4 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Kids on Bikes, Tragedies of Middle School, Silence of Hollowind, and A Far Off Land

Recapturing my youth drives my love of RPGs and this week two games have you play the youth of today or yesteryear. One is set in junior high (though, I’m from Georgia and we never called it “junior high”… kindergarten, elementary, middle, high… “junior high” was one of those TV concepts and for years I thought kids in other states went to five levels of school before college… scary…) and the other embraces the kids on bikes subgenre like no other. Combine those with some FATE and Savage Worlds options with good twists and these are worth checking out.


Check out John McGuire’s The Gilded Age steampunk graphic novel on Kickstarter!


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An anthology of tabletop role-playing games, story games, live action games, and other strangeness inspired by the greatest HORROR of all… junior high.



THE TRAGED13S OF MIDDLE SCHOOL is an anthology of tabletop role-playing, story games, LARPs, and other strangeness combining classic HORROR TROPES with game mechanics inspired by the greatest horror of all… JUNIOR HIGH!!! Return to middle school without the horror of actually being 13 years old!

Each game in The Tragedies of Middle School centers around a nostalgic junior high activity – spin the bottle, Truth or Dare, passing notes, Bloody Mary, school dances, friendship bracelets, etc. The PG-13 horror vibe running throughout represent the fear, awkwardness, and angst of being a thirteen year old. It’s the worst!

Other strangeness? In addition to the RPGs, story games, and LARPs, The Tragedies of Middle School features a card game, a Choose Your Own Adventure, a solo dungeon crawler, a sport, a dance party, some craftivities*, and more!

*Craftivities are like craft activities – duh!

The Tragedies of Middle School currently* features 20 games and activities with more to come as we hit stretch goals throughout the campaign (fingers crossed!). 20 designers and 3 artists, from a diverse mix of backgrounds, are already involved, ready to share their middle school experiences and game styles. THERE ARE EVEN A FEW CURRENT MIDDLE SCHOOLERS!

*Our expectation is that we will have 20 games, unless we run out of pages, or the Kickstarter totally goes nuts and we get to unlock some stretch goals.

final printing.

We realize that this is a pretty eclectic sounding collection of things – so we thought the best way to show you what kind (and quality) of games we’re pushing here – was with a free sample.So, if you’re not sold yet – try this playable demo of our lead off game – 7 MINUTES IN HELL – designed by Doug Levandowski, featuring amazingly cool art by James Stowe.”  



Egg’s Thoughts:

That movie poster cover looks great! I feel like I saw that movie… Anyways, as with Kids on Bikes below, this RPG anthology touches on my most powerful reason to play RPGs – escaping into our never-was-youth. If you want a variety of games – 20 games – and options, this may be the collection for you. Like every RPG on today’s list, this one includes a free sample to test it out on the Kickstarter page.


You can find their games on DriveThruRPG here.

Support their Kickstarter here.


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The Silence of Hollowind – Urban Fantasy RPG by The Evil Company and GG Studios
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“Hollowind is a metropolis rich with mysteries and contradictions, where magic is outlawed and whoever makes use of it is hunted down.

Hollowind is a vast megalopolis that fifty years ago, thanks to Merlin’s Edict, managed to overthrow the tyranny of arcane families; since that very moment it has been fighting the remaining survivors of the Purge. The Bureaus represent the first line of defense in their daily battle against enemies within and without, observing the motto: order, reveal, and persecute. Anyone attempting to break this new balance, conquered with the blood of thousands, will have to face the Bureaus. The arcanists are always plotting, and people must remain vigilant.

The Silence of Hollowind is a Urban Fantasy role playing game, adaptable to many rules systems with the addition of setting-specific mechanics to enhance gameplay (Savage Worlds conversion is the first system we will design for). It is a complex and detailed setting, aesthetically reminiscent of 1930s United States but populated by Orcs, Elves, Dwarves and countless fantasy creatures living within the oppressive Hollowind, a metropolis rich with mysteries and contradictions where magic is outlawed and whoever makes use of it is hunted down as a criminal.


The core book for “The Silence of Hollowind” will amount to about 130 pages, which might increase based on the stretch goals.

Within the book you will find:

  • A deeply structured setting, filled with mysteries.
  • Several play styles, from purely investigative games to action-pulp adventures.
  • Playing the role of lowly Order agents, skilled Revealers or brave Persecutors. If stretch goals allow for it, you will be able to play as Arcanists and see things from a different perspective.
  • Dozens of NPCs and ideas for investigative sessions.
  • A variety of conversions for different rule systems. The initial project includes compatibility with Savage Worlds only, but stretch goals may unlock more. Each system conversion will be released through its own free PDF.
  • Layout and art direction aiming to evoke the setting and resemble dossiers from the very Bureaus.
  • A map of the City of Hollowind!


You might be wondering why we didn’t simply choose a single existing system, or why we didn’t custom-make one for Hollowind. I can tell you we spent a lot of time on this decision, but in the end we realized we wanted this game to be approachable by as many people as possible, with as little effort as possible. This means relying on widespread systems, allowing every group to choose the one they are most comfortable with. Each rules conversion will provide everything you need to adapt your system to our setting in a few easy steps, keeping your focus on the game, not the conversion.

At the same time, we will develop special rules for the Savage Worlds conversion (this is the first system we will design for) such as “Interrogation Scenes”, “Arcane Plague”, “Arcane Fogs” and several Edges dedicated to playing Hollowind. All these rules will be released within a free PDF.

*UPDATE: D&D 5th Edition, and FATE, which means conversion documents for both these systems will be unlocked upon reaching the goal of 10,000€!”


Egg’s Thoughts:

This RPG is set in a dieselpunk anti-magic 1930s America and you’re either a hunted mage or the government hunters. It’s for Savage Worlds, 5e, or FATE and should be interesting. Check out the Kickstarter for a quickstart version of the game.


You can find their games on DriveThruRPG here.

Support their Kickstarter here.


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A Far Off Land, A Fate RPG in Two Worlds by Bennett-Burks Design
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“An RPG where modern meets mythic fantasy in two imperiled worlds, where the intrigues of the Courts & Factions play out.

You, Fated one, are a beautiful lie, and so too is the world around you

A Far Off Land is a multi-world spanning fantasy RPG (roleplaying game) setting by Megan Bennett-Burks and Jacob Possin for the Fate RPG. We will include rules for Apocalypse World / PbtA in a PDF IF we hit the $7000 funding mark.

Take the role of one of the Fated; shapeshifting beings which are creatures of both worlds. The Fated are akin to the demigods of legend.

Note on add-ons: Want to get extra copies of the book, PDF, or other goodies, see the add-ons section further down.

Note on Shipping: Is your Country Not Listed on a Pledge? Contact us, we may still be able to ship to you, but will need to determine an appropriate shipping cost.

Curious About Press on the Game? Want to Learn even More?  See interviews and more as they are listed in our updates!

Switching worlds by Gennifer Bone
Switching worlds by Gennifer Bone

The world around you is not the only one, and even it is not what it seems. Embrace your twinned nature, creature both eldritch and human. You are a child born of one world and adopted by the other, and fated to save them both. Ah, but, alas, you are much like the world you were born to, also, not what you seem!

There are two worlds; one is the world you were born into, the one you’ve taken for granted as mundane and explicable. The other is the Far Off Land; where creatures of myth and magic dwell. This wondrous place was crafted by the gods long ago and has a vast array of Mythic realms which lie within it. You and your companions are Fated, shapeshifting beings who are of both worlds, and the fate of both worlds rests in your hands.

Two Worlds, Rabbit Holes and Many Realms  

One world is that which your character was born into; it is nearly identical to our own present-day earth though it has powerful magic hidden within it. The Fated call this world The Cage because it serves as a prison for slumbering dragons and primordial giants, who would imperil both worlds were they to awaken.

The other world is the realm of myth, magic, and monsters; the Far Off Land and its many realms from ancient Duat, the Mirrored Cities, and Wonderland. Your adventures will span both these worlds, and to the many rabbit holes which act as passageways from one to the next, including The Alley and its great Goblin Market. The rabbit holes were created thanks to the sacrifice of the goddess Tekmor long ago.”

Wonderland Fated by Gennifer Bone
Wonderland Fated by Gennifer Bone


Read my interview about A Far Off Land with Megan Bennett-Burks here.


Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m interested enough in this project to have done an interview. The idea that you’ll play in two worlds offers a lot of role-playing options and I want to see this make it. I think it has potential as a FATE Core game or as a PbtA option. Need more? You can try the free preview on RPGNow/DriveThruRPG here, A Far Off Land – Preview.


You can find their games on DriveThruRPG here.

Support their Kickstarter here.


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Kids on Bikes RPG – Strange Adventures in Small Towns by Infectious Play/Hunter Books
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“Choose your OWN destiny in this storytelling rules-light tabletop role-playing game where adventure is a bike ride away!

Young Adults, Small Towns…


Kids on Bikes is a Collaborative World Building RPG set in small towns with big mysteries. Written and created by celebrated game designers Jon Gilmour (Dead of Winter, Atari: Centipede/Missile Command/Asteroids) & Doug Levandowski (Gothic Doctor, Seven Minutes in Hell). Kids on Bikes is a rules-light storytelling system that gets players into the action fast.

The Adventures of Kids on Bikes take place in small towns at any point in history before:

  • Everyone had camera phone that could catch video of a Ghost
  • Use GPS to track a Homicidal Maniac roaming around town
  • Research an old creaky house in seconds using Google

Kids on Bikes takes place in a more mysterious time, where anything and everything *could* happen.

Kids on Bikes is a 60 page, rules-light, fast-paced storytelling game in the spirit of games like DREAD, Perseverant, MONSTERHEARTS, and other great indy titles. Kids on Bikes is perfect for game nights in which you want to get a game in RIGHT NOW.

Using stats like GRIT, CHARM, FIGHT, FLIGHT, BRAINS and BRAWN, you’ll jump into the action. Each skill is represented by a polyhedral die based on your character’s competence. More sides = better chance of success.

That being said, even low stats always have a chance of success, as any max result EXPLODES leading to an additional re-roll contributing to the results. Lower sided dice mean bigger chances of explosions!”


Egg’s Thoughts:

Much like The Monster Hunter’s Club and Tales From the Loop, this game is tapping into the Stephen King’s IT, Stranger Things subgenre for which it took its name and the results are amazing. I read an advance copy of the game and I can fully recommend it. It’ll have an adventure from comic writer Jim Zub (who writes Wayward and a number of Marvel books) which crosses over into my love of comics. Want to try if for yourself? “There is even an early access PDF or ‘ashcan’ version of the rules available now…”


You can find their games on DriveThruRPG here.

Support their Kickstarter here.



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Signal Boost:


Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 by Shades of Vengeance 
The critically acclaimed Sci-Fi RPG returns to Kickstarter: get expansions to the universe, as well as the Definitive Edition Rulebook!
Ends on Sun, November 26 2017 4:00 PM EST.

Read my interview with Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance here.

Want to know more about the game? You can get the (free) Quickstart pack right here and try it out!

Why signal boost this? Because I’ll be writing one of the stretch goals – Sirona Specials Part 1 (Sessions 1-10)!



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Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

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


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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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


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Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

11 QUESTIONS ABOUT A Far Off Land WITH Megan Bennett-Burks (Bennett-Burks Design)

Megan Bennett-Burks of Bennett-Burks Design agreed to answer some questions about her Kickstarter for A Far Off Land, A Fate RPG in Two Worlds. We discuss the free preview, her company, and this RPG involving planewalking characters as they drive the destinies of two worlds.


Check out John McGuire’s The Gilded Age steampunk graphic novel on Kickstarter!


EGG EMBRY – Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Megan. Let’s talk about your Kickstarter, A Far Off Land, A Fate RPG in Two Worlds. What is it about?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – Thank you! A Far Off Land is an RPG for Fate Core, it is about people called the Fated, which are demigod-like shapeshifters that travel between two different worlds. One world is essentially our own (deceptively mundane) reality and the other is the fantastic Far Off Land of eldritch beings. The focus is on the drama that goes on between the various organizations with an interest in The Fated and the fate of the two worlds. Ultimately the PCs can push the world towards the future their faction envisions, or rebel against that.


EGG – This game is for the FATE system, or it can be used as a system agnostic setting. What made FATE work for this world? Why suggest it as a non-FATE option?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – Fate is the most natural fit for this game; it is layered in such a way that it can be picked up as a very light system, and then once someone is more comfortable they can add more to it. It also is meant for new settings to be built based on the rules, and its systems for stunts and aspects make this work excellent. It also tends to work ideally for larger than life characters.

It is definitely built for Fate; there is however, a lot of setting material, and you don’t have to use the rules to use that, especially if you want to use another relatively light-to-medium system. I could see someone perhaps using it with RISUS or even something like Savage Worlds. I do think it would take rather a lot of effort to make it work with something like D&D 5e or Pathfinder though for example.


EGG – Let’s talk about your stretch goal to make the game available for Apocalypse World / Powered by the Apocalypse system. As above, what makes PbtA the right expansion for this setting? FATE, system agnostic, and PbtA, are there any more systems you’re considering?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – A lot of why I want to use PbtA is because I currently have a bit of, well, a crush on the system really. I’ve been home-brewing like mad with it. It’s a lot easier to make new settings and rules with than it might initially look, and it works excellent whether you want to build a game using Playbooks, straight up character classes, or just have players pick from a selection of abilities. We’ll probably use playbooks because I think there will be plenty of concepts in A Far Off Land that will fit perfectly with that. I also think the concept of Moves and how they give the games built in PbtA just so much flavor will really help emphasize certain aspects of the game that need it.


Ankou by Gennifer Bone

EGG – I’m fond of this question – When Russ Morrissey of EN World, the ENnie Awards, WOIN, and more asked what’s the best way to gauge how the pre-marketing for a crowdfunding was progressing, Owen KC Stephens (Design Lead for Starfinder) offered “I find downloads of free preview PDFs on DriveThru to be a pretty good predictor.” You have a free preview onRPGNow/DriveThruRPG, A Far Off Land – Preview. Was it up before your KS launched? And how has it “tracked” since the campaign got underway?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – I did place it up before I launched the campaign, but, just barely. It’s tracked very well, but to be honest, most free previews seem to do very well on DriveThruRPG, so I think I need to see more research on how different ones compare, and what that really means.


EGG – What’s been the reaction to A Far Off Land – Preview, and the Kickstarter in general?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – So far it’s been really good. When I first placed it up, it was on G+ and not DriveThruRPG (though I only waited maybe a few days until I placed it up there), and people liked it but found it was lacking some things it needed. The suggestions I got for what it needed were very specific so that was good.


Switching worlds by Gennifer Bone

EGG – In your opinion, what’s the best backer reward that you’re offering through this campaign?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – The hardcover books, they always look great, and all the ones I’ve gotten from DriveThruRPG have been hardy as well. The quality from what I’ve gathered has just continued to climb on DriveThru as well.


EGG – You’re offering several rewards that let you create content for your game, and I’m a big fan of vanity press/wanna-lancer* rewards. Tell us about what the backers can create?

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

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – There’s options to create monsters, magical artifacts, a character (which will also get you a custom character sheet for it), a Eldritch Court (which is a type of organization for the game), or finally a whole realm/location for the game. They all come with an illustration of the creation as well, and the backer gets to choose which of our artists does the illustration (dependent on artist availability, but we will try to give backer illustrations priority).


Air element Fated by Gennifer Bone

EGG – Tell us a little about you and what was the game that changed you into a gamer?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – Rifts, that was the first RPG I ever played. My memories of my first Rifts games are fuzzy to say the least, but, I picked it back up again years later. I LOVE multiverse settings, which should show here, and that my favorite setting is Planescape.


EGG – Why did you create your gaming company, Bennett-Burks Design?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – I freelance as a programmer and web-designer, and wanted to make sure I was doing that legitimately so formed a sole proprietorship. Honestly, I didn’t even think about making a separate company for my RPG books, so I’ve just put everything under one umbrella.


Hatters Court Member by Tanyaporn Sangsnit

EGG – What projects are you currently developing?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – Beyond this one, I have Oneiros: Five Dragons on the back burner. I placed the early access on DriveThruRPG, and plan to return to it, but, it’s a free supplement that I’m really doing for fun. I also have some other projects planned for the future, one of which will be for PbtA and preliminary I’m calling Fennel Witches. It is about the Benandanti and will deal with a lot of Italian folklore, small town weirdness, and coven oriented game-play. Right now I’m just doing research for it, and that will be the case likely for some time.


EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about Bennett-Burks Design?

MEGAN BENNETT-BURKS – My G+ page right now is the best place, I’m very active on there.


And DriveThruRPG:

I will eventually overhaul my company website. But, I spend a lot more time working on other people’s sites, so much I have no time for my own!

For A Far Off Land there’s also this: http://farofflandrpg.com/


Try the free preview of A Far Off Land – Preview here.

You can support the Kickstarter for A Far Off Land, A Fate RPG in Two Worlds here.

Wonderland Fated by Gennifer Bone


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Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).


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

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


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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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


* * * * * *


Egg Embry wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. Now, he buys the opportunity to write for a variety of tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. His purchases have been published by:

Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).