5 Gamebook, Prose, and Comic Kickstarters You Should Read – Malika, Neverland, The Awakened III, Penumbra, and Decision Underground

After reading the Kickstarter for the gamebook, Rider of the Black Sun, its rekindled my love for Choose Your Own Adventure-style projects. Putting my RPG review aside for a day, I look at two gamebooks, two comics, and a fantasy prose anthology as I combine all of my interests – games, comics, and writing – in one article!

 


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

 

Malika – Warrior Queen Part Two by You Neek Studios
Ends on .

“Malika – Warrior Queen is a historical fantasy that takes place in a 15th-century West Africa. Part Two concludes Malika’s epic story!

 

Set in fifteenth-century West Africa, Malika (pronounced “Ma-LIE-ka”): Warrior Queen follows the exploits of queen and military commander Malika, who struggles to keep the peace in her ever-expanding empire. In Part Two of the hit graphic novel series, Malika uncovers a painful betrayal by one of the people closest to her. The treachery unnerves a usually stoic and composed Malika, allowing her enemies both known and unknown, internal as well as external, encircle her, positioning themselves for the destruction of Azzaz, the empire she spent her entire adult life building. Can Malika recompose herself and save her people once again? Or is this betrayal the beginning of the end for Malika and the people of Azzaz? Only time will tell.

Malika prepares to address the crowd at the Hall of Hassan
Malika prepares to address the crowd at the Hall of Hassan

It’s been amazing to see how well Malika has been received since it’s release in May. One of the most rewarding experiences was having chapter one of the graphic novel selected for Diamond Comic’s Free Comic Book Day event in May, where it was one of the most sought-after and best-reviewed books of the bunch!

Producing this series has definitely been the most painstaking for me as a writer. The last two years have been filled with sleepless nights, months of research, moments of self-doubt and more. But I’ve loved every minute of it. Why? Because as much as this is a fictional story, it is both heavily inspired and framed by African history. I drew inspiration for some aspects of Malika’s story from one of West Africa’s most significant female rulers. Queen Amina of Zazzau. In addition to that, Malika’s empire, Azzaz, is surrounded by African kingdoms and empires that existed before colonization. Africa has a wealth of history and mythology that is yet to become mainstream knowledge for everyone to experience and be inspired by. My hope is that the Malika series slowly begins to change that.”

The Olon Jin make their first appearance
The Olon Jin make their first appearance
And its not pretty
And its not pretty

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m a fan of diversity in gaming – Mythic d6, A Far Off Land, AMP: Year Four, Seven Worlds – and comics – Niobe, Route 3, Sorghum & Spear – so I’m excited to see the sequel to the Free Comic Book Day Malika #1 on Kickstarter! This comic offers sword and soul and is something I am eager to read. I’d love to see this go the distance and make it over to be a RPG!

 

The first graphic novel is available through Amazon here.

You can support the Kickstarter here.

 

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NEVERLAND – Here Be Monsters! by Jonathan Green
Ends on Sat, December 2 2017 5:00 PM EST.

“J. M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan and Wendy’ meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Lost World’ in this brand-new, thrilling gamebook adventure!

NEVERLAND is a brand new adventure gamebook – a multi-path book, very much in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, in which you choose the course of the story – inspired by both Peter Pan and Wendy, by J. M. Barrie, and The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

It’s Treasure Island meets Jurassic Park! It’s Cutthroat Island meets King Kong! It’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Land That Time Forgot! It’s Pirates versus Dinosaurs! And you can play as either shipwreck survivor Wendy Darling or automaton avenger Peter Pan. Anybody who has read and played The Wicked Wizard of Oz or Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland will have a very clear idea of what to expect!

My name is Jonathan Green and I am an author, editor and games designer. I am probably best known for my Fighting Fantasy adventure gamebooks, as well as YOU ARE THE HERO – A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, and my Pax Britannia steampunk novels.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Amazon UK links have been replaced with affiliate Amazon US links.]

Adventure gamebooks written by Jonathan Green
Adventure gamebooks written by Jonathan Green

                                                                           

Pax Britannia steampunk novels by Jonathan Green
Pax Britannia steampunk novels by Jonathan Green

                                                                           

YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks - Parts 1 & 2
YOU ARE THE HERO – A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks – Parts 1 & 2

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m a fan of gamebooks/Choose Your Own Adventures/Tunnels & Trolls’ solo adventures and I’m a fan of Peter Pan so this book is the concept. What would you do as Peter Pan? Jonathan Green lets you decide.

 

More books by Jonathan Green are available through Amazon here:

You can support the Kickstarter here.

 

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Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord! by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sun, December 3 2017 9:34 AM EST.

“Everyone’s favorite mistress of shadows is back! But can she defeat the bunny lord?

Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord, is the story of the Mistress of Shadows meeting her greatest foe, a lagomorph with great night vision!

On a heist to steal a piece of alien technology, rumored to increase the abilities of any Empowered who holds it, she faces off against Wild Hare. He has an aim to test his skills against the slickest of escape artist. Together with the small army of security, Wild Hare will make sure it isn’t Penumbra’s lucky day.

Will she succeed? Will she get paid? Did she think to bring carrots? Back the comic and you’ll find the story in your email before even Penumra could steal it!”

 

UPDATE 2017-11-15 10:15AM – Ed Jowett shared the creative team with me:

  • Written by Johnathan Lewis
  • Art by Sebastian Sala
  • Colours by Slamet Mujiono
  • Penumra created by Ed Jowett

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

[Disclosure: I am working for Shades of Vengeance on their Era: The Consortium RPG.]

 

Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance is a nice guy who does gaming and comics and employees lil’ Egg Embry. He has two Kickstarters up right now, this one and the Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2. He’s one of the hardest working folks in gaming and this comic is a product of that work-ethic. Zany heroic comedy as a thief faces a bunny-man!

 

To see more comics, and books, from Shades of Vengeance, click here.

You can support the Kickstarter here.

 

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The Awakened III Anthology by Battlefield Press International and Samurai Sheepdog
Ends on Wed, December 6 2017 9:54 PM EST.

“The Awakened III brings together several amazing authors to tell their stories of triumph, failure, fear, and acceptance.

On the world of Grimaton, turning nineteen is more than just a rite of passage into adulthood. When the two moons cross, it can also change your life forever. As awakened, the men and women of Grimaton are possessed of magic in the form of a special bond with an animal or a knack for manipulating the underlying energies of the land. They throw rainbow fire, swim beside alligators, or shape the blood of their enemies into weapons.

Join us for a third time as publishers Battlefield Press International and Samurai Sheepdog work together to bring ten amazing authors together. In our latest anthology you’ll find tales of triumph, failure, fear, and acceptance set once again in the fantasy world of Grimaton. Enjoy new stories with the heroes and villains from Book I. Meet entirely new characters as interesting and dynamic as the rest. Return to the fictional realm of the awakened and watch as its remarkable history continues to grow. When the moons cross, anything can happen.

  • Ed Greenwood
  • Darrin Drader
  • Darren W. Pearce
  • Ty Johnston
  • Doug Herring
  • Ted Fauster
  • Torah Cottrill
  • Rosemary Jones
  • Jonathan M. Thompson
  • Hal Greenberg and Ken Shannon
  • Kevin Glusing
  • Interior art by Ruth Ducko”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

When Jonathan M. Thompson of Battlefield Press International told me about this – that his company was trying out prose publishing – I was excited by the prospect and even more interested after seeing the contributor’s list! It’s sword, it’s sorcery, it’s prose, it’s a series, and it’s a win! They have two prior anthologies to sample (links below).

 

More books from this series are available through DriveThruFiction (here) or Amazon:

You can support the Kickstarter here.

Read an interview with Jonathan M. Thompson about a prior project here.

 

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Decision Underground: A Choice-Based Criminal Adventure by Jimbo Mclaughlin
Ends on Tue, December 12 2017 7:12 PM EST.

What is Decision Underground?

Decision Underground is a choice-based novel in which you must choose your own path through a dangerous and twisted criminal underworld where making the wrong decision could lead to very serious consequences ranging anywhere from getting locked up for the rest of your life to being murdered horribly. Choosing wisely however, could lead to stacks of cash, infamy, and most importantly; your freedom and your life.

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Like I mentioned with Rider of the Black Sun and NEVERLAND – Here Be Monsters!, I am a fan of solo adventures/CYOA/gamebooks and this one is, to me, unique – a Choose Your Own Crime. Instead of being set in fantasy or sci-fi or superhero worlds, it’s set in our world and you’re a nogoodnik. Grand Theft Auto the book, I like the concept and want to see how it goes… I mean, how many endings are death and how many are jail?

 

You can support the 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 .

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.

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

 

* * * * * *

 

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).

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

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

 

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

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

Image courtesy of Wayne Barlow
Image courtesy of Wayne Barlow

THE CORPORATE WARS ARE ON!

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

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

Image courtesy of Bill Fawcett
Image courtesy of Bill Fawcett

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

Tiny Dungeon returns in a newly revised and revamped edition!

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

Cover Art by Michael Leavenworth
Cover Art by Michael Leavenworth

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

Fever Swamp

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

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

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

 

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

“In the 1980s strange things happened everywhere!”

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

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wanna-lancer* Rewards:

“Pledge $750 or more

Ultimate Folio Fan

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Signal Boost:

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

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

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

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

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

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

COVER ART

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

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

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

 

You can check out the first anthology on Amazon here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

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).

10 QUESTIONS ABOUT Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War RPG WITH Jonathan M. Thompson (Battlefield Press International)

At Gen Con 50, Jonathan M. Thompson said we should meet and I agreed with him in that airy way that is closer to if-it-happens-it-happens than it is to a firm commitment. I wasn’t trying to avoid him, just Gen Con is so much that it’s not about what you want to do, it’s about what you’re willing to miss because there were easily twenty things I wanted to do that I did not make it to. But, Jonathan asked and we finally connected as I was heading out the door for the trip back to Atlanta. Last minute yet it was one of the most important connections I made at the con. He bent my ear about something I’d never heard of before, Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War. Despite my ignorance, Jonathan’s passion for this property sold me and led to conversations and support and this interview.

 

EGG EMBRY – Thanks for speaking to us. You’re running a Kickstarter, Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War, can you tell us what the setting and game are about?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSONCold Cash War is based on Robert Asprin’s first novel, The Cold Cash War. It is about corporations fighting each other the way that countries would do. They hire mercenary armies and pick a spot, usually in a third world country, and hash it out with weapons and troops. They use a thing called a killsuit that register kills and turns off the injured part of the body. This is the default setting for the game. A character doesn’t have to worry about being killed normally, but can be taken out of action. The other method of play has to deal with the time when corporations started taking out their rivals for real, via assassination. This level of play means characters can be killed and will get a little more than a slap on the wrist or jail time if caught by the rival corporation. Basically, you can treat the corporations like countries and you get the same kind of feel. The corporations are all megacorp conglomerates, and they all want the upper hand. The eventual goal is for only one corporation to exist, creating a worldwide monopoly.

Asprin is better known for his M.Y.T.H. series, and also his series of military comedy starting with Phule’s Company.

 

 

EGG – You are producing this for both the Savage Worlds system and the Cepheus Engine, what makes these the ideal systems for setting?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSONCepheus Engine is derived from open content released from Mongoose Publishing for their first edition of Traveller. It is an old school game, with an old school feel, which makes it perfect for Cold Cash War. I also believe that Savage Worlds, with its innate flexibility makes it an ideal choice for the setting.

 

 

EGG – As a fan, what would be the Cold Cash War adventure that you’d be the most excited to play?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – I would love to play in a series of adventures dealing with espionage, corporate espionage in CCW is similar to what you would think about countries going to war with each other.

 


EGG
– This book came out 40 years ago and looked at the near future; what did it accurately predict about today? Will the setting reflect the 1970s vision of today and the future?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – It accurately predicted the rise of the corporation as a power, we are getting pretty close to that today…some would say we have reached that. The corporations in the book turn out to be more powerful than the governments, for the most part. The setting will be the “near now” as seen through the lens of 1977. Mostly the novel reflects the world as Asprin saw it in that time, and we are planning on keeping that as the way the reader sees it through the RPG. We have done this with other games, using a term I like to call “alternate future.” This way you get the idea of what they were thinking, the best we can without asking Robert Asprin himself.

 

 

EGG – You’ve worked with the Asprin estate to bring about this project, are there plans to expand this setting and story beyond what Mr. Asprin originally wrote?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – There are. With a successful KS we will start working on source material, the big things we are looking at now is a series of books detailing each of the corporations and the governments…. including the illusive C-Bloc.

 

 

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

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – Like most people in my age group, that would have to be Dungeons and Dragons. I told this story recently, but when I was in elementary school, I lived in Singapore because my dad was assigned there and he worked for an oil company. So, I have always been a voracious reader, and I had pretty much read everything in the schools library. Every day after lunch I went to the library, in those days I read about a book a day (sometimes more) and I had just finished the Mystery section, having finished the Sci-fi/Fantasy section first. I had turned the corner (as the library was built in an L shape) and sitting at the conference table in the library were these guys playing this game. I sat down to watch, fascinated by what they were doing. The next day they invited me to play, giving me a character to play. A druid. None of us really knew what we were doing, but we had a blast doing it.

 

Battlefield Press’ Victorian Gaslight Fantasy 3e for Savage Worlds

EGG – Why did you create your gaming company, Battlefield Press International?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – I wanted to get those good designers, that may not get a chance with the big guys, a chance to be heard. My friend wanted to get his game published, and no one would take him. So I formed Battlefield Press and his was the first we did, but instead of using his original system we converted the entire thing to d20 (at the beginning of the d20 era). It did well, so BPI went on to other things, some doing great, some not, but all of that gave me confidence, strength and improved my ability as a designer.

 

EGG – As a Kickstarter veteran, what advice would you give others thinking about launching a gaming Kickstarter?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – Just do it. There is nothing wrong with taking a chance. If you make it then the public agrees with your vision, if you don’t then you are still okay because you know that was not a project to invest your own time and energy into.

 

 

EGG – What projects are you currently developing?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – There are many things, expanding our Gaslight Victorian Fantasy line, developing a Starfinder version of our Eldritch Skies setting. We also have the license for Atlas Games’ Northern Crown which is developed for Pathfinder, with some additional material coming. We have Sherwood the Legend of Robin Hood for Pathfinder, 5e, and the Swords & Wizardry system. Warren C. Norwood’s Double Spiral War for Savage Worlds is getting a new book next year. In additional to all our RPG material, we also publish Fiction. Our next fiction release is called Sisterhood of the Blade, which is about a trio of women in France during the time of the French Revolution (think 3 Musketeers, but women protecting the Queen), and we have also partnered up with Samurai Sheepdog (and Hall Greenberg) to publish their upcoming fiction in their Awakened line. That KS will launch in November.

 

 

EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about Battlefield Press International?

JONATHAN M. THOMPSON – We can be found on DTRPG and RPGNow, as well as the Paizo store. In addition we can be ordered through your FLGS. We have a website (www.battlefieldpress.com), but its out of date and needs a face lift.

 

 

To see other games from Battlefield Press International, check out their products on DriveThruRPG here.

For the Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War Kickstarter, click here.

 

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

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

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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

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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:

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