5 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Tiny Dungeon, Fever Swamp, Survive This!, The Folio, and Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War

There are a number of exceptional RPG Kickstarters out there. This week I’m reviewing five of them – Tiny Dungeon, Fever Swamp, Survive This!, The Folio, and Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War. Let’s count’em down!

 

5) Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War by Battlefield Press International
Ends on Thu, October 5 2017 11:00 AM EDT.

“A role playing game setting, for the Savage Worlds and Cepheus System, based on Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War.

Image courtesy of Wayne Barlow
Image courtesy of Wayne Barlow

THE CORPORATE WARS ARE ON!

International conglomerates plot a complete domination of the free world, facing off against world governments, who want only freedom, in a calculated and vicious battle of wits and blood. Come see multi-national corporations have launched a lethal campaign against the world.

For the first time ever, a role playing game setting based on the original works of Robert Asprin and Bill Fawcett. This setting book incorporates the novel Cold Cash War and the Combat Command book Cold Cash Warrior.

Image courtesy of Bill Fawcett
Image courtesy of Bill Fawcett

Have you ever wondered how corporations fight each other? The answer is simple, they employ mercenaries in remote locations to wipe out each other. This is no easy task, but luckily the wars are conducted with advanced electronics known as killsuits. These suits simulate the damage taken by a soldier from nonoperational limbs to death, without actually hurting or killing the individual soldier. You can be a member of any of the corporations, such as Oil, Energy, Communications or Aerospace. You can be part of the Japanese Conglomerate. Battling for supremacy in the market without actually hurting your rivals employees. However, what happens when someone takes this one step further and starts employing mercenaries to take out your rivals, permanently? In this setting you play a a government agent, mercenary hired by a corporation, an information broker or a corporate executive. Get involved in corporate espionage, assassination or even stomping the enemy. If you do not want to be a corporate drone, then side up with one of the world governments. Its your choice, and the world depends on what you do. Try to stay alive and find out who wants you dead. You can find this out in this 250-page book for the Savage Worlds and Cepheus Engine (2d6 OGL Sci Fi gaming) game systems. Written by Stephen J. Miller and Jonathan M. Thompson (the team that brought you Gaslight Victorian Fantasy) and illustrated by the talented Eric Lofgren.”

You can read my interview with Jonathan M. Thompson here.

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’ve spoken to Jonathan at length about the Cold Cash War, attended a Q&A, and completed an interview with him. He’s a nice guy whose passionate about his products are infectious. When he’s done, I know that the Cold Cash War is going to feel exactly like Robert Asprin’s setting in both Savage Worlds and the Cepheus Engine.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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4) Tiny Dungeon 2e – Minimalist fantasy roleplaying is back! by Gallant Knight Games
Ends on Fri, October 6 2017 11:13 AM EDT.

“Return to the minimalist fantasy tabletop RPG Tiny Dungeon in this revised rules, now with micro-settings, additional content, & more!

Tiny Dungeon returns in a newly revised and revamped edition!

The TinyD6 ruleset returns to fantasy in this revised ruleset, now with micro-settings and more!

Cover Art by Michael Leavenworth
Cover Art by Michael Leavenworth

Using the rules in this book, you’ll be able to play heroic adventurers, daring treasure hunters, imperious magic-users, and more! Explore numerous worlds and discover legends, adventure and fantastical beasts.

Character creation is simple, fast, and exciting. You pick your character type based on the exciting stories your Game Master is going to tell, you pick a few Traits that each grant a single benefit, and you’re done!

Sometimes as the GM, you don’t have time to plot lengthy, detailed worlds, but you want that experience. Well, we’ve got your back, and that support comes in the form of micro-settings! Micro-settings are short settings filled with adventure hooks, and designed to put your adventures and campaigns into high action-adventure.

Our goal is to fund a softcover edition, a limited number of hardcover collector’s editions, and the Tiny Dungeon 2e dice. We’ve planned several stretch goals which will increase page count, add more art, add more special rules but all of our goals will provide you with more fun and engaging fantasy content!

 

Tiny Dungeon uses a simple, fast, and dynamic ruleset to handle actions. The game uses up to three six-sided dice as part of action resolution.

If you roll a “5” or “6” on a die, your check succeeds. Most checks are made with two dice. However, if you are deemed to have “advantage” on a roll, you gain a third die to roll. If you have disadvantage, you lose a dice (rolling only a single die).

Characters are made quickly and easily. You will select a fantasy race (such as dwarf, salimar, goblin, human or more), three traits, and write down some basic information and you are ready to play!”

Look for my interview with Alan Bahr about Tiny Dungeon this Thursday on the Tessera Guild.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Disclosure: I game with Alan Bahr (Dan Davenport is our GM) so I’m biased.

Based on the volume of backers, there’s a lot of confidence this is a game being done right. Tiny Dungeons is a game designed for adults but is minimalist enough to make it ideal for all-ages. The game is focused on the rules and mini-settings instead of a massive world and overarching story. The fact that it’s a fantasy RPG for everyone makes this a game I’m ready to play! To sweeten the pot for RPG freelancers, they’ve already decided to offer this:

Gallant Knight Games will open submission for a line of PDF releases detailing new rules, micro-setttings, adventures and more!

This will be open to the wide world, and we’ll release one PDF each month in a subscription service via DriveThruRPG. At the end of the year, we will collate them into a year omnibus we will offer in print and PDF!

This will be paid work (we pay $0.10 per word to our writers), and you’ll work alongside Alan Bahr to prep these products for release (we’ll pay for art, layout, graphic design, editing, and more)!”

Play the game and submit to create content for it. I dig it!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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3) Fever Swamp: an OSR swamp-crawl adventure by Melsonian Arts Council
Ends on Mon, October 9 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

“We plan to enter the Fever Swamp, plunder its treasures, unearth its secrets, and escape with more than an obscure disease.

Fever Swamp

The Melsonian Arts Council is a micro press publishing house which specialises in short works that startle and entertain us. Its output is by turns erudite, lucid and beautiful, or dumb, obtuse and ugly. We have previously and are still releasing peculiar zines, games and adventures.

Master Gearing is a local boy with dreams of big lights and tall cities. His works have appeared in Britain’s favourite RPG periodical, The Undercroft, and as stand alone moments of inspiration in the form of his collaborative Broken System #000.

Andrew Walter is an illustrator whose work has been featured in The Undercroft, Wormskin, and various other OSR products, as well as on underground metal and punk releases. He likes schlock horror and loud noises.

 

Fever Swamp is an adventure, compatible with Lamentations of the Flame Princess and most other Dungeons & Dragons clones.

The result of this fundraising effort will be an A5, saddle stitched, 30-something page book containing a geographically linked series of vignettes that explore the particular palette chosen by the author. Flavours of nihilism, questions of inherent evil, and the abject failure of civilisation. And dampness, so damp.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Artistically, this has the most modern Adult Swim art style I can think of. It’s LotFP compatible so that decides some individual’s level of interest. Between the art and the setting, I’m curious how the full product will look from end to end.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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2) SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons RPG Core Rulebook by Bloat Games
Ends on Tue, October 10 2017 9:00 PM EDT.

“SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons RPG Core Rulebook is an OSR roleplaying game set in the 1980s from Bloat Games.

“In the 1980s strange things happened everywhere!”

Bloat Games proudly presents our latest tabletop roleplaying game: SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons. Dark Places & Demogorgons is an OSR RPG set in the 1980s where you play as teenagers from a small town where strange occurrences began popping up all around. The adults seem lost as what to do, the police are as clueless as ever and aren’t helping. It’s up to you and your friends to figure out what’s going on and stop it from happening again!

Dark Places & Demogorgons (Blue Cover) Art by Tommy Stamper
Dark Places & Demogorgons (Blue Cover) Art by Tommy Stamper

Taking advantage of the Open Gaming License, Dark Places & Demogorgons use the familiar ruleset of 1970s Original Fantasy Roleplaying Game with some added modern mechanics and concepts to make a uniquely fun and entertaining game experience.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Excited about the arrival of Stranger Things season two on Netflix? Need a game to get you into the headspace of the first season’s D&D? Bloat Games is offering the RPG you’re looking for, Survive This! The game looks like the best parts of retro fun! Much like Swamp Fever above, I’m curious how the final product will be presented. Will it have a uniquely awesome old school feel? (I’m betting the answer is yes!)

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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1) The Folio: Storyteller’s Arcana 1E & 5E gaming supplement by Art of the Genre
Ends on Wed, October 11 2017 2:50 PM EDT.

“1E & 5E Gaming Supplement for DMs and Players in the tradition of the old orange spine Arcana

So you are probably asking, what exactly is The Storyteller’s Arcana?  Well, when I was 14 I managed to get my hands on a newly printed copy of TSR‘s Unearthed Arcana and AD&D was forever changed for me.  That book introduced me to so many great wrinkles in the system, and over the past thirty-five years I’ve tried to translate my own gaming knowledge into a series of notes and rules that I think can resonate with all gamers, be they OSR die-hards or newly minted 5E campaigners.  By compiling and expanding on everything I’ve addressed during my time around a table, it is my hope that this new ‘Arcana’ will hold a special place on the shelves of gamers just as those old Orange Spine hardcovers do.

Is that a Larry Elmore cover? YES! Now I know that all the previous Orange Spine covers were done by Jeff Easley (as were the 2 Folio orange spines), but knowing how much Elmore has meant to the OSR community I thought it was high time to get him onto a classic hardcover.

Build on your Orange Spine Collection with a Larry Elmore classic cover!
Build on your Orange Spine Collection with a Larry Elmore classic cover!

What exactly comes in this book?  Well, obviously I can’t lay out all the details here, but I’ve broken this 128 page book down into three distinct parts and below you’ll be able to get a glimpse of some of the topics I’ll be covering.”

Wanna-lancer* Rewards:

“Pledge $750 or more

Ultimate Folio Fan

Backer receives all PDF and physical copies of the three hardcovers (signed), and an original piece of art from the project, and can help design a Trope NPC class that will go into the book (with writing credit). LIMIT 5”

*Wanna-lancer™ – A gamer that’s pursuing freelance RPG work. Some back RPG Kickstarters that offer rewards to create NPCs, spells, items, adventures, etc. in order to build up their resume, make contact with publishers, and learn what’s expected on assignments.

Egg’s Thoughts:

If I could, I’d post every cover for The Folio. Jeff Easley, Brom, Larry Elmore, and more… the cover art for this series is comprised of new work from my favorite childhood artists and they all show that they still have it! This art is everything I want in a 1e and 5e D&D-compatible RPG. Add to that, you can design a Trope NPC class for the book… there’s not a lot of instances where your work can appear under a cover by Larry Elmore, so this is a rare chance!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Signal Boost:

Long List Anthology Volume 3 by David Steffen 
Ends on Fri, October 6 2017 8:00 PM EDT.

“The third in anthology series of stories loved by Hugo voters, stories by Seanan McGuire, Mary Robinette Kowal, Cat Rambo, and others

Every year the Hugo Award administrators release a longer list of stories that received the most nominations by the fans who vote for the Hugo Awards.  The purpose of the Long List Anthology is to get more of the works loved by Hugo Award voters to readers in one convenient package. This is the third annual volume of the anthology.  There are some familiar author names in the book, as well as some authors who are new to the series.

Volume One and Volume Two were both funded on Kickstarters–including works by writers including Eugie Foster, Elizabeth Bear, Amal El-Mohtar, Aliette de Bodard, Scott Lynch, Rachel Swirsky, Kai Ashante Wilson, Ken Liu, David D. Levine, Alyssa Wong, Ann Leckie, and Catherynne M. Valente–and they both succeeded and have gone on to sell steadily on ebook vendors after the Kickstarter as well, selling more than 10,000 copies.

The base goal of the campaign will include only the short stories.  There will be stretch goals to add novelettes and novellas.  The goals listed here include only stories that I’ve heard agreement back from the authors–some queries to authors are still pending, there may be another story or two added as an additional stretch goal.  If these stretch goals are reached, I may add on other goals as well.

This project is not endorsed by nor affiliated with the Hugo awards, WSFS, WorldCon, or any associated entities. The Hugo name is used with permission. Please note that the anthology is NOT called “The Hugo Long List Anthology”. It is called “The Long List Anthology”, or the full wordy title: “The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List”.  (I’m noting this because it’s pretty commonly referred to by the wrong name)

COVER ART

"The Alchemist" © Amanda Makepeace
“The Alchemist” © Amanda Makepeace

The cover art is “The Alchemist” by Amanda Makepeace.  You can find more information about her work on her website.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Tessera Guild co-founder, Amanda Makepeace, has a beautiful piece of art gracing the cover of this book. Just as I gushed about the artwork for The Folio above, this is a chance to own a book with an amazing cover. Just as they recommend on the Kickstarter, check out Amanda’s website for more.

 

You can check out the first anthology on Amazon here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.com and Amazon.com.

Savage Worlds: Fast, Furious, and Fun! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

 

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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt or wall clock or ice tea glass!

 

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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. His purchases have been published by:

Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? 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.
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