3 One-Hundred-Thousand-Dollar RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – The Expanse, The Fantasy Trip, and Your Best Game Ever/The Cypher System

On Kickstarter there are three RPG campaigns that have surpassed $200,000 in pledges with over a week to go as of this writing. Let’s look at the heavy hitters like The Expanse, The Fantasy Trip, and Your Best Game Ever!/Cypher System Rulebook!

 

Unfortunately, this goes live just a few hours before the $100,000 Atlas Games’ Over the Edge: A Roleplaying Game of Weird Urban Danger Kickstarter ends (Tue, August 14 2018 2:00 PM EDT) so I did not cover it, but the RPG is worth checking out.

 

The Expanse Roleplaying Game by Green Ronin Publishing (DriveThruRPG or OpenGamingStore)
Ends on Wed, August 22 2018 9:00 PM EDT.

“The Expanse Roleplaying Game brings James S.A. Corey’s award-winning series of science fiction novels to the tabletop.

Check out the free Quickstart PDF right now!
Check out the free Quickstart PDF right now!

Venture Into The Expanse!

The Expanse Roleplaying Game brings James S.A. Corey’s award-winning series of science fiction novels to the tabletop. Using the Adventure Game Engine (AGE) rules found in Fantasy AGE, Blue Rose, and Modern AGE, The Expanse takes players to a far-future solar system where humanity is divided: Martians, Belters, and the people of old Earth struggle for political power and resources, but even older, alien, forces are stirring in the universe, and human history is about to take an unexpected new turn. The Expanse applies the fast-playing and action-based AGE rules to spaceships, solar colonies, and adventure and intrigue in the far-future, where the actions of the characters may change the course of history!

As long time fans know, The Expanse was a roleplaying game campaign long before it was a series of novels or a TV show. We are delighted to bring it full circle with this game! And here’s the best thing about The Expanse RPG: we’ve been working on this for well over a year and rules are done! They’ve been through multiple iterations and playtesting, and we’ve worked closely with Ty Franck and Daniel Abraham (together, James S.A. Corey) throughout to ensure we are getting The Expanse right. Now let’s hear from Daniel and Ty themselves!

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Want to check the game out RIGHT NOW? Download The Expanse RPG Quickstart today! This is a 40-page PDF that includes stripped down rules, pre-generated characters, and an adventure you can play right away. The download is free.

The Expanse RPG Features

The Expanse is based on the exciting new Modern AGE rules-set, and includes many of its features, such as customized character building using Backgrounds and Professions, Drives for character engagement, and an abstract resources system. It also makes use of the Modern AGE approach to action, exploration, and social encounters, complete with stunts and systems for all of them. To get a closer look at Modern AGE, you can download the Quickstart here.

The following are some of the unique features of The Expanse in comparison to other AGE games:

  • Fortune: Rather than Health, characters have a Fortune score that measures lucky near-misses, close scrapes, and trivial hits before the character takes serious harm. Fortune is also useful for modifying die rolls and offering players some narrative control but, watch out! Spend too much of it and your luck could run out when you get caught in a crossfire!
  • Conditions: In addition to a running Fortune total, characters use various conditions to measure things like injuries and fatigue as well as tactical challenges like hindered movement or sensory abilities.
  • Interludes: The interludes in between encounters are given their own treatment, allowing players to make use of their “down-time” (including long hauls between destinations in the System) to recover, do maintenance, build their connections with others, or pursue their own projects.
  • Spaceships: The Expanse RPG features a system to model and create spaceships and its own system for space combat, including the assault on Thoth Station as an example of the system in action!
  • The Churn: The Expanse also offers something for the Game Master with the Churn: A ticking counter that measures the crew’s progress through a story and just when things are going to suddenly go sideways and become even more complicated!

Two Editions to Choose From!

We are offering the core rulebook of the Expanse RPG in two formats:

The Standard Edition is now (thanks to unlocked stretch goals) a 224 page full color hardback with a poster map of the solar system. This is the version that will stay in print after the Kickstarter has been fulfilled.

The Special Edition is a deluxe version of The Expanse RPG. It features the same beautiful full color interior of the Standard Edition with a black leatherette hardcover and a ribbon bookmark. This version is a Kickstarter exclusive, so it will not be available after the close of this campaign. Thanks to an unlocked stretch goal, the Special Edition now includes a dust jacket featuring the game’s gorgeous cover art!

The Expanse Game Master’s Kit

This Kickstarter also includes The Expanse Game Master’s Kit, which will ship alongside the book. It currently includes the following, but may expand with the unlocking of stretch goals:

  • A three-panel landscape format GM Screen with vital game system reference tables on one side and three panels of Expanse art on the player-facing side.
  • A set of game reference cards, including an initiative tracker, stunt references, and action references useful for players at the table.
  • Now includes pre-generated characters after a stretch goal unlock!
  • Now includes an adventure after a stretch goal unlock!

Abzu’s Bounty

Abzu’s Bounty is the first campaign for The Expanse  Roleplaying Game. This series of six linked scenarios will let you kick off your adventures in The Expanse in style. All six parts were unlocked as stretch goals so the full campaign is a go! Best of all, if you back the Kickstarter for $30 or more, you get a PDF of Abzu’s Bounty for free!

Design Team

We assembled a great team to design The Expanse Roleplaying Game. Steve Kenson is the lead designer. You may know Steve from our Blue Rose and Mutants & Masterminds RPGs, or from any of the dozens of RPG books he’s worked on over the last two decades. He had the able assistance of Seth Johnson, Ian Lemke, Rich Lescouflair, Rob McCreary, Jason Mical, Neall Raemonn Price, Zack Walters, Nicole Winchester, and of course James S.A. Corey!

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

James S.A. Corey’s The Expanse, the book series and TV series [with poorer pacing than the books (call it what it is)] started life as a homebrew game. With this Kickstarter, it’s coming around full circle using Green Ronin Publishing AGE System (Dragon Age, Fantasy AGE, Blue Rose, and Modern AGE) as the engine (I enjoy the system overall). Add to that, there are stretch goals to let fans get their characters written up by James S.A. Corey (Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck) and even include a fresh short story (reported on here). This campaign is well worth checking out.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here or at the OpenGamingStore here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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THE FANTASY TRIP – Old-School Roleplaying! by Steve Jackson Games
Ends on Fri, August 24 2018 6:05 PM EDT.

 

“Help us bring back Steve Jackson’s first tabletop RPG.

In 1977, Steve started work on his first roleplaying game, The Fantasy Trip. It was published by Metagaming, and for a brief time it even rivaled D&D for popularity. The Fantasy Trip (TFT) was published first as a series of microgames and, later, expanded with full-size books.

Steve’s TFT works, published between 1977 and 1980, included:

  • Melee (1977): A microgame of fantasy combat and the first release in the series. At $2.95,Melee was inexpensive and formed the core of the line.
  • Wizard (1978): Spellcaster battles! Wizard, the second TFT game, was originally slightly more expensive at $3.95 and provided the line’s magic rules.
  • Death Test (1978): Steve’s first solo adventure — ever! — and designed for use with Meleeand/or Wizard. To learn more about solo adventures, see “Writing a Solo Adventure” atthefantasytrip.game website.
  • Death Test 2 (1980): A sequel to Death Test and a chance to explore a second dungeon using only the Melee and/or Wizard microgames.
  • Advanced Melee (1980): Originally designed as part of the TFT boxed roleplaying game,Advanced Melee was split by the publisher from its planned format and released to a separate book of expanded combat rules.
  • Advanced Wizard (1980): Also snatched from the never-released TFT box set, this title presented more magic rules for use with the series.
  • In the Labyrinth (1980): The roleplaying rules for TFT and what would have been the core of the planned box set, In the Labyrinth included character rules, GM advice, monsters, and more.
  • Tollenkar’s Lair (1980): An adventure for TFT.

Steve left Metagaming after completing his work on In the Labyrinth and the other titles that were planned as parts of a never-to-be-published TFT box set. After his time at Metagaming, Steve published The Space Gamer magazine and founded Steve Jackson Games.

The Fantasy Trip continued at Metagaming, under the guidance of line editor Guy McLimore (author of the excellent Grail Quest TFT solo adventure) and others. Several adventures were released . . . then Metagaming closed its doors, and The Fantasy Trip was unavailable for nearly 40 years.

Fast forward to 2017. Steve regained rights to his work! He’s now working on the Legacy Edition . . . what TFT should have been when it was first published 40 years ago.

The Fantasy Trip is an “old-school” RPG, with easy character design, realistic tactical combat, and an emphasis on story. It is unabashedly focused on dungeon crawls and arena battles. It’s a great introduction for your friends who are new to roleplaying, because it’s so easy to get started.

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I was *briefly* GM’ed (in a round robin) by Steve Jackson at Dragon*Con in the 90s and met him again, briefly, at Origins 2018. Like that event in my life came around for me, Steve Jackson is returning one of his original properties to the players after decades. This is worth checking out for that old school nostalgia and a still-original game. Check out the philosphy of the game here – easy character design, realistic tactical combat, and an emphasis on story – then head to the campaign and back it!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Your Best Game Ever! [Cypher System] by Monte Cook Games
Ends on Fri, August 24 2018 8:00 PM EDT.

“A tool book for tabletop roleplayers. No matter what game you play or how long you’ve been playing–have your best game ever!

Your Best Game Ever is not your typical RPG sourcebook. It’s not a book with adventures, spells, creatures, or magic items. It’s not a book for characters at all, but a book for players! If you play or run roleplaying games, this book is for you. Inside this gorgeous hardcover book, suitable for your coffee table or your gaming table, you will find advice and suggestions for enhancing your RPG experience at the table and away from it. This is an insider’s look at everything that goes into the hobby—finding a group, making a character, running a game, creating adventures, finding all the right ideas, hosting a game…and that’s just for starters.

If You’re an Experienced Gamer
You’ve been gaming for a while now. Maybe even years. You get the concepts, and you understand the rules. No one needs to explain the dice to you. Your Best Game Ever embraces the hobby you love, and provides real tips, immediately usable advice, and hands-on pointers you can use at your game table. You’ll find everything here from enhancing immersion, tips for running games online, creating characters with depth, worldbuilding, designing rules, dealing with personality conflicts that arise at the table, and more!

If You’re Fairly New to Gaming
Your friends play RPGs. You’ve maybe watched some streaming games, or given it a try a few times. You get the general idea, but where do you go from there? How do you really get into this hobby the way so many others have? This book will give you everything you need to learn how to choose the right game, how to fit into your game group or start your own group, and get you going on the fast track to being a great gamer.

Not a Rule Book, But a Tool Book
Your Best Game Ever is divided into three major sections: general game topics, being a player, and being a game master. There’s even a section on designing your own game, and getting it published. And this isn’t just a stuffy book on theory, either. You’ll find actual suggestions you can use to create better characters with character arcs, real recipes you can make for game night (and even spruce them up for your genre of choice), specific suggestions for music and ambiance depending on genre, plot ideas, character ideas, and other ready-to-use material.

This 224-page book will enable you to become a better gamer. You’ll find ways to create and manage a great game group, tricks for game prep (and what to do if you haven’t prepared!), understanding and managing game balance, and taking everything around you and incorporating it as inspiration for your game.

Monte Cook, the principal author, has been playing RPGs for 40 years, and working on them professionally for 30 years. The MCG team, all of whom will be contributing, are an extremely seasoned group with a combined total of over 250 years of RPG experience. But we wanted to get an even wider and diverse set of experiences and points of view in this book, so we’ve recruited a team of folks that will provide feedback as well as their own contributions for the book. This dream team of consulting experts includes:

Eric Campbell
Matt Colville
Luke Crane
Stacy Dellorfano
Tanya DePass
Ajit George
Jennell Jaquays
Eloy Lasanta
Tom Lommel
Matthew Mercer
Susan J. Morris
Alina Pete
John Rogers
Monica Valentinelli

The book will also feature comics and cartoons from:
John Kovalic (Dork Tower)
Vickie Lee (Dungeons and Doggos)
Aviv Or (Up to Four Players)
Brian Patterson (d20 Monkey)
Len Peralta (Geek-a-Week)
Alina Pete (Weregeek)
Stan! (10x10Toon)

(Scroll down for more details on Your Best Game Ever)

In 2011, Monte created Numenera, and with it, a game system called the Cypher System. This game system has won awards and has been lauded by gamers everywhere as a wonderfully different way to play games of any genre. In 2015, we created the Cypher System Rulebook (CSR) to help gamers use the system for any type of game they wanted to play—fantasy, science fiction, horror, superheroes, and so on. You can get a copy of that book in this Kickstarter campaign, but we’re also Kickstarting a new version that will come out in 2019. The new version will incorporate lots of new options for players, but perhaps best of all it will take the concepts from Your Best Game Ever and apply them directly to the Cypher System. These two books will work hand-in-hand to create the best Cypher game ever!

(Scroll down for more details on the new Cypher System Rulebook)

If you’re new to the Cypher System and are curious about how it works, you can download the free Cypher System Rules Primer for an idea of how the game plays.

Now that the Kickstarter has funded, our stretch goals will focus on the development of various genre-focused books that will take the concepts found in the new CSR and take them one step further, with specific examples. Each of these additional books will include an entirely new and original campaign setting as well as lots of material and advice for making your own in the realms of science fiction, fantasy, and more.

You’ve read the effusive descriptions above. Is Your Best Game Ever really for everyone? More importantly, is it for you? Maybe it would be better to just show you what’s in the book. Here’s a brief listing of some of the topics we’ll cover:

Click here for a closer look! 

Our goal with this book is to make every game your best game ever. But we know–as GMs, players, and designers ourselves–that every game and every experience is unique. What’s the hardest struggle you have with creating great games, either as a player or as a GM? Looking for some GM or player advice? Let us know at this link. (Once the KS is complete and we’ve started working on the book, we’ll look through your comments to make sure the book covers players’ biggest issues and concerns.)

When we were finishing the new Numenera books, Discovery and Destiny, one of the first things that playtesters asked us was, are you going to incorporate some of the cool new material in these books into the Cypher System?

A valid question. And it got me (Monte) really thinking about the Cypher System Rulebook as a whole. I didn’t want to change the rules—I love the Cypher System, and wouldn’t touch the mechanics. But developing Numenera Discovery and Destiny showed me that there was a lot we could add in terms of player abilities and flexibility, and what the CSR really needs is flexibility. The idea that you can create any campaign in any genre is fundamental to the whole idea. And I realized we could take some steps to push that idea a lot further.

So we’re Kickstarting a brand new, revised 416-page Cypher System Rulebook. Before I go any further, though, let me say right now, if you’ve got the existing Cypher System Rulebookand you’re happy with it, great! These new ideas don’t change the way the rules work. You still roll a d20, you’ve still got difficulties 1⎼10, you’ve still got characters with descriptors, types, and foci. NPCs have levels. PCs use effort to decrease the difficulty. Everything is still fully compatible with everything Cypher-related that we’ve ever published. You’ll be able to play a game with half the characters from the original CSR and half from the new CSR all at the table at the same time. The difference isn’t in how the game is played, but in the choices players get to create and run their characters.

What I’m most excited about are the ways I’ve thought about over the last few years to make things more customizable so that you could even more easily use these rules in any setting. To that end, in this book we’re dramatically streamlining the chapter on character focus, so that you can customize your character’s focus to perfectly match the setting and your character concept. So if you’re making a starship pilot, a superhero, or an occult investigator, you don’t choose the one that fits best from a list of foci—you take your character concept and tailor your focus so that it really fits what you want to do.

Based on player feedback, we’re also making what we call subtle cyphers—cyphers that aren’t tied to a specific object—the default for all genres, and we’ll be including way more of them. (You’ll still be able to have cyphers as objects too.) This will make applying the concept of cyphers, which is obviously core to the system, easy no matter what kind of game you’re playing.

And of course, there’s all those new additions from Numenera Discovery and Destiny that add a lot of new options that just make the game better. They’re not really changes, they’re additions—new character abilities, more choices, player intrusions in addition to GM intrusions, and more. These will all be incorporated into the new CSR. And let me say again, it’s still all entirely compatible with existing Cypher System material, whether it be from theCSR or one of our settings like Gods of the Fall, Predation, or Unmasked (and of course, Numenera and The Strange).

Further, we’ll also be incorporating suggestions from Your Best Game Ever directly into this book. So, for example, Your Best Game Ever will talk about creating character arcs to enhance play, while the specific material for creating Cypher System character arcs as a mechanic will be included in this book.

Lastly, we’ll include even more genres you can use, in addition to fantasy, horror, and so on. We’re going to break science fiction into hard sci-fi and space opera/science fantasy, and we’ll add coverage for romance, historical gaming, and more! Learn more about the changes we’re planning to make here. 

Your Best Game Ever: This 160-page beautiful hardcover book is suitable for your coffee table as well as your game table! Decades of gaming advice and insight all in one tome. If you love RPGs, you need this book. Also available as a PDF.

Cypher System Rulebook: This 416-page, lavishly illustrated, hardcover corebook is fully compatible with the original Cypher System Rulebook, and all Cypher System products like Numenera, The Strange, Gods of the Fall, Predation, and Unmasked! It contains everything you need to play a Cypher System game of your own. Also available as a PDF.

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Your Best Game Ever! is going to be an epic tool dealing with something that is not always covered in gaming, philosophy. When the rules are covered, the setting is immaculate, the game is scheduled, then this book deals with the connecting tissue between those elements, what will take them from a checklist of needs to a fun night of dice slinging. And it is written by some amazing writers!
I’m a fan of the Cypher System. Over on EN World, I write reviews for the Cypher System Creator Program (Monte Cook Games crowd sourcing RPG option that allows creators to produce and sale original content for the Cypher System) so I am eager to see the changes/non-changes coming in the revised Cypher System rulebook.

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

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UPDATE 2018-08-14 2:00 PM:
Ends on Fri, September 14 2018 2:00 PM EDT.
“Contributing authors James Ward, Lenard Lakofka and more share some of their pro tips on how to create your first fantasy RPG adventure”
Looking for advice on how to create your tabletop RPG along with stock art to get you going? Learn from ” industry greats and legends James M. Ward, Lenard Lakofka, as well as exceptional talents such as Johnn Four, Rick Hershey, Lucus Palosaari, Kevin Watson, Bobby Nash and Egg Embry.” I’m excited to be a part of this project and offer my insights into the world of crowdfunding!
Check out the campaign here.
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Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN WorldKnights of the Dinner TableOpen Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Press releases? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

RPG News, Press Releases, and Deals – Fat Goblin Games and TinyD6, John Silence Open Call, New James S.A. Corey Expanse Short Story, and more

Yesterday I covered four RPG KickstartersTiny Supers, Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD, Art of War, and Power Outage here. Today, let’s look at some news, press releases, and RPG deals.

 

NEWS BITES

  • Are you a fan of The Expanse either the novel series or the TV series? If/when Green Ronin Publishing’s The Expanse Roleplaying Game reaches $300,000 and $400,000 in funding, the plan is to offer:

    “$300,000: James S.A. Corey Flash Fiction
    We will add a new flash fiction reward tier. Imagine if you could have Daniel and Ty write a one page story about your Expanse RPG character. A select number of backers will be able to do just that if we unlock this stretch goal. All backers who pledge $30 or more will get a PDF of these stories for free!

    $400,000: New James S.A. Corey Short Story
    The big enchilada! If we unlock this stretch goal, Ty and Daniel will write a brand new Expanse short story for the rulebook. It will be set in the period between Leviathan Wakes and Caliban’s War (the timeframe of our core rulebook) and feature new characters. How awesome is that?”These stories (getting official flash fiction is an amazing opportunity) will cement the RPG as canonical within the Expanse-verse.

    Status: Funding
  • Fat Goblin Games, recently we reported Rick Hershey’s public discussion about launching a new RPG stock art site. Well, that site is live to support all of your publishing art needs:Status: Live
  • I covered the Kickstarter for John Silence recently. After it successfully funded, they’ve started looking for submissions for an anthology. Do you have poetry or fiction for John Silence that you would like to submit by September 30th for paid publication? “The John Silence RPG & Anthology is a collective projective reinvisioning Algernon Blackwood’s “John Silence” short stories to focus on non-white/POC/ethnically and racially marginalized psychic detectives in an alternate American noir setting spanning the 1920s to the 1990s.” If so, they’re open to short submissions here.
    Status: Recruiting
  • New Agenda Publishing (Facebook link here, their website here, and check out the quickstart for their upcoming project, Orunhere) announced the list of writers that they hired from their open call for writers. On top of DC Comics writerRoute 3 creatorBlackSci-Fi.com EiC, and Tessera Guild member, Robert Jeffrey (Facebook), NAP selected David Castro, Samantha Day, Tim and Kristin Devine, Sharene Gilchrist, Kathryn Lee, Alexa Fae McDaniel, Thomas Manuel, Nell Raban, and Alex Whalen. Their bios are available here.

    Status: Writing
  • As John McGuire discusses (here), I had a chance to play Savage Worlds Flash Gordon at Gen Con 2018. It was excellent and if you’re interested in getting a copy, there’s still a few more days to do so (here).
    Status: Funding
  • Are you a fan of Fat Goblin Games? Did you back any of the TinyD6 Kickstarters or bought them from DriveThruRPG? FGG has signed “a licensing agreement with Gallant Knight Games to create roleplaying game supplements based on the popular TinyD6 Engine. … Fat Goblin Games has teamed up with Gallant Knight Games to expand on the amazing TinyD6 genre books with new supplemental material. … The first planned release will be Heritage Composer, a complete guide to creating new heritages for your TinyD6 games.” For more details, you can read the full press release here.
    Status: Funding
  • Have an original Mage: The Ascension product that you’d like to share with the world? The Storyteller’s Vault is now open to buy and sell 3PP Mage: The Ascension RPG products.
    Status: Creating
  • The Wraith: the Oblivion 20th Anniversary Edition is available via DriveThruRPG. Funded via Kickstarter, this is the celebration of Wraith and its history within the Storyteller world.

Status: Available

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PRESS RELEASES
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DEALS ON KICKSTARTER
  • MAIN GAUCHE – a ZWEIHÄNDER Grim & Perilous RPG supplement – Ends on Wed, September 5 2018 11:32 PM EDT.
    At the $1 Beggar’s Bowl level, you will receive a PDF of a hat… which, at first blush may seem odd, but it’s put to clever use as a hat that tracks your damage level in-game. Here’s an update describing it in more detail. Check out the full Zweihander campaign here.
    more of our former winners
  • Folklore: Creatures of Myth and Legend for Fifth Edition D&D – Ends on Thu, September 6 2018 6:04 PM EDT.
    This is a limited time, early bird deal. At the CA$ 10 (US$ 8) Loremaster (Earlybird) level, you will receive a PDF of this 5e supplement at half price. If you’re going to back this, early is the time to do it! Check out the campaign here.
    Folklore
  • Domina Magica – A Magical Girl RPG – Ends on Thu, September 6 2018 10:00 PM EDT.
    At the $1 Classmate level, you will receive:
    💙Classmate💙
    At this level you […] get a “FIGHT LIKE A MAGICAL GIRL” slap bracelet!!! […] Fight Like A Magical Girl Slap Bracelet (US backers only)
    How cool is it that they’re bringing back slap bracelets? Along with this, there’s a lot of good coming from this Kickstarter! Check out the full campaign here.

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Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™
Freelancer for EN WorldKnights of the Dinner TableOpen Gaming Network, and the Tessera Guild.
Want your RPG Kickstarter reviewed? Want to share news? Press releases? Rumors? Sneak peeks? Deals? Have some RPG wanna-lancer thoughts to share? Contact me here or on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

3 RPG & 1 Comic Kickstarter You Need To Back – Torg Eternity, The Lost Citadel, Triten, and Angelica Reigns

Need a genre-crossing tabletop RPG system and setting? Want to read supernatural fantasy? Interested in a wanna-lancer opportunity or concrete steps to expand gaming? I’m counting down four Kickstarter projects that range from fantasy zombie apocalypse to samurai on motorcycles and all of them look awesome!

 

4) Triten Gaming System by David Prizio
Ends on Thursday, June 29 2017 2:31 AM EDT.

“The Triten Gaming System is a fun and innovative new framework for tabletop Pen & Paper RPG’s designed to be simple and robust.

The Triten Gaming System is a whole new system of Pen & Paper RPG mechanics designed from the ground up to be both straightforward and robust, allowing for a relatively simple set of rules to work for an extremely diverse set of circumstances.  The Fantasy Manual is the first version of the Triten Gaming System which is focused on medieval fantasy.  Along with the manual, all you and your friends need are some polyhedral dice, pencils, paper, and your imagination!

Triten uses a skill-based structure instead of a level-based structure of character advancement.  Individual experience points earned as a character progresses through the world can be directly applied to any of dozens of different broadly-used Skills and additional specific, individual abilities called Talents.  Characters can also craft or purchase a wide variety of equipment and learn hundreds of different spells over 7 unique schools of magic.

This system has been in development for many years and has been though numerous playtesting campaigns with a diverse group of experienced Pen & Paper gamers who have dedicated countless hours to making this the best system it could possibly be.  The manual is now complete and is in the final stages of editing, layout, and illustrations!  We are confident that new and experienced Pen & Paper gamers alike will love this system as much as all of our playtesters have.  We just need your help to bring Triten to market!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Let’s start with this – David Prizio, creator of the Triten gaming system, is a nice individual. I was not aware of Triten until I met David through #rpgnet. We discussed my wanna-lancer experiment and he shared his Kickstarter that happens to have some vanity press options with it. For the wanna-lancers of the world, this campaign offers the chance to create a NPC using their proprietary system and have a custom illustration done. Immortalize your character at the ground floor of a new RPG. A lot of opportunity with this. But what is the Kickstarter for? Triten is a single system that will span a variety of settings. For the opening, they’re offering a fantasy setting. I recommend checking it out if for not other reason than David is a good guy.

You can find the campaign here – Triten Gaming System

 

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3) Angelica Reigns #1 by SFC
Ends on Thursday, June 29 2017 1:05 PM EDT. 

“Angelica Reigns: The Faith is a 22 page, full color action comic about a young woman being hunted by an ancient religious cult.

What are you Kickstarting?

Angelica Reigns is the first solo series of the SFC Comics line. SFC is world of super powered sports entertainment. These solo series are a chance to get to know the characters outside of the ring.

The Story: Angelica is trying to establish a life outside of the shadow of her mother’s cult and Qakare’s power. She’s a young woman in a new city making new connections. All of that is put on hold when she becomes prey to a secret society called, The Faith. They are a faceless, timeless, and secret organization with roots that go back to the crusades. Their mission is to bring purity back to this world. They have ways to track and monitor dark magic.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Let’s do another guy post – Marcel Dupree is one of the most pleasant people in comics, and the writer of Angelica Reigns. If you float around enough Kickstarters, you’ll find some incredibly likeable people. Marcel is near the top of my list. He pinged me on Facebook one day to see if I’d look at his Delilah Blast #1 Kickstarter. I did and it sold itself. Since then, we talk here and there and I follow his comic wisdom and crowd participation insights. If you are interested in knowing how the sausage of indie comics is made, I’d suggest following Marcel on Facebook.

I could talk about Angelica Reigns but Tessera Guild-mate John McGuire already has here. Let me quote him:

“This one has the feel of maybe a Buffy style of story for Angelica. A young girl, fighting against supernatural forces bigger than herself, and, from the looks of it, has a couple of friends to help her on her travels. Consider me intrigued by the overall idea.

In addition, the work Federico Sabbatini is doing on the various images they’ve shown on the Kickstarter page are very nice, almost as if someone took a series of animated cells from a tv show or movie and put them on the page.”

You can find the campaign here – Angelica Reigns #1

 

* * *

2) Torg Eternity by Ulisses Spiele
Ends on Friday, June 30 2017 9:00 PM EDT. 

“The classic cinematic multi-genre RPG returns with updated rules, settings, full-color art, and a whole new Possibility War!

Torg Eternity is a table-top roleplaying game based on the original 1990 version of Torg created by West End Games. It has been re-imagined and updated for the Near Now.

The “High Lords” came from other cosms—other realities—conquerors joined together to steal the Earth’s living energy…to consume its very Possibilities!

Each Reality Raider brought his or her own reality, or “cosm”…

…from the dark fantasy of Aysle

…to the technological oppression of the Cyberpapacy

…the savagery and exploration of the Living Land

…the diabolical pulp villains of the Nile Empire

…the Gothic horror of Orrorsh

…the action and intrigue of Pan-Pacifica

…and the terrifying, demon-ruled wasteland of Tharkold!

The High Lords impose their reality and transform everything within, draining the Earth of its Possibilities in the hopes that one of them will become an ancient and all-powerful being called the “Torg!””

Egg’s Thoughts:

While this RPG does not include any wanna-lancer/vanity press rewards, it doesn’t have to, it’s Torg! A branching from the original Torg RPG (1990s), this Kickstarter is a re-launch/expansion with revised mechanics, yet they do not invalidate the previous meta-story of Torg 1e. Not only do they have 2e available, this campaign includes everything that was ever published for Torg 1e.

I picked up the Free RPG Day Torg Eternity quickstart. It’s a variation on the upcoming Torg 2e rules. Made without using any cards (they play a large role in the standard game), this version of the rules still gives a feel of how much potential this game has. It’s an interesting concept combining genres into a single world. If you’re looking for an in-depth view of this, I attended an online Q&A with Darrell Hayhurst about Torg Eternity and Dan Davenport has the questions and answers on his blog. Read about the game from Torg Eternity game designer, Darrell Hayhurst.

By the by, Dan Davenport is as nice a person as you’ll meet. Darrell Hayhurst was extremely pleasant during the Q&A.

You can find the campaign here – Torg Eternity

 

* * *

1) The Lost Citadel — Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Roleplaying by Green Ronin Publishing
Ends on Monday, July 3 2017 3:00 AM EDT.

“Fifth Edition roleplaying in a world ravaged by death and undeath.

                                 The city is called Redoubt.

                     And as far as anyone knows, it is the last.

(map by Andrew Law)
(map by Andrew Law)

Seven decades ago, there were cities upon cities.

Kingdoms and nations; the remains of ancient empire. Cultures at war and cultures at trade. Humans, dwarves, elves, and others. Magic and monsters, rare but real. And so it was for millennia, through two dynamic ages the lorekeepers and scribes called Ascensions. 

Until the world ended.

Most call it the Fall, but whatever term a given people choose to use, it marked the time when everything changed. 

Nations crumbled. Races died. Magic sputtered. Nature sickened.

The dead woke.

Egg’s Thoughts:

When Green Ronin Publishing first discussed this product, it was in conjunction with an opportunity for women to freelance on The Lost Citadel. They didn’t talk so much about the product as what they wanted it to offer, greater diversity. I was excited about the possibility. More female representation in gaming everything benefits us all. More gamers, more GMs, more stores, more designers, more publishers, more ideas. For me, this contest is the chance to expand the industry in a real way. Green Ronin is embracing a huge swath of humanity and gaming as a whole will benefit from it. To see Green Ronin, a major 3PP (third party publisher), do this is inspiring. And I want to say congratulations to the winners: Kate Baker and Anna Landin. [EGG’S NOTE – I wish I could continue the “nice person” theme of this article but I have never spoken with K. Baker or A. Landin. That said, I’m sure they’re outstanding people. They’re certainly keeping good company.]

Beyond that freelancer opportunity, this is a 5e setting/expansion. It seems like it will be a moody combination of The Walking Dead meets Attack on Titan. Last fantasy city in a zombie apocalypse. Tragic, hopeless, dark fantasy. This Kickstarter does an excellent job of conveying the feel of the product they’re creating. I am looking forward to reading this setting and the adventure that Kate Baker and Anna Landin are designing. And I hope to see more opportunities to expand the industry coming from all quarters.

You can find the campaign here – The Lost Citadel — Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy Roleplaying

The Lost Citadel – Amarset, God of the Dead

 

* * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * *

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

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

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

Alternity from Sasquatch Game Studio

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

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

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

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

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

Alternity Rule Books

What’s your future?

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

* * *

Egg’s Thoughts:

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

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

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

* * *

Green Ronin Publishing’s Talent Search Submissions are open!

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

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

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

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

Green Ronin Publishing – Lost Citadel

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

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

* * *

Egg’s Manplanation:

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

* * *

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:

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