Search Results for: wanna-lancer

Wanna-Lancer Opportunity – EN World Freelancer

This week, I’m looking at a success – I translated my wanna-lancer credits into a freelance opportunity and you can, too. Become a freelance RPG journalist through the open call on this major RPG news site. Read on for more details.

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EN World – Freelance Columnists Required!

EN World, one of the largest “DUNGEONS & DRAGONS and PATHFINDER RPG news” websites in the world, is looking for new contributors for their community-generated content program. They’re requesting pitches for ongoing 500-word articles examining RPG news, industry coverage, commentary on gaming and the gaming community, gamer-interest profiles, and focused reviews of games. It’s an exciting offer because, if they accept your pitch, it’s freelancer work that grows your RPG profile.

If you want to write about games and be paid for it, you can find their open call for freelance columnists here. Their guidelines and how to contact them are here.

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My favorite piece of art from the FirstFable Guide Book. Art by Charlie Bates

After reading about this opportunity, I pitched several column series ideas, and my wanna-lancer resume, to EN World. A portion of one of the ideas caught the submissions editor’s interest. He asked for a new pitch focusing on reviews for children’s games. I was stoked that he spotted a diamond in the rough. I re-wrote the pitch, he approved it. I wrote my first article, he had only short, helpful notes. I adjusted the article and the review, entitled Gaming at the Kids’ Table: The FirstFable RPG, can be read on EN World here.

My blog series on the Tessera Guild is about buying and building my RPG resume to move from a wanna-lancer to a freelancer. A big piece of the puzzle has been filled in with this freelance column on EN World. Does this mean that wanna-lancing is over? No. One assignment does not a freelancer make. But, it’s a positive step.

I want to thank EN World for offering this opportunity. A big thank you to Submissions Editor Christopher Helton for seeing something worth publishing. I also want to thank the Tessera Guild for letting me write here. Every article exercises the writing gears and helps get me ready for future assignments.

Thank you all!

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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!

* * *

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:

Wanna-Lancer Opportunity – Kickstarter for Sorghum & Spear

Why do I invest in RPG Kickstarters? Beyond the products, it’s to get the experience and writing credits to build a tabletop role-playing game resume. This week, I’m looking at a way to translate my wanna-lancer credits into an opportunity – a fantasy comic book series that seems designed with RPGs in mind.

[Ok, ok, ok… really, I’m looking for a way to push a worthwhile comic by a nice guy!… But there will be the potential for a RPG tie-in.]

Sorghum & Spear Art by Welinthon Nommo

Sorghum & Spear by Green County Creative
Kickstarter campaign ends on Monday, April 17 2017 7:00 PM EDT.

John McGuire did a fantastic write-up of Green County Creative’s Kickstarter for their comic book, Sorghum & Spear on the Tessera Guild. I’m a fan of the property, I’ve met creator/writer Dedren Snead at the Atlanta Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo (super nice guy), I was happy to back the project, and I’m ready to read this comic book.

What is Sorghum & Spear? Sorghum & Spear is a fantasy saga that follows a group of amazing young girls who are called upon in a time of war to become the last line of defense against the Spora; a pantheon of demons bent on destroying their people and conquering the Eternal Realm.

Green Country Creative is producing an amazing comic for everyone to enjoy while dedicating it to people of color. Through this Kickstarter, Dedren is on a mission to make the world a better place. The Kickstarter has a charitable element that gives to Project Have Hope “to empower women in the Acholi Quarter of Uganda by providing education to both the women and their children and assisting the women to establish business opportunities to promote economic stability and sustainability.

Sorghum & Spear – Marlannah.         Dedren Snead and Welinthon Nommo’s character designs would be perfect for a RPG character sheet.

In the comic book, the story is a fantasy tale of young warrior women maturing into their independence and life juxtaposed against demons and war and last hopes. High fantasy told in comic book form.

The centerpiece of any comic is the artwork. Welinthon Nommo’s art for the covers, posters, and concepts elevates this sword and soul comic series. His work has enough dynamic power to leap off a comic book store shelf and go home with a happy reader. Like White Wolf’s Vampire: The Masquerade used Tim Bradstreet’s art to define the aesthetic of their World of Darkness, I hope to see Green County Creative use Welinthon’s work as their baseline. Its kinetic imagery combined with cell shading colors really makes the world feel vibrant and the characters pop. Just the few images available through the Kickstarter sold me.

Sorghum & Spear – Namazzi.        Dedren Snead and Welinthon Nommo’s character designs would be perfect for a RPG character sheet.

The property, with its story and art style, is ready to jump medias. They’re exploring animation and Sorghum & Spear has a back-of-the-napkin plan to expand into RPGs.

Now, don’t let me put words into other company’s months. Dedren has not launched an official RPG or, as far as I know, conceptualized the game. But the Kickstarter for the comic book has already reached its goal and continues to grow. That’s the first sign there’s real interest and that can translate into additional products.

Because that’s a positive sign, we’ve exchanged a few words and, assuming the RPG morphs from thought to form, I believe we’ll talk again about what I can do to bring this property from comic books to tabletops. If all goes well, I hope to collaborate with Green County Creative on a module or other RPG options. I’m looking forward to that day.

 

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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:

Kickstart the Game – Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914

Since the start of writing words on the Tessera Guild, I’ve focused my column on tabletop RPG Kickstarters with a vanity press reward level. It’s helped me to build a RPG resume, write amazingly fun content, participate in contributing content for a Kickstarted project, obtain freelance work, get to co-write a comic book one-shot as well as a mini-series, and, best of all, get to talk to new folks across the world about gaming of all types. Being a wanna-lancer has been a win for me and will continue to be as I write articles about my experiment.

However, this week, I’m kicking off another series – Kickstart the Game (thanks for the title, John). This series will focus on gaming Kickstarters that look like they’re worth every penny and then some but do not offer any vanity press options. Instead, they make up for it awesomeness.

To kick this series off, I took a suggestion to look at a WWI board game…

Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914 by Gladiator Games
Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, June 2 2017 6:00 AM EDT

Heroes of the Great War Limanowa 1914

“Command genuine Great War units, cooperate with your allies and rewrite history in this tactical-scale war board game for 1-4 players.

Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914 is a tactical board game set in the Eastern Front of World War I, focusing on the events near Krakow and the region of Galicia in December 1914. This territory was under heavy attack by the Tsarist Russian Empire, which tried to break through the ever thinner lines of the Austro-Hungarian armies. Over two-thirds of the well-equipped Russian forces were pushed against this front, winning victory after victory, occupying city after city, gaining the infamous name, the Russian Steamroller. In November 1914 the Austro-Hungarian High Command planned a desperate counterattack, by taking advantage of what seemed to be an error in the Russian maneuvers.

Heroes of the Great War Limanowa 1914 – Example Miniatures

Players can choose to assume the command of both fighting sides, either leading the VIIth or VIIIth Russian Corps to victory or facing the enemy with either the Hadfy Group or Szurmay Group. With the help of their combat units, each represented by highly detailed 28mm miniatures, players lead skirmishes, plan maneuvers over various terrains, set traps using secret battlecards and lay sieges to fortified towns. The units are based on real life Great War-era military units, mimicking their functionality and looks as much as possible. Except of some smaller scenarios, the armies are accompanied by one or more Generals, each based on battle hardened men of their own time, coming with combat abilities special to them.

Heroes of the Great War Limanowa 1914 – Map

The Hussar Colonel Box is our all-in-one offer: it includes the base game, all miniatures and stretch goals, and a Kickstarter Exclusive, metallic Acting Player badge – a total value of £90 for the price of £70. This box is only available during the Kickstarter campaign, and won’t be released in retail – this is your only chance to get one!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Irma Dalakanitzkova pointed out this board game and Kickstarter in the comments of another article I did here on the Guild. I wanted to launch a side column that focuses on non-vanity press Kickstarters and this board game felt like an excellent start.

Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914 follows a key, but underreported, World War I battle that could have hastened the outcome of the entire conflict. Like so much of WWI, the battle had the potential to change the world but, instead, of knocking the Central Powers out of the war before 1918, it led to more slaughter, no immediate victory, and stagnation.

As a subject, WWI is the study of carnage and mismanagement of such epic proportions it is morbidly fascinating. Setting a strategy game of this quality (and apparent cost) among a war famous for its trench warfare and general lack of strategic execution is bolder than Lawrence’s attempts to ignite an Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire. By having Heroes of the Great War focus on a campaign from the Eastern Front, the creators have the opportunity to show a different view of the war with both sides moving and operating at a reasonably effective and lethal ability when engaging each other. The game offers a number of gaming options (versus, solo, cooperative) in a product as professional looking as the British Expeditionary Force at the start of the Great War.

Heroes of the Great War – Example Figures

If you’re curious about how the game will be presented and play, there are a number of video examples of what you’ll receive and how it’ll work on your tabletop. The miniatures and map look crisp and offer a view of the level of quality they’re striving for. This game has the potential to remake the perception of WWI as *just* a trench war and shed light on the other major front and the strategy utilized there.

If you’re looking for a board game that allows you to re-create history, check out the Kickstarter for Heroes of the Great War: Limanowa 1914 by Gladiator Games.

 

 

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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!

* * *

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:

Three Gaming Kickstarters You Need To Back (by May 24th, 2017)

Ever want to role-play a western? Want to make your 5e fighters even more lethal? Got a board game idea and you just need the pieces to get it started? If that’s the case, Kickstarter has a game and two game aids that end by Wednesday May 24th that are begging for your attention! The countdown is on!

The White Box

 

3) The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box by Gameplaywright
Ends on Wednesday, May 17 2017 9:00 PM EDT.

Who wants to build a better board game? Or any board game? Need the components and some pointers from the professionals? The White Box is the product for you. Get the parts you need to build your game, a book of professional essays on the subject of game-making, and make it happen!

My write up of this product is here and the link to the Kickstarter campaign is here.

Fifth Edition Fighter Folio

 

2) Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards by Total Party Kill Games
Ends on Monday, May 22 2017 12:59 AM EDT.

Want to make your 5e fighter the best they can be? Want to use ideas from a company called Total Party Kill Games that strives to live up to their name? The Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards are for you! I am proud that I had the chance to contribute some ideas to this product and I can’t wait to read them in print!

My write up of the folio is here and the campaign is here.

 

1) Aces & Eights: Reloaded by Kenzer & Company
Ends on Wednesday, May 24 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

Want to role-play in an alternate history wild west? Want to “relive the glory days of the ‘West that never was’?” Aces & Eights: Reloaded is the second edition and 10th anniversary edition “of the world’s best selling, state-of-the-art, game-of-the-year wild west role playing game”. This isn’t just the game of western shootouts, this is the game of the 1800s with all professions open to you. This is the game could answer how the west was won.

For those looking to add a wanna-lancer, vanity press RPG credit to their resume, this campaign has several options to immortalize your NPC in a supplement or the main book. You can create an original Woman With No Name and have her live out countless stories across the wild west from the tabletops of gamers everywhere.

You can reach the Kickstarter campaign here.

Aces & Eights Reloaded

 

 

 

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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!

* * *

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:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box

Do you want to create a board game? Have an idea but need the board and pieces to test it out? Looking for design ideas from professionals? This may be the option you didn’t even realize you needed.

The White Box: A Game Design Workshop-in-a-Box by Gameplaywright

“From savvy advice to myriad bits, The White Box has everything you need to start creating the game in your head.

Almost everyone who’s ever played a game has had an idea for how to make it better. To tweak it, improve it, or even build something new from its miniatures, cards, cubes, and concepts.

At Gameplaywright and Atlas Games, we think making games is awesome. We believe it’s one of the most challenging, fun, rewarding things you can do. If you’ve ever thought about making a game of your own, we want to help.

We made The White Box for you.

The White Box is a learning, planning, and prototyping tool for tabletop game designers.

It contains a book of 18 essays on game design and production, covering subjects like where to find a great concept, how to use randomness, what to ask playtesters, and whether it’s wise to self-publish.

It includes an abundance of components to get you started right away, from cubes and meeples to dice, discs, and chits.

Maybe you have a golden idea inside you burning to come out. Maybe you want to tell a story or explore a problem. Do you dream of seeing your name on a box at your local game store? Or perhaps you see game design as a path to fame, fortune, and a satisfying career.

The White Box is for aspiring professionals, creative young people, and literally anyone who’s ever wanted to build their own game without having to plunder their game library for bits.

If you believe creating games is awesome, The White Box is for you.

 

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The White Box

Egg’s Thoughts:

Let’s step away from my usual topic – vanity press tabletop RPGs and resume building – and look at a board game. Not a playable board game, but one you’ll create. If you want to construct your own board game, this is going to simplify the process by giving you all of the building blocks.

The White Box offers all the parts you’ll need to design your own game. No need to cut out pieces to play with or get poster board game maps that cannot be folded up or spend time addressing the components needed to play instead of, you know, playtesting your idea. With the White Box, you have the pieces needed to go right into rolling dice for your ideas, all in one box. Add to that, a book loaded with design philosophy and you’re ready to hit the ground running.

Like the Kickstarter says, “[y]ou have a golden game inside of you” and I agree. I have one that’s been in my head for about a year and the White Box will help to bring it into the physical world. For the price – $38 shipped in the US – you can take a chance and design that game that’s been waiting to leap out of your head.

 

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Fifth Edition Fighter Folio by TPK Games

 

Let me shift the focus from board games back to my usual love, RPGs. In this case, the Kickstarter for TPK Games’ Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards. Through my wanna-lancing, I contributed some fighter subclass ideas for this project and I can’t wait to read the finalized versions. Last week, I did a write up of my involvement here. Take a moment to check out their Kickstarter. This is going to add flavor and challenge enough to your gaming table to live up to the company’s name – Total Party Kill.

 

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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!

* * *

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:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards

One of the tabletop RPG Kickstarters that I backed and did a vanity press contribution to – Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge by Total Party Kill Games – led to an opportunity to contribute ideas to their latest Kickstarter project, the Fifth Edition Fighter Folio. Want to amp up your 5e fighters? Read on.

Fifth Edition Fighter Folio by TPK Games

Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards by Total Party Kill Games

“We are making a Fighter’s Handbook character resource and Condition Cards compatible with 5E Dungeons & Dragons.

Fight for glory… fight for honor… but know HOW to fight!

Total Party Kill Games presents The Fighter Folio, a player and GM sourcebook compatible with the fifth edition (5E) of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game. Also included is a gorgeous set of our 5E condition cards, giving you four of every condition, including the ones from TPK’s hugely popular Fifth Edition Options title.”

Preview of Fifth Edition Fighter Folio Pages 11 and 12

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

TPK Games 5e Products

Total Party Kill Games has a list of 5e products. The one I’m most familiar with is Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge. This adventure was a hard slog that was well worth the price of admission. That is what TPK Games is known for, hard fights, no cakewalks.

I had the chance to contribute some magic items to Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge. Those items led to an invitation to contribute sub-classes to the Fifth Edition Fighter Folio. I was honored to be allowed to contribute to both products. With their latest Kickstarter, I expect the Fifth Edition Fighters Folio to add a new level of challenge to 5e.

While I am biased (I had a lot of fun working on both projects), I recommend checking out Fifth Edition Fighter Folio & Condition Cards by Total Party Kill Games. I am ready to add the finished product to my gaming table.

 

 

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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!

* * *

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:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Alternity 2017 and Green Ronin Publishing Talent Search

Ready to design a planet? Seriously, a planet. Your business card could read, “[INSERT NAME], Planetary Architect and Wanna-lancer”. If that, or trying out for Green Ronin Publishing’s female-centric RPG talent hunt, appeals to you, read on.

Alternity from Sasquatch Game Studio

Alternity 2017 – A Science Fiction Roleplaying Game by Sasquatch Game Studio LLC
Kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday, May 4 2017 11:59 PM EDT.

“A modular Science Fiction Tabletop Roleplaying game limited only by your imagination. Choose your future!

Alternity is back—and it’s better than ever!

Strange new worlds and deadly aliens? Mercenaries for hire? Post-apocalyptic survival? Explore your favorite visions of sci-fi adventure in the new Alternity Science Fiction Roleplaying Game from Sasquatch Game Studio.

Many Worlds, One Game: The Alternity Core Rulebook includes a wealth of campaign-building guidance and a modular rules design so that you can model your favorite SF setting or create your own. We’re also launching with one “pre-built” setting, our Protostar universe . . . but we’ve got plans for more worlds if you want ’em! We plan to unlock at least one more setting through our stretch goals for the project.

Alternity Rule Books

What’s your future?

In 1997, Bill Slavicsek and Richard Baker created the original Alternity game—a powerful tabletop RPG engine for science fiction adventure across a wide range of genres. Now, twenty years later, Sasquatch Game Studio is creating a new sci-fi RPG inspired by the original game. We’re rebuilding the game mechanics to take advantage of 20 years of advancement in the art of game design. We’re marrying bold new ideas and exciting new subgenres to the original scope and vision of the Alternity game. And we’re bringing it all together in a convenient, full-color, handsomely illustrated Core Rulebook with supporting adventures and sourcebooks.

But don’t wait for the Kickstarter to finish! A Beta Test release of the Alternity game is currently available as a free download on DriveThruRPG! The Beta release includes an overview of the rules, an introductory scenario, and a sample adventure. We’ll be collecting feedback from testers and backers throughout the coming weeks to make Alternity awesome!

Want to see more about the development process? Visit our website at: http://www.sasquatchgamestudio.com/Alternity and check out our Alternity Design Blogs!

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Alternity or Primeval Thule? Alternity is going to look amazing!

Sasquatch Game Studio is the design team behind the Primeval Thule Campaign Setting and the Princes of the Apocalypse campaign adventure for 5e. Our Alternity team includes the creators of the original game published by TSR. You can learn more about us and our products at www.sasquatchgamestudio.com.”

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Egg’s Thoughts:

Sasquatch Game Studio, the designers behind Primeval Thule Campaign Setting, produced the first vanity press purchase I participated in. That setting – best described as Conan meets Cthulhu – stands tall among the 5e products I’ve bought along the way. The quality of their production (writing, direction, and art) is second to none.

Using Primeval Thule as a guide post, I think Alternity will be one of the best sci-fi products available. Being a new, wholly original iteration of the original TSR game, Alternity will provide both a retro-fix and break new ground.

As an added bonus, they have a vanity press pledge level that allows you to name and design a planet for their Protostar Mission Guide, the first campaign setting for Alternity. Ever had a whole sci-fi planet you wanted to design? Here’s your chance to do that and work with some of the top talent in the RPG industry. Based on my experience, I cannot recommend this enough.

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Green Ronin Publishing’s Talent Search Submissions are open!

“This is just one part of Green Ronin’s larger and ongoing diversity initiative. In this specific case, we’re interested in hearing from women-identified and non-binary individuals with a passion for dark fantasy. What we’d like to see are writing samples that illustrate a grasp of the elements typically involved in RPGs: rules design, world-building/setting write-ups, character profiles, and fiction vignettes, as well as writing that aims to hybridize these elements. Familiarity with the Lost Citadel property is not a requirement at this stage.

We will be accepting your submissions from today until May 15th and the winner will be announced to the public as part of our Lost Citadel Kickstarter on June 6th.

  • Submissions should be no longer than 3,000 total words.
  • Submissions should be sent with an introductory email that includes your name and contact information; during the evaluation stage we will be stripping the submissions of identifying information and assigning each a code number as part of a blind reading so they can be judged without regard to name, existing reputation (or lack thereof), or anything other than the quality of the work.
  • Submissions should be saved as a document file and sent as an email attachment to lostcitadelrpg@greenronin.com. Don’t worry about heavy formatting, tone-appropriate font choices, or other stylistic flourishes.

While the setting is dark fantasy and its core expression will be in 5E, you are NOT required to adhere to those specifics in your submissions. We welcome submissions featuring mechanics from any edition, or those for our in-house system (AGE), or even those featuring other popular systems you feel might be dark fantasy-appropriate.

Green Ronin Publishing – Lost Citadel

Keep in mind that this is not a math test disguised as a talent search. While submitting a well constructed Pathfinder stat block may be acceptable, it doesn’t go very far toward showcasing one’s talent and/or ability as a writer, only one’s ability to do math. Remember, the idea is to make a strong impression with your writing.

By submitting your work for evaluation, you represent that you are the sole author of the material being submitted, agree that Green Ronin and its agents have the right to read your submissions for the purposes of this search, and acknowledge that Green Ronin is under no obligation to use, buy, license, or adapt your talent search submission for any other use.”

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Egg’s Manplanation:

Green Ronin Publishing is a Top Five RPG publisher. To be picked by them during this talent search would be a career jumpstart. Add to that, they’re targeting the expansion of the RPG industry by getting more women behind the keyboard. If you meet the above criteria and want to test out the freelance RPG waters, this is the talent hunt for you.

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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!

* * *

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:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Underworld Races & Classes

Playing in the subterranean underworld in 5e or Pathfinder? Need some more races (monsters), societies, and classes? AAW Games has the Kickstarter for you!

Underworld Races & Classes – Funglet

Underworld Races & Classes — 5th Edition & Pathfinder RPG by AAW Games
Kickstarter campaign ends on .

Help us put our Underworld Races & Classes into a massive tome with new racial traits, feats, archetypes, magic items, and spells!

The Underworld Races & Classes tome for 5th Edition and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (two separate books) includes devious drow, deep mining svirfneblin, psychedelic funglets, beautiful, semi-crystalline colliatur and more: a total of 14 new races and over 25 classes clocking in at 250+ pages!

In 2014 AAW Games released the ENnie Award nominated Rise of the Drow mega-adventure along with various source books, injecting a huge dose of the wonder of spelunking back into the deep realms of the games we all know and love.

Critical acclaim and fan demand prompted the creation of individual books, featuring new races and classes born from the darkness and alien splendor of the caves below as well as detailed notes on the cultures and histories of these proud people. 

The frontier of the deep, its black horizons with their phosphorescent lights, deserves unique heroes and villains to populate the crystal-studded caverns, black subterranean lakes and mushroom jungles.

Using feedback obtained from numerous fans, play-testers, and reviewers we have completely revised and expanded upon all of our races & classes and combined them into one rock-solid volume for each system, suitable as darker, weirder and more insidious companions to your Pathfinder RPG and 5th Edition core books.

 

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Underworld Races & Classes – 5e Layout

Underworld Races & Classes – Pathfinder Layout

 

Looking at these layouts, AAW is clearly thinking about how the source systems should be presented and not doing a simple copy and paste with only the stats tweaked.

Underworld Races & Classes – 5e and Pathfinder Cover Mock-Ups

 

While this Kickstarter does not feature any vanity press options (my usual barometer for pledging for RPG Kickstarters), I’m featuring it because:

  • it offers more races and classes – all of them specific to the underworld – to expand your game. The art and the write ups look great and you can’t – CAN’T – go wrong with fungus folk! [EDITOR’S NOTE – Mileage may vary on one’s love of fungus-based PCs… and fungus-based players.]
    • 14 Underworld Races
    • Detailed discussions of each of the race’s society and interactions
    • 25+ Underworld Classes
    • Additional Drow Domain Details (AD&D&D?)
  • I had an opportunity to do an early review of the Kickstarter and offer suggestions on it. The version of the Kickstarter that is posted now is more dynamic than the first two versions I read and better showcases the products that they are offering. Add to that it was funded in the first hour and you’ll realize that AAW games is knocking these books out of the park.

This is basically the Underworld Player’s Handbook and any campaign set underground will benefit from this resource.

 

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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:

Three RPG Kickstarters You Need To Back (by March 31st, 2017)

Looking for adventures, or maps, or a whole new tabletop RPG experience? Want to create an emotion-driven supervillain, or a weird magic item, or a custom dungeon map? Well, Kickstarter has three tabletop role-playing games that end this Friday, March 31st that cover all of that and more. The countdown is on!

3) Trinity of Awesome Returns! by Kort’thalis Publishing

Ends on Friday, March 31 2017 12:01 AM EST.

Get three adventures (one fantasy, one 80s sci-fi, and one pulp horror) for $7 or get the adventures and write content for them for $17. This Kickstarter is funded and close to reaching its first stretch goal! Want more details on the vanity press option, click here.

Trinity of Awesome Returns Art

2) Sensational: A Superpowered RPG where Empathy Matters by Thomas Constantine Moore

Ends on Friday, March 31 2017 3:48 PM EST.

A full superhero tabletop role-playing game for $5 or create content for it starting at $20. The core mechanic – your character’s powers are based on their emotional state – is destined to inspire in-character role-playing at the gaming table! Funded and working on the stretch goals! Looking for a more details on how Hulk Mad = Hulk Smash? Click here.

1) The Big Book of Maps (for Tabletop Roleplaying Games) by Justin Andrew Mason 

Ends on Friday, March 31 2017 10:oo PM EST.

Over 150 RPG fantasy maps served up three ways (several GM and player versions) starting at $10 or get a map commissioned for $80 (with lots of options in-between). Fully funded and wrecking stretch goals (adding sets of map icons)! This one may cover every lair and encounter your party will crawl for the foreseeable future. Need to see some samples and a little more detail on the custom map? Click here.

The Big Book of Maps

If you have the spare coin and love tabletop RPGs or, if you’re like me and building a RPG resume to jump from wanna-lancer to freelancer, these offer golden opportunities!

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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!

* * *

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:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Sensational: A Superpowered RPG where Empathy Matters

Want to make a supervillain? Want to have others play your villain and use her/him/it in their adventures? Want to see your villain published in a new tabletop role-playing game? Want to be credited for it? If you answered yes to any of these, read on.

Sensational: A Superpowered RPG where Empathy Matters by Thomas Constantine Moore
Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, March 31 2017 3:48 PM EST.

You’re a 19-year-old runaway in an unfamiliar city. You have superpowers–but you can only use them when you’re happy. So yeah… you might be screwed.

Jump into a superhero RPG unlike any other, where your character’s powers can only be accessed through a specific emotion. Lift cars over your head, heal your friends, punch holes in the Moon, but only if you’re sad, or sickened, or surprised.

* * *

Pledge $25 or more

The Hole You Punched in Your Wall

You were so angry, you decided to make a supervillain about it.

INCLUDES:

  • Name and Design a Canon Villain in the Core Setting
  • ‘Backer’ Credit in Core Rulebook
  • PDF of Core Rulebook
  • Digital Shout-Out on Twitter

Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions

Name and Design a Canon Villain in the Core Setting: You can choose the name of a villain, as well as their power set, background, characterization, etc. The villain will appear in the Setting chapter of the Core Rulebook, and you will be credited by it. This includes a half-hour video chat meeting with me to discuss your villain’s design, probably in June.

Stretch Goal Note: If this campaign reaches $2,000 or more in funding, then it will unlock the Villain Illustrations.

I will commission illustrations of all the canon villains as well. Same deal if you chose the “The Hole You Punched in Your Wall” Pledge Level.

* * *

Pledge $30 or more

Your Support Network

Without people like you, it would be really hard to get through the day.

INCLUDES:

  • Name and Design a Canon Faction in the Core Setting
  • ‘Backer’ Credit in Core Rulebook
  • PDF of Core Rulebook
  • Digital Shout-Out on Twitter

Name and Design a Canon Faction in the Core Setting: You can choose the name of a faction, as well as its purpose, notable members, power structure, and logo. The faction will appear in the the Setting chapter of the Core Rulebook, and you will be credited by it. This includes a half-hour video chat meeting with me to discuss your faction’s design, probably in June.

* * *

Thomas Constantie Moore Character Sheet

Egg’s Thoughts:

For $25, you name a villain, create their powers, design them (emotionally and physically), have a call with the creator of the game, and, possibly, be a part of a custom illustration of the character. If you want to do a whole faction, it’s $30. For the money, it’s an amazing deal.

For my quest to become a role-playing game freelancer and my RPG resume, this adds another unique gaming system, puts me on the ground floor with a new publisher, and lets me unleash a villain on the world of Sensational. This is a good opportunity no matter how I slice it.

Let’s talk about the system and its unique feature. Thomas Constantine Moore is thinking beyond the dice to create a system that pushes role-playing over stat min/max-ing. He’s matching superpowers to emotional states. Hulk Mad = Hulk Smash! It’s easy to equate anger to punching harder. But what if you expanded on that ala Geoff Johns’ take on the Lantern Corps of the DC comic universe? The DC Green Lantern idea matched colors to emotions and created factions for each color/emotion. Sensational will match emotions to powers levels so the deeper the character is into the emotion – the more emotional that the player plays the character – the more powerful they’ll be. The concept speaks to me.

Egg Whine! Egg Most Powerful Whiner of Them All!

(John McGuire and J Edward Neill can testify to that in court.)

I think this project will be fun and I am interested in seeing what the mechanics he creates look like. Out of the gate, his system is about emotions and his pitch and rewards have put a smile on my face so that tells me he’s on the right path.

* * *

I gotta shout out Thomas’ website. His resume is a character sheet (storyteller system). $#%&ing genius. When I re-do my bio, it’s because his idea was too good to not mimic.

 

* * *

 

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!

 

* * *

 

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:

Vanity Press: Resume Credit – Deep Magic 9: Ring Magic

We can all agree that your resume should be factual and that every experience listed on it should be able to be corroborated. For tabletop role-playing games, verification generally requires opening a book to find your name. However, occasionally there are too many contributors to itemize on a project and your role – playtester in this week’s instance – is not spelled out. Not to denigrate playtesting or playtesters, but the heavy lifting of RPG is the design, development, editing, and art. From that perspective, not listing the playtesters is acceptable. However, since I am building a RPG resume, the credit has meaning for me. Thus, this article is my corroboration.

Deep Magic 9 – Ring Magic

Deep Magic 9: Ring Magic by Kobold Press
Available for purchase here or as a stretch goal reward from the Midgard Campaign Setting Kickstarter

Their Pitch:

Deep Magic of the Dwarf-Rings!
Since the dawn of the world, dwarven smiths have fashioned rings of surpassing beauty—but it is not for the sake of beauty alone that these rings are made. There is power in them, which can be unlocked by the wise. Ring magic practitioners channel their magic through these rune-etched metal bands, increasing the devastation wreaked upon their foes; and can even imbue them with spells that someone else can unleash later.

Deep Magic: Ring Magic brings the secrets of ring magic into your 5e campaign, featuring:

  • New ring magic feats, and a new Ring Warden arcane tradition
  • 12 new spells, including enchant ring, curse ring, and create ring servant (with monster stats for this new construct), and more!
  • New magic items: molten fire forge, oathbound ring, warden’s link, and Karrek’s Bastion
  • The history of ring magic, the dwarves who are its masters, and the secrets of their legendary stronghold

Deep Magic 9 – Ring Magic: The Ring Warden

Journey deep within the earth, to places where molten rock flows like rivers, and the sounds of hammers never cease. Here you will find the true power of the rings—learn their ways, and use them wisely and well.

What Egg Did:

I playtested the Ring Warden, an arcane tradition for the wizard class in 5e. I received an early version of the subclass, made a character, leveled it through a few adventures, and provided feedback. The most rewarding part of this experience was comparing the playtest version to the printed version to understand the evolution of the concept that the designer went through.

Egg’s Thoughts:

The book has a new subclass, related feats, spells, magic items, history, and a monster that is so integrated into this arcane tradition that it creates its own story. It touches on how this is dwarven magic, a corner of fantasy that is rarely delved into. This type of sourcebook is composed of parts that tie together and create a greater whole. Deep Magic 9: Ring Magic will inspire amazing characters, backstory-related adventures, and good nights around the gaming table.

The Ring Servant

This book was designed by Dan Dillon. I read his comments on social media frequently, and have reached out for his feedback once or twice. In every instance, he proves to be a knowledgable and friendly gamer. He has a clear understanding of the 5e ruleset and can explain the rules and the logic behind them in short, easy to understand morsels. Add to that impressive skill a list of products that are well thought out with potential stories threaded throughout and you have a RPG writer worth following. I appreciate what he designed on this project – an inspiring slice of Midgard.

This is an excellent book and I’m proud to add this one playtester credit to my tabletop RPG resume.

 

* * *

 

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!

 

* * *

 

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:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – The Big Book of Maps (for Tabletop Roleplaying Games)

The treasure? Tabletop RPG freelance work.
The Indiana Jones? Lil’ Egg Embry. [NOTE – I weigh, like, five Harrison Fords. There ain’t no whip ever made that’s strong enough for me to swing on!]
The map? This blog series about building my RPG resume with credits from projects like The Big Book of Maps (for Tabletop Roleplaying Games) on Kickstarter.

What vanity press options does a book of maps offer? Read on to see!

 

The Big Book of Maps (for Tabletop Roleplaying Games) by Justin Andrew Mason 
Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, March 31 2017 10:oo PM EST.

 

A cartography collection of more than 130 full-color full-page tabletop roleplaying game maps w/ high-resolution + VTT-ready versions.

Here’s your chance to get a collection of full-color, full-page (8.5″ x 11″) high-resolution (600 dpi) tabletop RPG maps (including VTT-ready digital versions) for less than 14¢ each!

The Big Book of Maps – Cavern Map by Justin Andrew Mason

  • Need a treasure trove of maps at the ready for the adventure or campaign you’re writing?
  • Want a ready-to-use codex of over 130 maps to utilize on-the-fly when player characters take an unexpected turn?
  • Each map has a VTT version and two non-VTT versions (Player version and GM version). A great solution for “discovered” treasure maps.
  • All maps are formatted in high-resolution digital format perfect for importing into your favorite Virtual Tabletop (VTT) platform!
  • All of the digital maps make beautiful poster-size print maps scaled for use with tabletop miniatures. Check out this update for more info and a demo of a poster map!
  • Labels on the maps are language-ambiguous (numbers and single letters only), making the entire map collection useful no matter the native language of users.

The Big Book of Maps – Crypt Map by Justin Andrew Mason

The Big Book of Maps is a cartography collection of more than 130 full-color tabletop role-playing game maps that is being created by Justin Andrew Mason. These maps are being created on a twice-weekly basis throughout the creation phase of the project (April 2017 – March 2018).

Each map will be provided to those who pledge $20 (or more) in digital format (JPG) for integration into any tabletop RPG with alternate virtual tabletop (VTT) versions provided simultaneously with each map release.

Most maps will be geared towards a fantasy setting, though a few will likely have potential of crossing genres. The focus of this collection will be dungeon maps, but may include various subterranean complexes, crypts, tombs, castles, caverns, tunnels, mines, etc.

* * *

Update #4 – Thanks to Supporting Bloggers, Podcasters & Channel Managers!

As a way of showing thanks to all the webmasters, bloggers, podcasters, and video channel managers helping to get the word out about this project, I’ve decided to offer free advertising in The Big Book of Maps (for Tabletop Roleplaying Games) PDF release. This free advertising will be via a section of 4.25” x 2.75” block ads. This section will accompany our backer “Thank You” page in the back of the PDF.

The Big Book of Maps Banner Ad

Their vanity press rewards:

The Big Book of Maps – Dungeon Map by Justin Andrew Mason

$50 (Early Bird) or $80 

Your Own Custom Map

The cartographer will create one completely custom full-color, full-page (8.5″ x 11″) dungeon map to your specifications along with a special VTT version. These custom maps will also be included inside the PDF & print versions of the book. You also retain the non-exclusive rights to utilize the map created for you (royalty-free) in your own personal or professional projects. These custom maps will be created as time allows throughout the creation phase of the project and will be done in the order of first pledged. The cartographer reserves the right to refuse to make specific elements on any map (the map must be PG-13 and suitable for inclusion in this collection). Backers at this pledge level will receive their map in digital format (including VTT-ready version). This limited pledge level also includes everything provided by the $20 pledge level.

• Custom Map Design
• Digital Map Downloads (weekly releases)
• PDF of Completed Book
• Print Book at Production Cost + Shipping
• Map Icon Packs (when unlocked)
• Your name in the book’s “Thank You” section.

My initial sense is to regard these custom maps as commission works, and thus credit backers custom maps as “Commissioned by…” – From the first update.

* * *

The Big Book of Maps – Hideout Map by Justin Andrew Mason

Egg’s Thoughts:

Over 130 maps (and counting). 1 map that I’ll be credited with a “Commissioned by…” to add to my resume. That commissioned map can be re-used in my publishing. And by doing this blog that you are reading, the Tessera Guild will get a free ad that will be seen by everyone that gets the PDF of these maps (over 400 backers and counting). I could have been eaten by a zombie, have no brains left, and still pull the trigger on this deal, it is a no-brainer.

This sells itself. I’m in and the hardest decision I have left is what map do I want?

 

 

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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!

 

 

* * *

 

 

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:

Tessera Guild at the Atlanta Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo 2017 – March 11 and 12

Come meet the members of the Tessera Guild at the third annual Atlanta Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo on March 11th and 12th, 2017.

North DeKalb Mall in Decatur, GA. Admission is free.

Robert Jeffrey IIJohn McGuire, and Egg Embry, along with Sir Leland Beauchamp, will host four panels over the two days:

 

I AM BlackSci-Fi.com
Saturday, March 11th from 3:00 to 3:50 EST

Hosted by Robert Jeffrey II as well as William Satterwhite

“Since its inception BlackSci-Fi.com’s goal has been to be “the premier site for the latest updates on Sci-Fi, Sci-Fact and Fantasy entertainment, news, people, places, and events and the measure of their impact on the African-American community, while also seeking to inform and inspire the imagination of individuals who aspire to live beyond the boundaries of everyday life”

Join Editor-in-Chief Robert Jeffrey II, and contributing writer William Satterwhite as they discuss the in’s and out’s of working for BlackSci-Fi.com, the websites goals and future plans, while touching on the general state of Black speculative fiction.”

 

You wrote something. Now what?
Saturday, March 11th from 5:00 to 5:50 EST

Hosted by Robert Jeffrey II as well as Bobby Nash and Milton Davis

“Join writers Bobby Nash, Milton Davis, and Robert Jeffrey as they discuss what happens after (or during) writing a book (novel, comic, short story, etc). Enjoy this insightful look into each writers path to becoming a published author followed by a Q&A session.”

 

John McGuire co-hosting: Freelance Writing and the 9 to 5

Freelance Writing and the 9 to 5
Sunday, March 12th from 3:00 to 3:50 EST

Hosted by John McGuire, Robert Jeffrey II as well as Nicole Kurtz, and William Satterwhite

“The Ups, the Downs, and Everything Between
By day, mild-mannered 9 to 5-er, but by night they create worlds! Join freelance writers as they discuss keeping a balance between the daily rigors of their 9-5s and writing careers.”

 

Sir Leland Beauchamp co-hosting: Dice, Kickstarter, Cash-in

Dice, Kickstarter, Cash-in
Sunday, March 12th from 12:00 to 12:50 EST

Hosted by Egg Embry and Sir Leland Beauchamp

“Role-play, write-up, and crowdfund your RPG adventures!
Have an original adventure, series of monsters, or tabletop game? Interested in crowdfunding its publication? Join Egg Embry and Leland Beauchamp for a a beginner’s guide to monetizing your tabletop RPG products. We’ll create a D&D creature to take through a hypothetical Kickstarter (idea to pitch to funding to production to delivery to what comes next).”

 

Egg Embry co-hosting: Dice, Kickstarter, Cash-in

For directions to North DeKalb Mall and this free convention, visit the ASFE website here.

 

 

* * *

 

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

 

 

* * *

 

 

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:

A Thought for Today – Seventeen Years The Wolverine

Welcome to A Thought for Today, a knockoff… er, homage of J Edward Neill’s A Thought for Every Thursday.

Every so often we’ll pose a question (or several) regarding a specific current event, a modern moral issue, or a philosophical conundrum. Instead of answering it myself, we look to you for the resolution.

It’s all in good fun.

Here we go…

 * * *

Seventeen Years The Wolverine
OR
I’m the best there is at what I do. But what I do is… play Wolverine… for 17 years…

Hugh Jackman played Wolverine in nine films. Three in the original X trilogy, three solo Wolverine/Logan films, and three from the new X series. Deadpool is the only Fox X-Men theatrical release that Hugh Jackman did not appear in (though referenced in the movie and during the promotional tour). Jackman stated that Logan (released 3/3/17) will be his final appearance as Wolverine.* For his work on these films, he’s received modest financial compensation (only enough money to buy nations) and two awards – Saturn and People’s Choice. Putting aside the money and assuming, after 17 years, Hugh Jackman really is retiring from Wolverine, what type of recognition does he deserve? In this day and age where 17 years in any job is unique, what would his service merit? If you were the 20th Century Fox executive charged with the fond farewells to Hugh, how would you express ‘thank you for all you’ve done’? A dinner and speech? An award? Solid gold Wolverine claws? Retiring the character (likely in favor of X-23)? Your decision, what does he deserve?

· X-Men (2000) – Won the Saturn Award: Best Actor category
· X2: X-Men United (2003)
· X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
· X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) – Won the People’s Choice Award: Favorite Action Star category
· X-Men: First Class (2011)
· The Wolverine (2013)
· X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
· X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
· Logan (2017)

*Writer’s Note – I’d lay odds that Jackman will cameo in Deadpool 2. And Deadpool will sew his mouth up. And we’ll all laugh despite hating the X-Men Origins: Wolverine reference.

* * *

If you want real philosophical questions from J Edward Neill, check out his A Thought for Every Thursday entries are right here.

For more writing from Egg Embry, wanna-lancer, go here to read about buying a role-playing game resume.

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Trinity of Awesome Returns!

There is an open call to work with the Tessera Guild. When the offer to join was presented, I’m glad I accepted. My vanity press RPG series on the guild has led to several connections that are shaping my [hoped for] freelancer future. Among those contacts is Venger As’Nas Satanis of Kort’thalis Publishing. Several weeks ago I reviewed Goodman Games’ Kickstarter for How to Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck. In the write-up, I mentioned that I do not have a mentor. Venger hunted me down on Google+ and offered to be a RPG mentor to me. That made my day, that’s for sure!

Eh? There’s another Venger? In WISCONSIN?!

In the brief amount of time that I’ve known him, Venger has been nothing but generous. He’s provided me with samples of his company’s products to research, advice on what steps may benefit my tabletop role-playing game journey, and offered professional feedback on anything I choose to share.

Now he’s pitching his tenth RPG Kickstarter and it includes a vanity press option for an incredibly economic price.

I’m all-in!

***SOME LINKS NOT SAFE FOR WORK***

Trinity of Awesome Returns! by Kort’thalis Publishing [WARNING: NSFW]
Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, March 31 2017 12:01 AM EST.

Their Pitch:

More Trinity of Awesome… fantasy, sci-fi, and pulp / investigative horror RPG adventures from the slimy pen of Venger As’Nas Satanis!

Trinity of Awesome Returns Art

[TL;DR:  I’m making three scenarios, 10-page PDFs… back it if you like awesome!  Also, some of the images may not be safe for work.]

Welcome back, my friends!

It took me a little while to get things settled.  As some of you may know, I took about 4 or 5 months off in order to devote all my time and energy to family.  Our twin boys are 3 months old, healthy and happily spitting up breast milk on my wife and I.

As I type this [2/21/17], I just got back from having a vasectomy.  That’s how committed I am to being there for all Kort’thalis Publishing’s fans, supports, detractors, and casual observers!  Actually, we simply decided that 5 kids was enough.  😉

So, what’s this Kickstarter all about then?  Do you remember my last Kickstarter Trinity of Awesome? Here’s the link.

Well, this is more of the same.  I’m creating one eldritch science-fantasy scenario (Crimson Dragon Slayer), one retro sleazy sci-fi scenario (Alpha Blue), and one pulp / investigative horror scenario (The Outer Presence).

The S’rulyan Vault

Each of these adventures will be approximately 10 pages in length and will include color covers and 2 or 3 pieces of original b/w interior art.

Sometime down the road, these scenarios will most likely be included in a print-on-demand softcover.  But for this Kickstarter, I want to focus on making them awesome rather than the fulfillment of physical books.  Sending out PDFs is easy by comparison.

If you’re unfamiliar with those rules/systems, I’ve got some good news for you – each scenario will be between 80 – 90% system neutral, perfect for hacking, re-skinning, or converting to your RPG of choice.

Each scenario is mostly going to be setting, hook, NPCs, tricks/traps, creatures, treasure, and weird shit happening.  Expect lots of random tables.  That’s what I’m known for.  Ask around!”

* * *

Their vanity press reward:

The Outer Presence

Pledge $17 or more

Infamous 

You get 3 PDFs, one for each genre/system. Additionally, your name will be included in the front-matter of all three PDFs as a Kickstarter contributor! If you’d like to submit creative content, I’ll try my best to work it in.

* * *

Egg’s Thoughts:

This will sound mercantile, but this is as cost-effective as expanding your tabletop role-playing game resume gets. For $17, you get 3 ten-page adventures for three different genres and you get to add content to them.

This could be the hard sell or this could be, “Hey, it’s $5.67 a resume credit. You in?”

Ok, let me dial back the dollars and get to the important part – Will it be fun?

Slaves of Tsathoggua

As I mentioned above, I’ve spoken with Venger a few times and he’s a super pleasant dude. He’s done a number of RPG Kickstarters and other RPG-related projects. His original gaming system is so intuitive, I can explain it after a glance at the rules. His adventure ideas are gonzo. They exude fun! Add to that, he has three settings to choose from in this Kickstarter so you can pick your genre – fantasy, sci-fi, or pulp horror – and contribute what you want to.

But don’t just take my word for it. Eric Fabiaschi wrote his own review at Sword and Stitchery. Still need something else to convince you? Try out Kort’thalis Publishing’s system in Crimson Dragon Slayer 1.11 for free.

There is no downside that I can see. Join the Trinity of Awesome!

 

* * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

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

 

* * *

 

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:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Dusk City Outlaws

Building a RPG resume? I am. To do that, normally I buy RPG writing assignments via Kickstarter. This week, I’m switching up my plan just a bit. I’m not buying a credit, I’m looking at the chance to create third-party content for a new gaming system.

Why a new system? Dungeons & Dragons dominates the tabletop role-playing game market. Since it is the best selling RPG by leaps and bounds, and has an open game license allowing anyone to write supplements for it, third party D&D products dominate the third party market. But it’s not the only tabletop role-playing game.

Which new system? Dusk City Outlaws is just coming out so the market for 3PP content is not saturated or even started. DCO content will stand out because it has no competition for eyeballs. The big fish, the small pond, you get the idea.

Let’s talk about stealing the gaming industry’s attention using a game about stealing anything.

Dusk City Outlaws Art By Joy Ang

Dusk City Outlaws by Scratchpad Publishing
Kickstarter campaign ends on Tuesday, February 28 2017 12:02 PM EST.

Their Pitch:

A roleplaying game of heists & other thievery by Rodney Thompson. Play as members of 8 criminal cartels in a massive fantasy city.

Dusk City Outlaws is a tabletop roleplaying game inspired by books, TV shows, and movies like The Lies of Locke Lamora, Leverage, and Ocean’s Eleven, where players take on the roles of thieves belonging to the eight cartels that rule the criminal underworld of a massive fantasy city. The players come together to form a crew and take on a job, planning and executing a criminal scheme and earning the respect of their peers.

Dusk City Outlaws Art By Jordan Grimmer

The game comes as a boxed set, with all the game materials needed for an entire gaming group to start playing. The game is designed to be easy to start playing, even on a moment’s notice. Once all of the players are familiar with the rules, it takes only minutes for one player to read through the scenario while the other players quickly make characters.

Dusk City Outlaws Box Set Mock Up

Dusk City Outlaws has a streamlined rules set that uses a sleek narrative dice system and player-empowering special abilities to let the players craft a story about a daring heist or a long con without slowing the game down to consult a rulebook. Everything the players need to know stays on the table in front of them for the duration of the game. For the Judge, the game’s setting is a fantasy city sandbox, and the game provides a resource system that lets the Judge easily react to player actions and providing interesting challenges and plot twists without the need for advanced preparation.

The game hits the table quickly, plays fast, and gives the players the freedom to come up with their own plan and then make it happen!

Dusk City Outlaws Art By Justin Oaksford

The Digital Creator Pack Upgrade

If you’re anything like me, one of the first things you do with a new roleplaying game is start figuring out how to create your own material for it. Got an idea for a scenario that you want to put out there for other people to play? Want to create your own cartels? Add new specialties? Hack the game into a completely different setting or system? This upgrade gives backers access to digital files used in the creation of the Dusk City Outlaws game, making it easier to produce new material that looks just like the contents of the boxed set.

The digital creator pack includes:

  • Digital files for all artwork used in the game
  • Digital files for all page backgrounds in the game
  • Adobe InDesign templates for scenarios, cartel sheets, and specialty sheets
  • Any digital templates and artwork produced for stretch goals
  • License to create and distribute for free Dusk City Outlaws content

I want you to take this game and make it your own, make your own content for it, share it with others in the community, hack it, and get as much out of it as you can. This pack should help you do so, and help make the material you create look as close to the original game as possible.

All backers can add this upgrade to their rewards by increasing their pledges by $25.

***

Dusk City Outlaws Art By Joy Ang

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is a variation of what I normally write about. My goal is usually a printed credit in a book. This, on the other hand, is the opportunity to create original content and does not guarantee a credit unless you create a product.

Because my quest is printed credits, I might have bypassed this if the minimum cost was not so reasonable, $45 ($20 for a PDF copy of the game’s many parts plus $25 for the license to create and distribute free content along with art and templates). Skipping this would be a mistake. Because this is a new product, there’s an excellent chance that any 3PP work produced will be seen by the creators – Rodney Thompson, John Rogers, Saladin Ahmed, Susan Morris, Steve Kenson, Mike Krahulik, and Jerry Holkins.

It’s a risk compared to many projects I’ve joined. This is no lock that my name will appear in the book unless I produce. This only pays off if my free content, whatever it may be, is well-received by other industry professionals and fans. That said, if it succeeds, under the smaller pond scenario, the potential for it to lead to contacts is better than many. If I can steal their attention, then this plan will pay off.

 

* * *

 

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!

 

* * *

 

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:

A Thought for Every Thursday – J Edward Should Have Written Something

Welcome to the latest installment of J Edward Neill’s new weekly series, A Thought for Every Thursday. Egg Embry is filling in for J Ed this fine Thursday.

Every Thursday (save for this one) he’ll pose a question (or several) regarding a specific current event, a modern moral issue, or a philosophical conundrum. Instead of answering it his own damned self, he’ll look to you for the resolution.

It’s all in good fun.

Here we go with Egg Embry filling in… Hold your nose and dive in!

* * *

Here at Tessera Guild, the site is like a concert with several bands. The idea is to help each other with exposure but not really write each other’s songs. The more one of us is seen, the more all of us are seen. J Edward’s body of work makes him the national band that everyone paid to see. My work is more like the local band that has rehearsed twice and has one song that will, in several months, be refined into a crowd pleaser before they break up and all get jobs at Target.

Continuing with the bands analogy, what happens when the headliner doesn’t come to the show?

Think about your next steps if you’re the local band and the act everyone cares about did not show up. Do you decide to step up and play your not quite ready for primetime set? Or step away so you’re not doing more work than the main act?

Explain your reason(s) to step up or sit down.

We Are 138!

 

* * *

Past A Thought for Every Thursday entries are right here.

If you like these kinds of questions, try these on for size.

If you prefer something gentler, go here.

J Edward Neill will be back next Thursday!

For more writing from Egg Embry, wanna-lancer, go here to read about buying a role-playing game resume.

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Midgard Campaign Setting: Dark Roads & Deep Magic

Two weeks ago, I discussed picking up a RPG playtester resume credit from Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts and Book of Lairs Kickstarter. This week, I’m looking at Kobold Press’ 5e campaign setting, Midgard, the early access to playtest materials that they’re offering, and their stretch goal that will open this campaign setting up to let anyone write and publish in it.

Midgard Campaign Setting

Midgard Campaign Setting: Dark Roads & Deep Magic by Kobold Press

Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday February248th, 2017 at 4:00 PM EST.

Their Pitch:

Five years have passed; high time to update the Midgard Campaign Setting, and add Deep Magic, adventures, and player options galore!

Welcome to Midgard’s shadow roads, traveler! The way is winding and dangerous, but the rewards are great for the adventuresome and bold.

The rewards for the Midgard Kickstarter include 3 primary books, plus a slew of thrilling adventures and crunchy expansions! The core rewards include these volumes:

Dusk Queen of the Shadow from the Midgard campaign setting

Midgard Campaign Setting for 5th Edition and Pathfinder RPG: A 300+ page volume describing the Midgard regions, from the Northlands to the Western Wastes, and from the Southlands to the Crossroads. With detailed locations, cities, rulers, heraldry, plots, and adventure hooks galore, plus full details of the various pantheons, masked gods, and dark gods, there’s enough here to fuel years of adventuring!

In this updated edition, you’ll get the expanded Blood Kingdom of Morgau and updates to Zobeck, the Cantons, the Western Wastes, and other regions. If we meet our goals, we’ll also  add the Shadow Realm and Blood Kingdom as standalone chapters, and may even open the golden gates of Khandiria… It’s a rich and standalone edition of the setting.

This book is available in both a regular cover and in a special limited edition with leatherette cover, bookmark, and stamped gold foil, plus a handbound leather edition.

Midgard Heroes Handbook for 5th Edition: Full details for Midgard races, variants, archetypes, and backgrounds—everything you need to play trollkin, ravenfolk, kobolds, and others! You’ll also get more than a dozen new cleric domains, new weapons and equipment, and Deep Magic spells and traditions such as Clockwork Magic and Ley Line Magic. Stretch goals will add even more Deep Magic to the book, plus expanded races and broader options for existing ones.

Midgard GM’s Screen

Midgard Player’s Guide for Pathfinder RPG: Collects all of Midgard’s racial lore, class options, feats, and equipment under one set of covers—plus new material for ley line magic, and more. We hope to expand it with shadow magic and other stretch goals. Developed by Paizo staff developer Amanda Hamon Kunz.

Eldritch Lairs: A series of short 5th Edition adventures written by James Haeck and other designers, somewhat like the Prepared! collection of one-shots. This starts as a set of PDF stretch goals, and it will become a print volume included with the premium tiers once the collection is big enough (it will be an add-on for Basic pledge tiers).

***

Pit of the Dust Goblins from the Midgard campaign setting

Their tenth update: Open World of Midgard

From the earliest days, the Midgard Campaign Setting has been an open world: pre-Kickstarter, patrons brainstormed elements of Zobeck, the Margreve Forest, and the horrors hidden beneath the Ironcrag Mountains. Over the years we’ve kept that door open, with an open freelance submissions policy and frequent design contests to bring new talent into the field.

Well, now we’re taking a big step beyond that. If we get enough backers on this Kickstarter, we’ll launch Midgard as an Open World on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

What will it mean for Midgard to become an Open World? Glad you asked! Like the Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft in the DM’s Guild program, Midgard will be open for anyone to use and publish locations, adventures, characters, lairs or other playable material (under certain conditions). In this case, it would cover supplements that are compatible with 5th Edition, Pathfinder RPG, and 13th Age RPG.

Midgard Table of Contents

How close are we to that goal? We need 2,000 backers to form a strong enough nucleus of new designers to attempt it; we’re currently at just over 1,000 backers, with a little more than 2 weeks left. That means we definitely need your help to make it happen. It’s possible, but it’s not a slam-dunk.

What gets us there? Every backer of the project counts toward this goal, regardless of dollars pledged or rewards chosen. That means if all 4 players in your local game pledges $1, we’re 4 backers closer to the Midgard Open World. Any and all of those backers get first peek at Backer Updates in this project, which might also inspire them to roll up some homebrew encounters or build out that archetype they’re always talking about. It’s up to them.

Why Open Midgard? The reality of a small press is that we can never keep up with the demand for new material, and we’re always scouting talent. This approach helps with both, by providing additional Midgard adventures and resources, while opening up a way for talented-but-unknown designers to be recognized. Our hope is that participants in an Open Midgard will also become freelancers who keep the setting vibrant and join the Kobold crew on future official releases. That’s the plan; all we need is a large enough set of backers to launch it!”

***

Midgard Open World

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m building a RPG resume by purchasing creator opportunities on Kickstarter. This Kickstarter has pledge levels that offer early access to playtest materials for one of the largest third-party publishers. As a bonus, if the campaign reaches 2,000 backers then Kobold Press will make the Midgard setting an open world.

What’s an open world? In this case, it’s a RPG setting that you can publish content for (with certain restrictions). Want to set an adventure and characters in the Midgard’s Ironcrags and publish it for profit? If this stretch goal is achieved, that will be an option.

In a perfect kickstarted world, I’d want to playtest as much of Midgard as possible and use that knowledge to create worthwhile new content within the Midgard setting. With every new backer on this project, we’re getting closer to my goal.

***

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer & Artist
  • Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts for 5e available at KoboldPress.com – Playtester

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – How to Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck

No vanity-press-buy-a-RPG-creator’s-credit this week. Instead, let’s focus on a publication to improve my RPG adventure module writing skills.

How to Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck by Goodman Games
Kickstarter campaign ends on Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 at 11:50 PM EST.

How to Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck

Their Pitch:

“Advice on how you can write great adventures – from the company that has published more than 200 top-notch adventures!

Many years ago, when Goodman Games was first starting out, many sage elders in the industry gave Joseph Goodman advice on what to publish. The most common advice received was: “Don’t publish adventure modules. They don’t sell.”

What we have learned since then is that advice is largely true. Poorly written, uninteresting, uninspired adventure modules do not sell.

But the good adventure modules – the exciting ones – that ones that read well and play well at the table – they become treasured memories for us all. They become legends. These adventures are the shared experience that builds our community. We remember our exploits, ask each other how a different group handled that encounter, and lament the secret doors we may have missed. We tell our friends about the climactic finale; we are in turns surprised and devastated and thrilled as we navigate the encounters. And most importantly, if an adventure is fun to play – if the game master and the players both have a blast – then we tell our friends, and they play, and they tell their friends, and that adventure becomes a community builder. It is played thousands and thousands of times. It becomes a legend.

How to Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck

This book is about how to create tabletop RPG adventures that become those legends. This book is about how to write great adventure modules – the ones that gamers can’t stop talking about.

This is the primer that every game designer needs to have on his bookshelf. I’ve been in the role-playing game design industry for more than forty years. In many of those years my products were the best selling products out that year. I learned many new things from this set of articles. I have learned things that have improved my design skills, so I know they will improve yours as well.

The essay writers include:

Jobe Bittman, Mike Breault, Anne K. Brown, Timothy Brown, Stephen Chenault, Casey Christofferson, Chris Clark, Michael Curtis, Chris Doyle, Joseph Goodman, Allen Hammack, Jon Hook, Kevin Melka, Brendan J. LaSalle, Lloyd Metcalf, Bill Olmesdahl, Steve Peek, Jean Rabe, Merle M. Rasmussen, Lester Smith, Harley Stroh, Jim Wampler, James M. Ward, Skip Williams, and Steve Winter.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

How to Write Adventure Modules That Don’t Suck

I want to be a tabletop role-playing game freelancer. I have some creator credits and experience that I’ve bought through RPG Kickstarters. What I don’t have is a mentor. HtWAMTDS is not that, but it is written by individuals that would be ideal mentors. The book promises to share their thought process for designing modules and adventure paths.

The cleverest part of Goodman Game’s Kickstarter is the updates, they’re samples of the book’s philosophy. Unlike so many projects, this one creates a clearer and clearer picture of what you are purchasing every time they add a new post.

To be clear, there are no vanity press rewards here. Instead, for as little as $12, you can get the PDF of HtWAMTDS and learn from those that have gone before and made money in this industry. Seems like money well spent.

***

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer & Artist
  • Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts for 5e available at KoboldPress.com – Playtester

Kickstarter RPG Reward Level: Vanity Press – Tome of Beasts

“I want to be a freelance RPG writer… so then, uh… why am I buying RPG playtester credits for my resume?”

Covers for the Tome of Beasts and the Book of Lairs

First, what’s a playtester? That’s an individual who puts an unpublished/untested game through its paces. They play and look for successes and flaws and communicate their findings back to the creator for consideration.

Second, why do I want to playtest something? Two reasons.

  • It’s enlightening to see how the sausage is made
  • Networking

Unlike my prior purchases, I’m not buying RPG experience for myself. This time, I’m showing that I have enough experience to improve someone else’s work.

This is my journey to freelancer and it starts with selecting the Kickstarter RPG Reward Level: Vanity Press.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Alseid from the Tome of Beasts

Tome of Beasts by Kobold Press

In October, 2015, Dungeons & Dragons 5e was 15 months into their commercial lifecycle when Kobold Press kickstarted the Tome of Beasts and the Book of Lairs.

Why did they create the Tome of Beasts? At that time, 5e had a lone official Monster Manual of all the critters to fight. Volo’s Guide to Monsters was unannounced and 13 months away. The largest resource for third-party monsters was either homebrew or Frog God Games’ Fifth Edition Foes. The Fifth Edition Foes had been kickstarted the same month that 5e launched (along with two other 5e books). They generated nearly $64,000, so there was precedent that showed fan demand. Despite the monster foes, homebrews and various one-offs for 5e, there was a desire for even more monsters. Enter Kobold Press and their offering, the Tome of Beasts.

Why did they create the Book of Lairs? 15 months into the commercial existence of 5e, there were a number of official adventure paths but not as many standalone dungeons or monster lairs. Just want a dungeon for your characters to crawl with a hook, monsters, and treasure instead of a whole campaign? Kobold Press‘ Book of Lairs is for you.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Ravenfolk Art

Let me type a few words on Kobold Press. They are one of the largest 3PPs (third-party publishers) in gamedom. They wrote the first two official hardcover modules for 5e – Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat – and have proven to be a consistently nice group of folks. Kobold-in-Chief Wolfgang Baur, hobbylancer Ben McFarland, Kobold Minion Dan Dillon, and more have decades of combined professional RPG experience creating… well, throw a dart at any quality RPG product and chances are someone there had a hand in it.

Why Kobold Press is dear to my heart is spelled out in their FAQ. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert but I think – THINK – that they used to crowdfund and, to a degree, crowdsource their products.  Effectively, kickstart their RPG content the way I blog about before there was a Kickstarter. They were ahead of the curve in a way that foreshadowed what I want to achieve. Their FAQ hints at what I’m hoping to achieve – resume building through patronage.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

One of the holes in my resume is credited playtester. Is it an important part of your RPG resume? Yes. It shows you have the skills to look at a game that is 90% to 95% of the way to publishable and find that last bit needed to make it shine. Playtester credits “prestige” is ranked by what company or project that you are doing the playtesting for. As I said, Kobold is a large 3PP so I want to have that on my resume.

Nihileth from the Tome of Beasts

Kobold’s Tome of Beasts offered playtesting and more. For this Kickstarter, I put in $180. What did I get for that?

  • Full-color, hardcover volume of the Tome of Beasts with leatherette cover, foil stamp, ribbon bookmarks, and special endpapers, plus the PDF edition for easy reference – $49.99 / $29.99 / $54.99 (Print + PDF)
  • The Book of Lairs in print and PDF – $29.99 / $14.99 / $29.99 (Print + PDF)
  • Printed pawns – $34.99 (Price from Paizo.com, currently unavailable)
  • All digital maps – $9.99
  • Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition (PDF) – $4.99
  • Cat & Mouse Adventure (PDF) – $3.99
  • Midgard Heroes for 5th Edition (PDF) – $4.99
  • Raven’s Call Adventure for 5th Edition (PDF) – $2.99
  • Tomb of Tiberesh Adventure (PDF) – $3.99
  • Prepard Encounters (PDF) – $5.99
  • Battlebards Sound Boards – ???
  • Total MSRP – $156.90

That encompasses the monsters, lairs, adventures, and sounds – the tangibles. What did I get that I can put on my resume and speak to:

  • Early access to playtest versions of all lairs and monsters for review and comment
  • A monster-design seminar with the Kobold Press design and edit team
  • Monster Submissions – All backers were eligible to submit a monster to the Tome of Beasts, and Kobold Press printed the best in the book
  • Feedback on the monster I submitted during the process and after
  • Vanity press upcharge – $23.10

I won for the extra $23.10! I got to playtest several monsters and provide feedback (the results of which I was able to see in the final product… now, whether it was my notes or every reviewer’s thoughts, I don’t know but changes were made).

For the Tome, I got to playtest monsters with several friends including John McGuire, Sir Leland Beauchamp, and my fiancee and we are all listed in the book. That’s a moment I reflect on from time-to-time, we got to have fun and put that fun into print.

Queen of Night and Magic from the Tome of Beasts

Experience-wise, I got to attend a virtual seminar with Wolfgang Baur and Dan Dillon to hear what makes a great monster and ask questions. With that education, I submitted a beast for their monster submission contest and got professional feedback from Wolfgang. I did not win but Dan gave me his thoughts and it amounted to [paraphrasing] not bad.

One of the challenges of buying credits is that the publisher has an obligation to make your submissions, whatever they are, work since you, you know, paid to be in their product. Since you are a customer, feedback from the publishers may be filtered. The monster submission for the Tome of Beasts was a contest open to every backer. Because it’s a contest, they were under no obligation to print my submission. I didn’t win but, based on their feedback, my beast had been in contention for one of the final slots. I lost because others were better, not because mine was awful. To get an unfiltered ‘not bad, not perfect, but not bad’, was encouraging.

For $157, I got some amazing 5e products. I get use out of them more often than any other 3PP I own. For $23, I got to provide feedback on a book that has gotten a lot of love, virtually meet the Kobold-in-Chief and Kobold Minion No. Dan (I don’t know his serial number… oy), submit a monster and get useful feedback that helped me to grow as a creator. That was $23 well-spent!

Vanity press RPG playtester’s credit number one complete! On to number two…

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Covers for the Midgard Campaign Setting and Hero’s Handbook

For anyone interested, vanity press RPG playtester’s credit number two is available now on Kobold Press’ Midgard Campaign Setting: Dark Roads & Deep Magic.

Want to playtest the revised Midgard campaign setting for 5e or Pathfinder? There are a number of pledge levels on this Kickstarter that let you playtest the setting. I’ll delve into the ins and outs of what vanity press options are available through that Kickstarter before it ends on February 24th. In the meantime, I suggest you check it out.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Kickstarter information:

Tome of Beasts: 400+ New Monsters for 5th Edition by Kobold Press
Raised $191,431 starting October 5th, 2015

***

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer & Artist
  • Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts for 5e available at KoboldPress.com – Playtester

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Circles of Imora

Want to put collectible card game (CCG) designer on your resume? This is for you and you alone.

Circles of Imora – The Beginning

Circles of Imora by Dominik Hanisch
Kickstarter campaign ends on Saturday February 18th, 2017 at 4:59 AM EST.

Their Pitch:

Get one of the first 100 copies of Circles of Imora and become a member of the development board. COI is a brand new Card Game.

Circles of Imora ® is an action packed, brand new and easy to learn Card Game and comes in a full playable deck with 100 cards. Construct an army for survival on Imora, then expand your Deck with further expensionDecks to come. 

If you want to become a part of the final development and an important step to grow the community – then back us! We need you to achieve something big.

– Edition available in English and German.

Circles of Imora ® is designed for 2 players (Age 13 and above), competting with their individually assembled armies. Each player is allowed to expand its deck up to 60 cards. 

The game consists of successive, dependent fights. Each fight will take place in one of the 4 available skills. Additional bonus features can affect the game before, during or after a fight positively or negatively.

At the beginning of the game each player has 20 life points. After all the cards are played the final score decides who has won. If a player previously falls on 0 points he has lost the game immediately.

– the package contains 100 cards of the nations and territories of Imora as well as special cards to strengthen/ to defend your army during your fight.

Circles of Imora – Card Detail

We’ve been working for over two years to invent, create, develop, design and test the game. Now we’re ready to complete the developing process and it comes down to licence the illustrations, build the community and doing the fine adjusting in the gameplay. 

Your chance as part of the final development-Team:

  • choose/ vote for Characters names
  • choose/ vote for Characters looks
  • help us finalize the game functions
  • help us to complete the game internally
  • help us to balance the gameplay
  • become influencer for the emotional appeal
  • become our reference and test community

We wanted to put this project on Kickstarter because it’s the fastest way for us to get the game into the your hands and build a community – with your help! We think this game is great and we need you for the fine tuning, for the final development to bring it to the market. So, if a world full of epic battles, is a world you want to be part of then please back this project.

With best regards,

The Circles of Imora Team (Will and Dominik)

Egg’s Thoughts:

This project is not for the casual fans, it’s for the super fan that wants to leave their mark on the CCG industry. Literally, you either make a pledge without a reward or you add “The Developer” pledge and you help create the game. This is the future of crowd-anything. Crowdfund + Crowdsource! Take my money and my ideas!

I love it!

* * *

Their Vanity Press Reward (this their only reward level):

Pledge CHF 380 or moreABOUT $379
The developer

Become one of our developers and influencer for Circles of Imora – The Beginning. Your inputs, ideas and actions to improve the game regarding functionality, balance and fun are highly appreciated.

  • One physical Copy of the first, exclusive edition of the Card Game. Signed by the creator
  • You can create a custom Card with us – within reason (no invincible characters).
  • You can participate as VIP on our exclusive Events (Testing, Launch Partys and Championships).
  • You’ll be listed in the games credits under “Developed by”
  • First info, copy and relase dates of further extensions Decks for pre-testing and your feedback.

INCLUDES:

  • One copy of the first Edition (PDF) – pre sent in June 2017

* * *

Circles of Imora – Cards

Closing Thoughts:

If any project was created with me in mind, this is it. My blog is about buying vanity press RPG writing rewards from Kickstarter to build a resume. I’m doing this to move from wanna-lancer to freelancer. This is the first project I’ve encountered where the *ONLY* option is to be a developer. You sign up and you’re making the game.

This project is not RPG, it’s CCG but it speaks to me in so many ways! If I pledge, I get to write for it and it will expand my presence in the wider gaming world.

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – The Gods Have Spoken

When Jim Shooter took over as editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, he instituted several writing directives that can be summed up as reintroduce your concept every issue because that issue is someone’s first. I try to live that with this blog series. Every blog entry for my RPG resume building experiment has a re-introduction that covers:

  • I’m a RPG wanna-lancer
  • I want to be a paid RPG freelancer
  • To make the transition, I’m buying a resume of RPG writing credits through Kickstarter RPG projects

As the experiment goes, it’s a matter of time (needing more time to write and waiting for the time when the dots of this experiment connect) and seeing what the gods say…

To that end, let’s review the RPG vanity rewards of the Kickstarter for The Gods Have Spoken.

* * *

The Gods Have Spoken (5th Edition RPG Supplement) by Dread Unicorn Games
Kickstarter campaign ends on Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 at 2:11 EDT.

The Gods Have Spoken - Art by Justin Wyatt

The Gods Have Spoken – Art by Justin Wyatt

Their pitch:

“Twenty-eight new fantasy gods arranged in three new pantheons for your 5E game. New domains and player options that fit the gods.

The Gods

The Gods Have Spoken offers a fresh take on the gods, not just a rehash of the Greco-Roman pantheons, but new pantheons influenced by history and religions from around the world.

The followers of the Old Gods were long ago forced out of their lands and into the wild places . Today druids and elves keep the faith alive, while cults of the Old Gods seep back into the teaming cities where once they were banished. The world tree and nature are central to the pantheon.

The followers of the pyramid-building Thirsty Gods came across the sea and pushed out the faith of the Old Gods. A warlike people, they too have fallen to more recent invaders. Still the pantheons continues to be followed in many places, including the halls of the dwarves.

The Bright Gods are worshiped by the newest conquerors of the worlds of men. Their sacred number is three, and the gods of their pantheon are divided into three groups of three. Bits of the older pantheons have been incorporated into the current beliefs and rituals of the Bright Gods.

Add these gods to your world, or take bits and pieces that work best for your campaign.”

The Gods Have Spoken Art by Justin Wyatt

The Gods Have Spoken Art by Justin Wyatt

Egg’s thoughts:

Here’s the vanity press options they’re offering:

  • Make a holy relic magic item
  • Make a holy relic magic item and a saint (NPC) for one of the gods

As they stated, these are new options for Dungeons and Dragons gods so there’s a chance to create something integral to the religion. Or a fanatic.

Yeah, probably a fanatic.

Cathedral of the Holy Convergence by Sparrow Buerer

Cathedral of the Holy Convergence by Sparrow Buerer

Their vanity press rewards:

“Pledge $50 or more

The Relic Maker

Name and describe a magic item of your very own. Use your character’s name if you want to! Binky’s Staff of Clerical Cat Herding?

We’ll turn your creation into a balanced magic item for 5th Edition Dungeons and Dragons.

(Of course, we reserve the right to reject offensive or problematic names and/or descriptions.)

Receive a black-and-white soft cover edition of The Gods Have Spoken, a digital color copy of The Gods Have Spoken, and your name will be listed on the book’s Acknowledgements page. This backer level includes all digital stretch goals.

* * *

Pledge $100 or more

Saint

Name and describe a saint (or other holy person) for one of the pantheons (or even a saint-without-portfolio) and we’ll add it to The Gods Have Spoken. Name it for your favorite character, pet, and so on.

(Of course, we reserve the right to reject offensive or problematic names and/or descriptions.)

Name and describe a magic item of your own, (as in the Relic Maker backer level).

Receive a color hardcover edition of The Gods Have Spoken, a digital color copy of The Gods Have Spoken, and your name will be listed on the book’s Acknowledgements page. This backer level includes all digital stretch goals.”

* * *

The Gods Have Spoken - Justin Wyatt Art

The Gods Have Spoken – Justin Wyatt Art

Closing thoughts:

Rarely do you get to build a part of a religion unless you’re the DM. With this, you can think of a cleric, paladin, or druid that will be a featured NPC with their own relic to strengthen their position in the religion.

Creating a magic item or an NPC needs to service a setting more than anything. With this pledge, your NPC saint could be someone or something (it’s D&D, why not Saint Beholder?!) that completed a task so important for their goddess/god that they become a linchpin for the religion. This option allows for a cool, directed NPC that advances the religion in whatever campaign it’s added to.

Best of all, “Patron Saint of NPCs” looks good on a resume.

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com

Why Kickstarter RPG Vanity Press Rewards? Why Not Self-Publish?

Why am I dead set on buying role-playing game writing credits via Kickstarter? Why build a resume through paying to work for other creators? Why not, you know, self-publish my own RPG content? There are a number of options to sell third-party RPG publications: OpenGamingStore.com, DMsGuild.com, RPGNow.com, DriveThruRPG.com, Kickstarter.com (of course) and more. So why not be my own boss and dive in?

open-gaming-store-logo

I’ve touched on my major obstacle to doing more, time. I lack it so it makes more sense, for now, to do small parts of larger, collaborative projects.

Another major concern I have is being seen. I want what I write to be read. Would I develop a following out of the stone blue?

Then there’s the one my creditors care about the most – Profitability. Would I make more publishing than I hope to make as a freelancer?

Some of the answers to those questions appear in One Year on DM’s Guild, an entry by Jacob Driscoll on his blog The Wonder Waffles. In the article, he discusses his RPG sales in 2016 on the DMsGuild.com. Well worth a full read.

drivethrurpg-logo

Without reprinting all of Jacob’s research, here are the *edited* parts of his article that are pertinent to what I do (see his article for a fuller picture):

Productivity (Supply)

  • I’ve made a total of 16 Products […] Prices ranged from Pay What You Want (potentially free!) to $5.
  • These products have had about 340 Total Sales, in all, or a raw average of about 21 sales per product.

Profitability (Demand)

  • I’ve made about $250 profit for myself in royalties …
  • That profit works out for me to about $2.06 per page, or, hourly, $0.50/hour. Or, by word, about three-tenths of a cent per word.
  • On a per-product basis, I’m looking at an average of $16.19 profit per product. That breaks down to about $0.70 per unit …”

From the perspective of my vanity press experiment, there are some worthwhile pieces of information to be assumed from this. After buying two of Jacob’s products – People of the Eternal: Races of the Astral Plane and Hereos of the Eternal: Classes of the Astral Plane – and some Googling, Jacob has more experience in freelance RPG creation than I do. Because of his position ahead of me, his results are worth referencing as a roadmap for the road not taken.

rpgnow-logo

For this comparison, the most important difference between Jacob’s path and mine is our methods. I’m hoping to buy writing assignments, do a solid job and move from being a wanna-lancer that pays to write to a freelancer that gets paid to write. Jacob is jumping right into production and profit and contacting RPG fandom without working for a third-party publisher.

That deserves emphasis. He’s making money while I’m spending it. Jacob’s generated profits ($250) equal to what I spent on my first RPG Kickstarter vanity press reward ($250). He’s WAY smarter than me.

That said, I’m experimenting and that’s worth something. Testing a hypothesis has value… right? Right? I mean, what’s, ah, what’s money?

I mean, other than everything… hmm… uh, <sniffle>… back to topic…

kickstarter-logoJacob points out that, to-date, his per word pay rate (the normal measure for a RPG freelance writer) is $.003 (3/10ths of a cent) per word. While I have not jumped to paid writing gigs, many RPG publishers advertise freelancer rates of $.01 and $.02 per word and $.03 per word and $.05 per word, between three and sixteen times higher than Jacob’s current take. That said, I believe (and clearly Jacob does as well since this is the direction he’s moving) that he will grow a fanbase over the years and in the long game see more money.

In measuring his first year’s accomplishments, Jacob notes his total units sold in 2016 are 340. While that does not represent 340 individual fans, he’s been seen by a number of fans. In the article, he talks about the pricing methods he’s using to attract customers and get a greater amount of sampling. I am lockstep with him on the need for fans to see your work. It’s part of why I chose to buy onto Kickstarter projects. Because they funded, I know they were successful and that any work I do will get eyes on it. As an example, my short (few hundred words) location seed in Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e was seen by at least 850 RPG fans. No one bought it because of what I wrote they bought it for the genius of what Sasquatch Games created. In that amazing campaign setting, the fans got to see what I added and, I hope, will look favorably on trying my future freelancer work because of it.

If Jacob is bringing in a check and building a fanbase and establishing himself, why don’t I? Why am I not going Jacob’s route?

dmsguild-logo

It’s still time. He’s putting in an estimated 10 hours a week. I have difficulty being certain I’ll have that week after week. But also there’s the exposure. I believe that saying I worked on X projects is more likely to turn heads and generate interest in future works. Then there’s the money. In the near-term, freelancer work has the potential to pay more. In the end, there’s my experiment. I think that there is value in a story. Saying you bought your way into your job, well, that’s a story worth telling.

Thanks to Jacob Driscoll for writing his article and John McGuire for pointing it out to me.

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Itherverse

It’s 2017. I’m a wanna-lancer looking to become a tabletop role-playing game freelancer. My plan to get there involves buying a resume via Kickstarter vanity press options. So, what’s out there to buy?

I pledge for Kickstarter RPG rewards that allow me to write something in the kickstarted project – a NPC, a magic item, an adventure, etc. I get experience writing and build a resume while breaking into the game side of the industry. There is another side of gaming (there’s several, actually) but magazines were a critical part of the industry when I first started playing. They were the place to develop ideas, share smaller products that did not warrant their own release, reviews and advertisements for games, and they allowed gamers to connect and feel the international community. In other words, the printernet (print + internet… you get it, right? Right?! Oy…). Today, the print magazines are largely in decline. Enter Itherverse, a gaming eZine hoping to fund via Kickstarter.

* * *

Itherverse: Multi-Genre RPG Adventure eZine for any System by Itherverse.com Kickstarter campaign ends on Wednesday, January 25th, 2017 at 5:27 PM EDT.

Their pitch:

Itherverse Website

Itherverse Website

Monthly ePub packed full of pre-written RPG scenarios for use in any table-top system or game setting using our quick conversion tables

ITHERVERSE

Hello and well met, fellow Game Masters and Players of tabletop dice and story-telling role playing games. You are going to LOVE what we have put together for you today.

First, let me address the Game Masters , but I have something for Players too, so stand by.

GAME MASTERS

Have you found yourself searching high and low for pre-written, play-tested, adventures and material that will work with YOUR setting and more importantly, YOUR game system.

  • Medieval Fantasy
  • Western Frontier
  • Space Marines & Pirates
  • Gnarly Sea-Faring Pirates
  • Post-Apocalyptic Mutants
  • Super Heroes & Villains
  • Zombies
  • Modern
  • Horror
  • etc..

ITHERVERSE is a monthly e-publication (or e-Magazine if you will) that will be packed with just what you need. EVERY MONTH, as a subscriber, you receive an email link to your copy of the latest release (and depending on how our stretch goals go, we very likely may offer printed and mailed versions), but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

Did you hear me a moment ago?

These adventures, scenarios and encounters have been designed to work in ANY game setting and easily convertible to ANY game system. Emphasis on EASY!

The Itherverse motto is “It’s YOUR game, play by YOUR rules” and we’re not changing your game in the slightest, only providing you with exciting new content and an easy way to use it.

Egg’s thoughts:

Itherverse Example Pages

Itherverse Example Pages

Unlike most RPG products I have pledged for, this is not a module or sourcebook or setting. It’s a magazine/eZine. One of the “old” ways into the industry that Chris Pramas suggested in his article about breaking into the industry:

People often ask me how they can get started in in the game industry and I used to have a standard patter about it. In the 90s I would tell writers to start with magazine articles. Dragon and Dungeon were always on the lookout, and there used to be options like Shadis, Valkyrie, and Arcane. So sell a few articles, I’d say…

As Chris himself points out later in the article, that’s dated advice because “[g]aming magazines, always a tough business, have largely gone by the wayside.

Itherverse offers an old fashioned avenue into gaming, getting published in a magazine. It’s hard for me to write that what was done in the 90s (my high school/college decade) is retro, but there are elements of that time that are… quaint today. I know there are several gaming magazines that are still going but the only one I buy is Knights of the Dinner Table. I know, it’s not a magazine, it’s a comic with game magazine elements that grew out of Shadis gaming magazine. But, KotDT is the bulletproof gaming magazine – it’s a comic, it’s a magazine, it covers RPGs and nerd culture, it’s got something for everyone in the industry.

Since game magazines are not in vague at the moment, Itherverse offers something unique, a chance to be in on the magazine scene. By pledging for their Kickstarter, you get a chance to state that you broke into the game industry via mags.

Their vanity press rewards:

Itherverse More Example Pages

Itherverse More Example Pages

Pledge $300 or more LEVEL 8: GUILDMASTER

Collaborate with our Creative Designer to not only name something, but to create it from the ground up. Have a monster idea you would like to see in print? Have you designed a weapon, machine, new race, complex trap, simple story idea, or other similar item. Don’t just name it, but we will talk on the phone, exchange emails and/or web cams if necessary to put together a rudimentary concept.

NOTE: Itherverse must be granted exclusive royalty-free rights to the design concept; however, supporter will receive a co-design credit byline and a membership upgrade to 6-months. + Reward #1 through #7

Includes:

  • Autographed, 1st Edition 
  • PDF, monthly for members 
  • Contributor: Credit 
  • Your Design Collaboration 
  • Membership (6 months) 
  • Special Thanks: Credit 
  • Sponsor Credit, 1st Ed & Web 
  • Autographed Poster 
  • Put Your Mark on the Game

* * *

Pledge $400 or more LEVEL 9: SUPREME WARLORD

Collaborate but on a much LARGER SCALE. Don’t just submit one idea but work together with our Creative Designer on an entire adventure or a group of items. Discuss the plot, setting, enemy tactics, room descriptions and contents. Basically co-design an entire section of the publication, even if it is not an adventure but some other idea. We will talk on the phone, exchange emails and/or web cams if necessary, multiple times, to put it all together.

NOTE: Itherverse must be granted exclusive royalty-free rights to the design concept; however, supporter will receive a co-design credit byline. + Reward #1 through #8

Includes:

  • Autographed, 1st Edition 
  • PDF, monthly for members 
  • Put Your Mark on the Game 
  • Special Thanks: Credit 
  • Autographed Poster 
  • Contributor: Credit 
  • Membership (6 months) 
  • Sponsor Credit, 1st Ed & Web 
  • Larger Design Collaboration

* * *

Closing thoughts:

I try to frame these posts in a positive and uplifting light. And, I mean, how can I not? This vanity press pledge gives a wanna-lancer gaming credit via a gaming magazine! That’s a win! However, there is one downside:

This project opened on 12-26-16 and as of 1-3-2017, it has generated only $186 of the $25,000 goal. The chances of it funding are low (not impossible, but low).

That said, do not let that number stop you from helping out. The best part of Kickstarter for the backers is if you pledge, you are not charged a dime unless the campaign reaches its funding goal. If you want to put money in, do so without the worry that the campaign will fall short of its goal and you just paid into a project that cannot be achieved due to financial challenges. Kickstarter lets you pledge with some piece of mind.

I hope this project makes it and it helps someone achieve their goal of writing for a gaming magazine!

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com

SHORT FILM: THE BIRCH

The Birch movie poster

The Birch movie poster

Happy 2017!

In the tradition of Amanda Makepeace’s short film reviews, I am sharing and reviewing:

The Birch (2016) – Horror Short Film

Sword and sorcery speaks to me. Those never-existed fantasy worlds and characters speak to me. In my regular blog series, I write about my quest to buy a resume that will elevate me from a tabletop role-playing game wanna-lancer to freelancer. I want to enter that field because I have sword and sorcery stories that I want to tell.

Where does The Birch fit into that? [SPOILER WARNING – The film is linked below so skip ahead, watch the short and then come back for my thoughts.] The movie takes place in the modern-day UK so you have to squint just a bit to see it as fantasy sword and sorcery. If you squint you’ll see a spellbook and magic and an elemental and the enemy uses a knife and the final battle takes place in the woods. Sword and sorcery veiled by modern clothing and backpacks and streets and a bedroom.

In D&D* terms, The Birch is about a young wizard who is given a spellbook by his dying mother in order to protect him. He is being bullied and she cannot save him but she knows a secret that can. After studying the spellbook, he uses magic to summon an earth elemental to be his protector and surrogate mother.

The Birch

The Birch

If this were D&D, it would be an excellent backstory of what drove a character to become a wizard. It delves into the origin of their spellbook, their mystical lineage, what motivated them to cast their first spell and why they can never turn back from that path.

This origin story leaves open future campaign plot points. Did the boy get away with the murder? What happened to the birch? Does it still obey the wizard or is there a darker, more tragic end to their relationship. The deepest reach might be, what killed mother? There are worlds of possibilities generated by 4 minutes and 31 seconds of story. Need a bit of horror magic for the New Year? I recommend:

The Birch (2016) – Horror Short Film
Directed by Ben Franklin and Anthony Melton
Written by Ben Franklin and Anthony Melton and Cliff Wallace
Full credits and production details at BloodyCuts and at IMDb.

4 minutes and 31 seconds of horror:

*For sword and sorcery, Tolkien and Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) provide so much of the glossary.

Kickstarter RPG Reward Level: Validation – Chris Pramas of Green Ronin Publishing’s Thoughts on Breaking into the Game Industry

Chris Pramas of Green Ronin Publishing (publishers of Fantasy AGE, Mutants & Masterminds, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, and D&D 5e’s Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide among other role-playing products) wrote a post about how to break into the game industry. It is an excellent piece covering the practical ways to become a game designer. I recommend reading it for all of his thoughts.

Green Ronin Publishing Logo

Green Ronin Publishing Logo

Chris’ blog, falling at the end 2016, is an apt sounding board for a year-end review. For what my experiment – purchasing role-playing game writing opportunities via Kickstarter to build a resume and advance from RPG wanna-lancer to RPG freelancer – I want to compare the parts of his article that relate to my process as a gauge for how well I am doing.

Where is Chris Pramas at as 2016 closes? President of Green Ronin Publishing with a slew of games he’s designed and the awards to testify to their quality. He has two-plus-decades of experience seeing freelancers break into the game industry. With his position in the industry, his thoughts will make an excellent progress marker.

Where am I at the end of 2016? I’ve leveled from fan-with-a-plan to fan-acting-on-a-plan with a few pleasant RPG credits and I was invited to join this blog. With my day job and life leaving limited time to work on creative pursuits, I’ve enjoyed this year as I ramped up my skills and consistently met deadlines.

Let’s compare my plan to Chris’ suggestions. (All quotes are pulled from Chris Pramas’ article.)

Green Ronin Publishing - A Song of Ice and Fire

Green Ronin Publishing – A Song of Ice and Fire

Blogger

“[…] create a blog and write about games.”

I started buying vanity press RPG writing credits in mid-2015 and started blogging about the results fourteen months later. To spread out the blog’s content, I have not covered all of the writing opportunities I have bought to-date. At the close of 2016, I have 10 Kickstarter RPG writing credits (published or forthcoming), 1 RPG art credit, some RPG work-for-credits, 1 trip to Gen Con, and a comic book mini-series pitch approved. I’m not out of the wanna-lancer stage but I’m taking baby steps to get there. With content and a consistent theme for my blog, 2017 should be a good year in my journey to freelancer.

“This costs virtually nothing […] writing regularly is good practice.”

While blogging does cost “virtually nothing”, the route that I chose, buying RPG writing credits, does have a cost. Being financially invested heightens my interest in finding time to make this happen. It’s less about wouldn’t-it-be-nice and more about I-need-to-make-that-money-back.

The same thought process applies to regular blogging. Having a blog that runs two to three Tuesdays a month, while not a hard deadline, helps to build deadline “muscle memory”. It also makes the most of the money and time I’ve invested in these by turning each Kickstarter into a part of the narrative of my quest.

“[…] I suggest writing actual game content. […] pick a game or two that you like and start writing material for it. […] Design some monsters or magic items. Write a short adventure. Make some NPCs with adventure hooks. If you start creating useful content, you can develop a good reputation in the game’s community. This may eventually lead to freelance work.”

The beauty of buying a RPG writing assignment is being given a small, specific project to develop that you know will be published. As Chris suggests, I am developing a monster or a magic item or whatever the assignment is. However, instead of putting it onto the internet and hoping that gamers and publishers see it, I am putting these short projects into successfully crowdfunded RPGs that will be read by editors and fans. It is Chris’ advice turned up to 11.

Celltar Drumthunder. Art by Egg Embry

Celltar Drumthunder from Ember Design Studio’s Yrisa’s Nightmare and Rats in the Street. Art by Egg Embry

“At the very least you are developing a body of work that is easy to show off. If a developer asks you for a writing sample, you’ll have ready material for that.”

My plan has always been two birds with one Kickstarter pledge. Bird one is, of course, the writing and credits themselves. The opportunity to be handed an assignment from a publisher, work for them, get published, and, hopefully, open a door to become a RPG freelancer. As Chris suggests, I have submitted my published work as writing samples. Bird two is to blog about the experience and build interest with gamers for the product I’m in and the work I’ve contributed to it.

“Writing reviews can also be useful. It can show that you can think critically about games. Checking out a wide variety of game material is never wasted time either.”

Writing about the purchase and the creation process means, in a limited way, I get to review the product that I was in. With respect to these reviews, since I am not an unbiased observer, I don’t do an in-depth discussion. But, these blogs are a chance to bring up the product and cast a new perspective on it with some minor production information.

Some of the RPG assignments are for systems that I have limited experience with. My comfort zone is Dungeons & Dragons 5e. But, through purchasing assignments, I’ve added development work in Pathfinder, W.O.I.N., Call of Cthuhlu 7e, and touched on Castles & Crusaders. Doing this has exposed me to a growing list of game material, lockstep with the suggestion from the President of Green Ronin Publishing.

Green Ronin Publishing - Mutants & Masterminds

Green Ronin Publishing – Mutants & Masterminds

Freelancer

“[…] I’ve mentioned a couple of ways to break into freelancing already but there are others. Some companies do open calls from time to time. You will end up in a big slush pile but it’s a chance at least.”

In the year and a half I’ve been experimenting with this, I’ve only submitted for one RPG freelance assignment and that was under a month ago. Why did I wait this long?

  • It’s easier to buy an opportunity because, through the logic of commerce, they have to work with you because they took your money. For freelancing, the reverse is true – You have to work with them if you want their money. That means their schedule, their style, their notes, their way. I want to make sure I’m ready to follow other people’s rules before I raise my hand.
  • It seemed almost pointless to cold submit for projects with no resume. With no prior experience, I expect it would be a long while before anyone takes a chance on me. Now, I have some entries which have led to intern-esque opportunities.
  • I mention time a lot because I have very little of it that I can spend in front of a computer writing. That situation has improved recently so it is time to try these type of opportunities.

“You’ll also find game design competitions out there. You may not win—you probably won’t, in fact—but good work can get you noticed and may result in freelance opportunities. Once you get a gig, the most important thing to do is hit your deadline. If your developer asks for revisions, do them in a timeline fashion. It is better to do solid work on time than produce something of sheer genius months late.”

Through the Kickstarter for Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts for 5e, about 100 backers and I submitted monsters for consideration in their book. Twenty were selected. Mine was not one of the selected entrants. However, I did get quality feedback from Wolfgang Baur and Dan Dillon on the design that improved the monster. Dan shared that mine was in contention for one of the final two slots (as were about 20 others). I lost but, based on their thoughts, I was not hopeless. Taking their advice, next time I’ll have a better idea of what to do.

Green Ronin Publishing - Fantasy Age

Green Ronin Publishing – Fantasy Age

Publisher

“[…] The biggest game changer though is crowdfunding. […] I’ll just note here that sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo make it possible for game companies to overcome the biggest hurdle most of them face: funding. […] Just do your homework before trying your first crowdfunding campaign. There is much to absorb about the process and the best practices of crowdfunding […]”

While I’m not racing to be a publisher, what I am doing would not be possible without crowdfunding and their decision to offer writing opportunities as rewards. Without those two things, I do not believe I would have a path to become a freelancer.

* * *

I only touched on some of Chris Pramas’ article. But based on it, I’m doing a number of the right things and I’m doing them my way. 2016 has been a successful year in terms of dipping my toe into the game industry. As I head into 2017, I have more products coming out and other irons in the fire. I am ready to make 2017 the Year of the Wanna-lancer!

* * *

I want to thank my gaming buddy, Sir Leland Beauchamp, for sharing Chris’ article with me. And Chris Pramas for sharing his insights with the world.

As the year closes, I want to thank Erica and our nieces and nephews for making every day worth living, my parents for their spirit of independence, the members of the Tessera Guild for letting me play in their sandbox, Michael Phillips at Midcity Comics for all of the good conversation and motivation, all of the RPG publishers that I have had the privilege to work with and all of the wonderful content that they’ve produced, and Michael Bugg‘s RPG group that keeps me in-character. Without each of you, 2016 would not have been a success for me.

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com

Egg Embry

egg

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Egg Embry is a tabletop role-playing game wanna-lancer™ striving to become a hobbylancer dreaming of being a freelancer. Since 2015, he’s focused his spare time on breaking into the game industry. His plan is pure vanity press – build a resume by buying opportunities to write tabletop role-playing games. He blogs about the experiment on the TesseraGuild.

 

 

In the 2000s, he wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism. Then work and life overwhelmed those efforts as he bought a house, learned to draw, took on a family, and joined the ranks of responsible Americans.

 

 

Egg Embry at Fort Clinch, Florida

The responsible part led to financial stability – during the Clinton era he applied to a Fortune 500 company and has worked there since. Having economic security allowed Egg to purchase a growing RPG writing resume. His goal is to join the hobbylancer ranks of the tabletop game industry and share his dyslexic designs with the dlrow/world.

 

 

 

* * *

 

 

 

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!

 

 

* * *

 

 

His purchases have been published by:

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Island of Moaning Voices

Happy holidays! Looking for a unique gift for a role-playing gaming fan? How about giving them the opportunity to write for an RPG? On certain RPG Kickstarters, there are vanity press rewards that let you buy the option to create a non-player character that will be immortalized in a RPG product. For a select few, that is the perfect stocking stuffer – the gift of work!

Wait… Work? Hmm… That’s like a tax refund… I’m getting my money back! Yippee… sorta… So, this holiday season, the suggestion is to pay to work for a gaming company? Uh, why?

Your mileage may vary but the reasons I do this are:

  • Build a resume! My goal in buying RPG writing credits via Kickstarter is to build up my resume and experience to move from a RPG wanna-lancer to a RPG freelancer.
  • Be creative! Do you or a friend have more ideas than time? Here’s a chance to unleash just a taste of that creativity on the world.
  • Be immortalized! …at least until the next edition of the RPG system this product is written for comes out.

Tempted? Here’s a possible RPG Kickstarter with some vanity press options to consider.

* * *

Island of Moaning Voices: Setting

Island of Moaning Voices: Setting

Island of Moaning Voices by Entire Party Killed
Kickstarter campaign ends on Wednesday, December 28th, 2016 at 15:37 EDT.

Their pitch:

“An extended adventure module compatible with Fifth Edition, designed for 4-6 characters from level 1 (or more) to 10.

What is inside this book?

  • A complete adventure for 5th Edition, suitable for level 1-10 player characters
  • A whole new island to uncover and explore, involved in the history and politics of two Kingdoms
  • New rules to explore the wilderness
  • More than 20 New monsters, creatures, NPCs, spells and magical items

The Island is available as a PDF or a full-color hardcover volume of 112 pages and, in addition, you can have a 24″ x 36″ Full Color Map and a Full Color Master Screen, with an innovative system of Initiative management.

What is ISLAND OF MOANING VOICES?

It is an epic adventure that can engage groups of players for countless sessions and make them grow from level 1 to 10. It is a whole new island of adventure, mystery, exploration, struggle for survival but also political intrigue and dark plots that can unfold and develop further in the, already planned, sequels. You can immediately start to play with the pre-generated characters or use your own, even if they are not novice ones! The Duke may call it Prosperity Island today but, for the inhabitants, it is still old Moaning Voices and it “welcomes” people of all kind and powers!

Island of Moaning Voices is a 112 pages sandbox adventure for characters of level 1-10 (or more, in the sequels, if we reach certain PLEDGE GOALS) with rich graphics and original contents, set in an exotic and mysterious island. It’s an OLD SCHOOL flavored setting but in line with the simplicity and flexibility of the 5th EDITION game. In the adventure module, presented both in the inexpensive PDF version and in the elegant hardcover volume, there will be many NEW MONSTERS, CREATURES, SPELLS and MAGIC ITEMS! Moreover, NEW RULES for terrestrial exploration will let the players to use the strategic hexagonal map to discover this fascinating setting. A part for the fantastic locations, there is a surprising story and many plot twists! Island of Moaning Voices represents the frontier for the inhabitants of the rich seafaring Duchy of Belqualam, an only partially explored frontier, definitely wild and fraught with dangers. Furthermore, there is the recent discovery of a precious arcane metal whose properties are still not completely understood. The metal, called “Prosperium” to bring good luck to the beginning community, makes the Island a strategic center for the economy of the Duchy and its military supremacy over the neighboring Kingdom of Halethia.

However, the exploitation and colonization of the Island have been particularly difficult. In an effort to clean up the island from the many hostile presences, the Duke thought of gathering there a large number of Adventurers. He has been very successful in this endeavor thanks to a gimmick: since a few years ago, in fact, he organizes the FRAG FEST on the island. It is a month long festival whose main attraction is THE GREAT HUNT, a series of organized events and competitions designed to decimate the population of hostile creatures of Moaning Voices.

What of you? Will you be brave enough to undertake the journey to the Island and become a Hunter? Wealth, Glory or simply Death … what is it really in stock for you?”

* * *

Island of Moaning Voices: NPCs

Island of Moaning Voices: NPCs

Their vanity press rewards:

“Pledge €180 or more
About $191
Sculptor of Fate

In addition to Landlord goodies, you can work with us to create a main NPC of Island of Moaning Voices, with his own background, personality and traits. Our artist Domenico Neziti will realize his portrait.

Remember, it could be your player character too!

INCLUDES

  • PDF versions of the 112 pages Book
  • PDF Map of the Island
  • Hardcover, 112 pages Full color Printed Book
  • Printed Map of Island (24” x 36”)
  • Dungeon Master Screen (about 8.5” high and 3 x 11” wide)
  • Work with us to create a main NPC”

* * *

“Pledge €400 or more
About $424
Lord of the Island

Like Sculptor of Fate but the NPC you created with us will also be central in one of the main events of the plot. You will help us to shape the story, so you will really be the Lord of the Island!

INCLUDES

  • PDF versions of the 112 pages Book
  • PDF Map of the Island
  • Hardcover, 112 pages Full color Printed Book
  • Printed Map of Island (24” x 36”)
  • Dungeon Master Screen (about 8.5” high and 3 x 11” wide)
  • You will create a key NPC in one of the main events of the plot”

* * *

Island of Moaning Voices: The Great Hunt

Island of Moaning Voices: The Great Hunt

Egg’s thoughts:

Choose the Sculptor of Fate reward to create a NPC and see it illustrated by Domenico Neziti. Do the write up and, with that, you will influence this artist’s work. Alternately, you can choose to be the Lord of the Island and not only write up your NPC and have her/him/it drawn but also help guide the plot of the adventure. Along with all of the print and PDF products, you will have a hand in building this fantasy society and creating a member of that world.

With seven days to go, this project still needs to raise 87% of their funding. If you want to create an NPC, back this project. They’ll appreciate the support. If it funds, the world will read your, or if you are giving this as a gift, your friend’s, creativity.

Have a happy holiday!

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Sunken Temple and Hypercorps 2099: Wasteland

Behind the scenes, I’ve made strides in my scheme to buy my way up from RPG wanna-lancer to RPG freelancer. Still working at getting into RPGs professionally, but strides are being made all the same. The root of my plan is buying role-playing game writing credits via Kickstarter to create a resume. Currently, here are some of the Kickstarters that are offering vanity press options.

I’ve chronicled the NPC that I created for Ember Design Studios via their Kickstarter for Yrisa’s Nightmare and Rats in the Street. My guildmate, John McGuire, wrote up his experience creating a NPC for the same products here. As it happens, EDS is running another Kickstarter and they’re offering more NPC creation options.

* * *

Sunken Temple, an RPG adventure for 5e, Pathfinder, & WOIN by Ember Design Studios

Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, December 18th, 2016 at 12:00 EDT.

Sunken Temple Art

Sunken Temple Artwork

Their pitch:

Lost beneath the waves for untold millennia, the Sunken Temple has been seen again. Inspired by the works of HP Lovecraft. 

Sunken Temple is an adventure written for 5e, W.O.I.N., and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. It takes place in a mysterious range of never-before-seen mountains and is suitable for use in any setting. The module is inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft, particularly The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, The Shadow Over Innsmouth, and At the Mountains of Madness. 

The project includes: 

  • An adventure suitable for 4-5 characters of 6th-level. The playstyle is predominately a dungeon crawl, with a horrific element appropriate to the source material.
  • The temple includes several wings, each with a different feel, assortment of baddies, and their own malevolent purpose – with additional wings ready to be unearthed through stretch goals! 
  • Game stats and original artwork for several traditional Lovecraft beasties (deep one, star spawn, night gaunt, and rat thing) and a few originals of my own devising. 

Sunken Temple will be available in print, PDF, and through City of Brass.

City of Brass

City of Brass

Egg’s thoughts:

This project will have versions available for 5e, Pathfinder, and – best for my resume – W.O.I.N. That adds another system to my list. Adding to its draw, this is another project that plays in Cthulhu’s sandbox.

For EDS’s last Kickstarter, I created Celltar Drumthunder. It was fun, easy, and formed a part of a set of memorable Christmas gifts as I gave two other NPC creation slots to my buddies, John McGuire and Leland Beauchamp. We tied the back stories of our non-player characters together.

For this adventure, EDS is offering two types of NPCs, sailors or more prominent characters (captain, etc). Since this is a similar opportunity as with Yrisa’s Nightmare, let me offer Sunken Temple the highest praise I can give – John McGuire, Leland Beauchamp, and myself are all investing in it and all paying the extra to create more NPCs. The experience was good enough to warrant repeat business.

That brings us to the 6th Kickstarter update to their campaign, the vanity press rewards:

Sunken Temple art showing the reason the temple sank - Too many C[thulhu]arbs!

The reason the temple sank – Too many c-thulhu-arbs!

New Addon: Make a Sailor

With the unlocking of Voyage of the Sea Darter there is a chance for those of you who want to leave a more lasting mark on Sunken Temple to do so.

Sea Darter boasts a crew of about 20 sailors. Several of them will have minor roles in the adventure, and the more and diverse personalities that they have, the better. So, if you’d like to take a swing at creating a sailor that will appear in this finished aventure, just add $20 to your pledge.

Now, maybe you want to have a more prominent impact both on the project funding and the characters in the adventure. If you’d like to nab one of these slots, add $50 to your pledge and message me, so I know which one you want and make sure we don’t have everyone adding the same ones. For each of these that someone claims, I’ll also commission extra artwork for the character.

The limited roles include:

  • Captain
  • First Mate
  • Navigator
  • Mutinous Sailor (I’m not saying there’s a mutiny but just in case)

* * *

Hypercorps 2099 Wasteland: 5th Edition Apocalyptic RPG (5E) by Mike Myler

Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, December 18th, 2016 at 11:59 EDT in the evening.

Hypercorps 2099: Wastelands for 5e - Mutants

Hypercorps 2099: Wastelands for 5e – Mutants

Their pitch:

Venture into the ruins of civilization! Fight nuclear fallout and wild warlords! Try to survive and thrive in Earth’s atomic twilight!

Pockets of Earth are decimated by nuclear war in 1969 after the Bay of Pigs escalates into World War 3 and atomic weapons are unleashed across the planet. The alter sapiens of the world put aside their differences and use their abilities to create safe havens across the globe, saving those they can from nuclear devastation. Almost a century and a half has passed since the atomic apocalypse and through tireless scientific effort, areas of the world are becoming livable once more and civilization is creeping out to seek out life once again under the sun—though doing so means surviving in the Wasteland and many believe they were better off locked away in their shelters.

Help us make a 120+ page campaign setting source book for taking your D&D game into the apocalyptic future of an alternate Hypercorps 2099!

Egg’s thoughts:

This setting is an alternate timeline deviating from their main setting which is a variant timeline from our own. The idea of multiple timeline settings presents a campaign idea – learning the origins of these worlds by dimension jumping the PCs from the Hypercorps 2099 timeline/setting to “our” timeline to find out why the altered sapiens and fantasy races never emerged. From there, travel to the Cuban Missile Crisis to see the start of Hypercorps 2099: Wastelands before traveling to the “current” wastelands setting. There’s a nice story in seeing the cause and effect of the worlds and how the players can influence it.

Add the vanity press post apocalypse Kickstarter rewards and this is a winning setting! Not only do you get to design a wasteland warlord and/or a NPC, you also are involved in the art discussion. You will get some say with the artist on how the character(s) will look which is a nice bonus.

Hypercorps 2099: Wastelands for 5e - Cyborg

Hypercorps 2099: Wastelands for 5e – Cyborg
Samurai

Their vanity press rewards:

Pledge $250 or more
WASTELAND WARLORD

Wasteland PDF, Wasteland hardcover, 5 session mini-campaign through Roll20.net for you and four friends, and you will help design and order artwork for one of the warlords in Hypercorps 2099: Wasteland!

  • Hypercorps 2099: Wasteland Hardcover and PDF
  • Hypercorps 2099 5e Hardcover and PDF
  • 5 Session Mini-Campaign Through Roll20.net for You and Four Friends
  • Help Design a Warlord for the Wasteland (Includes Art Order)

* * *

Pledge $500 or more 
WASTELAND SOVEREIGN

Wasteland PDF, Wasteland hardcover, campaign through Roll20.net for you and four friends (minimum of 10 sessions), and you will help design and order artwork for a unique NPC survivor of your own design and one of the warlords in Hypercorps 2099: Wasteland!

  • Hypercorps 2099: Wasteland Hardcover and PDF
  • Hypercorps 2099 5e Hardcover and PDF
  • 5 Session Mini-Campaign Through Roll20.net for You and Four Friends
  • Help Design a Warlord for the Wasteland (Includes Art Order)
  • Design a Unique NPC for the Wasteland (Includes Art Order)

* * *

Closing thoughts:

Both projects will be fun to see brought to life. Cthulhu or mutants? Both are going to be fun to fight!

I’ve already pledged for EDS’s Sunken Temple. I’ve worked with them before and they are easygoing. I expect a top shelf product with plenty of extras. I’m really excited about this one! And that’s no slight to Mike Myler’s Hypercorps 2099: Wastelands. I believe it will turn out nicely as well. He is presenting an interesting world and solid vanity press options.

Both have an extra bit of win, they could be purchased as Christmas gifts for the RPG fan that has it all… save for creator credits.

* * *

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com

Kickstarter RPG Reward Level: Vanity Press – Yrisa’s Nightmare and Rats in the Streets

“If I buy my way into RPG freelancing, will I ever be taken seriously?”

To obtain a job and be successful at it, generally, you need the applicable skills for that profession and you have to prove you possess said skills. I want to move from a role-playing game wanna-lancer to a freelance writer. My proof that I have those skills involves buying writing credits in RPGs via Kickstarter. Stocking my resume with vanity press entries. But if my resume is all vanity press, will that make me a laughing stock instead of someone to take stock in?

 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 

Yrisa's Nightmare.

Yrisa’s Nightmare.

Before I dive too far into these thoughts, let’s touch on how the Kickstarter vanity press idea works? Some RPG Kickstarters offer rewards that let you submit content to their game. They offer an opportunity to write and you pay them for the opportunity.

Due to my schedule, this is ideal. It lets me write something with a low word count, typically a few hundred words like an adventure hook, a NPC, a location seed, a monster, or a magic item that will be printed and credited to me.

This is my journey to freelancer and it starts with selecting the Kickstarter RPG Reward Level: Vanity Press.

 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 

For my first purchase, I participated in Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e where I provided a location seed in their campaign setting. Another opportunity that presented itself was Ember Design Studios’ Kickstarter for Yrisa’s Nightmare and Rats in the Street.

Yrisa’s Nightmare, an RPG adventure for Pathfinder and 5e by Ember Design Studios

Yrisa’s Nightmare is a supernatural mystery set in a viking fort town. Your characters arrive, supernatural attacks happen to them and those around the settlement, and your party either uncovers why these attacks are happening or they don’t get to leave. Ever.

Rats in the Street. Featuring Wererats.

Rats in the Street. Featuring Wererats.

Rats in the Street (5e) by Ember Design Studios

Rats in the Street is a city adventure in the same world as Yrisa’s Nightmare. This time, you’re facing a gang of wererat thieves and you have to piece together the clues to stop them.

Launched in November, 2015, both adventures come from Lucas Curell the creator of the online RPG tool, City of Brass. The concept – viking mysteries – interested me but I collect Kickstarter writing credits. To get my $75 they needed something extra on top of:

  • Print and PDF copies of Yrisa’s Nightmare for either Pathfinder or 5e – $25 via Kickstarter / $25.53 (taxes and shipping to me) via DriveThruRPG.com
  • PDF copy of The Song of Aracos for 5e – Kickstarter Bonus / $4.95 via DMsGuild.com
  • PDF copy of Rats in the Streets for either Pathfinder or 5e – $5 via Kickstarter / $4.95 via DriveThruRPG.com

That extra sauce that captured my wallet was the:

  • World Builder add-on – “Work with [Lucas Curell] to create an interesting NPC for the village of Yroden or nearby countryside.
    Remember, Yroden will be released using a CC BY-SA 4.0 license so only select this option if your comfortable with that. These characters will all be included in the web supplement, and in the finished adventure.”
  • Vanity press upcharge – $15 x 3 = $45
Celltar Drumthunder. Art by Egg Embry

Celltar Drumthunder. Art by Egg Embry

The opportunity to create an NPC expanded my resume from just a location seed to a character. I bought the ability to create three NPCs for Yrisa’s Nightmare. It was just before Christmas 2015 and these seemed like fun gifts for my RPG buddies, John “Cursed Sword” McGuire and Sir Leland Beauchamp. What did we do with three NPCs? We alluded to a shared history through them.

Lucas picked up on the shared backstory and saw a clever way to use the characters. He put Kaiya Blackmoore as an important NPC in Yrisa’s Nightmare. In that adventure, Sully and Celltar Drumthunder appear as part of the supernatural effects that drive the tale. In Rats in the Street, Sully and Celltar take on some of the larger NPC roles within the adventure. The characters unite these adventures through their shared easter egg (no pun intended) backstory.

 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 

UPDATE – 2016-12-07 – John McGuire did a write up of his character and the process here.

 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 

City of Brass

City of Brass

Credit where credit is due. Lucas took these characters, saw their backstory and potential within his world, and wove them into the fabric of his tales in Yrisa’s Nightmare and Rats in the Street. The steps to bring this to life – pay, bat ideas between John and Leland, write, draw, submit, read, smile – were all easier than I could have asked for. These adventures have been delivered and enjoyed. Vanity press RPG writer’s credit number two and RPG art credit number one complete! On to number three…

 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 

To my initial question, will I be taken seriously if my resume is all vanity press Kickstarter rewards? It was a worry. Then Sir Leland* and I went to Gen Con 2016, my first Gen Con. There we had the opportunity to meet Lucas and play through another adventure he created,  Bella’s Yarn (5e), another excellent adventure. I really liked playing mideval detective to solve that mystery. For his part, Lucas was awesome. Instead of treating me like a joke because I am trying to buy my way through the door he was happy to talk gaming, and Kickstarters, and RPG websites. He treated me like a welcome addition to the community. It cured my concern.

Will I be judged for my start in the industry? Likely. Will that be the end of my quest? No.

*The “Sir Leland” reference is because my buddy’s name is Leland Beauchamp – Amanda, Jeremy, John, Chad, Robert, the whole Tessera Guild, we all know Lee – anyways, in high school, he named his D&D knight, Sir Leland. Could you imagine if I tried that? Ser Egg. Only George RR Martin could pull that off…

 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

 

Sample NPCs from Yrisa's Nightmare.

Sample NPCs from Yrisa’s Nightmare.

Kickstarter information:

Yrisa’s Nightmare, an RPG adventure for Pathfinder and 5e by Ember Design Studios
Raised $2,680 starting November 13th, 2015

If getting a NPC into an adventure is on your Christmas 2016 wish list, Ember Design Studios is running another Kickstarter and is offering two options to get your sailor NPC into the mix (see the 6th update on the Kickstarter). Sunken Temple, an RPG adventure for 5e, Pathfinder, & WOIN by Ember Design Studios
Raised to-date (this Kickstarter is still going at the time of this writing) $4,273 starting November 18th, 2016

 

***

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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:

 

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com