4 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Life on Gaia, Runewild, Whispers of Persephone, and Secrets of Starfall

Friends and acquaintances ask me to look at their Kickstarters, and so I did. In this roundup, there’s an audiobook based on an RPG, and products for 5e, including one I did an interview about on the Open Gaming Network (here). Normally, I give my thoughts on these but time is short (this is the second roundup of the week after looking at some RPG-related comic books). For this article, I’m looking at:



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Life on Gaia: An Audio Anthology of Post-Apocalyptic Stories by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sun, October 7 2018 4:00 PM EDT.


“Leo Cosh voices an audio book of short stories in the world of Gaia, where Infection runs rampant and humanity is a dying race.

At Shades of Vengeance, we don’t just create games, we create worlds! 

We love building huge, expansive environments and bringing them to life through different types of media.

We also like to allow everyone in our team to express their creativity. A chance for Leo Cosh, a professional voice actor in his own time, to bring one of our games to life was too good an opportunity to miss!

And so, we have detailed the world of Gaia, a post-apocalyptic world where zombies and mutants roam, threatening Humanity and often causing them to turn on each other!

This audio book is our first attempt at a major audio product, bringing over 4 hours of material to you.

A hundred years ago, there was a cataclysm. Maybe a biological weapon was set off, or a parasite evolved… honestly, no-one really cares any more.

What matters is that the parasite was airborne, infectious and could live in any warm-blooded creature. Those affected are driven insane and mutate, becoming a threat to those around them. This doesn’t even end with death: corpses of those Infected are reanimated and will wander the world, seeking nourishment.

Humanity is a dying race now. In another hundred years, there won’t be any of us left. A bite or scratch, or a breath in the wrong place spells doom.

We have made some progress, however. The development of a drug, known as Injection, means that humans can encounter the Parasites and live to tell the tale.

People have adapted to this situation in different ways – some choose to fight it, preserving as many lives as possible, or searching for a cure to the Infection. Others, lost in the hopelessness, turn to stealing from any who cross their path. With the loss of communications, Runners have begun carrying messages as the only form of long-distance communication. Still others try to burn everything that stands in their way, cleansing it, or hide underground in concealed bunkers, waiting for the Infection to burn out.

In this world, surviving is a matter of wits and cunning…

The stories in this anthology explore the different factions of this detailed world, and the experiences of various people as they try to survive.

Want to hear what the stories sound like? We'll be adding more throughout the Kickstarter!
Want to hear what the stories sound like? We’ll be adding more throughout the Kickstarter!

The Runner (Story 2)

Nihilist (Story 3)

The High-Rise Slums (Story 5)

  • It’s an Audio Book!
  • The total length will be around 4 hours.
  • It’s an anthology: each story takes place from a different perspective.
  • Each story varies in length, but most are around 6 minutes.
  • It will be delivered in .mp3 format.
  • It has been voiced by a professional voice actor, using different voices for each character.

Leo Cosh is the voice actor who has brought the world of Gaia to life. With a wide range of experience on different types of projects, he was the perfect choice to give voice to the people of Gaia!

Ed Jowett is the creator of the world of Gaia, director of the audio book and writer of many of the stories. Primarily creating roleplaying games, he has published over 50 books through Shades of Vengeance.

Jennifer Martin has worked with Ed Jowett to bring the characters of Gaia into sharp focus. Having worked with Ed for over five years, her chilling style sucks the listener into the world!

Mikhail Greuli is the artist who supplied the various images used in this Kickstarter. His incredible talent for bringing the mysteries and creatures of Gaia to life have been invaluable in creating this project!

Martin Popovski has brought the world of Gaia to life through the title video! We’re very grateful to him for his work on this project!”


You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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The Runewild – A Dark Fairy-Tale Setting for 5E by Sneak Attack Press
Ends on Thu, October 18 2018 10:00 PM EDT.


“A 5e setting book and hexcrawl in a forest filled with witches, fey, and things that go bump in the night.

Beyond the kingdom of Aruanda, there is an untamed land. It is a place where witches walk, where goblins cavort, where the borders between the realms of mortal and fey grow thin. For some, it is a place of unspeakable wonder; for others, only madness and death lie within its trackless depths.

It is the Runewild, and it is both beautiful and cruel.

The Runewild Campaign Setting is a dark fairy-tale hex-crawl for use with the 5th Edition of the world’s most popular roleplaying game. Designed for character levels 1 through 10, it provides locations, encounters, and NPCs to support a campaign lasting months or years, or to be adapted into other campaigns. The full-color book will be at least 160 pages long and includes:

  • A history of the Runewild and its surrounding settlements.
  • 100 detailed encounter areas for player characters to explore.
  • New optional rules for exploring and resting.
  • Advice for running a hex-crawl campaign.
  • A new feat: Fey-Touched.
  • 8 new Runewild-specific backgrounds (including hag-owned, Runewild folklorist, time-lost knight, and polymorphed animal).
  • 13 unique magic items (like witch embers and the staff of clarity and confusion).
  • 32 new monsters (including clockwork dwarves, fey lions, giant forest sloths, and the terrifyingly beautiful Golden Bodach).
  • Detailed descriptions of the histories, motivations, and weaknesses of the witches of the Runewild, including the Whitebone Sisters; Missus Switch, the swine hag; Korthsuva, the Witch of Hours; and the hag-queen Griselda, Mother of Ogres.
  • Dozens of random tables designed to help GMs make the Runewild campaign their own.

Forest of a Thousand Stories

The Runewild Campaign Setting is a hex-crawl first and foremost, but as the player characters explore the Runewild, they’re sure to find themselves caught up in the many conflicts that threaten the ancient forest. Here are just a few of the larger story arcs that might become a part of your Runewild campaign:

Ianto the Red: A powerful bandit lord named Ianto the Red controls a network of murderers and thieves who plague the roads between settlements. Rumor has it Ianto traded his soul to a coven of witches in exchange for eternal life.

The Thistlewhip Children: Cort and Cora Thistlewhip’s seven children are missing. Unbeknownst to their parents, the children undertook a quest for King Wobbly-Odd, a Runish lord who fell prey to a fey curse centuries ago. Unless someone recovers the children, the Thistlewhips may become lost in the Runewild forever.

The Broken King: In the heart of the Runewild, a mysterious figure known as the Broken King assembles an army of goblins. No one knows what the Broken King wants, but the trail of petrified victims his goblins leave behind may provide a clue.

The Witch Queen Griselda: Humans and elves united to defeat Griselda’s forces during the Witch Wars, but the hag herself survived and fled into the Cronemarsh. Now she plots revenge and rebuilds her network of allies. Griselda rarely leaves her home, but an ancient curse demands she visit the dreams of anyone who slays a witch within the Runewild’s borders.

To learn more about the Runewild, you can check out our free previews:

Preview 1 – Missus Switch, Swine Witch: The history and statistics of Missus Switch, the Swine Witch, as well as a detailed description of the school house where she teaches her porcine pupils.

Preview 2 – Highvale Blade and Twisted Tome: The Runewild is a place steeped in powerful fey magic. These magic items show how some harness it safely, while others let it get out of control.

Preview 3: Beasts that Lurk in the Runewild: This preview features four new beasts that live in the Runewild: the helpful fey lion, the thought-stealing fiddlehead, the enigmatic Seven-Tail, and the terrifyingly beautiful Golden Bodach.

If you want to see even more, you can back the project and access the current draft of the book by going to this backer-only post. We’ve written the entire book and gone through several rounds of revision, but we plan to do at least one more revision using your feedback.

Finally, we have two products already for sale that tie in to the Runewild.

The Goblin Market:  A magical marketplace full of strange treasures and goblin vendors eager to part the heroes from their coin. (Note: we will incorporate most of the material from The Goblin Market into the final book.

The Marriage at Midsummer: Two star-crossed lovers have gone missing from Caerfell’s Midsummer Festival. Their families are at each other’s throats. Deep in the Runewild, a mysterious figure called the Bishop promises to unite the couple. But the Bishop actually has other plans. This is the first in the Seasons of the Runewild series of adventures.

We love the ways crowdfunding can involve our backers. Everybody who backs at any level can read the current draft of the book and provide feedback. For those who want to play an even bigger role, we offer two backer reward options:

Denizen of the Runewild

The Runewild Campaign Setting will contain a table featuring one hundred random fey denizens of the Runewild. We want to give you a chance to be part of that chart. If you select either the PDF and Runewild Denizen or the Print and Runewild Denizen reward level, you can create one entry on the chart that includes your fey creature’s name, the type of fey, a brief description, and the creature’s goals. (All descriptions may be modified for length, tone, and established setting cannon.)

Part of the Art

If you want to be even more involved with the creation, you can pledge at the Part of the Art level. At this level, we will also include an illustration based on either a photo or description you provide. We will add the NPC to the book, and you can provide as much or as little guidance as you would like. (By pledging at Part of the Art, you grant permission for us to use your likeness in the Runewild Campaign Setting and promotion for it, but not in other products.)

The focus of this Kickstarter Campaign is the Runewild Campaign Setting, but we also want to create adventures you can use to introduce players to the Runewild, either as a one-shot or part of a larger campaign. Each adventure centers around a different seasonal celebration in a different settlement around the Runewild.

The Marriage at Midsummer: Two star-crossed lovers have gone missing from Caerfell’s Midsummer Festival. Their families are at each other’s throats. Deep in the Runewild, a mysterious figure called the Bishop promises to unite the couple. But the Bishop actually has other plans. This is the first in the Seasons of the Runewild series of adventures. (Already released and available as an add-on.)

Bonedigger: The townsfolk of Ill Hollow practice a strange tradition: each Harvestide, they bury an animal’s bones in a false grave to prevent Bonedigger, a witch’s ghostly hound, from finding his mistress’s true remains. This year, however, something has gone wrong. Not only has someone dug up the real witch’s grave, but a local youth who hoped to spot Bonedigger has gone missing. (Everyone who pledges $3 or more will get a PDF copy of Bonedigger when we release it, just after the Kickstarter campaign ends.)

All Through the Long, Dark Night: Every year the village of Widderspire gathers around Widderspire Pond to celebrate the winter solstice. This year, frost imps attack the celebration, leaving the villagers entombed in ice. To save Widderspire, the heroes must brave the depths of Widderspire Pond, pass through a magical portal into the fey realm, and rescue a powerful fey named Ember John. ($6,000 stretch goal)

Springtime Comes to Kidwelly: Before spring can begin, the halflings of Kidwelly must lure a fey creature called the Monax out of its burrow, but this year the Monax is nowhere to be found. Unless the heroes locate those responsible for the Monax’s disappearance, Kidwelly may be locked in winter’s grip forever. ($8,000 stretch goal)


You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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Whispers of Persephone ~ The bloody book of Necromancy 5E by Sinopa Publishing LLC
Ends on Tue, October 30 2018 11:57 PM EDT.


“All Original Necromancy Content New arcane tradition, spells, rituals, poisons, magic items & alchemicals. 5E 5th Edition DnD RPG

What this project creates:

This campaign funds the art and backer reward fulfillment costs of Whispers of Persephone,a necromantic source book for use in your role playing game. This book is written for specialist necromancer wizards, and describes a new arcane tradition, Stygian Necromancy. Created as a book of 120+ pages, containing entirely original art in full color by Christian Martinez and all original game content by W.S. “Sam” Quinton. Whispers of Persephone is a wonderful role-playing aid.

*Written for mature role-playing audiences, this book is NOT appropriate for children.

Art for Whispers of Persephone by Christian Martinez
Art for Whispers of Persephone by Christian Martinez

This is a source book for those who like their dark arts, to be DARK!

How far along is the book now?

Writing: The writing of the game play material is complete! This book is presently in its final play testing stage, and will likely see some revisions as this campaigns draws to its end.  All that remains, is to complete the material for those tiers pledged that add the names of backers at The Necromancer, Acolyte of Death, and Fallen Heroes tiers, and to complete those character descriptions (stat blocks, and some narrative biographical text), as well as completing the example of play/use.  That material is expected to take a couple of days to complete and another day or two for proof reading and final formatting.  Character material will be completed as backers pledge at those tiers, so look for messages from me if you are pledging as The Necromancer, an Acolyte of Death, or as a Fallen Hero.

Art:  The covers are complete. The interior art that has been completed thus far is displayed on this page. By reaching funding goal, the remaining art that is essential to this book can be completed. Stretch goals are structured to allow for additional art to be commissioned and added to the book.  Page background art is being revised for better legibility.

Two different covers available:

Screen capture of the "Black Cover"
Screen capture of the “Black Cover”
Spinal cover
Spinal cover

Things you’ll find in the book:

Introduction from play test version 3.0
Introduction from play test version 3.0

Whispers of Persephone contains descriptions of spells ranging from cantrips up to level nine, as well as rituals of the foulest sorts of levels one through eight. Materials on poisons, potions, and alchemicals are included; as are rules for the necromantic practices of the sacrifice of sentient beings. Comments attributed to the Necromancer, Acolytes of Death and Fallen Heroes are found throughout the book.

The Stygian Necromancer arcane tradition: The path to power is soaked with the blood of your victims, and adorned with the cries of their suffering. The brave fear you and the wise flee from you. Whispers of Persephone details a new arcane tradition for wizard characters, Stygian Necromancy. This tradition is designed to lend a new style to the play of practitioners of the darkest magical arts of blood, death, and souls.

 2 New Monsters ~  Darkling Horror and Stygian Mummy

The Stygian Mummy by Christian Martinez
The Stygian Mummy by Christian Martinez

 5 New Feats ~ Dark Prodigy or Hematomancer, which to choose?

 9 New magic items  ~ Enchanted Skull cup, Canopic Jars and more.

 10 New alchemicals, potions, and poisons ~ Would you care for tea?

 12 New Rituals  ~ Blood sacrifice is the just the beginning!

 15 New Spells  ~ Clean HandsIld’s Eye Rot, and the Curse of Spite among others! Bring the pain and suffering to your enemies with these and more searing spells.

Information about the Necromancer and the 13 Acolytes of death: Such as the heinous acts of Kroalish, the first acolyte of the Necromancer. His vile acts are matters of horrific legends!  This section also details the dark prodigy known as ‘Ild’ a young woman possessed of a dark heart and gifted in the arts of murder.

Ild, apprentice of Kroalish and necromantic prodigy.
Ild, apprentice of Kroalish and necromantic prodigy.

All original art created by Christian Martinez specifically for this book!

Why you want this Book:

Whispers of Persephone is a great player aid. Players can use it as a quick reference book for spells and can work the book into their character backgrounds. Whispers of Persephone is also suitable for use as an in-game prop. Game masters can use it as a treasure item recovered in their campaigns. This book can also bring new adversaries into play as the player characters are confronted by followers of the Necromancer seeking to retrieve this valuable resource.

This is a darkly beautiful book, filled with fantastic art created by Christian Martinez. It looks great in your collection, and menacing on your gaming table.

Drinking from the skull of your enemy is back!
Drinking from the skull of your enemy is back!

Whether used by player characters or used against player characters, Whispers of Persephone is a great resource for your games.”


You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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Secrets of Starfall: A 5E Adventure by Dragon-Knight Publishing (DriveThruRPG or Open Gaming Store)
Ends on Thu, November 1 2018 3:01 PM EDT.


“Secrets of Starfall: a 5th-10th level adventure for 5th Edition

A 5th-10th level adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game!

Following the events that took place in “Whispers of Starfall”, this adventure can also be used as a filler adventure for any campaign.

Rado, the Gnome wizard, has vanished, leaving the crossroads town of Hyran to grieve their losses. The Elenhodel has given a clue to his possible misguided actions but it is up to you to determine how best to proceed. Expanding on the custom world of Ambaran, players will travel across the new world, over a blistering desert, an angry sea or a treacherous mountain. Filled with options, characters are encouraged to go where they wish and stop the evil that is Rado from destroying Ambaran as they know it.

There will also be 2 new races, the Lydran and the Xrystis! Both of these races are not only NPC’s to interact with, but also able to be played as characters if you choose! The images are still being worked on but we will, which will be included right here once the art has been completed. If we hit a few stretch goals, we will even be able to offer a miniature of both of these races. We have a rough draft of the Lydran race while the miniature prototype is still being processed.

Lydran Warrior Brave
Lydran Warrior Brave


NOTE: I interviewed Jon Neddo about this Kickstarter on the Open Gaming Network (here).


You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here or the Open Gaming Store here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN WorldKnights of the Dinner TableOpen Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Press releases? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

About Egg Embry

Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. NOTE: Articles may includes affiliate links. As a DriveThruRPG Affiliate/Amazon Associate/Humble Partner I earn from qualifying purchases.
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