9 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Alien Bestiary, Artifices of Quartztoil Tower, IDENTECO, SideQuests II, and more

For this post, I’m reviewing nine RPG Kickstarters that are powered by the D&D 5e, Era d10, FATE, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, Starfinder, and more systems. Nine RPGs that are running campaigns and hoping you’ll back them. Let’s count’em down!

 

9) Era: Balam by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sun, September 24 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

“Explore a solar system and defend Humanity from an alien fleet! Era: Balam runs on your choice of Era d10, FATE or Savage Worlds!

In this game, you are a pilot, with your own “Paladin” one-man ship, sent out to explore space and defend Humanity! Together with other pilots, you’ll form a squadron and head out into the black…

This game offers rules for space combat, salvaging materials and upgrading your fighter, a list of bases you can visit (both friendly and not-so-friendly), space-based dogfights and a variety of weapons from bullet-based to plasma cannons!

If you like games such as Homeworld, Freelancer or Elite: Dangerous, this is the RPG for you!

In Era: Balam, your ship is a part of your character, as much as the pilot.

It defines most of your physical statistics, providing a duality to this game which I’ve never explored before: while a pilot may technically survive without their ship, it will feel like they have lost a part of themselves.

A Paladin and its Pilot are a single character in this game, working together!
A Paladin and its Pilot are a single character in this game, working together!

The Paladin ships which appear in this game are fully upgradable, and provide various options as the players progress, including painlessly changing “Class” by replacing the Main Module!”

Want to learn more? Here’s the link to my interview with Ed Jowett about Era: Balam.

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’ve covered several Shades of Vengeance games in this column, I’ve interviewed Ed Jowett of SoV, and I’m freelancing on an Era d10 project for SoV, clearly I’m all for Vengeance. But among SoV’s games, what makes Era: Balam stand out? In a word, expansion. In this game you’re both your character and your ship, which explains this game’s setup concisely while offering a lot of cool options. Both the person and the tool have a role to play and together they elevate this RPG to be something akin to Star Wars: Rogue Squadron or Battlestar: Galactica. Add to that, this RPG is available for Savage Worlds, FATE, or Shades of Vengeance’s house system, Era d10, and you have a winner.

 

You can see examples of Shades of Vengeance’s work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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8) Pathfinder Modern Adventures by Higher Grounds Publishing, LLC
Ends on Mon, September 25 2017 2:00 PM EDT.

“Take up sword and gun to seek fame and fortune in this gritty fantasy game set in modern-day Earth.

“I know what you’re thinkin’, kid. With all the stuff out there, all the cash, treasure, monsters and adventure waiting to be had.. what the hell is anyone doing in a nine-to-five, waste-of-time job?”, the old dwarf grunted with a voice like rolling gravel. “Well, I’ll tell ya, it sure as shit doesn’t have anything to do with really livin’, that’s for sure.” The dwarf was eye level with the kid, even though the human boy was probably only a small fraction of his own age. Stubby fingers curled around his massive, braided beard and stroked downward, flattening out a few stray red-and-gray hairs that had gone astray. “It’s all about security. See, cities like this one got all kinds of that stuff. Vancouver. Atlanta. Hell, even the most dangerous hood in Detroit ain’t got nothin’ on the shit you’ll find taking up gun and sword and heading off into the tombs. Most folks’ll tell you that, and most folks are right. I done seen more death and carnage than any CEO could ever dream about in an entire lifetime. I’m the sole survivor of a group of seven of us.” the dwarf said with a half-psychotic grimace that may have been mistaken for a smile, showing off those yellowed teeth interspersed with gold ones that replaced the teeth that had been knocked out by god-knows-what. “It’s a shit life, being an adventurer. You’re going to go hungry. You’re going to get hurt. Shit, you will probably even die.” he said with a chuckle. “So why do I do it?” the dwarf peered at the kid with his one good eye and got close enough that the boy could smell the leather of his armor and the whiskey on his breath, “Kid. If you gotta ask, you ain’t ever gonna know.”

Pathfinder: Modern Adventures is a game of fantasy based in the real-world. It’s Earth, with a twist. Humans are not alone. There are elves, gnomes, dwarves and all manner of other strange creatures, hybrids and half-bloods earning a living and trying to get by. Nearly everyone just wants a comfortable, safe life where they are free to exist in peace, earn a liveable wage and die with a few grandchildren under foot.

Then, there are the adventurers. 

The adventurers make their living by scouring the lands trying to find old tombs, abandoned catecombs and places lost to time. They battle monsters, brave dangerous traps and explore the unknown. Some do it in the hopes of getting rich. Others do it to earn a name. Some simply want to test their own mettle. Adventurer’s leave the relative safety of the lives they know, working jobs, tending their home or living on the streets in order to explore parts of the world that no sane person would ever enter.

From the veil of the city, you might never see the truth of the world beyond. All the magic and monsters that only rarely creep into the cities themselves are waiting for a brave soul to come and face them, and earn vast richest and fame in so doing.”

 

Here’s my Q&A with Ray Machuga about Pathfinder Modern Adventures.

To read Dan Davenport’s Q&A with Ray, click here.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Ray Machuga of Higher Ground Publishing messaged me about this project before it came out (the press release is here) and the concept hooked me. The timing for a Pathfinder product that sits, more or less, squarely in the middle of the timeline between Pathfinder and Starfinder could not have been better timed. Starfinder is a hit and Ray’s product is the logical outgrowth of that – Modern Adventures. How would elves and trolls and mortgages and gazebos live together today? This is the game to answer that and offer new levels of adventures.

 

You can see examples of Higher Ground Publishing’s work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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7) Henchmen – A Fate RPG campaign world by Canterbury Games Studio 
Ends on Thu, September 28 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

“A Fate Core campaign setting of villainous henchmen in a hero thwarts Doomsday device world.

Your money will bring our Henchmen to life.

The Premise

Henchmen is a game in which characters get to explore the trials and tribulations of being little cogs in the grand machine of an evil organisation.  While many games focus on gaining power and overcoming foes, this game takes a slightly different approach.

You can play the game any way you want to, but we envisage Henchmen being played in two ways, the ‘day in the life’ tribulations of an expendable goon squad, or as a long ‘Villains Journey’ campaign. For the latter, we have outlined a ‘development arc’ of significant milestones, linked to each character’s personal journey from nobody to nightmare.

Unlike more ‘heroic’ games, Henchmen is not predicated on PCs succeeding on their various errands and missions.  Success might be achieved of course, but often failure, disaster and doom must be coped with, blame must be deflected and whatever credit is left must be seized.

The Evil Organisation is a unique Fate Fractal for Henchmen, with its own aspects, skills, Fate points and perks.  You might even think of the PCs as its stress boxes, since it will expend them to protect itself from consequences.”

Wanna-lancer Reward Levels:

“Recruited to Evil / Master of Evil / Master of Good
Pledge £100 ($129) or £150 ($193) depending on reward level 

Work with our team to design a Henchman/an evil organisation/an opponent for the Henchmen to join our existing examples. Cast yourself, a friend or a favoured character as…

Includes:

  • Credit as a Contributing Designer”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Want to be the villain? This setting is founded to be the stage for that idea as you play the no-goodniks! Canterbury Games Studio is offering several options to create NPCs or an evil organization for their FATE-based setting; so, if creating enemies using FATE is your idea of fun, Canterbury Games has you covered.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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6) IDENTECO Core Rule Book by Humanoid Games
Ends on Thu, September 28 2017 1:00 PM EDT.

“A new cyberpunk-themed tabletop roleplaying game where your identity has become the most valuable commodity on the planet.

IDENTECO

IDENTECO is a game about the struggle to define humanity and retain identity in the highly digital era known as “The Static Age.” Corporations hold more power over the people in the world. They have created ways to monetize and commoditize a person’s identity using massive data farms and social engineering hacks to influence everyday life. Through carefully crafted marketing and slick branding, the Corps don’t force their will onto people, as much as they enforce their worth in people’s minds.

You play a character trying to survive in the Static Age, starting at the bottom and working your way up the social or corporate ladder by any means necessary.

IDENTECO is built on an new, modern D20-based system that emphasizes fast gameplay and rewards social interaction and role playing. Every interaction builds onto the story and the legacy of the characters. The more you play the game, the more you construct your character’s identity, or possibly identities. As the game progresses the thin line between famous and infamous depends solely on who’s watching.

 

​The year is 2099. The world is a much different place.

After a series of devastating terrorist attacks on America’s heartland by an unseen enemy the government was in disarray. The corporations were the only thing left to protect the populace and rebuild society. So they did. Like technocratic gods they rebuilt America™ in their image, and then used new economies of scale and political financial systems to reshape the globe. As a reaction to the attacks, the U.N. created the Centralized Human Identity Program (C.H.I.P.), a sort of universal I.D. program for the world. The C.H.I.P. is implanted in your arm when you are born and is encrypted using your unique DNA sequence. It standardized passports, medical records, employment histories, education records, and much more. It’s a sort of living history, if you will. And Corps have figured out ways to use this information for dubious means.

Now neon-speckled city-states called megaplexes have sprung up around the world. These enormous urban areas have reshaped the landscape, blending tech and corporate culture into shiny playgrounds for consumers and industries alike. There is a steep divide between the haves and the have-nots; those in the city, and those on the fringe.

Outside the cities, non-CHIPed folk live off what is left in the wasteland areas in between cities. Small settlements and simple cities act as rest stops for weary travelers and nomadic tribes. Out in the wastes, you battle beast and man to live a “free” life away from corporate influence. It’s a simpler, but no less deadly, place.”

Wanna-lancer Reward Levels:

“Pledge $150 OR $250
Entrepreneur OR Greaser

You get to work with the designers to create a custom Corporation OR a custom R.O.V. [Remotely Operated Vehicle] that will appear in the Core Rule Book, plus all the rewards at the Operative level.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

To help establish the feel of this RPG, Humanoid Games produced a prose anthology set in their world (you can check it out on Amazon here). This will give you a better idea of whether this game is for you. For me, post-apocalyptic cyberpunk presented in a variant d20 system with great art and wanna-lancer* options where I get to create a corporation and then fight it in the game has my interest piqued! Bring it on!

 

*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.

 

You can see examples of Humanoid Games’ work at Amazon here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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5) Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals by Island of Bees 

Because John McGuire has an in-depth review of this campaign on the Tessera Guild, I’m going to link it here and let you absorb his thoughts on it. Steampunk Fridays – Kickstart the Game – Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals

 

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4) Alien Bestiary for 5E, Starfinder, and Pathfinder RPG by Legendary Games 
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 12:59 AM EDT.

“A massive tome of nearly 300 out-of-this-world creatures for 5E, Starfinder, and Pathfinder sci-fi and space adventures!

In space, maybe no one else can hear you scream, but those cries of terror are music to the GM’s ears. While there are monster books aplenty for fantasy games, there has never been a truly encyclopedic tome of terrors from beyond the stars… until now!

Cover image is a placeholder. The final cover piece is out of this world!
Cover image is a placeholder. The final cover piece is out of this world!

The Alien Bestiary brings you hundreds of monsters for your space and sci-fi game, whether you play with the brand-new Starfinder Roleplaying Game or the 5th Edition of the world’s most famous RPG!

In addition, by popular demand we have added the Alien Bestiary Companion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, which is now available to bring all of our awesome new monsters and your favorites from our More Monsters polls together, with an appendix guiding you to other awesome extraterrestrials already published in official Pathfinder sources.

The Alien Bestiary is a full-sized, full-color bestiary features at least incredible aliens of every description, from tiny robot walking eyes to Lovecraftian Great Old Ones, from humanoid races both friendly and foul to inhuman abominations from the darkest nebulas. Of course, fans of the star-spanning Legendary Planet saga will recognize the fiendish foes like the savage klaven footsoldiers, sinister jagladine genetic engineers, warmongering bil’djooli shock troopers, and many, many more!

Bil'djooli Shock Trooper, by Lance Red
Bil’djooli Shock Trooper, by Lance Red

In addition, as part of our continued partnership with Robert Brookes and the gang at Encounter Table Publishing, fans of the awe-inspiring Aethera Campaign Setting will also find more exciting additions to their spacefaring saga, from the invading taur and aether-touched infused to the organic symbionts, living machine phalanx, and, of course, the magnificently malevolent kytons!

That promise of 200 pages of marvelous monsters is just the starting point. As our Kickstarter goes along, we’ll be adding tons of terrific space-dwelling monsters from across the fantasy/sci-fi legendarium, from insidious intellect devourers and aboleth to parasitic viper vines, brain-eating neh-thalggu, space-warping hounds of Tindalos, murderous gugs, lethal lunarmas, a regiment of robots, and spectacular star-soaring solar dragons! Best of all, when you back this project YOU get to help decide which monsters make the cut! Vote early and often for your favorite featured creatures as we keep adding more and more to this beautiful book!”

Solar Dragon by Tanyaporn Sangsnit
Solar Dragon by Tanyaporn Sangsnit

Wanna-lancer Reward Add-ons:

Xenobiologist: Add $150 to select an existing monster from any published source; your monster automatically gets added to the Alien Bestiary and converted for Starfinder and 5th Edition rules. We can’t duplicate creatures from non-OGL sources, like 2nd Edition space-fantasy games involving a Jammer of Spells, but we’ll work with you to create something awesome and evocative of the original! Your pledge includes a beautiful illustration to accompany whatever you create, and you’ll be listed in that compendium’s credits as a Xenobiologist and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of your sponsored creature!

Join the Space Program: Add $200 to submit a Starfinder or 5th Edition character for one of the races in the Alien Codex (or any of the standard Starfinder RPG races)! Your character will be included as one of the standard NPCs for your chosen race, and your character will be beautifully illustrated. You’ll be listed in the credits as a Astronaut Adventurer and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of your sponsored illustration!

It Came from Outer Space! Add $300 to help design a new monster for inclusion in the Alien Bestiary! Your name will be listed in the final compilation as a Space Spawner and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of the monster you create!”

Ysoki Rogue by Arrahman Rendi

Egg’s Thoughts:

Monsters for 5e, Pathfinder, or Starfinder, and you can create a monster for it, and they have art like the Solar Dragon… I know my level of interest is through the roof! I believe that this does not need any more selling, you know if you need this in your library or not so here’s the link.

 

You can see examples of Legendary Games work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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3) SideQuests II: More Easy Adventure Modules for 5E DnD by Dominic M.
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 5:02 PM EDT.

“Another collection of one-shot 5E Dungeons & Dragons adventures, designed to easily implement into your campaign setting.

SideQuests are back!

SideQuests are a collection of short adventures designed for Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. These one-shot style campaigns are designed to be compelling standalone stories that can be implemented, played through, and completed in just a few sessions. Whether you’re using them as a filler adventure between your own major story arcs, as one-offs to play with people unfamiliar to D&D, or just because you forgot to plan your next session, the second edition of SideQuests aims to be even more invaluable tools for your DM toolbox.

SideQuests II: The Covers
SideQuests II: The Covers

Each campaign comes with a variety of customization features: Adventure Hooks and Epilogues — so you can naturally ease your players in and out of each and every quest. SideQuests are designed to work in tandem with your own campaigns, so you can easily substitute anything within the modules for your own original content. Each volume also comes with a variety of role-playing, puzzle, looting, and combat scenarios, so players will enjoy them no matter what they personally value in a roleplaying adventure.

Every adventure module comes as a full-colour, beautifully designed PDF, as well as a more minimal print version: So you can either print the modules off, or run them digitally straight off of your laptop or tablet. Every module features stunning design, original artwork, and gorgeous photography.”

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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2) Dungeons & Dragons 5E Module: Secrets of Oyster Cove by Ramen Sandwich Press
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 8:34 PM EDT.

“Places by the Way #3: Secrets of Oyster Cove is a short location module for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

Welcome to Ramen Sandwich Press’ third Kickstarter campaign in support of Places by the Way. This campaign offers one last chance to pre-order copies of the Limited Edition of Places by the Way #3: Secrets of Oyster Cove.

Secrets of Oyster Cove

Places by the Way

For those of you who missed our first two campaigns, Places by the Way is a series of short modules that I’m creating for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. They work fine as short stand-alone adventures, but each Places by the Way module is meant to be a kit for creating a memorable interlude in a larger campaign. Each entry in the series consists of two versions sold separately but similar in content. One version is set in the Forgotten Realms, so Ramen Sandwich Press sells it exclusively through Dungeon Masters Guild. The other version assumes a generic setting and complies with WotC’s Open Game License. It’s available through DriveThru RPG, RPGNow and Dungeon Masters Guild, and a print version is available through Amazon and other online outlets.”

 

You can see examples of Ramen Sandwich Press work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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1) Artifices of Quartztoil Tower – 5E Adventure – Only $10! by Nord Games 
Ends on Wed, October 4 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

“An exciting 3-5 session adventure playable at any level for use as a side quest or part of a main storyline!

A town is beset by incursions from strange creatures; constructs of metal, magic, and old bones. All signs point to the mysterious Quartztoil Tower, standing tall over the mountains to the north, and thought long abandoned. Rumors of the magical secrets contained within have not gone unnoticed, however, and others are drawn to the tower by dark dreams, and darker voices…

Book Specs

Page Count: 50-60
Color: Full Color
Binding: Perfect Bound Softcover
Paper: Glossy”

 

You can see examples of Nord Games work at DMsGuild  here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Egg’s Thoughts for SideQuests II, Secrets of Oyster Cove, and Artifices of Quartztoil Tower:

SideQuests and Secrets of Oyster Cove and Artifices of Quartztoil Tower are one-shot modules for 5e. They’re meant to be insert adventures between a larger campaign. They all have a great deal to offer and could fill a hole in your campaign or, collectively, be your campaign.

I want to draw attention to Artifices of Quartztoil Tower because the art is amazing and Nord Games has produced some outstanding products. Top that off with a $10 price tag and it’s a winner!

 

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Signal Boost:

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

 

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Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.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 orwall 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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