[UPDATED] What RPG and Comic Kickstarter Christmas Gifts Did You Get?

Happy holidays! It’s gift time 2017 and Egg found several Kickstarter rewards under his Christmas tree. I thought I’d shout out and thank a few projects that went the extra mile and got their work out before the egg nog carried them away!


Egg Embry, RPG KS Ph.D.
(Charles Schulz would have done this better!)


UPDATED – 2017-12-26 AT 12:19AM EST – This one rolled in during Christmas day.

REVOLUTIONARIES — American War of Independence RPG by Make-Believe Games sent the first installment of their RPG on Christmas day. The game is about a version of the American Revolution and the timing of this piece has a light connection to Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in that both occurred on Christmas.

“… for your enjoyment is the first installment of the Revolutionaries game, Fires of Liberty. This exclusive PDF sampler is loaded with bonus game content. It includes the Newport, RI setting and your first taste of the secrets behind the Culper Ring.”


With that, I’m at four Kickstarter gifts for Christmas 2017. I also heard that the rest of the Mindjammer KS came in as well as the v0.9 Unity RPG. It’s been a good Christmas!


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UPDATED – 2017-12-26 AT 08:00AM EST – This one came in not two weeks before Christmas day (12/14), it still deserves a mention.

Tiny Dungeon 2e gave its backers the Player’s Guide.

  • This is a bonus product, but it’s comprise of stuff you’re gonna get in the final product. It’s basically the first half of the final book, all the rules.
  • It does look exactly like the rules section in the final product (in content and layout.)
  • This will never contain micro-settings. You’ll get a separate corebook for that (which will have rules + micro-settings.)
  • This will be going on sale soon-ish (likely after the New Year), so we wanted to give it to you first.
The cover of the book! Design by Robert Denton, Art by Michael Leavenworth
The cover of the book! Design by Robert Denton, Art by Michael Leavenworth


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Let’s start with the white elephant gift – Free League’s Forbidden Lands – Retro Open-World Survival Fantasy RPG and what they sent for Christmas.

[NOTE – I removed all of the backer-only links.]

  • … download the full 186-page Swedish Alpha PDF of Forbidden Lands, under the Swedish title Rov & Ruiner.
  • … the PDF of the combat cards used for the hidden combo system in close combat, and you can download initiative cards…
  • The current (Swedish) draft of the character sheet can be downloaded…, and the big map of the game is to be found… (Swedish, same version as has been shared before, English version…).

What makes this a white elephant gift? It’s all (mostly) in Swedish.

For the international audience – we will complete the English Alpha in the weeks ahead, and we will try to share each chapter as they are completed to get the material to you as soon as humanly possible.”

Seriously, this is by no means a bad gift because it means that we’re well on our way to getting the finished (i.e., English) product. It gives me something to look forward to in 2018!


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Up next is one that I have a short contribution in, Sensational: A Superpowered RPG where Empathy Matters.

“Twas the night before the night before Christmas…
…and just after 3am, I sent you all the rulebook!”

This is a superhero RPG where superpowers are derived from emotions. I’m still reading it but so far it’s a good product and I’m looking forward to slinging some dice using it. For my part, I created one of the criminal NPCs, N. T. Edison, aka Unsequence. If the game sounds interesting to you, I’d suggest contacting Thomas Constantine Moore on Twitter about picking up a copy.


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The only physical Kickstarter product I got for under the tree was a comic I’d been eager to check out, GROND Book Three, Oublar’s Revenge. My buddy, Michael Phillips, spread the holiday cheer with two copies of the comic, three prints, three post cards, and three metal cards. His Kickstarter update with the shipping notice had an amusing holiday moment to share:

“I am glad to let you all know that your rewards, including the international orders have been shipped on time. It was interesting standing in line at the post office for 10 mins with only 6 people ahead of me before I got to the counter to start mailing all 55 packages. Minutes later, I looked backed to see that the line had grown to more than 25 people staring angrily at me while the clerk was checking each package one at a time. My wife was with me but soon left to go sit in the car and wait, fearing for her life that someone would go “POSTAL” on me for having so many packages at once. I was determined to get your rewards mailed before Christmas like I promised, so you can get them before the holidays.”

Want to give Grond a try? Ping Mike here.



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This is not an exhaustive list of what Kickstarters (and RPGs/comics) dropped for Christmas, it’s just what I got. Did you get any Kickstarter products under the tree (or in your inbox)? If so, feel free to comment them below.

I hope your holiday was as full of little pieces of happiness! For my part, I want to thank everyone in my life and all of the warm wishes I received.


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

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

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


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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * * * * *

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

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

4 Kickstarter Photo Finishes – Section Zero, Clonsters, 5 Seconds, and Grond 2

For some independent comic book creators, Kickstarter is the way to fund their comics. Typically, Kickstarters have thirty days to reach their funding goal. If they fail, the creators heads back to the drawing board (but not to draw comics). With so much riding on those thirty days, how intense is it for the creators when campaigns do not reach their goal until the last three days? Or even the last day? What’s it like to have a Kickstarter photo finish?

To find out, I spoke with four comic book creators who had Kickstarters fund near the end of the cycle – Karl Kesel, Stephen Kok, Michael Phillips, and Pat Shand. They shared what they did to push the campaigns and reach their goal in the end.

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Quick Bios:

Karl Kesel is a writer, inker, nice guy, and the co-creator of the 1990’s Superboy among many other accomplishments. He shares his experience with the Section Zero Kickstarter, which reached its funding goal with just hours to go.

Stephen Kok is a writer who has several comic book one-shots, all funded via Kickstarter, including Word Smith. He talks about the 5 Seconds Kickstarter that reached its goal with 3 days to spare.

Michael Phillips is the publisher of, and writer for, The Draconis Project and Grond and he discusses the path he took to fund the second issue of Grond.

Pat Shand is the writer responsible for the novel Guardians of the Galaxy: Space Riot as well as comics like Destiny NY, and Robyn Hood. He talks about his and Amy Shand’s Kickstarter for Clonsters.

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Grond #2 written by Michael Phillips


Questions and answers from the frontlines of comic book crowdfunding

Q: What steps did you take to secure the pledges that put you over the top in the final day(s) of the campaign?

Pat Shand [referring to the Clonsters Kickstarter]: “You can expect big surges of support at the beginning and the end of the campaign so, to me, the way to secure yourself in the end is to keep support coming in during the middle of the campaign. If you’re near the finish line before the final day, you’re pretty much guaranteed to make it. To keep the campaign going and avoid slow periods, I consistently added new pledge levels and added freebies. I reached out to artists and other creators and, exchange for my support on their books, they offered me content I was able to give as extra incentive to backers. That way, even a low-level pledge of $15 would offer backers over $50 worth of content. It’s difficult for independent creators to compete with multi-million/billion dollar corporate publishers with market, but as far as content and value, the onus is on us to earn that support.”

Karl Kesel [referring to the Section Zero Kickstarter]: “HA! I did virtually NOTHING! The social media beast suddenly came alive and noticed us in the last 24 hours! I can’t explain it, really. The only thing I did was make sure to post a “countdown to zero” every hour so people knew time was running out (which I’m sure helped to some degree). But it wasn’t until I noticed the building momentum and thought “Hey! We might actually reach our goal!” that I offered some extra Superboy art as additional, high-end rewards. But really: I was trying to keep up with events, I wasn’t leading the way.”

Stephen Kok [referring to the 5 Seconds Kickstarter]: “I did another personal appeal to my mailing list. I knew quite a few people who were interested but have been too busy to do a pledge. It’s a reminder that there’s not too much time left. As Kickstarter is an all or nothing scenario, a last minute pledge could make the difference of whether a project goes ahead.”

Michael Phillips [referring to the Grond Book Two Kickstarter]: “I was always in contact with my backers and sent many updates to let them know how the campaign was going.”

Written by Amy and Pat Shand

Q: Hindsight being what it is, what would you do differently if you could redo the campaign?

Karl Kesel: “Two things:

  1. A VAST majority of our supporters simply wanted The Book. The high-end rewards (art, appearing in the book) did very well (and were essential in us reaching our goal) but the mid-level rewards made very little difference. Next time (and there will be a next time) I will run a much more streamlined campaign.
  2. When you’re doing Countdown posts, nothing makes you panic more than seeing people share things that say “7 Hours Left” when there’s only 3 hours! Or 2!!! Next time my “Countdown” posts will clearly state the exact time the campaign ends.”

Pat Shand: “Honestly, nothing. It was successful, and I learned a lot, which will make me more prepared for the next campaign. The thing about Kickstarter campaigns for independent comics is that every campaign is entirely different. You can ask for advice, you can learn all there is to learn, but the most important thing to understand is that you can never be fully prepared. Instead, you learn during the campaign and adapt to what you’re seeing every day. I would’ve loved to get funded 200% or 500% or some huge number like that, but I’m content with our 110% funding and learning what I did.”

Michael Phillips: “I would push for more time on social media websites. And I would also communicate with more creators and learn of new avenues to take to try to spread the word about my new campaign and how to get more backers.”

Stephen Kok: “There’s nothing I would redo but something I would add and do more things (launch party maybe?) to hype up the start of the Kickstarter. The beginning of a campaign is the key, a big start (lots of backers) will help push out the Kickstarter popularity ranking. It also takes the stress off the middle and end of the campaign if the target is on track early!”

5 Seconds written by Stephen Kok

Q: Since the campaign has ended, did you set up a Backerkit or webstore to continue to collect pre-orders? What are you working on now?

Michael Phillips: “I made sure that I had all of my stretch goals in place and utilized the MAILCHIMP email system to better communicate with my backers from my earlier campaigns and customers from the conventions that I have attended the past few years.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE – Michaels’s GROND “Oublar’s Revenge” Book Three is currently running on Kickstarter. It ends on .

Karl Kesel: “We are in the process of setting up a webstore at panicbuttonpress.com. I imagine we won’t be up-and-operational until mid-July, but if people keep an eye on the Section Zero Comic Facebook page, they’ll get the news as soon as the site goes live.”

Pat Shand: “On the independent side, I’m going on a book tour to support the publication of Destiny, NY Volume One this summer while working on production for Clonsters, which will be out in the fall. September 1st, I’m launching the Kickstarter for Destiny, NY Volume Two and will be pushing that hard. We’ll be publishing all of our Kickstarter books through my company, Continuity Entertainment, which I’m looking to expand on in big ways. We have a bunch of great books we’d like to publish, so the second half of 2017 will be focused on building that slate. On the freelancing side, my first novel Guardians of the Galaxy: Space Riot came out last month. In July, two more – Iron Man: Mutually Assured Destruction and Avengers: The Serpent Society – will be in bookstores everywhere.”

Stephen Kok: “I currently have a steampunk fantasy adventure currently on Kickstarter! I hope you have the time to check it out as well.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE – Stephen’s Word Smith – A Steampunk Fantasy Adventure is currently running on Kickstarter. It ends on .


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In their own words, there is no single path to reach the finish line. Despite that, each of them achieved their goal and are able to make these amazing comic books! I appreciate them for taking the time to answer my questions. You can find out more about them at:

Follow Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett’s Section Zero on Facebook

Note: the Panic Button web site is still under construction. You can find everything you need to know about this project at www.thereisnosectionzero.com

Stephen Kok has a Kickstarter going right now for his new comic, Word Smith – A Steampunk Fantasy Adventure

Pat Shand can be found at PatShand on Twitter or Tumblr!

Michael Phillips has a Kickstarter for the third issue in his Grond series, GROND “Oublar’s Revenge” Book Three

Section Zero by Karl Kesel and Tom Grummett

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Are you trying to visualize the Kickstarter finish line? No need! Kicktraq provided these charts that show the last 10 days of these campaigns, their goals, and when they crossed them.

SECTION ZERO -- Kicktraq Mini


CLONSTERS - an all-ages adventure comic -- Kicktraq Mini

5 Seconds - Action, Excitement, Romance and Time Bending -- Kicktraq Mini


Grond 1 written by Michael Phillips


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[Editor’s Note – Updated the information about PanicButtonPress to mid-July.]


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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * *

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