What Kickstarters Excite Creators? Lancer, Endless Realms, Afterlife, Far Away Land, GeneFunk, 2090, Relics, First Kings, and Fight!

I put out the call asking RPG Kickstarter creators for the projects that excite them and, this week, I got eight responses. Lots of quality recommendations from the creators of these RPG Kickstarters:

Lancer by Massif Press

END DATE: Sat, May 11 2019 2:59 AM EDT.

Lancer is a mud-and-lasers RPG about mechs and the pilots who crew them. Narrative play, gritty tactical combat and deep customization.”

Miguel Lopez (Massif Press) recommends:

Sundown, A Queerpunk Roleplaying Game. I’ve been keeping an eye on Sundown: A Queerpunk Roleplaying Game which is active on Kickstarter until May 10th. It’s a revolutionary little game that combines accessible rules and roleplaying depth, one I think would be as good a teaching tool as a roleplaying system and setting. Sundown puts a clear focus on an empathetic, radical roleplaying that establishes player safety and player solidarity as much as player character, while equipping players and their characters to explore narratives that interrogate (either implicitly or explicitly) dominant depictions of gender, humanity, and power. From rhetorical changes to specific rules, Sundown centers character in a unique fantasy setting, emphasizes player freedom and safety around the table, and gives primacy to stories that are often suppressed or ignored.”

Endless Realms: Tome of Spirits by Lunar Games

END DATE: Thu, May 23 2019 12:59 PM EDT.

Endless Realms: Tome of Spirits, Our first Tabletop RPG Supplement, and your gateway to the world of the spirits.”

UPDATE from Kirsty Garbe: “I put out a free creature promo set [for Endless Realms] a while ago [on DriveThruRPG here.]”

Kirsty Garbe (Lunar Games) recommends:

Infinity’s Edge by Shawn Carman excites me because I think the whole concept of being inside an MMORPG as a character and interacting with NPCs, is just so fascinating. It also strangely feels more realistic then the current RPG format of slaying a creature and all this gold and items appearing, because its an MMORPG. Utilizing respawning, for strategic Player character deaths, and timing your deaths also is such an interesting concept. It means that even if my character dies ill just respawn, and BAM my game is not ruined because of a character death.”

Afterlife: Wandering Souls by Angry Hamster Publishing

END DATE: Fri, May 31 2019 9:22 AM EDT.

Afterlife: Wandering Souls is a tabletop RPG about recovering lost memories and exploring strange worlds.”

Elizabeth Chaipraditkul (Angry Hamster Publishing) recommends:

One Child’s Heart. I am always on the lookout for unique games, something I haven’t played before, and something that will impact me emotionally – One Child’s Heart is just that. I personally know the creator Camdon and the amount of thought and work he’s put into this amazing game means it can only be good. I love the idea of an RPG that is all about understanding and empathizing, it’s just a fantastic concept.

NOTE: I am a stretch goal for One Child’s Heart (my goal was met a while back), but I really do love the game and it is produced by some of the coolest people.

A Town Called Malice. The setting is what really got me interested in A Town Called Malice. There’s something about the idea of isolation that’s always drawn me in and a roleplay game with that theme is magic. I also think it can be a challenge to create a compelling collaborative game centered around the ideas of isolation so I am excited to see this one come out and tackle that problem.”

Far Away Land Old School Role-Playing Game by Simian Circle Games

END DATE: Wed, May 29 2019 11:45 AM EDT.

“OSR version of the Far Away Land RPG compatible with older versions of the world’s most famous game and its clones.”

Dirk Stanley (Simian Circle Games) recommends:

Bloat Games’ The Blackest of Deaths. I’ve backed all of Bloat’s projects and have loved everything they have released. The Blackest of Deaths presents itself as a brutal world where the chance of survival is nil. I love the idea of no advancement, minimal gear, and an attempt to try and make it as long as possible in a hellhole that wants you dead. Cormac McCarthy said “Even the damned in hell have the community of their suffering.” The Blackest of Deaths seems to be the rpg version of that quote. I’m all about it.

Savage Worlds Rifts. I’ve always loved the setting in Rifts but had issues with the mechanics. We always house-ruled everything as we murder hoboed our way through the desolation of the future. It’s nice to see a facelift on a fantastic setting.”

GeneFunk 2090 by CRISPR Monkey Studios

END DATE: Thu, May 30 2019 10:45 AM EDT.

“A biopunk/cyberpunk tabletop RPG in the 5E system”

James Armstrong (CRISPR Monkey Studios) recommends: 

The Koryo Hall of Adventures 5e Compatible Campaign Setting, on Kickstarter, by Aurelien Laine. This one’s easy, I lived in South Korea for 3 years, and think Korean folklore is a treasure trove of unexplored animistic awesomeness that has a distinct flavor, distinguishing it from the more well known mythologies of their neighbors. We’ve seen the “Korean Wave” with pop music and movies, but there’s so much more. It’s clear the creator has passion for the content, the art is killer, fantastic promo video, and it looks like incredible world building on ancient tried and true tales. Clear effort from top to bottom. Dae han min gook!”

Relics: A Game of Angels by Tin Star Games

END DATE: Fri, May 10 2019 5:59 AM EDT.

“A Roleplaying Game of Mystery, Mythology and Memory”

Steve Dee (Tin Star Games) recommends:

I’m always interested in humour games, and in different takes on things, so I’ve been looking at For the Dungeon! You play dungeon minions trying to protect your dungeon from homicidal murderhobos. Seeing things from “behind the scenes” is a great set up for comedy and for roleplaying, and comedy RPGs that are done well are actually really well – and this looks like it could be just such a beast. The art is excellent, the rules are simple, and it comes with a godsend for all RPGs – a deck of cards that aren’t encounters but inspiration prompts. It’s light but I like light, and the price is very reasonable.

Fellow Aussie designers, Smunchy Games, have come up with Paths: World of Adia. I’m really interested in this one because it is the “hybrid” design space. Just as so many board games are edging into being RPGs – the D&D board games, Gloomhaven, Batman, Conan, Descent, Mansions of Madness – here we have a game going the other direction. It is ostensibly an RPG but is card driven in character design, giving lots of depth like in a board game, and uses MMO ideas like threat and aggro to track encounters. It can even apparently be run without a GM, which is of course the real appeal of things like Gloomhaven. If the writing is good, then this could be the holy grail. Also, it has elephant people and dog people and the art is INSANELY gorgeous. Deserves a lot more attention!

Finally, I just stumbled onto Latchkey. It’s at the other end of the spectrum from Paths in that it is small and humble in its conception, and asking for just a small goal as a result. And it’s a small idea, in that the whole game takes place in a single town in Tennessee, and tells the story of a group of Latchkey kids in the near future fighting to take their town back. RPGs can be big and sprawling and epic but they can also be small and intimate and there’s a lot of power in a tight focus, it helps key into a great story that can really resonate. You can do a lot with a little in this hobby, and Latchkey leaps out as someone taking their first steps to really do some great work.”

FIRST KINGS (RPG in a Dark Fantasy Rome) by Epic Party Games

END DATE: Tue, May 21 2019 5:00 AM EDT.

“Dark-Fantasy RPG, where the descendants of the First King of Rome, Werewolves with divine powers, fight against the Old Dark World!”

Max Castellani (Epic Party Games) recommends:

“So, there are at least two RPGs – currently on Kickstarter – I’d like to talk to you about (as a sort of what-to-buy advice): the first one probably wouldn’t even need to be suggested at this point, I’m talking about the big hit “Lancer”; the second one, another good shot, is “For the Dungeon!” A fresh and funny RPG.

Now, we may sound superficial, but what we personally like the most about LANCER, is the artwork, in fact, we would have supported it even without reading a single page off the over three hundred available for free, on the project page (LOL). The fact is that we’re really hooked by its style, it brings up memories and feelings of the anime we used to love as teenagers (such as Dragonball, for example, which was like.. HUGE where we lived). So, at the end of the day, the gorgeous graphics and the game system, they also look like they’ve been tailor made for the setting. There you go, full package, right? We can’t wait to play a bunch of cool Lancers as soon as the game is delivered!

For the Dungeon! is a comedy role-playing game where you get to play as minions instead of as heroes. and this is something we deeeeeeply love to do!
It remembers us games like “Aye, Dark Overlord!”, and – once again – the artworks look on pitch and absolutely fun. We really think a game like this, could probably represent a nice runaway to get energies back, after a long-serious-dark-and-grim campaign (maybe a First Kings campaign!? LOL) with your party of friends!”

Fight! 2nd Edition by Divine Madness Press

END DATE: Thu, May 16 2019 10:41 AM EDT.

“The revised, expanded, and clarified edition of the TTRPG designed specifically to tell the stories of fighting game characters.”

Christopher Peter (Divine Madness Press) recommends:

Necrotic Gnome’s Old School Essentials has simply beautiful production values. When I play the world’s most popular role-playing game, I prefer the older editions, especially B/X. I’m looking forward to seeing this new presentation of the classic rules set. Based on how well the project is going, I am clearly not alone in that.

I’m also interested in Deep Dungeon Games’ Seven of Seven. I can’t design a fantasy world without extensive attention paid to metaphysics, so complete and consistent pantheons are always appreciated. I especially like the breakdown of the gods into seven distinct spheres, which demonstrates thoughtful consistency. I look forward to seeing the artistic presentation of the final book.

Finally, I’m keeping an eye on Kobold Press’ Empire of the Ghouls. When I run 5th Edition, I prefer to run a full campaign arc, and my favorite enemies are demons and undead. Furthermore, Kobold Press has a great reputation for capturing the best parts of a classic fantasy feel, which appeals to an old guy like me.”


The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the individual contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of the Tessera Guild.

PRESS RELEASE – The City of the Steam Sun, steampunk setting for Savage Worlds

The City of the Steam Sun crowdfunding campaign is coming soon to IndieGoGo!

Mathematically calculated City was to become a new Utopia of the rational age, but the disaster changed everything – the City fell into Limbo, the threshold of Hell. Progress faced ancient magic. The City became a part of Limbo, with no sunlight. The familiar world doesn’t exist anymore. There are other laws and other creatures here – but the scientific method works even in the craziest conditions. People lit their steam Sun here. Every morning it rises over the City on a huge rail. The authorities lead diplomatic negotiations with demons, inventors dream of creation of a conscient automaton, researchers look for traces of ancient civilizations. Scientists and frauds, adventurers and magicians, evil geniuses and brilliant detectives… humans and demons. All of them are in the City of the Steam Sun.

Designed for Savage WorldsThe City of the Steam Sun casts players in the gloomy atmosphere of steampunk Limbo: an explosive mixture of steam technologies and ancient magic. A breathtaking detective story, Victorian mystical horror and adventures in the dim rays of the metal steam sun.

Key features:

  • Two books with a combined volume of about 330 pages with more than 70 full color illustrations.
  • More than 40 new edges.
  • Three new arcane backgrounds with unique game mechanics: Technomages, relying on their equipment, Blessed Ones, who create miracles from their own life force and Dark Mages, who make grim sacrifices to gather power.
  • Flexible rules for creation of inventions, suitable for those who want to dive into creation of a new device and enjoy choosing components and their various combinations; as well as those who prefer to assemble their mechanisms quickly. Create your own fine tuned weapons, transport and even semi-intelligent automatons.
  • Three adventures, one per each genre. Discover the plot behind the robbery of the officer of Expeditionary Force in the “Case of the Winged Statuette”, face horrors of the “House of Forgotten”, and reveal some ancient secrets of Limbo on the “Path of the Pilgrim”.
  • Lots of secret societies.
  • And a wide range of air and steam guns for all fans of steampunk.

The City of the Steam Sun is created by Steam Sun Games, a small pen-and-paper RPG studio from Yekaterinburg, Russia. Now we are finishing the English version. The translation is complete and we’ve decided to crowdfund it to complete editing and layout. Our crowdfunding will go live at April 17, 2019.

IndieGoGo pre-launch page http://igg.me/at/steamsun 
Teaser https://youtu.be/qj6NPhzTjnI
Jumpstart https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/224367/The-City-of-the-Steam-Sun-Introduction


UPDATE. IndieGoGo live at:


Indiegogo the Comic – Fallen Ones

Werewolves, Vampires, Zombies… while I haven’t done much in my own writing with either of those, I am a consumer of such things. Always looking for a different approach or something that uses them in a slightly different way.

Fallen Ones might scratch that itch…


Fallen Ones

Writers – Balint Bank Varga & James Grey

Illustrator – Mate Vadas

Designer – Balazs Bodnar

Communications Manager – Orsolya Toth

Executive Director – Peter Hornyak

This project has already funded and is a part of Indiegogo’s Indemand Service, which means it is still available to order!


The Pitch:

An outcast werewolf, a lonely inventor, and a beautiful assassin. You would think that they live in separate worlds, having nothing in common but their fate still brings them together to form an alliance against the scheming of a demonic dark sect. Will the Fallen Ones rise again or are they doomed forever?

The Story:

The series is set in a dark fantasy universe, the Unseen Domains.

It is the middle of the 17th century. Magic has awakened, and its deadly impact along with the raging plague of the undead have obliterated Europe, changing the known world forevermore. Entire nations have disappeared, and its people are scattered all over the continent. The old traditions can now only be found at small cultural refuges.

Those who wish to survive must adapt to the age of witch plague. New heroes rise, answering the call of changing times, as creatures long thought to be vanished now crawl out from their lairs. People realize that things thought to be nothing more than myth and superstition have always existed, only their necessary magical sense was missing to see them.

If these times had cartographers, they’d draw very strange maps. Landscapes without borders, only zones around the Haven. Enclosed valleys still capable of sustaining life, and regions less roamed by the undead hordes. Everywhere else is desolation and barren lands- the realm of the dead.

John’s Thoughts:

Like I said above, a world gone dark. Where the things which go bump in the night might be the very creatures humanity will need to embrace if they are to survive. I like the idea of wondering who are the monsters and who might be the heroes.

The Perks:

The main Perk is at $25 for the hardcover edition collecting the first 5 issues of the series, or $5 if you are interested in only the pdf. However, if you are looking for something a little special, at $45 you can get an autographed Limited Edition Fallen Ones with an Indiegogo exclusive cover!

The Verdict:

This is a book that has already funded, so that’s an automatic plus right there. You don’t have to do the whole shuffle of wondering whether the creators are actually going to finish things up or even print the comic. Plus, it’s a Monster book set in a very Dark Universe… which should have anyone into horror stories that much more intrigued.


To find out more about Fallen Ones, check them out here.


John McGuire has co-written, along with his wife, two Kindle Worlds novellas set in the world of Veronica Mars: Theft & Therapy and There’s Something About Mac.

He is also the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His other prose appears in The Dark That Follows, Hollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com

Kickstarter Reflections – Mailing List Blues

Copies now available for order! Click the image to see how!

I’m in the process of final fulfillment of my Kickstarter for the Gilded Age, but I’ve got all these thoughts swirling around in my head about the process over the last year or so.

So I’ve taken rants from my emails to friends and put them on here so that you can see how dumb I am sometimes and how innocent mistakes can lead to bigger things…

Anyway, this is Part 1 of who knows how many posts about Getting Ready for a Kickstarter/How to have a Successful Kickstarter/ or maybe just:

How to Fund a Kickstarter and lose your mind at the same time!

Other Kickstarter Reflections Posts

Kickstarter Reflections – Mailing List Blues

Kickstarter Reflections – Starting at the Finish Line

Kickstarter Reflections – Shipping And Handling Not Included


Mailing List Blues


One of the things that I continually come up against is:

How to inform people of “Your Stuff”?

This Blog was kind of part 1 of this thing.

I have 2 books, 2 novellas, a couple of comics… not Jeremy Neil yet, but working on it. So how do you get people from going – “That’s a nice blog post, now what are these cats going to do in this video?” to “Oh that’s a nice blog post, now what books has John written?”

I still don’t know. I’m sure I’ve gotten a handful of sales from the blog (or at least I hope I have), but I certainly haven’t gotten any kind of numbers to talk about. It feels like Jeremy does ok with the blog, though he has (at least) 3 things going for him:

  • A new release like monthly.
  • A million books that could each sell 1-2 copies a week and get him some nice folding money.
  • A couple of posts which have gone viral – one which literally gets like 150/day and 75/day. Even if only a very small fraction of people ever buy one of his books, he’s getting in there just based on sheer volume.

So what’s the answer?

An Email List.

The original mailing list software!

That’s what all these podcasts and blogs and grandma’s who don’t actually know what an Email List actually is, but they are also sure you need to be doing this.

Again, if you wait for them to stumble upon you, then you are going to be clearly disappointed. So I turned to giving away Gilded Age #1 in order to get emails on Instafreebie.com. I did the trial for a month and probably averaged 1-2 a day for the month. I went ahead and signed up for $20/month in order to get more. I’ve got 70ish people in roughly 2 months. So that’s a success for me.

All of this is looking toward the Gilded Age Kickstarter. I get the 1st issue into people’s hands and maybe I can actually fund this thing.

Since it had been a couple of months for the very first person who got the issue, I decided this would be the perfect time to send out the “Welcome to my email list” message. On part of a Thursday night and too much time on a Friday night, I got C working like I wanted it to, and crafted my initial message. I even got it set up where if you join the list from here on out, you’ll get an automated “Thanks for joining!” message (though I’m currently unsure this actually is working the way it should – something else to add to the list of things to do).

About 11:00 PM on Friday I kicked off the campaign.

MailChimp has all sorts of analytics going on. They know where the people are (what country) how many people have opened your email, who clicked on links within it (I actually had a link to both Tessera and the free copy of Gilded Age just in case). They tell you how many have unsubscribed…

And they tell you how many people have reported “Abuse”.

Hmmm. I didn’t see anything about that before. Why do I have 1 of those already and the campaign is like 10 minutes old.

A little research and I find that “Abuse” is whenever you click that little button in your Gmail/yahoo/whatever that says “Report as Spam”. That triggers an “Abuse report”.

No biggie. I’m sure that happens all the time.


Let me back up slightly. When I prepared to send out to my subscribers, I had to upload the Instafreebie’s contact list because I hadn’t automated the process yet (should have done that immediately, but I didn’t know if it was going to work all that well and…). I was surprised to see that I had about 900+ people on my MailChimp list already (by clicking on the submission form on my website). The name column was odd for a ton of them – like numbers and letters, but I thought, perhaps that either these were fake OR possibly C did that as a way to identify people. Either way, if they were fake, they’d bounce back or whatever, and if not, then yea! Shouldn’t be a problem, right?


So back to the reports… slowly over the next hour, I got about 2 more “Abuse”. I started worrying. Hmm, I wonder what that will end up meaning. Oh, and I really am wondering what the threshold might be?

Well, according to MailChimp, you should have only 1 in 1000…

I’d sent out 1047 and had 4 at this point… I passed the threshold. I went to bed and it was at 5.

When I woke up on Saturday, it was at 8 and MailChimp had issued me an email telling me that I had to use a “Double Opt-in” which they enacted on the website – Oh Good!

The funny thing was I had spent over an hour trying to do that very thing on Thursday night. I went through the various tutorials and videos and whatever and could NOT get it to work. Oh, and now I could not import any further contacts. On the plus side, they would allow me to send a “Reconfirmation Email” to everyone on the list (who hadn’t already unsubscribed or bounced emails) to ensure they really did want to be on the list.

So I take the time to set that up on Saturday night and sent it off, BUT I also sent support an email saying – What my initial email was about and gave a link to the Instafreebie site and that the reports were probably from a “Stale list”.


Here’s where my further frustrations come from. They replied:

“Downloading a free digital publication does not grant the expressed and verifiable permission for bulk emails as set by the standards of ISPs, SpamCops, and corporate filtering services.

In order for book downloads to be accepted an opt-in box would need to be added to the form allowing for contacts to make the clear choice to opt-in in.”


To which I responded:

If you follow the link to where the comic is exchanged for their email: https://www.instafreebie.com/free/2V0z3 you will see that it is about as explicit as it can be to let them know what it is they are signing up for. The title is “Sign up for John McGuire’s mailing list”. There is a “Claim” button and there is a notice at the bottom that says “By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from John McGuire.”

It would seem to me that anyone signing up to claim my comic book would do so with full knowledge of what they were exchanging.

I’m just a little confused by the statement above.


And this was their response:

While the top of the free book download does mention that this is for your mailing list the overall expectation that is given from the form is of a book download. It can be very easy to miss those top three words.

Because permission is based on something being optional–and therefore, the contact makes the choice to sign up or not–it will need for the form to be changed so that the contact can get the book download without choosing to sign up for newsletters.


Whaa? So I can tell them that this is for my mailing list. I can provide them with a product in exchange for their email… which they have to enter in order to CLAIM the item. And that isn’t enough? I have to say – “Hey, sign up for my list or not. And oh, here’s something just because!”

Maybe I’m misreading. Maybe I’m misguided. Maybe I’m wrong. But come on! That doesn’t make any sense.


Either way, those 70 people are possibly gone! Any legitimate people who signed up through the website are gone! I’m basically back to my starting point. Sigh.

The one silver lining to this is that 15 people reconfirmed. Hopefully, some more will do so in the next couple of days. And it seems the automated bit from Instafreebie directly into MailChimp actually still works (I guess because they are doing it and not me, I don’t know and I’m not going to bring any attention to it). So, in theory, any further people who get Gilded Age #1 will automatically join the list.

Just another chapter in the saga of “Things I wish I had done correctly the first time”


This actually marked the proper start of my Mailing List. It now has around 200 people on it, many of which actually came from the Kickstarter itself (so kind of backward from what you might think). I knew that I should have started clean… I knew it and still, I clicked that button because the number was so big, and I wanted to get started. There is no time to wait to do it the “right way”. And that’s on me.

Still learning… every day.


John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!

Want to read the first issue for free? Click here! Already read it and eager for more?

Click here to join John’s mailing list.

His prose appears in The Dark That FollowsTheft & TherapyThere’s Something About MacHollow EmpireBeyond the Gate, and Machina Obscurum – A Collection of Small Shadows.

He can also be found at www.johnrmcguire.com