ship accidentally exit hyperspace at the center of the planet due to a miscalculation, and its damaged engines are holding open a hyperspace bubble? 
  • Is there a cult of advanced species calling forth eldritch gods with a powerful ritual that consumes planets to power it?

Substratum Protocol is about letting the clues and your answers determine what is really happening, and we think this update opens the floodgates for it.

Join the expedition before it's too late!

Liquefying Crystals


It's time for another sector deep dive! Liquifying Crystal Caverns won the last poll, which, we think, is a pretty cool sector. Here is where scientists get a glimpse that it's not just rocks and dust deep below the surface. They are in for an exploration of many strange biomes.

This sector is full of hazards, with the unstable caverns causing gas filled crystals to explode, filling the area with corrosive poison and ejecting dangerous shards at the expedition members. However, this could also be a place where players discover submerged structures still in operation - what secrets do they hold if they can get to them safely? 

Flora and fauna are amazing bioluminescent creatures living around the plasma-like crystals that seem to shift and flow like non-Newtonian fluid. 

This close to the surface, we still lean more to the hard science fiction aspects of Substratum Protocol, imagining how this high-pressure sector could be filled with creatures who have evolved to use the mineral structures around them. One of my favorite events from this sector is the scientists stumbling upon sentient fauna that use the crystals to communicate.

The civilization ruins above may have been long abandoned and dead, the these caverns are full of life and signs of intelligent activity. What clues will the expedition discover about the anomaly here?

Until next time,
-Andy Boyd
Pandion Games
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Pandion Games
CREATOR
3 months ago
29 votes • Final results
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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
3 months ago

Project Update: New Art Sketches, Interviews, and Project Updates

Hello everyone!

Today we'd like to share some of the new artwork being made for Substratum Protocol hitting 20k! Galen sent over some initial sketches for several pieces he's working on, and they're fantastic.

Let us know what you think!

 
The radio room at Mission Control.


New Interviews Out

We were lucky enough to be invited to talk with the wonderful people at RPGs Uncovered and Sword and Key about the Substratum Protocol. We had a ton of fun diving into who we are, and all the interesting ways we think players will engage with the game. Make sure to check them out!

Progress Updates

Editing: We are excited to announce that we have received the final edits from our editor, Eric Lazure, and are working through the over two hundred items he discovered on the latest pass!

Artwork and Layout: All existing artwork is in place, and the newly commissioned art is progressing along nicely! We should have another update for artwork by the end of next week. Layout for the main book is on hold until we get the new artwork, so we are going to spend the next week focusing on the solo journal and folios to make sure they're 100% polished and ready to go.

Proof Prints: We have submitted print files to our printers last week, and those books are being printed and sent to us currently. These early copies will let us know if we have our colors, margin, bleed, and more set correctly for the bigger print run.

The Gravity Inversion Zone

That's not the locator beacon we started this journey with. Must be a suit malfunction

For our next deep dive, voters wanted to hear about the Gravity Inversion Zone! Our thought behind this zone is to really start getting the players asking what could be happening to cause these anomalies. Our scientists go from descending into the core, to climbing up towards it.

There were several ideas we had as to what may cause this flip - from the idea that there's now more mass above you, then below as the core of the planet is disappearing. Gravity generators installed by alien creatures, or upward pressure of the portal's energies are now so great to overcome the planet's gravity at this point.

Ultimately, the answer is for you and the players to decide based upon the story you've built so far, but one thing is clear: at this intersection of gravities, things are very unstable. Structures are breaking apart, mass is being compressed rapidly into miniature black holes or superheated plasmas, and as forces from the portal intertwine, it causes hallucinations and reality to become blurred. 

Powerful energies are at play here, and perhaps something from the portal is using these colliding powers to generate their own energy or perform experiments. 

What clues will be discovered at this intersection of such powerful phenomena? Will the scientists be too battered by the unstable sector and focus on escape to the levels below, looking for respite from the chaos?

Until next time!
-Andy Boyd
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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
4 months ago

Project Update: Unlocked Content! (and the Fracture Opening!)

Hello!

We have a big announcement today and a deep-dive look at the Fracture Opening, the first sector the expedition enters.

We don't have formal stretch goals for Substratum Protocol because we wanted to make sure that we can get the game out to you as quickly as possible. However, as we rapidly approach 20k raised, we wanted to give thanks for all the support with additional content: expanded rules and art!

On the development-side, we are submitting proof prints of Substratum Protocol this week to ensure we don't have any color or layout issues on the bigger print run. We also have an assigned ISBN now! We'll make sure to share images of the proof prints once they arrive.

New Rules: Deadly Hazards


I'm incredibly excited about these. Deadly Hazards, can be added to your game to give environmental situations dynamic consequences beyond rolling skill checks. We've added five big hazards and tips for creating your own.

What Deadly Hazards do is drain the scientists' resources - cards, skill dice, items, and stress - and put players under real-world time pressure. It's a great way of ratcheting up the tension, adjusting the difficulty of your games, or getting indecisive players moving again.

One deadly hazard your scientists may find themselves in extremely dense pockets of radiation. The exosuit turns on its active radiation countermeasures and that consumes energy. Players must begin discarding cards from their hand every 5 minutes to avoid taking radiation damage themselves. When they run out of cards, players begin stepping down their Skill dice as the radiation leaks into their exosuit, and ultimately begin taking Stress as they succumb to acute radiation sickness if they don't work to leave the area or stop the source of the radiation.

We provide examples for handling dangers that may migrate through an area, like caustic clouds of gas, dealing with exosuit tears and punctures from sharp rocks or claws, nests of creatures bombarding the scientists randomly, and implementing an automated exosuit feature called Catastrophic Survival Mode, where the suit sacrifices its systems to save their scientist.

The tips we provide for Mission Control give a simple breakdown to quickly determine how your specific situation would impact the scientists, and when to move from one kind of damage to another based on the narrative.

More Art from Galen!

I talked this weekend to our illustrator, Galen Pejeau, and we have agreed to add more art to the book because of everyone's resounding support! Instead of asking for specific art, I've given Galen free rein to look through the unknown-scientist's writings and setting to create a series of characters, vignettes, and props for anything that calls to him.

He has shared a few ideas already, and I'm very excited to see these new illustrations come to life and share them with you!
 
An example of many of the Unknown Scientist's notes throughout the book.


The Fracture Opening

In our last poll, the Fracture Opening won for the next deep-dive This is the first sector of the expedition experiences. At 1,300 kilometers long, it covers the distance between New York City to Miami, Florida. London, England to Naples, Italy. Melbourne, Australia to Alice Springs. Buenos Aires, Argentina to Sao Paulo, Brazil.

It is massive. Where did the fracture open in your game? What exists teetering at its cliff walls?

The world at the surface is a hellscape of the apocalypse, and much of the Fracture Opening is littered with crumbling buildings, detritus, and ancillary debris of civilization. Oceans spilling over the edge seem small in scale. Sitting suspended over it, is the Fracture Observatory.

The Fracture Observatory, the home of Mission Control.


Furthest from the portal, this sector is rooted most in the reality of the surface. Here, players may find groups of survivors from the cities that tumbled into the great fracture, steam vents, cave ins, and earthquakes make finding solid footing and a reliable path difficult, and even here, strange subterranean creatures may make an appearance.

Old research stations, part of the Substratum Protocol's monitoring efforts may still be intact here, and dangerous fast flowing waters threaten to whisk away scientists into massive whirlpools to further below.

When we were first designing Substratum Protocol, the thought was that players would start in the action of the expedition and wouldn't really spend time on the Fracture Observatory or on the surface. The Fracture Opening was our way of showing what the surface was going through while still being en route. It is meant to showcase the incredible destruction happening, and give the players a sense of urgency to stop it from getting worse.

How do the scientists descend into the fracture before being left to their own power? Lowered on a cable lift? Paraglide down? Or perhaps they are more like hell jumpers, free-falling through the gargantuan opening (or Link entering the depths in Tears of the Kingdom!)?

The title screen fades to klaxon alarms and screams of the world above, slowly giving way to a deafening silence of rushing wind as the expedition descends past the cliff walls into the abyssal black depths of the Fracture Opening...

What do you imagine as the opening sequence for your expedition? Share it in the comments!

Until next time,
-Andy Boyd
Pandion Games
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Pandion Games
CREATOR
4 months ago
25 votes • Final results
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Hi! Just to clarify, does the digital edition come with a PDF of the expedition journal or is that only included in the soloist pack? Thanks!

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PROJECT UPDATE
Pandion Games
CREATOR
4 months ago

Project Update: Live Interview Tonight, and a Mysterious Barrier Lies Ahead!

Hello Backers!

Tonight at 7PM Eastern Time, we will be on RPGs Uncovered to talk about Substratum Protocol!

You can watch on Twitch or YouTube. Come by and say hello! We'd love to see you there.

We are rapidly approaching 17k raised! A huge shout-out to all our 322 supporters! You have made this our biggest campaign to date, and we still have 22 days to go.

The latest poll results are in, and today we're going to take at the Barrier Event Horizon depth sector! This sector is a strange one, and depending on the events you roll up, what your table ultimately concludes will be very different. You'll notice that as we travel deeper, the certainty of exactly of what a sector is becomes more fluid.

As players uncover clues, answer portal questions, and gain strange portal influence powers, the world shapes itself around their answers and actions. For that reason, we want to make sure we leave room for their answers to fill the world.

The Barrier Event Horizon

Check out the Ancient Civilization Update to read how Depth Sectors work in Substratum Protocol.

The Expedition is close to the Inner Core.


When deciding what each sector would be, I had the idea of a sector that protects the inner core from the rest of the planet, and the barrier itself has strange properties. Perhaps it is why as you descend, the gravity suddenly shifts and changes, and you are climbing upwards towards the core now?

But what would the barrier actually be? This is where the events that are rolled and the clues and theories players have to date really take over. Some of the options we include is a dense field of time that slows all things that enter it, and the scientists feel like they're walking through molasses.

Perhaps it's a massive, sentient organism feeding off the portal's energies and radiating the alpha particle radiation that creates the grove our scientists just came from. Can it communicate with the expedition as they must enter its gel-like that encircles the Inner Core?

Or it's wholly artificial, and we discover another species of scientists quarantining the area through advanced technology. Is it to study the portal? Harvest the energy and power that comes from it?

Scientists may find their voices distorted and garbled, hallucinations as their brains try to process time faster than it is occurring. Pockets of instability see small, unstable interdimensional portals appear and disappear. What comes through?



What we do know, is that the barrier separates the rest of the planet from the raw, unfiltered thing at the center that we call the portal. Once the expedition makes it past the Barrier Event Horizon, all bets are off as to what reality may show us.

Until next time, Expedition Team!

-Andy Boyd
Pandion Games
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Pandion Games
CREATOR
4 months ago
10 votes • Final results
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