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.

 

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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? – 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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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

Kickstart the Comic – Grinidon: A Fantasy Graphic Novel Vol 2

Every couple of weeks I journey to my local comic book store, pick up an ever-growing stack of comics, rinse and repeat. I have to keep reminding myself as an independent comic writer, that there are others struggling to get their voices and stories heard. Many of them have turned to Kickstarter to do that. So I am challenging myself to keep a look out for any comic books that catch my eye.

There are hidden gems running around out there, they only need to be uncovered and enjoyed!

Artwork from Grinidon by Erwin Arroza

***

Grinidon: A Fantasy Graphic Novel Vol 2

from Grinidon

J. Miles Dunn – Writer, Publisher

Erwin Arroza – Artist

Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, January 22, 2017 at 5:21 PM EST.

 

The Pitch:

Before beginning Volume 1, J. Miles Dunn spent more than twenty-years developing the story and characters of Grinidon. He wanted to create a world with depth and history to make the experience as rich and authentic as possible. Each character and faction has their own story and motivation, and as you read the series, you continuously discover new and interesting things to explore.

The Story:

Carnasus, the capital of the southern kingdom, lies in wait of its destruction. They know they cannot defeat the northern army that marches to destroy them, so if they do not find some way to prevent this attack from happening, these will be the final days of their long and bitter war.

In secret, and against the wishes of the city’s Regent, a disgraced knight has been tasked to lead a group of companions to assassinate the king of their advancing rival.

Artwork from Grinidon by Erwin Arroza

Meanwhile, far away to the north at the camp of Carnasus’ enemy, Prince Demetrius prepares the army for the arrival of his father – and begins a countdown to his own end, as well.

Artwork from Grinidon by Erwin Arroza

John’s Thoughts:

Sometimes the best part about missing out on the very first Kickstarter they did for Volume 1 is that you don’t have to wait to get some piece(s) of the story (assuming you’re looking at a digital version of the book). So it is with Grinidon.

More than that, what’s amazing is how Erwin Arroza manages to do so much with light and shadows in the preview pages. Every image conveys some level of importance with no panel out of place or unnecessary. It doesn’t matter if he’s showing us a storm on top of a mountain, or a fleet of ships with the sun at their backs. This world is immense. There is heart and soul in every shot.

From Dunn’s own backstory, TWENTY YEARS working on this story, I’m fully expecting an epic tale where the story pushes at every boundary a comic has to offer. To have the fortitude to not give up his dream at some point along the way (20!), it helps those of us struggling with getting our own projects out there something to aspire to.

The Rewards:

Whether you supported the first volume or are showing up only now, there are an assortment of potential reward levels to either scratch your digital or physical itches. At some of the higher dollar levels, $250 and up, you also have the opportunity to get your likeness used as a recurring character. Definitely a cool idea for those looking to possibly spend a little more in order to have this book see the light of day.

Scrolling down you get to see various images they are providing as 11×17 prints. Everything from the book’s logo to Volume One’s cover to an alternate print (“by popular demand”).

Something I really like is that among all of the other images from the comic, of t-shirts, and extremely cool acrylics, is a couple of pictures showing how your physical copy will be shipped. I don’t know if that type thing would sway anyone, but it is certainly a nice final touch. And it shows a level of detail that you might not always find with other Kickstarters.

One last bit of information… “Beginning now through February 14th, we are accepting submissions from our fans to create an alternate cover for Volume 1 of our series!”

While it might not directly impact the Kickstarter, I believe it could be another way of spreading the word in these last few days. And if you are an artist, it could be a way to help yourself out with a bit of exposure and potential art credit.

The Verdict:

These guys clearly know what they are doing as they’ve past their original goal of $8,000 with 5 days left to go. I’m excited to contribute to the project and can’t wait to read these two volumes!

 

***

For more information on Grinidon: A Fantasy Graphic Novel Vol. 2, check out their website here.

For the full information on the Fan Art Competition, check out their Facebook Page here.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.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

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

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

Kickstart the Character – Creation Process of Kaiya Blackmoore

It’s not just my fellow guildmate, Egg Embry, who has dabbled his toes into the Roleplaying Kickstarters. I have kicked in for a couple, here and there. Sometimes it was because of the game, sometimes because of the creators, and sometimes just because.

However, it wasn’t until Egg presented me with a fairly unique Christmas present last year that I ever got to participate in the creation side of the process. As he alluded to in his post “Kickstarter Reward Level: Vanity Press – Yrisa’s Nightmare and Rats in the Street“, myself, Egg, and our friend Leland all had the opportunity to come up with a trio of characters that would appear in Yrisa’s Nightmare.

Yrisa's Nightmare.

Yrisa’s Nightmare.

One of the things you tend to do when you roleplay, no matter the system, is create characters. Obviously you create the ones you are going to actually play, and then after you get them going you think of about 100 more that might be cool to play. I have folders upstairs of all the characters I’ve ever played in a game, but lost to time are the others who might have had backstories or perhaps some were just a collection of stats, never to see the light of day past some random afternoon or evening.

I like to think that this bit of daydreaming has come in handy for writing fiction. Novels normally have need of tons of characters – each the hero of their own stories. Perhaps some of those lazy Sunday D&D characters have gone onto a second life within some story without me even realizing it.

This was a little different, as this would be a character who needed to “fit” into the world Lucas Curell had created. And while it wasn’t stated anywhere that the three characters needed to be tied to each other, we felt like it might act as a cool Easter Egg for anyone reading the adventure.

***

Egg actually had his character, Celltar Drumthunder, mocked up by the time Leland and I came onboard. Here was a good-looking guy who travels from town to town playing his music wherever he can find a tavern with attentive patrons (or at least the kind who might part with some hard-earned coin). Of course, he repays their kindness by allowing them to invite him into their homes where he generally takes their most valuable of possessions. Through some form of magic, the people only realize it is gone, and not that Celltar might have taken it.

It was Leland who thought “I think it would be neat to brainstorm a connection between them, then make the character. If they blend together, it would add story.”

Would they be a gang? Or…

“One could be a bounty hunter looking for someone who is stealing these heirlooms.”

But then…

“Or maybe the lost love who is still under the spell.”

There was Kaiya right there. I took the lead on her character. Then a little later the thought of a Wererat was mentioned who would become “Sully” took shape (who Leland wrote up). And it was really there that the connection made some sense and how they tied together made some level of sense. The key points and connections were:

Sully:

A noble who was going to marry a noble woman.

He was cursed at their engagement by a thief.

Possibly mention he’s hiding from his ex-bride.

Celltar:

Cursed a noble at his engagement party.

Tried to use a spell to marry a noble woman.

Kaiya:

First groom was cursed, and they did not marry.

Almost wed to a bard who put a spell on her.

Rats in the Street. Featuring Wererats.

Rats in the Street. Featuring Wererats.

Now there was some concern that these types of connections might not work for Lucas. Perhaps it might be too overt. Maybe it just couldn’t fit in the world he was trying to craft. Heck, maybe we were trying too hard to put our own spin on these characters and doing the “group thing” was not a great idea. Still, we decided to work them up.

Worst case, we thought, we could use these characters for something else on our own.

The great thing about working with others on any kind of story/character/fiction is that you have someone to bounce ideas off of. People who can see something slightly different from you are able to do. And last, but not least, is that you have built-in editors to help make sure you’re not misspelling every other word. What followed was a series of back and forths among the three of us as we worked up a first draft, then a second, and then a final draft in a format Lucas was looking for.

Appearance – This is not only their physical appearance, but also trying to convey some level of insight into their actions. Sully might have been a “lost soul”, but he still held himself in a “regal manner”.

Personality – I’d say this one probably ties most to the actual roleplaying of the character by the Game Master. Celltar was “certain that the world owes him”. “Lazy, liar, and showman.”

Goals – These felt like something which would boil our characters down to their basic instincts. What did they want to do? And maybe how would they get there? To transform into someone they always wished to be. To restore themselves. To get through life as easy as possible.

Hobby – This was as simple as “drinking” or losing themselves in research.

In Yroden (where we lay our tale) – Here was our thoughts on how and why the character might be in Yroden (and thus how they might tie into the actual adventure). This was really the crux of the character and really would determine whether or not the character(s) would end up being used.

Now done, we sent it off and waited…

When Lucas responded he said he loved the interplay between them, but had a twist in mind for using them. Kaiya would actually appear in Yrisa’s Nightmare where the other two would get referenced. However, Sully and Celltar would get their proper appearance in the companion adventure Rats in the Street – especially since that one featured a gang of wererats.

kaiya-blackmoore

From the City of Brass Character Entry for Kaiya Blackmoore

***

And that, as they say, was that. The characters appeared in their respective stories, and my own hope is that some Game Master out there has not only spotted the connection, but worked it into his own story. Maybe Kaiya is out there helping fight wererats alongside some adventurers. Maybe Celltar has finally found the wrong person to charm. Maybe Sully has found a cure after all.

Maybe…

***

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) $5,431 starting November 18th, 2016

sunken-temple

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.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

Kickstart the Comic – Quest for the Last Tree

Every couple of weeks I journey to my local comic book store, pick up an ever-growing stack of comics, rinse and repeat. I have to keep reminding myself as an independent comic writer, that there are others struggling to get their voices and stories heard. Many of them have turned to Kickstarter to do that. So I am challenging myself to keep a look out for any comic books that catch my eye.

Plus, should I ever run a Kickstarter for The Gilded Age, maybe I can see what worked or what didn’t work and apply those lessons.

***

quest-for-the-last-tree1

Cover to Issue #0 by Noor Rahman

Quest for the Last Tree

from Conflux Comix

David Seropian – Writer, Letterer, Publisher

Noor Rahman – Artist, Graphic Designer

Kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday, November 17th, 2016 at 12:14 AM EST.

 

 

 

 

The Pitch:

QUEST FOR THE LAST TREE issues #1 and #2 introduce a unique pair of heroes: Lucine and Asterion. She’s a teenage warrior priestess who shines with light. He’s a very hungry minotaur who lurks in the shadows. Together, they’re a “beauty & the beast” team like nothing you’ve seen before!

The Story:

A thousand years from now, Earth is shrouded in eternal darkness: an endless winter’s night. In this post-apocalyptic future where science and sorcery meet, a girl named Lucine grows up in a hidden monastery, home to a sisterhood of women dedicated to the service of the goddess Gaia. Trained from childhood to become a warrior priestess, Lucine comes of age and travels to a far off village to take her first lover. There she falls for the wolfishly handsome Moki, who seems to be kind – but in this savage world, can any man be trusted?

John’s Thoughts:

Egg Embry and I always lament that there aren’t more fantasy comics out there. Growing up on the Dungeons and Dragons cartoons and then the various Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms books… it was always a little odd that the genre didn’t cross over into the comic book format more often. So here’s a ready to read fantasy style story, so we’re part of the way there.

The kicker (forgive the pun) is that they have the first seven (7!) pages of issue #1 to try out. This is a wonderful idea, as so many times the backers don’t always know exactly what to expect from the actual story being presented. Here the preview shows much of Lucine’s backstory, from being raised in the monastery to receiving her Mark of Sisterhood.

The thing is, you can have a great story, but if the artwork doesn’t feel right or just doesn’t match, then it doesn’t much matter.

Lucky then that Noor Rahman is extremely skilled in the art department. And showing me those pages only helps to reinforce that aspect.

But who am I kidding here? You had me at a girl and her Minotaur.

quest-for-the-last-tree2

Covers for Issue #1 & #2 by Noor Rahman

The Rewards:

From the small amount of research that I did, it appears earlier this year issue #1 came out, so with the $5 first level (normally a “Thank You” level) you not only get the Thank You, but also a PDF of that issue. At $10 you get digital versions of both issues. Print versions of both appear at the $25 level.

One interesting idea mixed into their rewards is the Kickstarter exclusive issue #0, which is a fancy way to give us a combo print copy of the first 2 issues, an all-new cover, and 8 additional pages of concept art. I know many people who back projects love things that are exclusive, as it let’s them feel even more a part of the process (and let’s the creators provide them with something that is fairly unique to that particular moment in time as another kind of thanks). This seems like a slam-dunk idea here. It shows up in the $50 level.

Looking over their unlocked stretch goals, they include a pdf of issue #0 for everyone at the $10 level and up and signed print copies.

The only locked stretch goal is to Meet the Makers (available to those backers of $100 or more), which allows offers a 30-minute video conference with at least one of the creators (and possibly both).

The Verdict:

I only wish I’d found this one a few days earlier as we are closing in on the last day. Lucky for me, they are above their original goal of $6,050 and on their way to funded.

This is a obvious “Yes” for me.

***

For more information on Quest for the Last Tree, check out their website here.

***

John McGuire

John McGuire is the author of the supernatural thriller The Dark That Follows, the steampunk comic The Gilded Age, and the novella There’s Something About Mac through the Amazon Kindle Worlds program.

His second novel, Hollow Empire, is now complete. The first episode is now FREE!

He also has a short story in the Beyond the Gate anthology, which is free on most platforms!

And has two shorts in the Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows anthology! Check it out!

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com.

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Did I Miss? – The Faerie Ring

Current State? Role-playing game wanna-lancer. Mission? To become a RPG freelancer. Plan? Pledging for writing credits in other creator’s RPG Kickstarters.

The_Faerie_Ring_1

From The Faerie Ring by Zombie Sky Press.

That’s the situation now, but what about the past? Are there any un-mined RPG writing credits in Kickstarter’s long tail of products? As it turns out, yes.

The projects I didn’t back… Some are professional and, likely, memorably fun but charged more for their vanity press pledge levels than I could afford. Some were great looking products but did not have a vanity press option at all. One of the latter was The Faerie Ring for Pathfinder and 5e. I did not pledge but I follow them on Facebook and they have posted a writing opportunity…

The Faerie Ring for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and 5E by Zombie Sky Press

This Kickstarter is in the rearview having started on November 30th of two thousand and fifteen.

Their pitch:

The Faerie Ring expands the fey options for both players and GMs using either Pathfinder Roleplaying Game or 5E and creates new opportunities for meddling where you probably shouldn’t. It introduces new fey monsters, playable fey races and other character options, fey big bads or patrons (or both!), fey cities and planes and other locales, and more.

This project aims to highlight the fey: to build their mythos with the strong personalities of powerful fey lords, to build their mystery with extraplanar fey locales and adventures, and to build their influence with fey character options.

The_Faerie_Ring_2

This picture encapsulates the wanna-lancer to freelancer journey. From The Faerie Ring by Zombie Sky Press.

We’re updating and remastering the two existing PDF releases (“Prelude” and “Red Jack”) and incorporating them along with nine additional chapters of brand new content as The Faerie Ring: Along the Twisting Way in two printed volumes: a Campaign Guide and a Player’s Guide. Plus, a third book in PDF, the Magic Guide.

The Faerie Ring began over 5 years ago and launched Zombie Sky Press. And though the project’s been silent for a while, we’ve been quietly designing the whole time, and now, we’re ready to unveil our plans. The original “Prelude” is linked in the Update section for everyone to check out.

Egg’s thoughts:

Not out of intention, but every RPG game I’ve played has been set in a human-centric world. The concept of the fey fleshed out to be more than the occasional antagonist is interesting. This product seems likely to offer both the flavor and crunch needed to make the faerie races, monsters, magics, and societies feel grounded and workable. Had there been a vanity press option, I’d have happily put in my coin.

But, a year later, there is an option.

The_Faerie_Ring_5

From The Faerie Ring by Zombie Sky Press.

Update #23:

Public Update and a Call for Magic Submissions

We Want Magic Submissions! 

As we pull together the Campaign and Player’s Guides for The Faerie Ring, we’re thinking more and more about the Magic Guide. So we’re calling for magical pitches. Interested in submitting something for consideration? Accepted pitches will be commissioned at 5 c/w.

For design contributions, please put together a pitch of one or more ideas for the Magic Guide that you’d be interested in working on. We are certainly looking for individual spells and rituals—and I’ll be asking for those at a later date—but we’re currently looking for other things, like fascinating optional subsystems related to magic and the fey. For the pitch, give me a description of what you’re proposing and the presumed word count (assume you can’t have more than 2,000-3,000 words per idea, though great pitches may be given more room). These can be for either 5E or Pathfinder (if accepted, we’ll convert if possible), or maybe, they’re largely flavor with minimal to no crunch; let us know in the pitch. Send pitches to scott(at)zombieskypress(dot)com by December 1, 2016.

Get your ass to Mars.

Kuato Lives! From The Faerie Ring by Zombie Sky Press.

For example, the concept of the moonshadow will be a part of the Magic Guide. This will detail how the moon’s passing affects different fey in different ways (but all fey feel the effects of the moon in some way).

Here’s the PDF that started it all back in 2010. It’s getting some updates for the new release, but it is offered here as inspiration: The Faerie Ring Prelude.

Egg’s closing thoughts:

To this point, there has been safety in paying for the opportunity to write. Once they have my money they can’t fire me without a refund.

What Zombie Sky Press is offering is work-for-hire. Submitting to write comes with no guarantee of acceptance like a Kickstarter pledge does. This situation requires skills not born of my bank account. They’re offering the first major test in my mission: Have I reached the level (oy) where I can move from paying to write to being paid to write? Am I ready to jump from wanna-lancer to freelancer?

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Apocalypse the Risen RPG

I am building a resume of tabletop role-playing game writing credits by buying them from Kickstarter. The goal is to go from a RPG wanna-lancer to a paid freelancer. It’s… well, it’s my personal demon. To that end, there is an option to pay to write about that or any type of demon.

 

* * *

Apocalypse the Risen Campaign Setting

Apocalypse the Risen Campaign Setting

Apocalypse the Risen RPG (Pathfinder Compatible) by Rust Portal Games

 

Kickstarter campaign ends on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 at 10:18 EDT in the evening.

 

Their pitch:

 

Can you survive the undead and demonic horrors ravaging post-apocalyptic Earth some 25 years after the Rise? Pathfinder Compatible RPG.

 

Apocalypse the Risen Campaign Setting is a Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Compatible post-apocalyptic fantasy horror RPG based on Earth, twenty-five years after the fall of society, an event known as the Rise. This full color hardcover campaign setting will be heavily illustrated and over 400 pages.

 

Ghost, Emotes All by Preston Stone

Ghost, Emotes All by Preston Stone

Apocalypse the Risen thrusts you into the role of a resolute survivor, forging through the ashes of humanity on an Earth besieged by demons and the dead—known as Risen. Twenty-five years after the collapse of society, humankind and their new allies now fight back, staggered and beaten but never broken.

 

Is it the survival of your Colony that drives you onward in the hunt for precious resources? Or perhaps hatred for the evils walking the Earth that fuels your righteous anger seeking redemption?”

 

Egg’s thoughts:

 

First, like so many Kickstarter RPG projects, the art is rich and amazing. The book will look glorious with this level of art.

Second, you get to design a demon. I mean, does it get more metal than designing a demon? No, no it doesn’t.

 

Their vanity press rewards:

 

Descended Draft, Seraphim Banner by Rodrigo Vega

Descended Draft, Seraphim Banner by Rodrigo Vega

“Pledge $349 or more

 

Demonologist

You are the Light against the Darkness.

 

Includes

  • Design a Demon! Apocalypse the Risen includes a detailed demon creation system and we will put it at your fingertips. Give us an idea, a name, a concept, or dig deep into the demon creator and we will work with you to design a demon to be published by Rusted Portal with designer credits for you.
  • Apocalypse the Risen Campaign Setting Hardcover
  • Access to Stretch Goals unlocked during campaign!
  • AtR Character Portfolio Pack (18 Sheets)
  • Apocalypse the Risen GM Screen
  • Apocalypse the Risen Campaign Setting PDF
  • “Adrift” AtR One-shot Adventure PDF
  • Nine 8th Level Pre-Generated Characters PDF”

 

* * *

Shonk, The Holy Wood

“OMG! Demon metal me?! Yeah-no!”    – Shonk, The Holy Wood!

 

Closing thoughts:

 

The project looks stunning, the concept – post-apocalyptic Earth – is, while not wholly original, a fresher patch of farmland than replanting yet another crop of pseudo-western Europe setting-seeds. It looks like a world where action will carry the story and the conflicts of good and evil are defined.

The vanity reward is designing a demon. How do you make a demon fun to run for any role-playing group? Pinhead would not work for every table and, because of that, making a fitting demon would take some thought. The hardest part of this task is likely to be not basing the demon on one of your old role-playing buddies… That might be impossible.

 

* * *

 

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

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – The Dread House and Salt in Wounds Tabletop Setting

I want to freelance in the tabletop role-playing game industry. To get there, I’m buying a resume of writing credits via Kickstarter rewards. So far, I’ve largely bought into D&D 5e. But the RPG industry is wider than D&D and I want to add as many systems to my resume as I can. That makes these projects of interest to me.

"Fascinating." - Mirror Mirror Robert Jeffrey

“Fascinating.” – Mirror Mirror Robert Jeffrey II

 

* * *

 

The Dread House (Pathfinder/5th Edition/Call of Cthulhu) by Hammerdog Games

 

Kickstarter campaign ends on Saturday, October 29th, 2016 at 3:00 EDT in the afternoon.

 

Their pitch:

 

The most haunted house in the world, presented with multiple storylines, in multiple time periods, and for multiple RPG systems.

 

Dry leaves crackle under your feet as you make your way up the hill towards the dark manse, your path lit by a bold harvest moon. The taste of rain is in the air and you hear a distant peal of thunder. The townsfolk begged you not to come up here. Not tonight. Especially not tonight.

The Dread House

The Dread House

 

You reach the grounds as storm clouds slip across the moon, darkening the yard. You make your way carefully to the front door but find it barred from the outside. It would take a crowbar and some muscle to get in this way. The windows are high off the ground but seem breakable. You test your theory with a large rock, and the glass shatters as the first bolt of lightning slashes across the sky. You climb up and through the broken pane, carefully turning and lowering yourself to the floor of the room inside. The townsfolk may be afraid of this place buy you aren’t.

 

“Good Evening” says a deep strong voice that makes you whirl with shock. Your eyes search the darkness but you see nothing. A flash of lightning verifies to your eyes that you are alone.

 

“I trust you will be staying?” says the voice. “Excellent, it’s been a long time since we’ve had company.” Lightning flashes again. The drawing room is empty of everything but old furniture. You turn and scramble to the window, ready to leap through it and to the ground below. But the window isn’t broken any more. Somehow it’s healed.

 

You stop to puzzle this impossibility for the briefest of moments. That’s all it takes. The voice in the darkness gets you, and nobody hears you scream. You should have listened to the townsfolk. You should have come better prepared…for The Dread House.”

 

Egg’s thoughts:

 

The Dread House is a series of adventures set in different eras that utilize different systems – Wizard of the Coast’s D&D 5e, Paizo’s Pathfinder, but, most important to lil’ Egg Embry, Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu. Call of Cthulhu is not on my resume. Add to that the concept – a haunted mansion that exists from medieval times to present – offers a growing tale and world to explore. Character’s actions from one era can be felt in the next. The vanity press offer – “an adventure, encounter, or monster in the Dread House” – combined with the chained nature of these adventures will, I hope, allow me to write something a little longer than many of my Kickstarter vanity press pledges.

The Dread House's Gentleman Ghost

The Dread House’s Gentleman Ghost

 

Their vanity press rewards:

 

“$150 or more

Architect of Dread

 

An undead professional, you seek to further your career even after death. You gain a copy of The Dread Wedding and all PDFs. You will participate in the development process of an adventure, encounter, or monster in the Dread House. No prior experience is required but the more experience you have, the more you can contribute. You will gain a credit as a developer. [Freight Extra]”

 

* * *

 

Salt in Wounds Tabletop Setting for 5th Edition & Pathfinder by J. M. Perkins

 

Kickstarter campaign ends on Thursday, October 27th, 2016 at 2:03 EDT in the afternoon.

 

Their pitch:

 

A gore splattered, monster-fed, city based dark fantasy setting for your favorite Tabletop RPGs.

 

Salt in Wounds is a fictional city; a detail-rich dark fantasy setting designed specifically for tabletop roleplaying games (although it can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates intricate works of imagination). More specifically, Salt in Wounds is a city whose culture, economy, and existence is beholden to the reality of the giant, regenerating kaiju called the ‘Tarrasque’ which is imprisoned within the city center so it can be butchered over and over again.

 

Salt in Wounds City Map (Rough Draft)

Salt in Wounds City Map (Rough Draft)

There are few monsters in role playing games more iconic than the Tarrasque: the ‘end game’ boss that’s been terrorizing high level characters (and delighting players) for decades. The Salt in Wounds setting takes the beast in an entirely new direction: as the perpetually slaughtered ‘natural’ resource that has been feeding the population & fueling economy of the sprawling metropolis of Salt in Wounds for the last two centuries.

 

Since 2015 I’ve been fleshing out the city, its inhabitants, and setting the stage for adventure: first on the Ennie nominated gaming website Tribality and then on its own page www.saltinwoundssetting.com. I’ve written fiction, created monsters, and worked hard to create a compelling, incredible world just begging for exploration & play. Here’s just a sample of some of the work that’s already been made public about Salt in Wounds:

  

Now, with your help, I want to take my mishmash of ideas, player options, lore & creatures and turn it into a proper series of books & supplements that will inspire your Pathfinder, 5th Edition, and other gaming for years.

 

Egg’s thoughts:

 

Salt in Wounds. Any city with a title for a name (like King of Prussia, Pennsylvania) screams out, “Visit me!” more than, say, one of the early titles of my home city, Marthasville [Note – Marthasville, where Superman and Batman get on like chocolate and peanut butter.] Title alone states this is an engaging product. J M Perkins has a fully realized city with enough real estate to share some pretty views with the public. The reward – design one of the 13 main families in the city for both D&D 5e as well as Pathfinder – has curb appeal. This reward could lead to a dynasty write up, information about their home, magic items, and NPCs. Lots of potential to show your RPG writing skills.

Salt in Wounds. I spy a Tarrasque.

Salt in Wounds. I spy a Tarrasque.

 

On the other hand, by the time I noticed this one all of the rewards were gone. Fiddlesticks. I believe the individuals that chose this one picked a great vanity press option. I cannot wait to see the results.

 

Their vanity press rewards:

 

“Pledge $250 or more

Binder-Lord

 

You rule Salt in Wounds, and you get everything listed above, three additional pieces of Sway, and design considerations (see text below for more information).

 

INCLUDES

  • Name the Harpoon Release Command Word
  • Help Design a Meridian House
  • Swag x 6

 

Limited to only 11 (there are 13 Aristocratic Meridian Houses, and two Binder-Lordships have already been claimed by patrons) you get all the above rewards + an *additional* 3 pieces of Swag (for a total of 6 pieces of Swag) and you get design considerations for your chosen Meridian House, invitation to an exclusive design session hangout, and you select the legendary ‘command word’ of your house’s immoveable harpoon. Legal possession of this command word grants Binder-Lords their authority within the city of Salt in Wounds and can be used to actually free the Tarrasque.”

 

* * *

 

Closing thoughts:

 

The Dread House offers the chance to add Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu to my list of vanity projects. Sold. Salt in Wounds lives up to its name because it looks amazing but all of the writing rewards are spoken for. Regardless of my salted wound, I think both of these projects are going to be fun. I’m looking forward to seeing how they progress.

 

* * *

 

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

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Embers of the Forgotten Kingdom and Manastorm

My journey from tabletop role-playing game wanna-lancer to freelancer involves buying into the right projects (chronicled here). To build my vanity press resume, I review a number Kickstarters. Here’s a few standout projects with vanity press options.

* * *

Manastorm – A Pathfinder-Compatible Campaign Setting by Terran Empire Publishing

Kickstarter campaign ends on Wednesday, October 26th, 2016 at 9:06 EDT in the evening.

Manastorm's Zula Pyromancer

Manastorm’s Zula Pyromancer

Their pitch:

“Manastorm is a new campaign setting set on a planet located in the Milky Way galaxy. Shin’ar is a world of high magic and epic fantasy!

What is Manastorm?

Manastorm is the inaugural product offering from Terran Empire Publishing. It is a new Pathfinder Compatible campaign setting featuring 16 new playable races – each with their own hybrid class – and 6 new prestige classes.

The planet of Shin’ar boasts 10 expansive regions to explore, from dust- choked ruins to far off enclaves guarded by logic driven automatons.

Manastorm introduces players to the Manasphere, a bubble of radiation that surrounds the planet, given off by mana crystals found deep within the planet’s interior. The Manasphere allows those who can tap into it’s unlimited power to fuel fantastic feats of magic and wonder. Players will be able to create new magical items from mana crystals that allow the user to cast stored spells on themselves or others, as well as allow spellcasters to renew spent spell slots. Players must be warned though, the overuse of mana crystals can result in Mana Poisoning, and eventual death and rising as a Mana Zombie.

Manastorm's Kalarin Rogue

Manastorm’s Kalarin Rogue

The planet suffers from events known as Lunar Quickenings. The Dri-jen moon, the smallest of the planet’s two moons, has an erratic orbit. When it moves close enough to the planet, the moon causes all mana crystal deposits within the planet to react wildly. Bursts of raw mana saturate the Manasphere and cause fluctuations in its behavior. During these times, portals to unknown planets and planes of existence spontaneously open all over the world, depositing countless people and creatures on Shin’ar.

The vast majority of the peoples encountered on Shin’ar are not native to the planet. Many races have migrated to the world during Lunar Quickenings and found themselves stranded when the event ended. Portals to others dimensions or planets can only function during Lunar Quickenings. The Manasphere does not allow the opening of gates or portals outside of Lunar Quickenings, and it has a way to punish those who try to circumvent this. These events last for an indeterminate amount of time. Some have come and gone in the span of a few years, while some can last over a millennium.

Lunar Quickenings allow GMs and players to include all kinds of “homebrew” races and monsters. While Manastorm will offer more than enough to begin to play wonderful and exciting adventures and campaigns, the Lunar Quickenings make it so anything and everything can be encountered on Shin’ar. Terran Empire will also be hosting competitions to include new races and monsters from fans into future products.

History has been disrupted multiple times by these Lunar Quickenings, often with the release of demonic entities and other fearsome creatures, some of which could not find their way back home before their portals of origin were closed. Here is where our story begins: a Lunar Quickening has raged on for the past 38 years, only recently ending and leaving the world to recover once more.”

Egg’s thoughts:

This patchwork world is purpose built to seamlessly port your homebrew Pathfinder lands/creatures into. Add to that, this third party Pathfinder campaign setting feels ready-made to upvert for Paizo’s upcoming Starfinder system/setting (2017), it is like you’re getting two products in one. While not written in their pitch, this setting recalls the best of DC comics’ Adam Strange and his Zeta-Beam trips from Earth to save the planet Rann. For me, Manastorm screams unabashed sword and jetpack barbarian-fi!

John McGuire, American Novelist

John McGuire, Novelist, Moleman Bent on Conquering the Surface World, Amazing Role-player

Their vanity press rewards offer a little extra vanity, not only do you get to write an NPC for their product line, but for $35 more they’ll draw the NPC. I’m likely to request a character modeled on great American novelist, John McGuire.

Their vanity press rewards:

Pledge $90 or more
Most Learned

Reward – Full color hardcover book of Manastorm: World of Shin’ar; Credit in our “Special Thanks” section; Terran Empire game token; Hand drawn “Thank You” card; Poster Map of Shin’ar, PDF (Full) of Manastorm: World of Shin’ar, World of Shin’ar Book of Maps (softcover), PDF of World of Shin’ar Book of Maps, Terran Empire Bookmark, Create a NPC

***Special – Most Learned Backers will be given the opportunity to create a NPC to be used in future Manastorm products and Adventure Paths!***

INCLUDES

  • Manastorm: World of Shin’ar (Hardcover)
  • Terran Empire Game Token
  • Hand drawn “Thank You” card
  • Map of Shin’ar (Poster)
  • PDF of Manastorm: World of Shin’ar (Full)
  • World of Shin’ar Book of Maps (Softcover)
  • PDF of World of Shin’ar Book of Maps
  • Terran Empire Bookmark
Pathfinder

Pathfinder, the logo

* * *

$125 or more
Elder Sage

Reward – Same as Most Learned plus more!

***Backers at this level will also get a small color portrait of their character created and a Limited Edition Art of Shin’ar book!***

***Portrait will be delivered after delivery of book, completion and acceptance of NPC created.***

INCLUDES

  • Manastorm: World of Shin’ar (Hardcover)
  • Terran Empire Game Token
  • Hand drawn “Thank You” card
  • Map of Shin’ar (Poster)
  • PDF of Manastorm: World of Shin’ar (Full)
  • World of Shin’ar Book of Maps (Softcover)
  • PDF of World of Shin’ar Book of Maps
  • Terran Empire Bookmark
  • Art of Shin’ar (Limited Edition Softcover)
  • Portrait of NPC

* * *

Embers of the Forgotten Kingdom by Metal Weave Games

Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, October 23rd, 2016 at 9:00 EDT in the evening.

Their pitch:

Lady Ceidwen of the Embers of the Forgotten Kingdom

Lady Ceidwen of the Embers of the Forgotten Kingdom

Discover the forsaken. A systemless, soulsian-inspired book of NPCs and creatures to take your games into dark new worlds.

All backers, who receive a PDF or more, will receive two free PDF statbooks of their system of choice.

Any additional statbook will be a $5 add-on.

Systems so far supported: D&D 5th Edition, Pathfinder, Shadow of the Demon Lord, OSR/AD&D, Cypher System, Dungeon World, FATE, Savage Worlds & 13th Age.

Embers is a systemless art and lore book designed to inspire GMs and players, much like the Baby Bestiary was. However, instead of adorable creatures, we have a line-up of dark fantasy characters and creatures to invade your games.

Egg’s thoughts:

A systemless offering, this product requires AAA writing to stand next to its epic-level artwork. The art is the selling point for this project. Based on its quality, I believe that the final product will look exceptional. If you’re writing for it, you’ve got to rise to breathtaking prose to go next to these portraits.

Their vanity press rewards:

Art from Embers of the Forgotten Kingdom

Art from Embers of the Forgotten Kingdom

Pledge $400 or more
Forlorn Lord

INCLUDES

  • Name in backer credits
  • PDF of Embers
  • Print of Embers
  • Create a surviving character with us

* * *

Pledge $400 or more
Forlorn Beast

INCLUDES

  • Name in backer credits
  • PDF of Embers
  • Print of Embers
  • Create a surviving creature with us

 * * *

 Closing thoughts:

Each project brings interesting art options. I am intrigued by both. Getting a chance to design within Pathfinder for Manastorm would expand my work into a system beyond 5e (albeit a related system). Going systemless will remove the “crutch” of rules all together and require a focus on creativity to match the art of the Embers of the Forgotten Kingdom.

I pledged Manastorm. Getting to design a character to appear in a third party Pathfinder product, with a hoped-for conversion to the upcoming Starfinder, AND getting original art in the deal, it’s a winner and the right choice for lil’ Egg Embry.

***

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

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge & Luminous Echo

My goal? To write tabletop role-playing games professionally.
My plan? To pledge for RPG Kickstarters that let me write as a reward.
My reality? I pay-to-play to build my resume.

So far, I discussed my contribution – monetary and writing-wise – to the Kickstarter for Sasquatch Game Studio’s 5e campaign setting on Kickstarter Reward Level: Vanity Press – Primeval Thule. If my path inspires you to do the same – buy writing credits – then here are some of the RPG vanity press rewards currently on Kickstarter.

* * *

Luminous Echo (D&D 5E, Anima, Pathfinder compatible) by Project Lux

Wen-M art for Luminous Echo (D&D 5E, Anima, Pathfinder compatible)

Wen-M art for Luminous Echo (D&D 5E, Anima, Pathfinder compatible)

Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday, September 30th, 2016 at 11:07 EDT in the morning.

Their pitch:

“Luminous Echo is a world containing ten years’ worth of lore, characters, artifacts, and amazing weapons by world renowned artist Wen-M.

One world, forever divided into two realms. The Dream World, a realm of magic, immortality, and mysteries. Mhodica, a realm of solid matter, stone, and certainties. For as long as either realm could remember, they were precious little more than myth to each other.    

Though once stories of witches, wizards, ghosts and goblins were considered nothing more than stories to frighten small children, the age of certainty is coming to an end. A darkness is stirring which threatens to shatter the equilibrium of the two realms forever.

The only way to avert this catastrophe is for the people of Mhodica to accept the existence of magic, and for the people of the Dream World to accept that the world of Mhodica exists for something more than their own amusement.

Luminous Echo is half art book showcasing the work of Wen-M and half an outline of the world, as well as many characters, weapons, stories, and places.

They set the stage for those who purchase the book to create a variety of adventures in the RPG system of their choosing.”

Egg’s thoughts:

Why would you want to be in this book? It’s so pretty! So, so pretty! You will be happy with the words but even happier with the art! A huge incentive to pledge for their vanity press option is that Wen-M, this project’s artist, will draw a picture of what you write about and you get to keep the sketch.

Need another perk? It will be available for D&D 5e, Pathfinder, and Anima gaming systems. More systems = more exposure.

More Wen-M art for Luminous Echo (D&D 5E, Anima, Pathfinder compatible)

More Wen-M art for Luminous Echo (D&D 5E, Anima, Pathfinder compatible)

Their vanity press rewards:

Pledge $350 CAD or more
ABOUT $271 USD
Custom Designed Weapon

You will receive all rewards in the “Signed Book and All Printouts” tier + custom designed weapon in full color with short story in the book, with the signed original sketch from Wen-M.

INCLUDES

  • Your name in the credits
  • Digital Sketchbook
  • PDF book
  • Hardcover Book – Signed
  • All 11″ x 17″ Prints – Signed
  • Your custom designed weapon in the book
  • Original sketch of your custom designed weapon – Signed

* * *

Pledge $750 CAD or more
ABOUT $580 USD
Custom Designed Creature

You will receive all rewards in the “Signed Book and All Printouts” tier + custom designed creature in full color with short story in the book, with the signed original sketch from Wen-M.

 INCLUDES

  • Your name in the credits
  • Digital Sketchbook
  • PDF book
  • Hardcover Book – Signed
  • All 11″ x 17″ Prints – Signed
  • Your custom designed creature in the book
  • Original sketch of your custom designed creature – Signed

* * *

Pledge $1,600 CAD or more
ABOUT $1,238 USD
Custom Designed Hero

You will receive all rewards in the “Signed Book and All Printouts” tier + custom designed hero in full color with short story in the book, with the signed original sketch from Wen-M.

 INCLUDES

  • Your name in the credits
  • Digital Sketchbook
  • PDF book
  • Hardcover Book – Signed
  • All 11″ x 17″ Prints – Signed
  • Your custom designed hero in the book
  • Original sketch of your custom designed hero – Signed

* * *

Pledge $5,000 CAD or more
ABOUT $3,868 USD
Custom Designed Clan/Family

You will receive all rewards in the “Signed Book and All Printouts” tier Build your landmark in the setting with this custom designed clan with a Clan Emblem of your design, and up to 5 characters with their stories in the book!

INCLUDES

  • Your name in the credits
  • Digital Sketchbook
  • PDF book
  • Hardcover Book – Signed
  • All 11″ x 17″ Prints – Signed
  • Your custom designed Clan/Family in the book
  • Original sketches of your custom designed clan/family – Signed

* * *

Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge (5e, Pathfinder) 01

Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge (5e, Pathfinder)

Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge (5e, Pathfinder) by TPK Games

Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, September 25th, 2016 at 5:11 EDT in the morning.

Their pitch:

Author William “Mindflayer” Tucker (Kenzer and Co.), brings his brand of danger to TPK Games in the form of two great adventures.

Two Dark Fantasy Adventures, Two Great Systems, Just in Time for Halloween!

We are looking for your support to help us publish two great dark fantasy 64-page adventures for the Pathfinder and 5e Dungeons & Dragons games. We love both systems and will be dual-statting the adventures so no matter which is your favorite, we’ll have you covered. Your investment will help us bring more art and layout to the project.

It is well known that Total Party Kill Games brings the pain on dark fantasy adventures, so you won’t be disappointed in either of these new titles.

More art from Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge (5e, Pathfinder)

More art from Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge (5e, Pathfinder)

Egg’s thoughts:

Two modules for D&D 5e and Pathfinder. The main one is all sorts of bugbear goodness! Can’t go wrong with bugbears!

(Bugbears, they look NOTHING like the name implies… NOTHING!)

This Kickstarter campaign does not have a vanity press option. However, it does have four print advertisement pages. The reward offers ad space for your gaming-related project. With four days to go, they had all four print ad pages left so I took a chance and contacted Brian Berg (Slaughter at’s co-creator). I asked if I could take one of those four print pages for $100 and, instead of submitting an ad, submit a monster or magic item or whatever would fit into their module. He said yes. That made my day!

Their vanity press reward (technically none so please read the section above and reach out to TPK Games before deciding to pledge the $100 level expecting to write something):

$100 or more
Print Advertiser

We’ll place your PRINT AD in our adventure books. This advertisement must be gaming related. We reserve the right to refund your money and not run your ad based on content.

* * *

Closing thoughts:

Both of these projects are going to be fun. I’ve already pledged for Slaughter at Splinterfang Gorge and will document what comes of the pledge in the months to come. Review them both with a thought toward your name on the credit’s page.

* * *

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

Kickstarter RPG Reward Level: Vanity Press – Primeval Thule

“Can I buy enough RPG writing credits to springboard from vanity press to a paid freelancer?”

Since my first game of D&D with J Edward Neill, I’ve seen tabletop role-playing games as an opportunity to tell stories professionally.

Jeremy Neill. Honest.

J Edward Neill was my first DM. Honest.

However, it’s not a profession that I pursued. I plead “responsibilities” – day job of nearing two decades, kids, over a decade into my mortgage, excessive comic book and TV consumption, you know the chorus to this song. I have not made time to create, to move from wanna-lancer to freelancer.

In 2015, that changed.

Certain projects on Kickstarter let you purchase the opportunity to submit content to their publication. The barebones of the idea looks like:

  • A publisher pitches a product on Kickstarter.com selling rewards to crowdfund it
  • I pick the reward that lets me write for their product
  • I pay, I write, they edit, they print, I rejoice

The writing is nothing too intensive, nothing that eats time. An adventure hook, a NPC, a location seed, a monster, or a magic item, just a few hundred words – my words, my name in the credits. This is my journey to freelancer and it starts with selecting the Kickstarter Reward Level: Vanity Press.

 

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

 

Primeval Thule 5e by Sasquatch Game Studio

Primeval Thule is a Conan versus Cthulhu inspired campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition. Created by Richard Baker, David Noonan, and Stephen Schubert of Sasquatch Game Studio, they have written for D&D 3e, 4e, and – their most relevant product to this Kickstarter – Princes of the Apocalypse for 5e.

Interested in a free sample of Primeval Thule? Try Primeval Thule Traveler’s Guide to get a taste of their world.

For most gamers, the high-concept description, creator’s bibliographies, and setting sample decided their level of interest in backing this Kickstarter. For me, it was the $250 Dungeoneer Reward:

PrimevalThule5eCover

The cover to Primeval Thule for 5e

  • Hardcover and PDF versions of the Primeval Thule 5e Campaign Setting – $49.95 / $19.95
  • A large pullout map and PDF of the Thule continental map – Cost bundled with the book
  • A GM’s screen – $25
  • A large pullout map of the city, Quodeth – Cost bundled with the GM screen
  • Six player reference cards and PDFs – Cost bundled with the GM screen
  • A PDF of Primeval Thule 5e GM Companion – $7.95
  • A PDF of Primeval Thule 5e Players Companion – $7.95
  • A PDF of Primeval Thule 5e Red Chains adventure – $2.95
  • A PDF of Primeval Thule 5e Watchers of Meng adventure – $2.95
  • A PDF of Primeval Thule 5e Secrets of the Moon Door adventure – $2.95
  • A PDF of Primeval Thule 5e Night of the Yellow Moon adventure – $3.99
  • A PDF of Primeval Thule 5e The Lost Tower of Viondor adventure – $3.99
  • Total MSRP – $127.63

All great offerings but the sentences that opened lil’ Egg Embry’s wallet were:

  • “[Y]ou’ll be invited to name a dungeon, ruin, or adventure locale and provide a brief background or description which will serve as the basis for our development of that site. (The copyright to the name and description you provide will be held by Sasquatch Game Studio, LLC. We reserve the right to reject and/or applaud inappropriate, vulgar, or unsuitable suggestions.)”
  • Vanity press upcharge – $122.37
PrimevalThule5ePg126

This image from Primeval Thule page 126 pops for me!

Their reward – pay-to-play or, for my situation in the era of credit cards, swipe-to-write – fit my time budget and my love of D&D. Combined with Thule’s barbarian-nightmare setting, their first-rate production values, and, top of my Christmas wish list, my words and name in print, I saw a path to freelancing with Primevel Thule as the first step.

 

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

 

The Mammoth Graveyard.

There is a valley where mammoths go to die. Centuries of their ivory wealth litters the ground in testament to its consecrated importance. Overlooking those graves is a primordial, decaying fortress built onto a godly-proportioned mammoth’s skull and ribs. The ruins whisper of lost treasures, violence, a dead god, and a plea to escape. But no one does…

 

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

 

Sasquatch edited my submission, elevating it to Robert E. Howard-lite, and printed it as a sidebar within their 5e edition of Primeval Thule Campaign Setting. The process was effortless – pay, write then submit while professionals handle the editing. The books have been delivered, read, and greatly enjoyed. Vanity press RPG writer’s credit number one complete! On to number two…

PrimevalThule5ePg228

Thulean Cyclops from page 228

 

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

 

Kickstarter information:

Primeval Thule: 5e Campaign Setting by Sasquatch Game Studio LLC
Raised: $52,811 starting July 16th, 2015

Primeval Thule: Pathfinder, 13th Age, and 4e Campaign Settings by Sasquatch Game Studio LLC
Raised: $75,232 starting July 2nd, 2013

 

***

 

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

Daydreams and Wanderings Anniversary

Daydreams and Wanderings

Friday, on April Fools Day no less, was the one year anniversary for the day my sketchbook funded on Kickstarter.  It was an experience I’ll never forget. The months afterward were just as exciting too. Holding my book’s proof in my hands. Opening my box of beautiful little books. Working on the sketches for my Kickstarter backers.

Daydreams and Wanderings Sketchbook

To celebrate the anniversary of my Kickstarter success I’m offering the remaining copies of my book for the early bird price of $15–originally only available during the Kickstarter last year. So if you missed out on my campaign, or want a second copy to gift to a friend, take advantage of this sale price. The sale runs till April 5th.

BUY YOUR COPY TODAY!

Here’s a look inside…

Thinking of Running a Kickstarter?

10 Kickstarter Tips

My first Kickstarter has come to a close. All of the books have been printed and shipped out to my amazing backers. My friends even threw me a book release party. What a ride! I’ve put together a list of 10 tips you may find useful if you’re thinking of running a Kickstarter.

1. Have a fan base. Seriously. It’s going to be that fan base that shares your campaign on their social media accounts. This is incredibly important. I’m certain if I had tried to run my campaign a year ago, it probably would have failed. What changed in a year? I was in the DragonCon Art Show.

2. Look at other campaigns, both successful and unsuccessful. I browsed and took notes for various art kickstarters and specifically those campaigns for sketchbooks. I looked at the type of rewards they offered, prices, and how they structured their descriptions. You can learn a lot this way!

3. Videos are important–more than you may think. The Youtube culture has exploded in the last few years. It’s taken a while for it to grow on me. I must be getting old! Everything I’d read reiterated how important it was to have a Kickstarter video. So I researched the videos of successful campaigns and 90% of the time those videos included either the artist talking in the background or the artist in the video. It needs to be personal. Backers are giving you their money, they are putting their trust in you and your product.

 

videostats

A lot of folks watched my video. This may not be a phenomenal number, but it’s more than I imagined.

3. Quality graphics to show off your rewards. People want to see what they’re going to get if they support your campaign. Take the time to create the graphics. You can then use them in your social media promotion too.

sketchbook100a

 

4. A complete profile, with links to your website and social media. This might seem like common sense, but I’ve seen more than a few campaigns with no link to a website. Or their link goes to a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in over a month. That’s not a good way to make an impression.

5. Read the entire Creator Handbook and then also read the FAQ pages and the Rules. Read everything Kickstarter makes available to you. They have specific rules but they also give you an enormous amount of information to help you build your campaign.

6. Pre-promotion. You have to start talking about it online months beforehand. I probably could have done a bit more of this. Share teaser images, talk about your rewards, anything to start peaking the interest of your fans and their friends.

Sketchbooks and Drusilla7. Think about your fans when it comes time to schedule your campaign. December might not be the best month to run a Kickstarter. It’s a holiday season for several religions. Even November might be risky if people are beginning to buy gifts for December.

8. Don’t underestimate your goal. You need to know in advance how much it’s going to cost to ship your rewards. Either add shipping to your goal or add it to the rewards. I chose to include US shipping in my goal and add a flat rate shipping fee for intentional backers.

9. Promotion during the campaign–to the point you fear people will starting ignoring you. Truly, you need to share your campaign every day. Work out a schedule and make sure you’re not posting about it at the same time. It doesn’t hurt to ask other artists to share your campaign too.

10. Keep your backers updated! During the campaign you need their support more than ever. I recommend composing an update once a week to let backers now how the campaign is proceeding, to remind them to share with their friends, and for making announcements (stretch goals, new rewards, etc.). But don’t let it end there. If you’re campaign is successful then it’s even more important to let your backers now how things are progressing, so they know without a doubt you are holding up your end the agreement. I had a lot of fun sharing the arrival of my sketchbook with my backers. They made my book possible!