Kickstarter Reflections – Shipping and Handling Not Included

This is part of a series of posts where I look back at the process of running a Kickstarter. The steps we took, the mistakes we made, and a bunch of other things I wish I had known.

Other Kickstarter Reflections Posts

Kickstarter Reflections – Mailing List Blues

Kickstarter Reflections – Starting at the Finish Line

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When we last left our intrepid hero, he was busy crunching numbers for the Route 3 Kickstarter, trying to find the bare minimum it would take to actually get the trade funded. And I had my number: around $4500 would get us what we wanted.

Aside from my mistake, that is what it would cost…

I didn’t notice my mistake at first. And I really must say that I had done a ton of research. I’d listened to podcasts and read blogs until I was cross-eyed, and still didn’t see it coming. Because here’s the warning that you get on every single one of those posts:

Watch out for Shipping costs.

So I did. I was a maniac about it. I was making sure to count every person at the $7 shipping charge. What I didn’t realize is how Kickstarter actually incorporates that number. My brain said:

The shipping is determined after you make your pledge selection, so it CAN’T be a part of the overall $$. It’s a separate item and is effectively collected separately.

What reality said:

No, that $7 for shipping is actually added into the total goal number. So when you were calculating your goals, you should have included that one, but you didn’t.

It seems like it probably shouldn’t matter all that much, but I didn’t realize it until I did an update to the spreadsheet once we’d gotten past the 50 backer mark – and then realized my error.

On the positive, it meant we were much more likely to hit our goal when our $25 reward level was actually worth $32 to the campaign each time. On the negative, I was now seeing that there was as much as an $800 difference. Which basically meant if we barely funded, we’d potentially be behind by $800. Of course, that was the absolute worst case scenario (and I kept reminding myself of that very fact). That was if everyone only contributed at the $25 level. The idea of that happening was highly doubtful. It would mean no one would buy any PDF only levels or any of the higher tiers… again, not realistic.

That rationale didn’t help ease my brain spinning, and I can only imagine Robert’s state of mind when I told him the “good news”:

“So after we got off the phone tonight I got curious about the overall numbers. I quickly added the 55 backers up and found that the shipping charge (the $7 or $20) that appears to be an add-on is actually contributing to the Project Fund Goal.
This obviously causes a problem because we did not factor that into our cost breakdowns. I have written Kickstarter to make sure that I am seeing this correctly. What follows is the note I submitted through their “Support” button:
“I would like to confirm whether or not the added charges for domestic and international shipping is a contributing factor to the project’s overall Funding Goal. I had been under the impression that this was not the case when we launched on Friday afternoon. Is there any way that this can be altered for a project, as our calculated costs did not assume the shipping applied to the pledge amount? We believed it was an add-on. Any assistance you can provide on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.”
Assuming that this cannot be changed for the project, it appears that our True Number should have been approximately $5625 ($775 difference).
Now, this number is based on various factors:
Digital vs. physical backers – I’m assuming 25% digital based off our current level
Potential of International vs Domestic Shipping – This is probably only going to be a handful of people, but it is something to consider
The number of people who actually chose to do a higher reward level – This would reduce the number of people we actually have to ship anything to.
And potentially people who can get their reward hand delivered – Again, reducing the number of people we actually have to ship anything to.
That’s a lot to take in. I can walk you through it if you want to talk by phone at some point. I’m sorry that I didn’t catch this as I thought we’d been as thorough as possible.”

***

 

Of course, things couldn’t be changed at that point, and Kickstarter wasn’t going to change their whole setup for little old me. So I mentally prepared myself to make up for the blunder if it came to it. As the campaign went on I tracked the updated numbers and found that for every digital only person, it brought that value down (nothing to ship), for every higher award number chosen, it brought the numbers closer together.

I said it last post – the biggest part of Kickstarter is that it changes with every new person who contributes. We’d calculated in the “have an artist draw you tier” into our numbers, but if all of them weren’t taken (I think we were limited to 10) then it would reduce the number. So there were tons of ways to get through this gaffe. And by the end, just due to the rewards taken, we ended up all good and got some Stretch Goals in for good measure!

***

So I suppose the lesson is to really, really try to identify the potholes where you can. And even if you think you have a handle on the costs, maybe reach out to someone who’s already done a Kickstarter. Sometimes it is the question we don’t even know to ask which end up biting us in the ass.

***

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

 

 

4 OSR Kickstarters – NSFW – The Black Hack 2e, No One Warps for Free!, Advanced Labyrinth Lord, and The Peasants’ Fell Bargain

I just returned from Origins 2018. It was a blast meeting the folks that I write about, joining in the community, and gaming! One of the many games I played there was Eric Bloat’s OSR, Survive This!! Zombies! That inspired me to look at what OSRs are currently on Kickstarter where I found a few winners.

 

NSFW – This article is Not Safe For Work. OSRs are fun but they’re not without controversy and NSFW art so, dive in at your own risk.

 

The Peasants’ Fell Bargain: DCC™-Compatible RPG Adventure by Gaming Honors
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“Role-Playing Game (RPG) Adventure Module Inspired by Classic Tales of Horror. Dungeon Crawl Classics(TM)-Compatible Zero-Level Funnel.

The Peasants’ Fell Bargain is a zero-level adventure compatible with the Dungeon Crawl Classics™ Role-Playing Game. Available in print or PDF and featuring twenty-eight action-packed pages, this fully-illustrated adventure inspired by classic horror tales will put your peasants to the ultimate test as they search for the Lord Stenorian’s missing son.

A Bargain of Fire and Blood

For generations your village has lived and worked in the shadow of the Stenorian estate, which sits perched like an ancient bird of prey on a promontory at the edge of the mountains. You eked out a hard living through logging, mining, or planting the rocky Stenorian lands. Each year you made the three-mile trip up the mountain to pay rent and tribute to the men-at-arms standing watch at the keep’s gate….The years went by, and nothing changed.

Now the Lord Stenorian himself has come, begging for your help. “My men are slain, my father is missing, and I have nowhere else to turn. My son! My son Michael is still hiding somewhere in the keep. Find him! Save him! Do this for me, and I will reward you beyond your wildest imaginings.” His eyes burn with a frightening intensity. “Hear me. Return my boy to me, and ask what you will. I promise you, if it is in my power, I will grant it.” These last words seem to echo inside your minds as visions of a new future for you and your family float before you.

Meaningful Choices and Motivations

The Peasants’ Fell Bargain invites you to be a hero—you are ten-year-old Michael’s only hope—or a mercenary. After all, Lord Stenorian promises you rewards beyond your imaginings: all you have to do is find the boy. No matter the motive, agreeing to serve Stenorian will bring you power you’ve never known.

But as the stories tell us, power always comes at a price, promises can be impossible to keep, and even the purest motives can lead to unspeakable evil…

An Adventure of Mayhem and Mystery

In the best tradition of Dungeon Crawl Classics™, Goodman Games’ incomparable system of classic RPG adventure, The Peasants’ Fell Bargain pits hapless gongfarmers and blacksmiths against monsters from their worst nightmares. You will test your pitchforks and slings against new and deadly adversaries.

At the same time, you will need to examine clues in the Stenorian manor to uncover the horror hiding behind the keep’s high stone walls. The mystery of the Stenorian family unfolds as your party explores the scene and pieces together the evidence. Handouts allow you to discover the story as you go—and what you learn may very well force you to reconsider your assumptions, your plans…

And perhaps even your promises.

Deals with the Devil: A New Game Mechanic

Like many classic tales, The Peasants’ Fell Bargain turns on a pact made between the PCs and a figure of awesome power. Adventurers who choose to strike a bargain with Lord Stenorian will be rewarded with powers determined by a d20 roll on the custom “Fell Bargain Table.”

This funnel also provides an alternate “Monkey’s Paw Table” for use in other adventures and campaigns. Like the story from which it gets its name, the “Monkey’s Paw Table” can extract a high price for the boons granted.

It is not for the faint of heart.

(Art in progress)

A Module Crammed with Content

The Peasants’ Fell Bargain is packed with 28 pages of adventure, illustrations, and game supplements, including “Encounter Cards” that judges can photocopy, cut out, and use to run combats.

Back our Kickstarter, and see what surprises await. With your help, The Peasants’ Fell Bargain will be a funnel you and your party will never forget.

So what do you say?

Do we have a bargain?

Say, what is this Dungeon Crawl Classics™ of which you speak?

Dungeon Crawl Classics™ is the amazing role-playing game from Goodman Games that takes you back to those all-night odysseys in your parents’ basement, when all a good adventurer needed was a map, a sword, and some guts, and all a player needed was paper and pencil, some dice, and imagination. Magic is mysterious and powerful, monsters are menacing and unpredictable, and Luck matters—A LOT more than min-maxing and statistical analysis. DCC takes the best parts of the game you remember and combines it with the wisdom gained from over fifty years of role-playing to create the one-of-a-kind experience that got you rolling dice in the first place.  If you haven’t checked out the rulebook, what are you waiting for?”

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

At MomoCon 2018, I picked up Dungeon Crawl Classics from the Goodman Games boothDCC is an OSR that is gonzo awesomeness! Getting to start at zero-level with this adventure is worth checking out because it lets you really stretch your creative legs and build something fun.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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No One Warps For Free! by Kort’thalis Publishing 
Ends on .

“Yet another adventure for the Alpha Blue roleplaying game! Sleazy space opera that parodies many existing scifi franchises.

Hi.  I’m Venger As’Nas Satanis, author of classics such as The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence, How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss, and Adventure Writing like a Fucking Boss.  What’s up?

I’m Kickstarting the Alpha Blue supplement Alien Ass, Hydrogen Gas, or Cosmic Grass… No One Warps For Free!  

Yes, it’s a silly title (a prominent member of the Kort’thalis Publishing g+ community, MoonSylver, came up with it), but it’s the kind of inappropriate, over-the-top, ridiculously awesome kind of thing that Alpha Blue excels at.

This book will be full-color and feature fantastic artwork.  I got the taste for color with Blood Dark Thirst and Battle Star: Trek Wars… now, there’s no going back!

Here’s a look at the interior layout for both the PDF and (CreateSpace / Amazon) softcover by Glynn Seal of MonkeyBlood Design.  He does awesome work and Kort’thalis Publishing is fortunate to have his services at our slimy pink and blue disposal.

What is Alpha Blue?  As I look around me, it seems the vast majority of RPG rules/mechanics are being swallowed up by either old standbys or the new hotness.  Well, this particular game is one of the few holdouts that hasn’t become a D&D clone, Fate thing, Apocalypse Powered, or Savage World.  And yet, Alpha Blue is vaguely similar to D&D, has a few story-game elements, and wild dice-swinging action.

Alpha Blue has been my most successful RPG line (that includes Crimson Dragon Slayerand The Outer Presence) – numerous supplements have been created over the last 3 years.  It’s rules-light (traditional and contemporary hybrid with d6 dice pools), juvenile, and a lot of fun.

Still curious?  Play a little choose your own adventure:   http://www.sleazyscifi.com/#/

For the most part, it’ll be adventures that parody established scifi franchises.  The amount of raunchy, gonzo comedy depends on individual tastes.  Not everyone is going to want to playAlpha Blue like a Star Wars porn parody – and that’s ok.  Many gamers only want a hint of 70’s era exploitation.  And not that you need it, but you’re given “permission” to mix and match less-hard scifi, such as Ice Pirates, Flash Gordon, and Heavy Metal with familiar pop-cultural icons.

Besides several scenarios (see the next few paragraphs), there will be tons of random tables – ice cream, menstruation, tattoos, and so much more!  Random tables are kind of my thang and nobody does them better (plus, I get crowd-sourcing help from dozens of contributors who love Alpha Blue and everything it stands for).  These tables can be used in multiple adventures, campaigns, and the comedic / gonzo / sleazy RPG of your choice.

  • Among others, the zenobites will be back in a Hellraiser tribute scenario called “Skinless and Horny.”
  • It’s spring break somewhere in the Federation, and college kids need transport from Margaritaville to Pina Coladaburg.  Wouldn’t it be a shame if convicts from a women’s prison broke out and tried to commandeer the PCs’ ship?  That’s a sexy mission if ever there was one.
  • Terrorists within the Interstellar Caliphate are strapping themselves with suicide vest explosives on their way to the space station of love – Alpha Blue.  Admiral Ackbar!  Let’s go kill those freedom hating, bastards!!!

There will be pre-generated characters for quick-start games like introductory demos, virtual tabletop, conventions, etc.

Optional rules, helpful suggestions, and neat mechanical bits and pieces will be interspersed throughout the text in sidebars.

Plus, new “classes.”  Really, these are just character concepts that will give you some idea of where your strengths and weaknesses lie. Here’s a quick overview…

Primitive Screw-head – you’re a savage barbarian and dumb as a box of space rocks.  But you can smash real good, intimidate those low-muscle cerebral types to the point of “pee fright,” and get in the way of delicate high-tech operations like nobody’s business.

Quantum Sorcerer – you travel the universe, casting spells for fun and profit.  Yep, you’re a magic-user among the stars.  Several new spells will be offered, though the system is so light-weight and malleable that official “spell lists” are unnecessary.

Bard – yes, that’s right.  The most useless adventuring profession in the universe – and you can play one!  Learn an instrument… or a thousand instruments (doesn’t matter, you’re still going to die horribly) and join the Guild of Performing Arts.  The GoPA will assign your bard to a special crew of hand-selected spacers who probably won’t eat you if the food runs out andmight not consider your instrument a portable latrine.

Space Ranger – you’re part of an elite team of highly unorganized cops protecting the innocent and hunting down the worst of the worst.  At one time, the space rangers were affiliated with the Federation – not any more.  The Federation has grown too corrupt to police itself, let alone the entire universe. You’re a vigilante with a badge!

This book will be 30 pages at a minimum.  See the stretch goals for possible extras…”

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

Looking for a sleazy sci-fi RPG? Something simple system-wise, but full of sex tropes from the 70s and 80s? Venger Satanis, as always, has you covered. Since the Trinity of Awesome Returns, I’ve covered Venger’s Kickstarters. While he’s a font of RPG business wisdom and he’s published some of my first RPG work, he’s also said things I cannot co-sign, so promoting his OSR work – which is an unashamed system-light RPG love letter to the 70s/80s era of low-budget, sleazy sexploitation fantasy and sci-fi movies – goes from let’s-do-it to am-I-going-to-lose-friends-for-this. [For whatever it’s worth, Venger writes me pretty often to see if I’m still upright and drawing breath.] With that, let me share this RPG and let you make your own decision about his subset of OSR – he’s dubbed it “O5R” – that’s “[s]leazy space opera that parodies many existing scifi franchises”.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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The Black Hack RPG Second Edition by Gold Piece Publications
Ends on .

“The award winning, super-streamlined, oldschool fanstasy roleplaying game returns with its expanded, content packed second edition.

The Kickstarter for the original edition of The Black Hack funded in just 5 days, raising over 1000% of its goal amount – more importantly however, it marked the moment a small set of house rules evolved into a fully-fledged DIY rpg movement. Today, I’m proud to launch this new Kickstarter as another evolution in the life of The Black Hack — turning it into the most comprehensive and lightweight old school system available — with all the gorgeous layout, artwork and trappings that it deserves.

The engine and design behind The Black Hack (TBH) is a simple, straightforward game written in a logical conversational tone. It provides all the experiences you’d expect a traditional fantasy RPG to deliver without clunky rules getting in the way of the action and the emerging character stories.

TBH doesn’t force a trite grand fantasy setting upon the players either. Instead it comes accompanied by a full-suite of tools flavoured with old school fantasy sensibilities – culminating in a game that provides a foundation of preparation or improvisation for the imaginations of the GM and the players.

Peter Regan of Squarehex/Gold Piece Publications has assembled a legendary team to support the writing and design of the game. Artists Karl Sternjberg, Sean Poppe and Jeff Call will be providing detailed, evocative, old school art to fuel the readers’ imaginations and Pookie will be providing editing duties to ensure the writing and rules are water tight.

The beta document has been written, laid out and is going through final playtesting sessions – now all we need to do is have it looked over by an editor, commission the final pieces of monster artwork and print it, which we aim to have done by October. If you pledge at a level that comes with print version of the main rulebook you will gain access to the production ‘beta’ document as soon as the project funds are transferred (normally 2 weeks after the project funding period ends). Thank you for taking the time to read this, but most of all thank you for sharing and supporting this campaign and the DIY RPG movement.

– David Black

The Black Booklet – ‘Quickstart rules for players’ 300gsm matt laminated cover, 170gsm silk art pages.

The Black Hack – ‘All the rules, all the things’ Hardback matt laminated cover, 120gsm internal pages, black end papers.

The Black Hack – ‘All the rules, all the things’ Hardback with cloth/silver foiled cover, 120gsm internal pages, black end papers. Kickstarter Exclusive.

GM’s Screen – ‘Inspiration and GM tools’ 3xA5 panels 300gsm matt laminated card.

Illustrated Character Sheets – Double sided a4 OSR style playbooks, one for each class.

The Black Box – ‘Goodies’ Matt black 1.5mm board with a silver foil printed lid. Dimensions are: 230x165x50mm. Dice are opaque black with white numbering. The dice pouches are black velvet. The pencils are matt black with black wood and black erasers printed in white.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

I reviewed the Basic Hack, which is born from the Black Hack. My editor at EN World, Chris Helton, reviewed the first edition of the Black Hack and praised it. I’ve read endless good things about it and talked to Eric Bloat about it during Origins where he said he is backing the new edition. When a successful OSR publisher backs your product, it speaks volumes.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Advanced Labyrinth Lord by Goblinoid Games
Ends on .

 

“Fans have been demanding a combined Labyrinth Lord/Advanced Edition Companion book for a long time…here it is!

Advanced Labyrinth Lord

Labyrinth Lord was first published in 2007, and for over 10 years has been one of the premier old-school “retro-clone” games. Its wildly popular supplement, the Advanced Edition Companion, adds all of the “advanced” first edition options for Labyrinth Lord, all while keeping compatibility with the B/X basic fantasy game.

For the first time, Labyrinth Lord and the Advanced Edition Companion will be seamlessly combined into one volume! Fans have been asking for this for several years, and it is my pleasure to make it happen! All of the basic and advanced options, magic items, and monsters will be brought together under one cover for easy reference.

Here are some facts about the combined book:

  • This is not a new game.
  • This is simply a combined book.
  • You will still be able to separate “basic” from “advanced” game options.
  • Much interior art will carry over from the original books, but new interior art will be featured in addition.
  • This combined book does not replace the current separate books. Those books will remain in print.

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

This book is a combination of two OSR books, not a new edition of LL or a new game. Clearly, there is a market for this as fans are pledging. Never heard of Labyrinth Lord and want to try before you buy? Find free versions of Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition (no-art version) and Advanced Edition Companion (Labyrinth Lord, no-art version) here so you can decide for yourself.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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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 a variety of companies:

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

Origins Game Fair Spotlight – Fates of Madness, an RPG Card Game

It’s another day of Origins Game Fair 2018 and another game worth checking out! This time Legendary Games and Mythica Games are showcasing Fates of Madness on Kickstarter [below] and at Origins. Are you at Origins? Because designer Jimmy Sanders is demo’ing FoM there. As well, there are sessions of the Legends of Draxia card game and the Draxia RPG from Mythica Games.

 

Fates of Madness, an RPG Card Game by Legendary Games and Mythica Games
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“A cooperative RPG adventure card game based on the Gothic Campaign Compendium. Plays Solo or up to 5 Players!

Fates of Madness is a cooperative role-playing light adventure card game based on the popular Gothic Campaign Compendium by Legendary Games with game design by Mythica Gaming.

This diceless game is varied by the use of Fate cards and skill level to determine success or failure. This horror themed adventure is the first joint project between Legendary Games and Mythica Gaming.

The game is comprised of two sizes of cards, Tarot sized and Poker sized. You will find the following in the base game but we hope to reach all stretch goals.

Tarot Size Cards

  • 6 Character Cards
  • 4 Character Hit Point Tracker Cards
  • 13 Location Cards (7 Scenarios and 6 Monsters)
  • 5 Boss Monsters Cards
  • 1 Monster Hit Point Tracker Cards

Poker Size Cards

  • 27 Fate Cards
  • 16 Equipment Cards
  • 20 Potion Cards
  • 14 Treasure Cards

Characters in the game

  • Agrimar Vaskel, Male half-orc paladin
  • Dominnia Vorsaife, Female human wizard
  • Eilinica Ziorec, Female elf cleric
  • Ereviss Cierdel, Male elf bard
  • Jevalt Ardain, Male human inquisitor
  • Merenso Kull, Male half-elf ranger
  • STRETCH GOAL LOCKED: Xiuj Hak Leyng of the Seven-Ghost-Needles, Male middle-aged human alchemist
  • STRETCH GOAL LOCKED: Ysabot Vaskel, Female human Witch

Locations in the game

  • Abandoned Laboratory
  • Crumbling Gazebo
  • Crypt
  • Derelict House
  • Graveyard
  • Grimoire
  • Ruined Castle
  • Swamp, Foul Needler
  • Cave, Adomination
  • Misty Grasslands, Barghest
  • Abandoned Dress Shop, Possessed Manikin
  • Ancient Battlefields, Animated Armor
  • Deep Forest, Jabberwock
  • STRETCH GOAL LOCKED: Farmer’s Field, Barbed Devil

Boss Monsters

  • Black Behemoth
  • Body Thief
  • Devil Beast
  • Drider
  • She Devil
  • LOCKED: Alternative Boss Monster”

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * * * * *

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

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

Origins Game Fair Spotlight – Starship Infernum: a tabletop RPG of Interstellar Survival

It’s Origins Game Fair 2018 and Robert Turk of Wicked Clever is here sharing his latest RPG, Starship Infernum: a tabletop RPG of Interstellar Survival. Currently funding through Kickstarter, this pick-up and play RPG let’s you try to survive the horrors of space. Interested in trying it? Robert is running the game at the show. Interested in backing the game? Click here.

Robert Turk – “My games are being sold at the Orc’s Forge booth (339) and I am running games from 2 to 10p every day at the Hyatt.”

 

Starship Infernum: a tabletop RPG of Interstellar Survival by Wicked Clever
Ends on Wed, July 4 2018 8:00 PM EDT

“A pick-up & play tabletop RPG. Easy to play, easy to run, hard to survive! Infinitely re-playable, no dice needed, sci-fi fun!

Starship Infernum is a pick-up & play, sci-fi survival-horror, tabletop role-playing game for 3 or more people.

The idea for Starship Infernum began as a one-sheet expansion to our previous pick-up & play game, Purgatory House. But as we started working on it, we realized that it was a complete stand-alone game, and we had to give it the space to soar.

We are now proud to present our brand new, survival-horror RPG with great art, cool new mechanics, alien monsters, psychological dangers, lots of explosions, and even more unrelenting horror:

  • 108 pg. 6×9 Hardback Book! (offset printed in the USA)
  • Easy to Learn “Blackjack” Mechanics!
  • Infinitely Replayable! The Ship is different every time!
  • Pen & Ink Illustrations from Master Artists!
  • KS Exclusive Extras!
  • Actual Shipping costs charged AFTER the Kickstarter!

All Backers get immediate access to our Beta Playtest Rules in Update #1!

  • Character creation is fast and easy, or you can jump right in with one of the many included pre-generated crew mates.
  • No dice to play, just two decks of regular playing cards (with Jokers!)
  • Definite endgame! A single adventure plays in 2-4 hours.
  • Death is not the end of the action! Expired crew mates are still part of the story and will impact the outcome of the adventure.
  • There are no complicated rules to memorize! If you can play Blackjack, you can play Starship Infernum!
  • No Prep! Crises are determined at the start of play. The ship layout and the obstacles encountered are generated by a deck of cards. The Dealer simply interprets how to implement them.
  • The book is filled with examples, gameplay options, and descriptions for each room and obstacle!
  • All challenges are resolved with a hand of Blackjack. A player only takes damage if they bust!
  • Failure creates “Rising Tension” which makes the next test harder!
  • Players can exhaust relevant traits to adjust their total score or use found equipment for a one-time bonus!
  • Jokers summon Swarms – mass challenges against the entire crew!
  • Duty Abilities provide each character with a unique bonus (or rules twist) in certain situations!
  • Crisis Swarms, Spacesuits, EVA, and new Psychological Challenges!

 

To see more of Wicked Clever‘s work on DriveThruRPG, click here.

To support this Kickstarter, click here.

 

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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 a variety of companies:

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

Kickstart the Comic – 5 From Beyond

When Terminus Media decided to get into comics, we cut our teeth on four different anthologies. The thought process was that it was a lot to ask an artist for 22 pages, but 8 pages… that would be doable. On top of that, learning to write in those 8 page blocks only helped me as a writer. Considering I was still trying to figure out how exactly to script a comic in the first place, it allowed for learning on the job.

So I have a soft spot for anthologies…

***

Five From Beyond

Published by From Beyond Comics

Writers – Kyle Roberts, Dan Kern, Clay Adams

Artists – Rafael Romeo Magat, Kyle Roberts, Rafael Dantas

Colors – Ilaria Fella, Mai, Davi Comodo, Emilio Pilliu

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Friday, June 22, 2018 at 11:00 PM EDT.

***

 

The Pitch:

Drawing inspiration from classic anthology comics and television shows like Creepy, Eerie, The Twilight Zone and Tales From the Crypt – FIVE FROM BEYOND is a full color, 48-page anthology comic featuring five short stories infusing elements of horror, suspense, and science fiction into each gorgeously illustrated tale.

 

The Stories:

Parent/Guardian

In the far flung future, beyond the far reaches of our solar system, PARENT/GUARDIAN tells the story of a father’s fight for redemption in the eyes of his daughter.

The Brokener

Born from the imagination of a three year old girl, THE BROKENER is a terrifying tale of folk tradition and the cycle of abuse.

Deathtrap!

A mind bending re-imagining of Edgar Allen Poe’s classic The Pit and the Pendulum. DEATHTRAP! turns the focus outside the pit and onto the rescue party tasked with saving Poe’s original protagonist.

The Ark

Earth’s attempt at colonizing a new world is jeopardized when the transport’s commander decides to play God aboard THE ARK!

The Bin

Based on true events! Four teens stumble upon an unsettling discovery when they go snooping within THE BIN!

John’s Thoughts:

Kyle Roberts clearly knows how to hook me in the very first sentence as he called upon The Twilight Zone. I might as well stop reading at that point as “you’ve got me!”. That aside, the biggest thing with anthologies is doing the initial scan when you are trying to see if any of the story synopsis grab you. So I do that, and knowing nothing else, I’m intrigued by “The Ark” and “Deathtrap!”. The first due to the fact that I have about 10 different ideas on where the story may go and want to see if they’re true. With the latter, Edgar Allen Poe’s story is one that’s always caught my attention (if, for no other reason, that my wife once had nightmares from watching only the beginning scene of the movie).

And I love the cover!

 

The Rewards:

You have the PDF ($5) only or the Print ($15) versions of the comic. At higher levels you can get an 8 1/2 x 11 inked drawing ($60) or an original interior page from the book ($100). At the $25 level, there is a unique reward where you get a panel from the comic that is suitable for framing.

 

The Verdict:

The book is done, so that’s always a great thing to be able to read it all the quicker. And like I said above, I’m a sucker for this type of comic. When done well, you end up with stories that will stay with you for weeks after you’ve read them!

 

***

To find out more about From Beyond Comics, check them out here.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. 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

6 D&D 5e Kickstarters – Spectacular Settlements, The Curse of Roslof Keep, The Runewild, The Steel Road, The Bespoken Bestiary, and Carcosa

I’m on the road to Origins 2018. In other news, there are six 5e Kickstarters worth looking at. I don’t say much (on the road), but these games are worth a look. 😉

 

The Curse of Roslof Keep high level 1E & 5E gaming adventure by Art of the Genre
Ends on .

“Return to high adventure with this upper level (10+) module that features a living dungeon, adversarial NPC companies, and much more!

Join the adventure as Art of the Genre revisits the various curses of Roslof Keep!  This first part of a six part mega-campaign is based around experienced characters levels 10+, and I’ve specially designed the dungeon to breath life into those adventuring levels without relying on old standards like giants, dragons, and constructs.

The Curse of Roslof Keep revolves around an adventuring company moving to the city of Tiefon, capital of the great eastern power of Thalonia, where they will match wits against other great adventuring companies as well as the intelligent dungeon known as The Infernal Machine.

Folio #20 will introduce characters to the setting, the mysterious and ancient Kasbah of Tiefon, as well as the other companies hired by the great houses to clear the magical dungeon that has suddenly appeared beneath their streets.  Dungeon details include 2D standard ‘blue’ hex maps as well as fully 3D renderings of Level 1.  A gazetteer will give background on the Infernal Machine and the city, as well as the stakes that weigh on the characters, and includes a new monster designed specifically for this campaign.  It also features a fully removable stand-alone cover, and two booklets (gazetteer & adventure).

The adventures of Folio #20 await!
The adventures of Folio #20 await!

As with all previous Folio adventures, this is written in classic AD&D mechanics, while also having D&D 5E stat blocks and adaptations as well.

What is Roslof Keep? Roslof Keep is a six part mega-dungeon produced in 2015, and comprises Folios #1-#6.  It is based around an intelligent dungeon known as ‘The Infernal Machine’ that has now spread to other cities with greater threats, thus bringing about the events of The Curse of Roslof Keep adventure series.

Folios 1-6 in the original Roslof Keep Campaign
Folios 1-6 in the original Roslof Keep Campaign

What do Folio dungeons look like? Below you will see a internal Folio removable cover dungeon, rendered in full 3D for easy use by the DM, and well as defined in hex style 2D for mappers.  Rooms are well described, and stats are provided for both AD&D and 5th Edition D&D formats.

Sample of 3D maps on the removable interior module cover!
Sample of 3D maps on the removable interior module cover!
Sample 3D mapping from the original Roslof Keep Campaign!
Sample 3D mapping from the original Roslof Keep Campaign!

What is The Complete Roslof Keep Campaign Hardcover? Produced in 2016, this 128 page compilation book includes all six Folios in the Roslof Keep Campaign as well as 6 bonus mini-adventures that tie in with the set and a Nameless Realms Races gazetteer, as well as the stats for the 7 Iconic characters seen in the series.  It has an original cover by Jeff Easley, and a classic ‘orange spine’ to go along with the TSR AD&D hardcovers of the 1980s.

The Complete Roslof Keep hardcover edition
The Complete Roslof Keep hardcover edition

What are ‘Bridge’ Mini-Adventures? These three ‘throwback’ style mini-adventures bridge the timeline between the close of The Roslof Keep Campaign, and the events of The Curse of Roslof Keep, allowing players to build on the adventure before it has even truly begun.”

'Bridge' mini-adventures included in the 'Full' backer levels
‘Bridge’ mini-adventures included in the ‘Full’ backer levels

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Love the art as always with The Folio.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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The Runewild – A Fey-Themed 5e Sandbox Campaign by Sneak Attack Press
Ends on .

“A 5e sandbox campaign. In the Runewild, witches walk, goblins cavort, and the borders between the realms of mortal and fey grow thin.

Beyond the kingdom of Aruanda, there is an untamed land. It is a place where witches walk, where goblins cavort, where the borders between the realms of mortal and fey grow thin. For some, it is a place of unspeakable wonder; for others, only madness and death lie within its trackless depths.

It is the Runewild, and it is both beautiful and cruel.

The Runewild is a dark fairy-tale sandbox setting for use with the 5th Edition of the world’s most popular roleplaying game. Designed for character levels 1 through 10, it provides locations, encounters, and NPCs to support a campaign lasting months or years, or to be adapted into other campaigns. The 160+ page book includes:

  • A history of the Runewild and its surrounding settlements.
  • 100 detailed encounter areas for player characters to explore.
  • New optional rules for exploring and resting
  • Advice for running a sandbox campaign
  • A new feat: Fey-Touched
  •  13 unique magic items (like witch embers and the staff of clarity and confusion)
  • 32 new monsters (including clockwork dwarves, fey lions, giant forest sloths, and the terrifyingly beautiful Golden Bodach).
  •  Detailed descriptions of the histories, motivations, and weaknesses of the witches of the Runewild, including the Whitebone Sisters; Missus Switch, the swine hag; Korthsuva, the Witch of Hours; and the hag-queen Griselda, Mother of Ogres.
  • Dozens of random tables designed to help GMs make the Runewild campaign their own.

To learn more about the Runewild, you can check out our free previews:

Preview 1: Missus Switch, Swine Witch – The history and statistics of the Swine Witch and a detailed description of the school house where she teaches her porcine pupils.

Preview 2: Highvale Blade and Twisted Tome – The Runewild is a place steeped in powerful fey magic, and these items show how some harness it safely, while others let it get out of control.

Preview 3: Beasts that Lurk in the Runewild – This preview features four new beasts that live in the Runwood: the helpful fey lion, the thought-stealing fiddlehead, the enigmatic Seven-Tails, and the terrifyingly beautiful Golden Bodach.

COMING SOON! Preview 4: The Goblin Market – A magical, moving marketplace that sells everything from a baby’s wail to a portable mouse hole to the secret you’ve searched for your whole life.

If you want to see even more, you can back the project and see the current draft of the complete book by going to this backer-only post. We’ve written the whole book and gone through several rounds of revision, but we plan to do at least one more revision using your feedback.

We love the ways crowdfunding can involve our backers. Everybody who backs at any level can read the current draft of the book and provide feedback. For those who want to play an even bigger roll, we offer two backer reward options:

Denizen of the Runewild

The final book will contain a table featuring one hundred random fey denizens of the Runewild. We want to give you a chance to be part of that chart. If you select either the PDF and Runewild Denizen, or Print and Runewild Denizen reward level, you can create one entry on the chart that includes your fey creature’s name, the type of fey, a brief description, and the creature’s goals. (All descriptions may be modified for length, tone, and established setting cannon.)

Part of the Art

If you want to be even more involved with the creation, you can pledge at the Part of the Art level. At this level, we will also include an illustration based on either a photo or description you provide. We will add the NPC to the book, and you can provide as much or as little guidance as you would like.”

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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The Steel Road: Exotic Weapons for 5th Edition by Sinopa Publishing LLC
Ends on .

“Role playing game source book ~ 50 exotic weapons and 50 Enchanted Weapons in one beautiful book for 5th Edition D&D RPG DnD Fantasy

50 Exotic and 50 Enchanted weapons, in one beautiful book!

That’s what this campaign is about.  Your support will fund art, production, and print costs for backer rewards.  This book is being produced and released for the fifth edition game mechanic.

Each weapon is fully illustrated in the style of sketchbook in keeping with the narrative throughout the journey. Yes, this means there are 100 pages of illustrated weapons in the book!

Image capture from first draft formatting of the book
Image capture from first draft formatting of the book

Narrative text is in 12 point font for ease of reading and to best simulate natural handwriting while maintaining legibility.

Our introduction begins the narrative found throughout the book
Our introduction begins the narrative found throughout the book

The Steel Road

  • The Steel Road, is created to resemble the sketch book of a traveling weapons merchant.  This book details exotic weapons from Africa, East Asia, Eastern Europe, India, China, Japan, and the lands of the Pacific.
  •  Each weapon is illustrated, making this book a fantastic resource for game masters and players alike.
  •  Each weapon is described from the point of view of the narrator (our fictional weapons merchant) and the descriptions include statistics for game play use.
  •  An enchanted example of each weapon is also described within as the legendary version.
  •  Each legendary weapon is of Unique rarity.  There is only one!

Game mechanic data for these enchanted weapons is provided for easy use.

The book is printed in 8.5 by 11 inch size, in dtrpg.com’s premium color option. The print copy of the book is released in soft cover but check out the stretch goals below!

Experience the world on the edge of a blade, travelling The Steel Road.

Featuring Weapons from ~

Africa

Art Layer: Each weapon has a mundane version and a legendary version
Art Layer: Each weapon has a mundane version and a legendary version

Eastern Europe

Art Layer: The Dacian Falx
Art Layer: The Dacian Falx

India

All of the weapon stats are original content
All of the weapon stats are original content

China

Exotic weapons from China and the surrounding areas of Asia
Exotic weapons from China and the surrounding areas of Asia

Japan

Great attention to detail is seen in the sketches of these exotic weapons
Great attention to detail is seen in the sketches of these exotic weapons

Lands of the Pacific

Cultural elements were honored within page space capabilities
Cultural elements were honored within page space capabilities

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

Sam Quinton of Sinopa Publishing LLC is working hard to make some unique 5e offerings. This is another example.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Spectacular Settlements for 5th Edition! by Nord Games
Ends on .

“The ultimate guide to creating amazing trading posts, villages, towns, cities, and capitals populated with versatile & detailed NPCs!

Spectacular Settlements, the latest addition to the Game Master’s Toolbox, is the ultimate guide to creating compelling locations for your adventures and campaigns.

Contained inside are chapters devoted to various settlement types, from the smallest trading posts, to massive capital cities. Within these chapters are all the steps needed to craft a settlement with both depth and originality.

Creation takes just a few easy steps, each of which has multiple options to detail your settlement. These options are presented as tables from which you can select the outcome yourself, or roll for a random result.

Step one covers basic information, such as its age, size, environment and recent history. Step two details aspects of the community, such as resident and visitor populations, disposition, politics and crime. Step three establishes points of interest, including shops and services that can then be populated with proprietors and patrons taken from the ‘Interesting NPCs’ chapter.

The resulting settlement is both dynamic and detailed. The book has great utility, designed to also be an engine of inspiration for storytellers and world builders, sparking creativity and prompting GMs to delve deep into what their settlement is, how it came to be, and how aspects that might be at odds with one another may just give clues about its most compelling elements.

The book is available in full-color PDF and hardcover formats for 5th Edition. We have multiple pledge levels to best suit your gaming budget, so please check out the project, share it with your friends, and help us hit our goal.

1. Creating Great Settlements. An overview on settlements, when to use them, how to use them, and how to keep things both dynamic and interesting.

2. Trading Posts. One of the most important settlement types, trading posts are often hot spots for information, quests, intrigue, and excitement!

3. Villages. Often the home of simple folk with simple lives, villages dot the landscape. They can however, be the jumping-off point of many a fun adventure!

4. Towns. The beginnings of urban development, towns can be lawless communities ripe for powerful influence, or the birthplace of the next world superpower.

5. Cities. More people, more problems. Cities are teeming with all manner of folk. Some good, some bad, some just trying to mind their own business. No visit to a city is ever without potential dangers, or potential rewards.

6. Capitals. Seats of concentrated power, home to mighty bastions and the focal point of both politics and war alike.

7. Keeps. Keeps are single large fortified buildings such as towers. The nature of these structures dictates that villages and towns usually spring up around them, due to the protection they offer. They are modest when compared to full castles, but are much more attainable for smaller communities in terms of costs and resources.

8. Castles. A large, imposing group of buildings, castles are fortified against attack with thick walls, battlements, and towers. They typically have a town or even city surrounding them, with homes and shops perhaps directly outside its walls.

9. Strongholds. Like a castle, but larger still, strongholds have greater fortifications. Built to be as impenetrable as possible, these bastions are the pinnacle of what one could expect from a physical structure.

10. Shops & Proprietors. What is a settlement without shops? In this chapter you’ll find all the shops you’ll ever need, as well the folk who operate them.

11. Interesting NPCs. Over 100 pages of NPCs who can be dropped right into a shop, service establishment, or encountered on the streets of your settlement.”

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Dark Naga – Carcosa for 5th Edition by Dark Naga Adventures
Ends on .

“A non-linear adventure in the classic Sandbox style where the party (Level 11-12) fights to escape the lair of an Old One–Hastur

About This Project
About This Project

Carcosa is an adventure for three to seven characters about level twelve. It is designed for use with the Fifth Edition version of Gary and Dave’s RPG. It can be adapted to any fantasy RPG.

Special Note

The Physical Catchup Naga reward description at the right is missing some critical text. The description below is accurate; however, the one at the right reads “DNH4-Carcosa” when it should read DNH4-Confronting Hastur, and DNH5-Carcosa” The “Includes” list is correct. I apologize for any confusion this typographical error might have caused. Thx to a backer for catching it early in the campaign. Sadly, I cannot edit that section for KS integrity reasons.

The Premise  

Immediately following the events of Confronting Hastur, the characters wake up in Carcosa and are greeted by a broken man who tells them they only have a day to escape the plane before becoming permanent residents. The way home appears to require them to confront a demon lady and the three demon brothers who constantly vie for her attention and their domains within Carcosa. A land teeming with minor demons, humans, and three powerful Abrar, dreadful demon lords. Pressed for time, the party members find themselves pawns in the petty games of the brothers as they claw their way to worship before the lovely Grushka, the Abrar who runs Carcosa while Hastur slumbers. Their search for a way home reveals rumors of a way to trap Hastur in a longer, deeper slumber, giving their world peace from his attempts to invade for hundreds of millennia to come. Will they work to go home, or will they chance eternal damnation to save their world?

Who We Are
Who We Are
Cover for DNH5 - Carcosa (with thanks to Randy Price's keen eye for typos)
Cover for DNH5 – Carcosa (with thanks to Randy Price’s keen eye for typos)

Who is Dark Naga Adventures? Why should you trust me?

I am Kevin Watson, and Dark Naga Adventures is my company. It exists to create and publish adventures that are a combination of the classic sandbox adventures of the early days of the hobby combined with modern features. I have probably written 30 adventures and designed about a dozen fantasy worlds in my life as a Game Master.

This project is the fifth adventure for commercial release and my fifth Kickstarter Project. This concludes the Haunting of Hastur series. As a young company, I am motivated to produce quality products and intend to leverage the experience gained from several Kickstarter campaigns to mitigate potential complications in production.

Previous Kickstarter Projects from Dark Naga:

The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil  

The Buried Zikurat  

The City of Talos  

Confronting Hastur  

As a one-person shop, the buck stops with me. Art, cartography, and editing are all being done by top-notch freelancers. Expect regular updates and as much transparency as we all can handle.

Freelance Artists

Catia Fantini, Cover Art

Justin Andrew Mason, Cartography

Brian McCranie, Interior Art

Front Cover - Full Image
Front Cover – Full Image
Back Cover - Full Image
Back Cover – Full Image
  • Saddle-Stitched 24+ page adventure
  • Detached Color cover with color maps on the interior. These maps are far too elaborate and gorgeous to produce in monochrome.
  • 5 full-color maps
  • 3+ pages of black and white art, more when we unlock stretch goals.”

 

Read my interview with Kevin Watson on the Open Gaming Network.

 

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 Bespoke Bestiary – A Custom 5e Monster Book by Mithrilpunk Press
Ends on .

“Following our successful Legacy’s Wake Kickstarter, we are bringing our style to a book of monsters for 5E designed by our backers!

Final Cover
Final Cover

When it comes to your table top game, there is always room for another monster, but so often you find yourself throwing the same tried and true creatures at your players. Orcs, Goblins, Dragons; the classics are classics for a reason but sometimes you really want something fresh and new. That’s just what the Bespoke Bestiary aims to provide.

Think back to your earliest experiences with the game, before you knew what resistances that ooze had or what spell to NOT EVER cast at that golem. Remember those breathless sessions, not knowing if your party would determine the right tactics and techniques to bring down the terrifying new beast your game master threw at you?

We want to bring that back! We present to you, the Bespoke Bestiary, a monster tome done up in true Mithrilpunk style. Inside you will find dozens of new creatures complete with all the background you need to run them and the mechanics needed to scare your players with fresh terrors unlike any they have seen before.

Final Art to be in Color
Final Art to be in Color

TL;DR: At least 24 new monsters (probably a TON more than that), a new take on existing classic monsters, and awesome new player options, all with the MithrilPunk look and feel!

All art will be in full color, though we’ve intentionally kept all art in greyscale at this stage in order to allow our backers to have influence even on the art direction!

Final Art to be in Color
Final Art to be in Color

At the base level, our goal for this bestiary is to start with at least 100 pages and go from there. Based on stretch goals and sponsored monsters, that count will only go up! We are going to start with 24 custom monsters with new art, 6 of our favorite Skyfall monsters updated and improved, and then we’ll go into some classic monsters and put a great new spin on them! Every single new monster, including sponsored monsters, will be at least two pages each (with “Legendary” monster spreads covering four full pages).

Each monster will have either a 2-page or 4-page spread. That means every standard monster entry will increase the length of the book by 2 pages for every backer, while legendary monster entries will increase the page length by 4 pages! Note that when we say legendary, it doesn’t mean the monster has to have legendary actions or anything, just that it’s got enough content to take up four pages (through multiple variants, multiple player options, bigger monster stat blocks, lairs, etc). Then, we’ll also have a more free form section where we will take classic monsters (orcs, kobolds, ogres, etc.) and give them a fresh coat of paint in the coolest ways we can come up with! You’ll have an opportunity to influence many of the core and classic monsters, though some will be finished prior to the kickstarter to give you all an idea of what we’ll be making, like the Sidereal Stalker below!

Sample Spread - Final Version may change
Sample Spread – Final Version may change

Every single new monster entry will include a player option as well, themed around that monster. You’ll find new spells, magic items, feats, and more. You could even see a new playable race entry or a new subclass, if it fits the theme of the monster! Again, all our backers will have a say in tons of these new player options. with the player options increasing in complexity based on what makes the most sense for the monster. You won’t see a random item or spell slapped onto the page. Instead, you’ll find spells that use parts of the monster as components, feats based around how the monster lives or fights, and items tied to the monster’s history or physiology.

At its core, your ideas, votes, and pledges will define this book as much as possible! Our goal with this bestiary is to create a tome full of your favorite monsters, pulled directly from your imagination and the imaginations of the backers who pledged with you, and we see three main ways to do that: getting your ideas, letting the community vote on those ideas, and having special add-on levels to sponsor a monster to ensure that your creation makes it to the pages of the bestiary. We will engage with our backers through regular feedback and communication, as well as surveys allowing you to help flesh out everything that goes into the book, and backers who purchase the sponsored monster options described in the Addons section will have a more direct impact on the book!

You supply the ideas, the group votes, and we put in the work!

As we commission art from our artists, we’re going to give our backers an opportunity to submit high level concepts for those monsters. Once we have a handful of ideas, we’ll create polls and allow all of our backers to vote on the concepts they like best! The more input we get, the more we will let the voting drive the process. That way, if a monster’s art really sparks an interest, our backers will have the most say in that monster. In the same way, if the art doesn’t get that spark from the backers, we can and will guide the monster’s design and flavor to make sure that every monster in the book meets our standards.

I want to make my own monster!

Great! We will give you that option, by allowing you to “sponsor” a monster. You can check out the Add-ons section for more info, but at the base level, your add-on will go toward commissioning a custom art piece for your monster in full color, and then adding that monster to every single print copy of The Bespoke Bestiary. That way, every monster that you sponsor will make the book bigger and better for every other backer, and every monster sponsored by other backers will make the book bigger and better for you! When you sponsor a monster, we will work directly with you to create every aspect of the monster, including the flavor, the monster design, the art direction, and the player option that will go with your monstrosity. You can be as involved or not as you want, we’ll always pick up the slack to make sure every sponsored monster is as awesome as possible!

I don’t know anything about making monsters for 5th Edition!

That’s okay too! We’ve got a ton of experience making interesting monsters and compelling player options. No matter how much input you want to give, we’re ready to step up and make sure the writing is great, the monster is well-designed, the player option is balanced, and anything else we need to do. Of course we’ll always work with the artists, handle the layout, and take care of any of the “business” parts of the process. If you’ve got a cool idea, we will help you bring it to life, and we’ll do all the work needed to make sure it’s something really awesome when we’re done!

“Don’t listen to these guys! They wouldn’t know the difference between a carsnuffler and a kilgorean ragebeast if the ‘snuffler sat on their heads! I don’t know how these two idiots got top billing on this kick-whatever, but forget their monster book. It’ll be full of prissy little monsters that wouldn’t scare a burp from a baby goblin. And player options? Who cares? My monster book is 1000 times better than theirs. Some TRULY terrifying wonders, with INCREDIBLE LIFELIKE depictions, and instead of player options, I’ll give you my BEST AWARD-WINNING* recipes using ingredients directly from that monster! Oh you want to vote on stuff? Uh, sure, you guys can send me recipes and I’ll think about putting those in there I guess…”

Well, when you’re making a monster book, you end up with a TON of extra art from various sources. Sometimes the monster you thought would look awesome ended up being a little too silly. Sometimes the art’s style just didn’t fit with the rest of the book. Regardless of the reason, we decided to put all that extra art to use! Sleg is a “popular” goblin wizard-chef in our Skyfall setting, known for his extravagant cooking spells (most of which end up finding better use in pitched combat than in the kitchen; Sleg is subtle like a sledgehammer). Since we have this great NPC, and a bunch of extra art, we thought “Why not make a bestiary that’s also a cook book?”

In addition to the Bespoke Bestiary, you can also pick up Sleg’s Scrumptious Safari Spectacular in PDF or print! This 6″x9″ black and white softcover will contain at least 24 monsters in two-page spreads, and every single monster will include recipes submitted by our friends, family, and backers! Of course, Sleg’s recipes will call for rare ingredients from the monsters on his pages, but we’ll make sure you know what to substitute if you can’t find ground carsnuffler. Check out the example spread below for an idea of just what we have in mind:

Sample Spread - Final version subject to change
Sample Spread – Final version subject to change

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * * * * *

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

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

Origins Game Fair Spotlight – Dream Askew Dream Apart

Is Dream Askew // Dream Apart at Origins 2018? Unfortunately, no. Is it available on Kickstarter? Yes! How do you know if it’s going to be good? Well, Avery Alder’s prior game, MonsterHearts 2, is up for an Origins Award and that speaks volumes about the game (and, in my mind, indicates future games’ quality). Not enough? Well, both Dream Askew and Dream Apart have gorgeous art and the ideas they describe below offer a refreshing take on some well-loved gaming tropes! It’s worth checking out!

 

Dream Askew and Dream Apart are beginner-friendly roleplaying games of belonging outside belonging. They give you tools to tell a story about marginalized people living together in precarious community. In Dream Askew, that community is a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization. In Dream Apart, it’s a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe. They both feature a no dice, no masters system that emphasizes collaboration, shared ownership, and character-driven play. You can check out the most recent playtest versions here.”

 

Dream Askew // Dream Apart by Avery Alder (Buried Without Ceremony)
Ends on Sun, June 17 2018 11:00 PM EDT.

“Queer strife amid the collapse. Jewish fantasy of the shtetl. Two beginner-friendly roleplaying games of belonging outside belonging.

Dream Askew gives us ruined buildings, haunted faces, strange new psychic powers, fierce queer love, and turbulent skies…

Dream Apart gives us demons and wedding jesters; betrothals and pogroms; mystical ascensions and accusations of murder; rabbi’s daughters running away to be actresses or bandits or boy soldiers; the sounds of the shofar ringing through cramped and muddy streets, of cannon fire, of the wolf’s footfalls in the snowy pine forest…

[Header: Two Games in a Split Book]
[Header: Two Games in a Split Book]

Dream Askew and Dream Apart are beginner-friendly roleplaying games of belonging outside belonging. They give you tools to tell a story about marginalized people living together in precarious community. In Dream Askew, that community is a queer enclave enduring the collapse of civilization. In Dream Apart, it’s a Jewish shtetl in a fantastical-historical Eastern Europe. They both feature a no dice, no masters system that emphasizes collaboration, shared ownership, and character-driven play. You can check out the most recent playtest versions here.

They’re being released as a split book, graced by the brilliant art of Zev Chevat and Ezra Rose.

softcover, full colour, half-letter (5.5 x 8.5), approx. 100-180 pages
softcover, full colour, half-letter (5.5 x 8.5), approx. 100-180 pages

The book goes beyond simply teaching you how to play. It’s also a guide for how to pitch these games to your friends, create a welcoming environment to play them in, and support healthy boundaries at the gaming table. Finally, it ends with a guide to designing your own games of belonging outside belonging.

[Header: Belonging Outside Belonging]
[Header: Belonging Outside Belonging]

Both dreams put community at the center of the story. Players collaboratively fill out a community worksheet as part of setup. Dream Askew has players choosing apocalyptic visuals and ideological conflicts, while Dream Apart has them choosing blessings and curses. A map gets drawn, relationships get established, and play emerges.

[image: the text of the community worksheet options for Dream Askew are paired with art depicting a ragtag group of people in a ruined city.]
[image: the text of the community worksheet options for Dream Askew are paired with art depicting a ragtag group of people in a ruined city.]

Rather than telling stories of rugged individuals on epic adventures, both dreams keep the focus closer to home. They tell stories of interpersonal relationships, community drama, and tension with the outside world.

[Header: No Dice, No Masters]
[Header: No Dice, No Masters]

Each player takes on a character role, one of six archetypal figures in their community. These are pages divided into three columns: on the left, everything that gets read aloud when introducing the role; down the middle, all the choices you make during character creation; and finally, on the right, everything you need to play the character.

[image: the page layout for The Torch, a character role for Dream Askew]
[image: the page layout for The Torch, a character role for Dream Askew]

These games are diceless, leaving nothing to chance. Play is driven by the choices that get made at the table, with scenes unfolding as players make moves: picking simple narrative prompts off their sheet and working them into their description of what happens next. Weak Moves grant a token while Strong Moves require one, creating a balanced tempo for each character – moments of petty drama and tragic failure set the stage for ones of resourcefulness and skill later on.

There’s no Game Master to defer to; authority is divided equally around the table. The dreams achieve this by giving each player a setting element to customize and play.

[image: the page layouts for Outlying Gangs and The Earth Itself, two setting elements for Dream Askew]
[image: the page layouts for Outlying Gangs and The Earth Itself, two setting elements for Dream Askew]

While there’s no Game Master or MC, the game thrives when someone steps up to act as teacher and facilitator, helping others to find their initial footing. The book outlines how to take on this role without taking over the story in the process.

[Header: Working Together]
[Header: Working Together]

Dream Askew began as a paired-down remix of Apocalypse World, but it quickly developed into its own as a diceless, MCless game of queer community strife. Avery Alder first released a prototype in late 2013. Benjamin Rosenbaum approached her in 2014 with an idea about using the same game engine for a game about Jewish shtetl life. In early 2017, they made the decision to continue developing their games in close dialogue, and eventually release them together in a single volume.”

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * * * * *

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

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

PRESS RELEASE – Fates of Madness Kickstarter

Legendary Games
Seattle, WA 98126
Jason Nelson, Publisher
MakeYourGameLegendary@Gmail.com
LEGENDARY GAMES KICKSTARTER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Seattle, WA, (Jun 6th, 2018) – Legendary Games in partnership with Mythica Gaming has launched its first RPG card game, Fates of Madness Kickstarter! This project is intended to create a RPG rules lite cooperative adventure card game based on the popular Gothic Campaign Compendium. This diceless game is varied by the use of fate cards and skill level to determine success or failure. As the journey continues, madness sets in compounding the difficulty. Will anyone survive or will it end in a total party kill? This horror themed adventure project will be fulfilled in December 2018.

Rachel Ventura, Business Director of Legendary Games, said “I am so excited about this partnership and new avenue of games from Legendary Games. We were impressed with Mythica Gaming’s flagship game Legend of Draxia which is why we approached them about creating a card game based on Legendary Games products. We plan to have a long working relationship with many more games to come!” Publisher, Jason Nelson states, “It is time to make card games legendary!”

Lead Game Designer Jimmy Sanders agreed, “We immediately found kindred spirits in Rachel and Jason, and the partnership that quickly evolved is fantastic. We are very excited about this game and what future collaborations will bring!”

The Kickstarter ends July 9th 2018. You can see more here:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/legendarygames/484873175?ref=511695&token=2018be96

About Legendary Games

Legendary Games is an all-star team of authors and designers, coordinated by award-winning game designer Jason Nelson. They publish materials for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder RPG, Savage Worlds, and 5th Edition, with a wide variety of products including adventures; rules expansions for core game mechanics like spells, feats, and magic items; themed monster books; character class options for heroes and villains; and an array of innovative rules subsystems and campaign supplements for every kind of campaign including a beginner/kid’s track. Publisher: Jason Nelson, Business Director: Rachel Ventura, Founder: Clark Peterson, and Executive Partner: Neil Spicer

“We are gamers and storytellers first, and we believe that passion shows in our products.”

About Mythica Gaming

Mythica Gaming is a family-run gaming company out of Bartonville, IL. Their flagship product, Legends of Draxia, is a tabletop boardgame with four expansions in various stages of development. A custom RPG system, a novella, and a prototype worker-placement game all based in the Draxian Universe has been created by Jimmy Sanders. Mythica Gaming has several other non-Draxian projects underway as well. The vision that underlies all of their work is to create games that bring non-gamers and gamers to the same table. Elegant, accessible game play with an underlying complexity of strategy; fun, interesting, engaging, and replayability: gaming that brings people together. Lead Game Designer: Jimmy Sanders, Lead Graphics Designer: Theresa Weibler, Business Operations: Janet Sanders, and Marketing: Katie Sanders

For More information please contact

Rachel Ventura,
Business Director
Legendary Games
815-954-1981
rfvrpg@gmail.com

4 All-Ages Games Kickstarters You Should Back – No Thank You, Evil!, Scales & Tales, Ratmen Temple, and Fetch Quest

Let’s highlight the best Kickstarter campaigns for games that belong at your family’s gaming table. If you have kids in your life, these games are going to win for them!

 

No Thank You, Evil! – A Game So Nice We’re Making it Twice by Monte Cook Games
Ends on .

“A reprint of the award-winning storytelling game for creative kids and their families.

In addition to the rewards listed in the backer levels, every backer level now includes a PDF of No Thank You, Evil! delivered early!
In addition to the rewards listed in the backer levels, every backer level now includes a PDF of No Thank You, Evil! delivered early!

No Thank You, Evil! is an award-winning tabletop game of creative make-believe, adventure, and storytelling. In No Thank You, Evil!, each player creates a character based on a couple of cool, descriptive, imagination-firing traits. The Guide (a special role often played by a parent or older sibling) presents a dilemma, and the players set off on an adventure of the imagination. Along the way they use their character’s special skills, companions, and equipment to overcome obstacles—perhaps fighting a slime monster, winning over the suspicious mayor, or beating a rabbit at a race. Whereas conventional board games constrain players’ actions, No Thank You, Evil! sets kids’ imaginations free: Their options are limited only by what they can think up. Together, the players create a story as they work together to make their way through the adventure.

No Thank You, Evil! contains everything you need to play, all in a beautiful, sturdy box designed to be easy for children to use. It includes:

  • No Thank You, Evil! rulebook
  • Let’s Go On An Adventure! adventure book
  • Five dice (because sharing is hard!)
  • Character sheets
  • Cards for characters, creatures, and cyphers
  • Game tokens

No Thank You, Evil! was released in March 2016. This Kickstarter campaign is funding a reprint of the game, as well as some additional products.

For the Little Kids, the Grown-ups, and Everyone in Between

Younger kids frustrate easily when a game is too complex for them to master. Older children quickly grow bored by games that are too simple or that strike them as below their level.

No Thank You, Evil! is great fun for kids as young as five years old. But it’s also great fun for the rest of family—adults included!—because the scalable rules adapt easily to the abilities of the player. A six-year-old might play, for example, a Princess. An eight-year-old might play a Super Smart Princess. A ten-year-old might create a Super Smart Princess who Experiments With Science. Each of these stages adds a level of sophistication to how the game is played—but all of these characters play around the same table in the same game. After a game or two with the grown-ups, a twelve-year-old might even run games for the other kids!

The gameplay rules are easy for novice or young players to grasp, but nuanced and flexible enough for older kids and grown-ups to enjoy just as much. Here’s a brief look at how the rules work:

Enter Storia: The Land Next Door

No Thank You, Evil! is set in Storia: The Land Next Door. It’s a world seen through children’s eyes, home to all the elements of kids’ imaginations: Dragons and dinosaurs, faeries and elves, race cars and robots, and all sorts of fanciful creatures. Players’ characters in No Thank You, Evil! are kids who have been specially chosen to help save Storia from evil. Accompanied by their companions and their handy I Gotchyer Back packs (living creatures that carry the characters’ cool stuff in their bellies), characters venture into Storia to save the day!

For more detailed info on the setting, game rules, and characters, visit the No Thank You, Evil! website.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

No Thank You, Evil! has won a well-deserved ENnie and an Origins Award! This is an amazing family game, and this campaign is for a reprint so it’s going to be to you quickly. BACK. IT. Monte Cook Games sent me a copy of the game that I reviewed for the Open Gaming Network (here). This is an incredibly fun, family-friendly tabletop RPG with endless possibilities and it is well worth checking out!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

 

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Ratmen Temple | Fantasy Paper Model for Tabletop RPG by RPG Blacksmith
Ends on .

“The Ratmen Temple is a fantasy paper model with miniatures created for tabletop role-playing games like Pathfinder and 5th Edition.

The Ratmen Temple is a paper model underground dungeon section created for tabletop role-playing games. It is designed to fit with 25mm, 28mm and 30mm gaming scales.

This RPG paper model includes 2 cardboard bases (also called sections), the cardstock wall, 8 paper miniatures, 8 paper accessories and the assembly instructions.

The bases are printed on a thick cardstock and then glued to a cardboard. The paper miniatures and accessories are printed on a high quality white cardstock. The wall is printed on a thicker cardstock.

Assembly is easy, requiring only glue and exacto knife or scissors.

Thanks again to my brother JF with whom I created this paper model temple.

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I love this artwork! For the campaign, it’s around $2.50 US for the digital version, and they’re cartoony enough to work perfectly with No Thank You, Evil! or Scales & Tales or any RPG (kid or adult). I recommend them if you want some cheap visuals at the gaming table!

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Fetch Quest – a deck-building game in the Realms of Pugmire by Onyx Path Publishing and Pugsteady
Ends on .

“A collaborative card game for all ages where the dogs of Pugmire quest for the treasures of Man.

Jack Rat-Terrier grumbled under his breath. He was a dog of stealth, much preferring to sneak past enemies instead of getting his paws dirty with the rough stuff. But Spike wasn’t able to take care of the Leechtongue, and it blocked his way into the crypt. Spike was a warrior dog, not a pioneer blessed with finesse and skill… and defeating a Leechtongue required a special touch. Jack was exhausted, even after Sister Picassa Collie had treated his wounds. Worse, Princess Yosha Pug had to retreat, leaving him without any magical backup. It was up to Jack to deal with this latest threat.

The Leechtongue was surprisingly quick, forcing Jack out of the shadows and into action. Luckily, his reflexes kicked in, and he was able to quick draw his magical bow, shooting several arrows at the threat. His natural skill and expert training were unerring, and the arrows landed in a precise strike, defeating the monstrosity. The Leechtongue gargled and fell over with a heavy thud. For now, he was out of danger. He had to avoid any more challenges so he could finish their mission. They all needed a moment to rest and recover before continuing on. Before they could finish their quest.

“I’m a good dog,” Jack muttered under his breath. “At least, I’d better be.”

Fetch Quest is a family-friendly cooperative deck-building game. Each player represents a pioneer, one of six adventurous dogs on a dangerous quest. The pioneers work together to overcome dangerous challenges and resolve missions. Once the missions are resolved, the quest is finished and the players win the game.

Fetch Quest is a collaboration between Onyx Path Publishing and Pugsteady, the home of Eddy Webb’s various projects set in the Realms of Pugmire. With your help, we hope fund the purchase of additional art and to produce and distribute a boxed edition of this card game, allowing further exploration and interaction with the world and characters of Pugmire.

Fetch Quest is a cooperative deck-building game for 3-6 players of ages 12 and up. Playing time is approximately 60-90 minutes. The components for the game include:

  • 6 dual-sided Pioneer cards
  • 72 green-backed Fortune cards
  • 28 red-backed Challenge cards
  • 4 Mission cards

All participants who would like to aid in this endeavor can pledge their support and add to the overall campaign total. If the campaign meets the funding target ($6,000), then we will have funded the project and it will become a reality. Your pledge will only be collected if we achieve our funding target.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

While this is not a RPG, it’s a family-friend game. Fetch Quest is based on the Pugmire RPG, a game for which I have a special place in my heart after playing the RPG with Eddy Webb at AndoConFetch Quest expands the Pugmire franchise with “a cooperative deck-building game for 3-6 players of ages 12 and up”. If you’re looking for a way to tie RPGs and card games together for your young ones, this is an excellent option.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Scales & Tales, an RPG for all ages by Kevin Sherry
Ends on .

“A fantasy role playing game starter-pack book for people of all ages. Includes rules, character creation, & a ten night campaign.

Hello!  My name is Kevin Sherry, author and illustrator of many popular children’s books, including The Yeti Files series and I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean.

What I have made here is a brand new 104-page book, filled with fun illustrations, that is aFantasy Role Playing Game Starter Pack

Scales & Tales is a rule book, an easy instruction manual and an activity book all in one!

Scales & Tales has easy-to-understand instructions
Scales & Tales has easy-to-understand instructions

Table of Contents include: Classic pen & paper, Tabletop gaming, Terrain, Miniatures & Figurines, Snacks, How to Fantasy Role-play, Create a Character, Leveling Up, Personality Generator, Weapons and Gear, Range, Spell Casting, Combat, and Bad Guy Glossary. 

When I was young, I wasn’t allowed to play the classic D & D role playing game.  I think a lot of kids were in the same boat.  Either their parents didn’t allow it, or it was just too complicated to get started.

So many years later, after I had already published many children’s books, my friend asked me to participate in a role-playing campaign that he wrote, and it opened a whole new world for me!

I realized Fantasy Role Playing was the game I had always wanted to play!  I loved the brainstorming, the collaborative storytelling and the simple joy of having a group of people around a table telling jokes and coming up with a story together.

HERE’S the THING:  I think difficult gameplay is a real barrier to people who would have a lot of fun in a role playing game, but find some of the rules complicated and difficult to decipher.

So with my background in children’s books, I’ve used simple, precise language and hundreds of illustrations to take what I’ve learned from classic role playing games and present it in a very fun a graphic way.

What’s Inside the Book?

-The first 50 pages are the instructions, the users guide.  Think of it as the Player’s Manual and the Game Master’s Guide in one.  Scales & Tales explains everything from basic gameplay to character creation , to setting up your DIY game board, to a monster glossary, an armory, spellcasting and more.

-The Second half of the book is a campaign I wrote made of ten one-night quests.  There’s instructions and maps for each quest, and the quests I wrote are all great examples of classic role-playing tropes, like: Exploring castles and dungeons, navigating deep forests, a town setting, a quest on a boat, a rescue scenario, a chase scene, all culminating in a grand battle atop the highest castle.

What sets Scales & Tales apart?

While there is a lot of traditional combat in the book, sometimes fighting bad-guys all day gets a little redundant.

That’s why Scales & Tales contains ways of augmenting your traditional “End-Boss Combat” with fun drawing games and party puzzles.  Games like: Telephone, exquisite corpse, blind contour drawing, and Pictionary-Like games.

Also, Players learn early in the book how to use a drawing game to summon one of 24 different familiars, Each with their own unique stats.  So each Player can have a little animal companion-who doesn’t love that?!

This book, Scales & Tales, was a self-motivated project for me.  I really needed to write this book to share the joy of role-playing with people who just don’t know who to get into it.

It took me two years to write and illustrate, but THIS BOOK IS DONE!

I put so much of heart and soul into this book, Scales & Tales, so if you’ve read this far, I hope you will please consider supporting this Kickstarter campaign, and ordering a book.  There’s also a lot of really cool Kickstarter Incentives and I’m looking forward to painting some of my supporters hero characters for sure!

Fantasy role playing has opened up a whole new world of creativity and imaginations for me and I’d love to share that with you and everyone with my new book, Scales & Tales.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

From the campaign above, Kevin Sherry talks about his youth and not being allowed to play RPGs, and that spoke to me. I had no such restrictions – my parents let me do as I pleased – but I’ve talked to a number of individuals that ran into that barrier. With Scales & Tales, Kevin is working to overcome that roadblock by creating a kid-focused product. It looks fun and I’m curious to see the final product and, more than anything, I hope it opens the door for more kids to game.

 

You can see examples of his work on Amazon here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

* * * * * *

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

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

Kickstarter Reflections – Starting at the Finish Line

Here we are, at the gateway of Summer (is that a thing?). You have people everywhere casting off their high school personas and trying to take their first stabs in the “real world” (whether college is the “real world” or not is a discussion for another day). I couldn’t tell you anything about the speeches given during my graduation, but I do remember the closing line from my sister’s which was a quote from the band Semisonic “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”

That stuck with me more than anything else.

This idea that an ending becomes a new beginning is a beautiful thing. It means we get a chance to close the door on something old and move onto something new. And maybe it is a chance to see that before you can begin, you must look at the end… where you are going.

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. You see, about a year ago Robert Jeffrey II launched his Route 3 Kickstarter. He was the guinea pig for this process. And knowing that I’d be launching one of my own in the Fall, I wanted to be along for every step he took. You know, so that hopefully if we made errors, then it wouldn’t happen again the next time (a wonderful thought, if nearly impossible to anticipate everything).

***

Where to start is always an odd thing. You have blogs and posts out there that talk to you about certain things, but a lot of time there is very little consensus in the right way to do something (note- there are TONS of wrong ways to do it… don’t worry). But honestly, the place to begin a Kickstarter is by thinking about the very end: what is the goal and what does that equate to? Numbers, dollars, cost, shipping, taxes, fees, and so on. You really need to have a grasp on those numbers so that you can set the right goal to get to, otherwise, it doesn’t matter what you plan and publicize or whatever. If you set your goal too high you’re dead before you even get started.

That meant looking at what our costs were going to be and trying to set a slightly moving target.

***

Route 3 by Robert Jeffrey II and Sean Hill – Available for order… just click the image.

With Route 3, we started with what we knew. We knew we’d have a 108-page trade as the final product. The layout had already been done and a small print run had been completed (about 25 copies), so we knew what it looked like (and what it was like to hold in our hands). We knew that the target retail price would be about $20 each. And we wanted to not only be able to fulfill our Kickstarter order, but also have extra copies for conventions. However, we didn’t want to fill Robert’s apartment with too many copies. It needed to be… manageable.

Then it was a matter of determining what kind of prices were even available. We ran the numbers through 5 different printing companies (Kraken, Artist Express, Ready Comics, Print Ninja, and Colorwise Commercial Printing). And by running the numbers, I mean trying it out with different copies ordered. Trying to find out where the best price break might be while always being mindful of having a number that still was attainable.

Key Takeaways: From most of the places listed above, it became apparent that the price break (and therefore the question we needed to ask ourselves) happened at 500 copies. At that number, the price of each trade is around $6 to $7 whereas if we tried for fewer copies, like 200 or 250, we were in the $10+ range per book.

***

I wrote this to the Terminus guys as I was breaking down the numbers, and it really remained true throughout the number crunching process and into the actual campaign as well:

“What I’m really finding is Kickstarter is like having a target that keeps moving every day. Sure, you have the big target that stays the same, but everything else ends up being highly dependent on about 3 or 4 additional things which need to be factored in. It’s like – ok, you need another $1000 to get to this stretch goal, but that really means you need $1000/$32 = 32 additional backers who need stuff shipped to them and… so you put in a number and then recalculate and recalculate and…”

Beyond true.

It means you are going to be doing iterations with your numbers. And you’ll want to factor everything in. T-shirts and buttons and prints and anything else you can think of, but each of those come with a cost, which drives your shipping up which drives your overall numbers up which drives the Kickstarter fees up.

Oh, and did you factor shipping into your numbers? No? Well, start again because you’ll need to have those in there as well.

I was coming up with numbers around $6000 for Route 3’s Kickstarter.

But I’m looking around at other Kickstarters that might be comparable and they are closers to $4000 or $5000.

My thoughts from an email to the team:

“I’m a little concerned about hitting these numbers. Maybe that’s unfounded, maybe I’m being pessimistic, but I’d love to have these numbers lower.

So…

I also went ahead and calculated what the costs might be if we went “Bare Bones” with the rewards. Basically, we’d be doing the trade and the pdf and that is it… no prints, no additional artist stuff, and no t-shirts or stickers. This also eliminated the 10% contingency (I don’t think we should get rid of these things necessarily, but I wanted to know what our “Floor” really was).”

Doing all of that I finally got the numbers down to something closer to what I hoped might be attainable: about $4500.

And so we had our first real target… but I’d made a mistake that might have cost us…

***

This is part of a series of posts where I look back at the process of running a Kickstarter. The steps we took, the mistakes we made, and a bunch of other things I wish I had known.

Other Kickstarter Reflections Posts

Kickstarter Reflections – Mailing List Blues

***

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

 

4 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Part-Time Gods 2e, Awaken: The Blood of Salvora, Agents of Concordia, and Welcome to Yarnia

Let’s talk the 1960s, revised editions, part-time gods, and yarning!

 

Welcome to Yarnia – A Yarn Quest Knitting RPG by Tania C Richter
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“Welcome to Yarnia, where a grand knitting adventure awaits!

Yarnia needs you!

Grab your knitting needles and join your fellow Yarn Questers in the quest to save Yarnia!

What is Yarn Quest?

Yarn Quest is one part knitting pattern, one part Role-Playing Game, and one part Choose Your Own Adventure. Each quest is a knitting pattern, and as the player leads their character through the quest they come across enemies to battle, choices to make, and items that all influence the patterns knitted on the project.

That’s what makes Yarn Quest so special – almost every project is unique.

Want to see what past Yarn Quests have looked like? Check out the Yarn Quest collection on Ravelry!

Welcome to Yarnia is an introduction to Yarn Questing for those who have never played an RPG, and provides new patterns and play styles for those who have partaken in previous campaigns. The book will be a full color hardcover including tutorials, lore, patterns, and lots of artwork. There will be tutorials for how to play, along with tutorials for how to use the double knitting technique.

Don’t like double knitting? Can’t knit, but like to crochet? There are plenty of methods to join in the fun! Questers have done previous projects in colorwork knitting and Tunisian crochet. There’s no limit to what you can do!

What are the patterns?

The most important part (beside the adventure) is the projects you’ll be knitting! There are 3 patterns included in the book to start off the campaign and more that will be added depending on what stretch goals we hit. Pattern One is a Hat/Cowl combo, Pattern Two is an extra-large Cowl, and Pattern Three is a Scarf. Currently they all use worsted weight yarns, but there may be some variance in later patterns.

Want to see what we’re knitting? Here’s a preview piece of the cowl from the first quest!”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

RPG might be considered the game of storytelling. Welcome to Yarnia – A Yarn Quest Knitting RPG is a game where you’re literally spinning a yarn.

What can I share about this that the creator did not already convey? It’s a a combination of RPG and knitting. It’s such an interesting combination that I’m curious to see the result. I don’t know how to knit so I would love to see if character leveling includes teaching the skills to knit… it’s an interesting idea, role-play to learn a real life skill.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Awaken: The Blood of Salvora Roleplaying Game by Studio 2 Publishing
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“Find adventures, intrigue, and horror in this Slavic and Mediterranean inspired dark fantasy roleplaying game.

Welcome to the Kickstarter Page for a brand new Awaken book!

The Blood Of Salvora!

After the original Awaken: Core Rulebook we are very proud to show you the next step in the world of Awaken: The Blood Of Salvora. The purpose of this Kickstarter project is to print and release the book which will expand and deepen the game setting of Awaken.

The world of Awaken is full of constant strife and discord. It’s a world where the Great Cities fight for supremacy and leadership over the Alliance; a loose political association holding the territories of Salvora united. A world where ancient powers have resurfaced, in the form of Vasalli; humans that have undergone a physical change that has blessed and cursed them with mythical gifts, powers that were not meant for humans to have.

And with the world of Awaken still trying to recuperate from the fight with the Vargans, an ancient nemesis of all humankind; it is obvious that something in the world of Awaken is determined to test the survival instinct of all humankind.

But Awaken is not just a world filled with endless battles but a world that is filled with exploration and several places that are just waiting to be discovered by the player.

You don’t need the Blood of Salvora to enjoy Awaken, but having it will give you an expanded take on the world of Awaken as it describes settings and locations in much greater detail and further enriches your play in every way possible.

The Core Rulebook version that is available through this campaign will differ slightly from the original one. We have made some revisions in the wording, structure and even some of the rules that can be found within its pages.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

This is the next book for Awaken after the original core rulebook. There are books coming and a reorganization of the core rulebook, but it will not be a new edition. There are other expansions to the setting (which is dark fantasy). The art looks good and I’m interested to see what’s redone from the original printing.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Part-Time Gods Second Edition — Tabletop RPG by Third Eye Games
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“A new edition of Part-Time Gods that expands and enhances​ the core experience while adding tons of new material.

Part-Time Gods Second Edition (PTG2E) is the latest iteration of a tabletop roleplaying game about the balancing act between influential gods and the people, groups, and places in their lives that keep them tied to their humanity. This game gives players the tools to create their own gods and go on to tell dramatic, exciting, and engaging stories — the kind only PTG2Ecan deliver!

Here is the latest Q&A from Eloy Lasanta, creator of Part-Time Gods Second Edition.

Part-Time Gods Second Edition is a roleplaying game about modern gods who must balance the mortal and divine natures of their new life. The game has many inspirations, from American GodsThe Almighty JohnsonsThor comics, and the Percy Jackson novel series to name just a few. It can be used to tell a number of different stories:

  • Personal Struggles: Some stories explore more of the mortal side, how keeping a job is hard with monsters on your tail, and deal with exploring who the character truly is and what it means to be human.
  • Divine Conflicts: Many times, a god’s biggest enemy will be another god who wants what they have, whether it be their territory, relics, or even their mortal happiness. These stories erupt as god faces off against god in a back-and-forth that makes them thankful they have a pantheon to lean on.
  • Defending Territory: Other stories involve an onslaught of monsters, called Outsiders, as they come to the god’s territory to wage war or even just to live their own lives. Some Outsiders include hefty minotaurs, the unstoppable god-killers, or the blood-thirsty manananggal.
  • Quests: Some may want to dive headfirst into quests for mythological artifacts and hidden portals to lost worlds with untold dangers.

In Part-Time Gods Second Edition, you’ll explore what it’s like to gain awesome divine power, battle world-threatening Outsiders, and develop relationships with fellow members of your pantheon. Of course, being a god doesn’t pay the rent and it doesn’t excuse you from missing your sister’s wedding. You’ll need to make tough decisions to make it as a divine being in modern society—do you have time to help your fellow deities fend off impending doom before your sister walks down the aisle?

This game has a wealth of potential to explore stories about budding romances, the interactions of a pantheon making friends with enemies, and unlocking strange mysteries the universe would have preferred to stay secret. Every god has their good sides and their bad, each one creating a new window into who they are as people, but, when used correctly, opens the game to a host of story potential.

Long ago, an entity known as the Source visited humanity and gifted certain people with divine power. For a time, the world existed in a state of balance between order and chaos, between life and death, between divinity and mortality. That is until the gods waged war against the Source and eventu­ally against each other to the point of near extinction.

The gods of today are shadows of what the old gods possessed. Their power has been heavily diminished and many choose to live a regular, mortal life, revealing themselves as gods only when absolutely necessary. Most have a job (or career if they’re lucky), friends, family, and everything that comes with being human, and work hard to protect these from harm. On the other side of the coin, they also possess a Dominion to command and oversee, a divine Territory to defend from intruders, secret societies they owe allegiances to (called Theologies), and other gods in their pantheon to try to get along with. This becomes their life, the balancing of the mundane and the strange. The gods belong to neither world completely, and each of them knows that delving too deeply into one means losing pieces of the other.

Part-Time Gods Second Edition delivers fully on it’s premise, with players playing less “all-powerful gods” and more “regular people who just so happen to be gods as well.” The character is as balanced as the themes, as players can draw from either side of their concept to solve problems. After a while, they’ll learn that being a god isn’t all roses and fun. There are real responsibilities involved, and they still have to hold down a day job to make ends meet. Using the Chakra System (from Ninja Crusade 2nd Edition), players roll pools of ten-sided dice (d10s) to determine success, with lots of ways to gain bonuses (more dice) and lots of in-story causes for penalties (less dice). It is truly a system designed to be engaged with, and one that enhances the story when players do so.

There are also several components to help the gods oversee their divine duties and protect their territory:

  • Choosing Your Dominion: A core piece of a character’s concept is… “What are you the god of?” Part-Time Gods Second Edition doesn’t limit players to a prewritten list of power. Instead, they can be the god of just about anything they can think of, from traditional concepts like the god of war or goddess of fire to unique Dominions like the goddess of whispers or the god of mourning.
  • Free Time/Wealth: A unique mechanic for Part-Time Gods Second Edition is the addition of Free Time, used for wise gods to attend to their responsibilities, and Wealth, the thing that makes the world go round. The two resources play together in a symphony of storytelling, leading to dramatic scenes and hard choices.
  • Territory Grid: The players are assumed to be a pantheon of gods assembled for a variety of reasons (i.e. friendships, mutual survival, sharing responsibilities, etc.) and in charge of their city, represented by the new Territory Grid. This map lets your group know who is where in the city, and allows for a new way to uncover secrets in your area.

Download the Part-Time Gods Second Edition Preview for yourself and discover the depth of adventure at your fingertips!”

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Eloy Lasanta did me the honor of quoting me from my EN World review of the Part-Time Gods 2e quickstart for his current KS. For my part, I’m a fan of his work, to quote myself as to how much of a mark I am, “I reviewed Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games’ Pip System Corebook on EN World, interviewed him about his AMP Year Four Kickstarter, and talked about my brief run-in with him at AndoCon.”

What do you do in Part-Time Gods Second Edition — Tabletop RPG? You’re a god, generally doing good, and you’re also a person, generally living your mundane life. The game has mechanics to make you work through every part of that character. It’s novel and well worth checking out.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Agents of Concordia the Roleplaying game by Strangewood Studios
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“Take the role of an agent traveling between worlds in this Action / Mystery / Fantasy Pen & Paper RPG set in an alternate 1960’s.

The Quickstart beta version of the game is now available here.

Hi, and welcome to the Agents of Concordia Kickstarter! It is thrilling to be online, and we look forward to creating this game together with you! This project is a long time coming, and we hope you will find the perfect place on your bookshelves, as well as in your game rooms, for Strangewood Studios’ favorite game: Agents of Concordia.

The game is a Pen & Paper RPG, set in a multiverse, where hundreds of magical fantasy worlds exist in parallel dimensions. On Earth, it’s the 1960’s, and residents there are kept in the dark regarding other worlds and races. The reason for this omission is linked to the flow of magic and the alignment of the multiverse (more on this further below). A large part of the multiverse is working together under a government called the UVA Concordia.

Each player takes the part of a special agent, working within the Concordia Central Intelligence (the C.C.I.). As a team, players will investigate different occurrences, try to thwart schemes, and stop threats against the Concord. They will be aided by magical equipment, their sharp wits, and honed skills.

The rules for the game are easy to learn (especially if you’ve played one or two RPGs in the past) and support a lot of stunts, high-octane action, and dynamic character progression.

  • Multiple worlds: With a large number of different worlds in the Concord, there are no limits to the variation of missions and adversaries. Here you’ll find everything from magic to hi-tech and from jungle ruins to never-ending floating cities.
  • Science Fantasy: Play as a 9′ Ogre Investigator or a 3′ Marmoseti Weaponsmith; use mysticism and rituals, as well as guns and lab-equipment; and travel by gate or aether-fueled rocket car. Here, mystic fantasy meets 1960’s tech.
  • Story driven rules: Created to be streamlined and fast-paced, the game system is easy to use and we’ve kept the fancy rule mechanics to the downtime of the game. Lots of character progress and management between session (if you want) but no need for page-flipping when you’re in the middle of the action.
  • Veterancy system: Tired of prancing through the adventure only to botch EVERY SINGLE ROLL against the final boss? The veterancy system allows you to prioritize a few rolls or stunts so that you can have a greater chance of success with each adventure.
  • Modular setting: This game offers you the ultimate freedom. There is a section in the book for creating your own worlds, creatures and playable classes, and enough room in the multiverse to include them. If you want restrictions, feel free to use the parameters already in place. If you want creative freedom, start making all the worlds and creatures you want for your campaign!
  • Words matter: All rolls in the game can be subject to Support and Cripple effects. These are standardized bonuses you get from items, abilities or conditions. This means that every time you wonder “Should my wings give me a bonus on jumping?” or “Should the bullet in my shoulder give me a penalty in swimming?” The only thing the GM has to wonder about is “YES” or “NO”.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

What if the 1960s were magical? And you were part of the government conspiracy to keep magic in-check? This game could be interesting because you are playing a character of dubious nature. It’s an interesting idea for a RPG.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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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 orwall 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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

5 RPG Kickstarters That Asked Me To Review… So I Did – Endless Realms RPG, World of Alessia, Is It A Plane!?, Necrotopia, and Choose Your Own: Sci-Fi Stock Art

I get emails and messages and posts [Contact me here] asking if I’d be interested in covering this RPG Kickstarter or that one. Let me express my appreciation at being asked. I’ve never had anyone “tell me” to cover their work, instead it’s always a pleasant introduction and discussion around their work. Always a nice experience, and as best I can, I try to review everyone that asks. I don’t always have the time – I missed New tabletop RPG adventures from Melting Point Publishing from Ben Baker. Not because it was not good, I liked it, I just ran out of space/time –

With this week’s column, I realized that everything I planned to cover had also asked for coverage which helped to theme this article. With that said, let’s look at some tabletop RPG Kickstarters you should back!

 

Endless Realms RPG by Lunar Games
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“Welcome to Endless Realms, a new roleplaying experience with two corebooks and myriad realities with one constant: balance is fragile.

Welcome to Lumis

Welcome to the Endless Realms – a crossroads of infinite civilizations, animals, peoples, and abominations that gather in the world of Lumis. Those that live there readily manipulate the cosmic energies that the gods themselves used to forge the world, creating tools and resources that mighty spirits seek to claim for themselves. Riddled with tears in the fabric of time and space, Lumis has become a vibrant and turbulent melting pot.

Lumis is the crossroads where an endless number of realms overlap. The species that have made it their home – by fate, chance, or nefarious purpose – each have their own lore, history, and culture, providing rich soil from which to weave intricate and interesting narratives. Their complex views of morality present a scheme far greater than the simple axis of good and evil.

The Balance System

Lumis is a world of balance, from fragile diplomatic relations between races and cities, all the way down to the mechanics that make life and adventure possible. Every roll of chance, strategy, and choice is made with two ten-sided dice – one rolled by the player and the other by the Storyteller.

Bonuses are applied by skill and fiat, and even a critical failure can succeed in the hands of the right character and circumstances.

This carries over into combat. Attackers have a chance to show their mettle – and so do defenders. An attack may deal a high value of damage, a low value, or none at all; how much pain the defender feels depends on who has the stronger stats and the better roll.

The Balance System is easy to visualize, but versatile enough to allow for a variety of games and creative solutions. It encourages Storytellers to create interactive social encounters that test and reward players who put time into their backstories, fundamental vices and virtues, and skill choices in an immediate and tangible way.

It’s our mission to breathe fresh life into fantasy roleplaying, to connect with a new generation and veteran adventurers alike, and bring Endless Realms from our table to yours.

Both of the books are nearly complete – a 300+ page Core Rulebook and 280+ page Creature Compendium. Written, edited, play-tested and refined, with gorgeous illustrations liberally strewn throughout. All that’s left is last-minute adjustments, formatting, and printing; after that, it’s simply a matter of getting them to you!

It’s a start. We’re not done yet, not by a long shot – the next step is building a community of players and storytellers. We want to know what you like best so that we can tailor future content to your gaming style and keep giving you the best possible tools to run campaigns. We want to empower our players with everything from dice to expansive modules that allow storytellers to customize and build while allowing players to explore and grow.

Like the Balance System that drives Endless Realms, the more you put in, the more you get out. Once we’re into stretch goals we can start with the supplements, miniatures, dice, novels, and more. We can make that dream a reality. Come with us and let’s see how far we can go.

Please note that our delivery estimates, as outlined in the TIME FRAME section further down the page, include a generous window for any add-ons unlocked through stretch goals.  Digital versions of the Core Rulebook, Creature Compendium, adventures, and short stories will be delivered as Amazon Kindle eBooks; all other digital content is in PDF format.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

What is one of the measures of how strong your creative team is? When one of the members proactively reaches out to spread the word about your game. Andrew J. Lucas, writer and consultant on the Endless Realms RPG, did just that, and I’m grateful that he did. Endless Realms RPG looks like an exceptional piece of RPG with amazing art! The system – The Balance System – uses 2d10 with the player rolling one die and the GM rolling the other. They’ve promised a quickstart and I’m eager to sample it because I’d like to know how this system will work out at the table.

One side note, Lunar (Endless Realms RPG) Games’ CEO is Kirsty Garbe, an individual who is helping to make positive change in the fabric of the RPG industry. Great looking game from a creative team that is passionate about the project! I support her efforts as well as her team’s!

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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IS IT A PLANE!?: comic book RPG that replaces dice with pens by Psychic Cactus Games
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“Use drawings on Panels in limited time to create your character actions. Features fast-paced, simultaneous play!

IIaP logo, by Debbie Jackson.
IIaP logo, by Debbie Jackson.

Is It a Plane!? is not just about playing comic book characters; you create the comic book as you play!

Protagonists must create actions to deal with Situations, from Bank Robberies to Alien Invasions!

Players must DRAW their intended actions, rather than describe them; you may have three minutes… or you may only have thirty seconds!

No artistic skill is required; rudimentary and simplistic stick-people doodles are just fine.

Play is fast and frantic, and player action is entirely simultaneous.

When complete, Panels are placed in a sequence of events across two Pages.

You might have been attempting to fireball a villain and launch them through a building… but what happens next is what the Editor (GM) thinks you were doing, based on your doodles!

Front cover for IIaP, painting by James Hayball, logos by Debbie Jackson.
Front cover for IIaP, painting by James Hayball, logos by Debbie Jackson.

If you mean that you are bad at drawing, worry not true believer! In the limited time to draw that all players will have, even artists will create hastily drawn images that may occasionally be misinterpreted. If you can draw crude stick-people and wonky squares that are supposed to be houses, then that’ll do just fine.

GM playtester and backer Mike Hammond sums this up pretty well: “The funny thing about drawing skill is that it’s actually tangential to the game! The real skill this game calls for is more like art direction – choosing a distinctive colour scheme and framing your scenes with enough simplicity to convey the action. If you can pick a consistent colour and maybe one good distinguishing feature of your character, then as long as you can draw a stick figure and write the word “POW!” then you can play as well as anyone.”

Photograph courtesy of GM playtester and backer, Mike Hammond.
Photograph courtesy of GM playtester and backer, Mike Hammond.

The more you play, the more you will find easy ways to communicate what you are doing to the Editor (Games Master). You may also get better at drawing at speed when playing a campaign. This game could also be used to learn or relearn how to draw, and there is a potential draw for young players, and for people that may benefit from physical therapy.

If you cannot physically draw, then you could be the Editor. The Editor does not have to draw at all (though they have options to do so), and this is quick and easy to pick up, and far less complicated than most RPGs.

I am also working on adding in some additional optional rules to further aid players who are not confident at drawing or physically unable to do so in the way the game requires.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Before Christopher Dean sent me a message about his game, I’d already seen it and knew I wanted to cover it. The core concept, role-play and then, for action sequences, draw your super hero character’s actions in a comic book format. It’s such a good idea! Add to it, the GM is the Editor, you’re playing the game in the medium of sequential storytelling, there’s a nice bit of meta-storytelling in this game. Are you role-playing superheroes, or playing freelance comic creators creating superhero comics?

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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World of Alessia Campaign Primer for 5e D&D & Starfinder by Storm Bunny Studios
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“The World of Alessia Campaign Primer: Discover new species, classes, spells, and items with this brand new world!

Imagined by Finish visionary and tabletop RPG enthusiast Jere Manninen, the World of Alessia is a step into a truly fantastic future. Alessia casts off the traditional fantasy assumptions and introduces players to a wider world with a host of new species, technology, powers, and places to explore – for both Starfinder and 5e.

A terran monk and his allies battle a summoned servant of the Cult of Galgaræ. ~Illustration by Septimius Ferdian
A terran monk and his allies battle a summoned servant of the Cult of Galgaræ. ~Illustration by Septimius Ferdian

The World of Alessia is a high-fantasy campaign setting that combines Wuxia, science fiction, and magic-driven technology. It is a massive world where magic and technology coexist peacefully, impacting every aspect of life, from the Healing Houses of Sillias to the Great Towers of Xin. It is a land where Fyrean Genies meet with Asrian Wardens and The Gangs of Khatu push their Drifters across the desert sands, seeking resources and victims of every kind.

Mockup image of the Campaign Primer
Mockup image of the Campaign Primer

The World of Alessia Campaign Primer is a comprehensive introduction to Alessia. The primer includes details on the world of Alessia, its threats, the factions that drive its politics, and the many people who walk Alessia’s streets.

A host of new familiars grace the pages of the primer.
A host of new familiars grace the pages of the primer.

Beautifully illustrated with full-color art, the World of Alessia Campaign Primer will inspire GMs while providing players with a host of new options to take their 5e or Starfinder game to the next level.

The World of Alessia Campaign Primer brings you:

  • 11 new races (and more with each stretch goal we achieve).
  • 4 new classes – the Marauder, the Psion, the Seer, and the Tecker.
  • A system of Stunts and Resolve (for 5e play).
  • A garage full of new gear, vehicles, armor, and weapons for your 5e and Starfinder games.
  • New rules for attaining unique familiars.
  • And lots more awesome options for your game!”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I attended Design Camp 2 – The Conversion! with Ben McFarland, Jason Sonia, and Brian Suskind. [FYI – I was a terrible camper.] Despite my lack of active participation in the camp, all of the instructors were awesome and everything that was shared was very instructional. As Jason Storm Bunny Studios Sonia was one of said instructors, when I saw the World of Alessia Campaign Primer for 5e D&D & Starfinder Kickstarter, I knew I’d cover it. When Jason pinged me with “Basically, I’m writing Chinese Wuxia/SciFi meets High Magic. So Eberron meets Firefly meets Star Wars meets Spelljammer“, I knew I was in (and had a quote). What is this? A great Starfinder (and 5e, but more Starfinder) setting. Add to that, the art is WOW-FUN! Very stylized, vibrant, and eager to be seen. It’s 5e and Starfinder, it looks great, and Jason Sonia is an excellent creator, I recommend this book!

 

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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Necrotopia: Handbook to the Apocalypse by Keenan Dunham
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“Necrotopia is a pen and paper role-playing game. We are making books one and two in paperback and digital. This will fund further books

Necrotopia Handbook to the Apocalypse

Necrotopia is a role playing game written and developed by Keenan Dunham.  This is an independent project of a combination of ideas and stories Keenan has created.  Our goal is to release five role playing books in the Necrotopia Universe and then develop a complete hardback omnibus of the first five books.  With the limited time-frame of the first kickstarter we will only be releasing books one and two along with some special bonuses.  Artists are being paid up front for original art used, not from promises of future money.  Some art used is public domain.

The game itself is meant to be a beginners pen and paper role-playing game that can appeal to anyone.  It is simple and highly customizable.  Here is a sample of the story from book one:

“Necrotopia’s story begins with sparks of an invasion of demonic and interdimensional forces attacking Earth, initiating a battle for survival and conquest. There is a battle between Heaven and Hell brewing and you and your friends are caught in the middle. What happens depends on you with one person taking the role of Game Maestro and the rest taking the roles of role playing characters.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

Keenan Duncan sent me an alpha, or beta, advanced copy of the first book in his RPG. I enjoyed it and was excited to read the campaign. However, after reading the campaign description page for Necrotopia: Handbook to the Apocalypse, I thought about suggesting some fixes because there were holes in the description (lack of details). I was going to, but then I read the campaign’s FAQ which answered most of my concerns. So, if you check out the campaign, I suggest you read the description page and the FAQ to get a better idea of what Necrotopia offers.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Choose Your Own: Sci-Fi Stock Art by James Shields
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“Mix and match sci-fi stock art to create instant masterpieces for your tabletop roleplaying game.

Stock art & RPG tokens have their challenges.
This is an attempt to hurdle at least one of them.

Mix, match, and make your own masterpiece.
Mix, match, and make your own masterpiece.

This project will provide over 250 inked and colored components. Mix and match to create your own sci-fi masterpieces for RPG publishing or tabletop tokens. For this series, subjects will include: weapons, ships, portraits, characters, and scenes.

All components will be available in color as well as black and white PNG files at 300 DPI. Photoshop (.psd) files will also be made available for the Stock Art Master pledge level. These files will include vector lines and allow easy color changes and other editing options.

Files will be neatly organized by subject, color format, layer, and more.

The Just Tokens pledge level will include individual image components plus a Photoshop (.psd) file formatted for easy custom portraits and ships. Token images will be no larger than 300×300 pixels. Just toggle various layers for the image you want, then export for your personal tabletop use!

Backers will have the option of fulfillment through DriveThruRPG or a direct Dropbox link. Digital files on DriveThruRPG.com are stored virtually indefinitely.

All backers will have the ability to submit ideas to a suggestion pool for inspiration. Submitting an idea does not guarantee it will be selected or used. The Art Collector pledge level does have that guarantee though.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I covered one of James’ prior art campaigns (that one a bit of fantasy art) here. The idea for this one, sci-fi stock art that is inspired by the contributors, is a win. Add to that, you can get the art as Photoshop files so you can customize it to better fit your setting. As an example, below is a GIF of how that customization might look.

 

Choose Your Own: Sci-Fi Stock Art by James Shields – Sample Customization

You can see examples of their work at RPGNow here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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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 orwall 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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

 

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!

***

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

6 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Lankhmar Savage Seas of Nehwon, Sovereign Stone, THE BOOK OF DARK SECRETS, The Overworld and Beyond, A Delve in a Cave, and New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley 2e

This week let’s look at two Savage Worlds, one Call of Cthulhu, one 5e, and one 13th Age RPG Kickstarters. In each of these, there is a moment of continuity where these campaigns build on prior work from continuing Lankhmar to giving Elmore and Miskatonic Valley new homes to continuing the learning curve of a new creator to the finished version of an adventure, or just another great product from a company I covered toward the beginning of this column’s life. These continuations are worth checking out.

 

Lankhmar Savage Seas of Nehwon, a Fantasy RPG by Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Ends on .

“Fritz Leiber’s best-selling tales of Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser come alive in Pinnacle’s Savage Worlds Lankhmar: City of Thieves setting!

A Kickstarter Booster for Lankhmar: City of Thieves!

In the City of Sevenscore Thousand Smokes, danger lurks down every dark alley. Sinister sorcerers summon terrible forces in their crumbling towers. Treacherous rogues of the Thieves’ Guild prowl the Plaza of Dark Delights. Assassins from the Slayers’ Brotherhood work the Tenderloin District. And hunched figures skitter beneath the streets, waiting for their chance to rise.

Now your party of warriors and scoundrels can expand their adventures beyond Lankhmar to the high seas of Nehwon. They might venture to the Sea of Stars to confront priests of the ancient and terrible Mokrath, or book passage to Rime Isle and fall prey to “The Thing From Below.”

The Savage Seas of Nehwon contains everything a Game Master needs to create incredible tales of high sea-based adventures for Lankhmar or ANY fantasy Savage Setting, including:

  • The Seas of Nehwon: Overviews of the Inner Sea, Outer Sea, Frozen Sea, Sea of Stars, Sea of the East, and Lankhmar’s docks and harbors.
  • Characters: New Edges, Hindrances, powers, and Setting Rules dealing with ships and the sea.
  • Ships: Statistics for the various ocean-going vessels of Nehwon, Setting Rules, naval maneuvers, and rules for savage storms!
  • Adventure Generator: A complete adventure generator for creating your own fantastic Savage Tales!
  • Savage Tales: Sea-based adventures in Fritz Leiber’s incredible style, such as “Jewel of the Deep,” “Queen of the Sunken Realm,” “Bride of the Golden Isle,” and more!
  • Denizens of the Deep: New beasts to drag your heroes from the decks of their ships to the briny depths!

 

We want to support our settings after the core releases and have been trying to figure out how for a while. So we’re trying a “Booster” as an experiment. You might think it’s easy for an established company like Pinnacle to just put new product into the retail chain, but it’s not (See  “Why Kickstarter?” below).

Right now, Kickstarter is still the best place for many of our customers who don’t have a local game store, or whose game store doesn’t carry Savage Worlds, to find out about and pick up our games. We’ll still do our big, full-on Kickstarters just like we’ve done before for our new settings and other big projects. But creating all the Stretch Goals and extra products we need to support those doesn’t make sense for a follow-on book, so we’re doing something a little different…the Booster.

If it works out, you’ll see more of these. (We’ve got books for The Last Parsec and Savage Rifts® already in the works.)

So what does all that mean for you? Pledge for Savage Seas and we’ll give you the Booster Rewards listed below (including a REALLY cool adventure written by Shane Hensley that follows on with the work he did on the original 1992 TSR boxed set for Dungeons & Dragons!)”

The 1996 TSR boxed set for Dungeons & Dragons, written by Shane Hensley!
The 1996 TSR boxed set for Dungeons & Dragons, written by Shane Hensley!

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

My first introduction to Savage Worlds was the free Savage Worlds: Test Drive 2015 quickstart set in Lankhmar. The price point combined with the familiar setting let me sample, and enjoy, Savage Worlds. I’m excited about this Kickstarter boost (and the concept of “boosts”. I hope to see more of them). In this age of kickstart-and-forget products, where a project may obtain amazing levels of crowdfunding, produce the book, but never delve into a follow-up book, I salute Pinnacle Entertainment Group for expanding their Lankhmar setting/license. Demonstrating their investment in the setting keeps me interested in it (knowing there’s more material to work with) so I can’t wait to see the Savage Seas of Nehwon.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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THE BOOK OF DARK SECRETS – D&D 5e Pathfinder Adventures by Dark by Dezign
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“2 Fill-in Adventure Anthology Books for D&D 5e and Pathfinder Compatible RPG adventures. Each book Print + Digital and each 200+ pages!

THE 2 BOOKS of THE BOOK OF DARK SECRETS Project
THE 2 BOOKS of THE BOOK OF DARK SECRETS Project

(all credits + well-deserved thank you’s are in the About Me section)

5+1 FREE PREVIEW PDF links – VERY Important. Trust me, Buddy…

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/27f8ntfofs8oklq/AADuJzcxsHP48DW2FlqxN2HQa?dl=0

THE BOOK OF DARK SECRETS project is composed of 2 books that are to be in digital pdf and high-quality printed softcover or hardcover formats. Both books will be 200+ pages long. Each of the 2 books is D&D 5e and Pathfinder-compatible and for PCs between levels 1-20. NOTE – There is more to each book than just adventures. Please read to find out more. Here are a few more characteristics for each book:

THE LOST TOMES - Volume 1 + DEMON BOX of RAYNETH
THE LOST TOMES – Volume 1 + DEMON BOX of RAYNETH

THE LOST TOMES – Volume 1 – 16 adventures based on a secret society known as THE LOST TOME SOCIETY. This society is made up of 16 of the very best NPCs the players might ever come across. Experts in their chosen fields, and all of them have some form of a tarnished history and back story. The 16 founding members of The Lost Tome Society are making amends for their misdeeds by hunting down the greatest and most powerful relics, artifacts, magic items and pieces of lost lore while destroying evil along the way. PCs are tasked to on adventures of 16
very diverse types, genres, as well as a different look, tone and feel
kind of variety.

The 16 LOST TOME SOCIETY founding members.
The 16 LOST TOME SOCIETY founding members.

Each of the 16 adventures is based around a founding member’s special skill set and the missions that correspond to said skill set. There is a FREE, 45-page PREVIEW BOOK that can be downloaded from Dropbox, but in a nutshell, these 16 adventures are based around the following:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/428501801/1639442857?ref=8r6u5b&token=bbf144db

01-BOUNTY HUNTING – Manzius Stone
02-ASSASSIN’S TOOLS – Manrick Crow
03-ARTIFACTS & RELICS – Odessa Roark
04-CARTOGRAPHY – Fernandius Kase
05-TAROT OF BELAGOS – Dharna Brim
06-DEMONOLOGY – Moggrett Null
07-MAGIC WEAPONS – Professor Langellan
08-SIEGE WARFARE – Darnius Rex
09-MONSTER HUNTING – Crazy Keturchkin Dyatlov
10-TRAPSMITHING – Cribner Larkett
11-LOST SPELLBOOKS – Abner Totleben
12-HERALDRY – Melody Lynn
13-MYSTERIES & ODDITIES – Rhodale Scribner
14-MAGIC ITEMS – Cynthia Bebansin
15-TREASURE CHAMBER – Benaltec Orr
16-ALCHEMICAL & ELIXIRS – Cyd Neade

• 16 Bios on each of the 16 founders of THE LOST TOME SOCIETY

• 16 short adventures based on the 16 founders’ skill sets

• Multiple pieces of ART, MAPS, DIAGRAMS and PLAYER HANDOUTS

• Map of The Lost Tome Society and where the members and scholars eat, sleep and play

• Compatibility charts that show how each of the 16 founders thinks of each other

THE BOOK OF DARK SECRETS - Volume 1 - The 20 Sigils of Power
THE BOOK OF DARK SECRETS – Volume 1 – The 20 Sigils of Power

 THE BOOK OF DARK SECRETS – Volume 1 – 20-26 short, fill-in adventures between 5-12+ pages each. Perfect for when the DM/GM runs out of adventure content, the session ends too early, or the campaign needs a bit of a fresh boost. 20-26 D&D 5e and Pathfinder-compatible adventures for PCs between levels 1-20.

A collection of 5 + 1 FREE PDF samples can be found below. Please note that these 5 + 1 FREE PDF samples are from previously published DBD titles and are NOT actual content that will be in either of these 2 books. ENJOY!

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/27f8ntfofs8oklq/AADuJzcxsHP48DW2FlqxN2HQa?dl=0

• The 20 SECRET powers of THE AMULET OF POWER
(pictured above)

• 20-26 short adventures that are all 100% BRAND NEW, UNIQUE and diverse

• Multiple pieces of ART, MAPS, DIAGRAMS and PLAYER HANDOUTS”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Matthew A. Bogdan of Dark by Dezign is all-energy. I reached out to him for an interview on the Open Gaming Network (here) and he opened up and shared facts, hard numbers, and what he was looking for from this project. Each book offers interesting adventures for 5e and Pathfinder that have a unique feel. I believe that he is going to deliver on his campaign and, likely, over-deliver. I can’t swear they’ll be thicker books that roll out for Halloween, but I suspect it heavily. But, don’t take my word for it, read the interview I did with him or his interview on Dan Davenport’s site.

 

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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A Delve in the Cave: 5th Edition Adventure by Signal Fire Studios
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“A curse. A cave. A crawl. 1st level scenario for the world’s most popular roleplaying game!

I’m returning to my personal and professional gaming roots with a 32-page adventure for 5th edition of the original fantasy roleplaying game—a cavern crawl built to please hack-and-slash groups and storytellers alike!

I started playing fantasy roleplaying games in 1982 at seven years old. (Yes, THAT fantasy RPG.) As an adult I accidentally stumbled into a career publishing supplements and adventures for THAT game along with designing RPG systems of my own. Check out my Goodreads page or visit my website for more info.

Last year I was in Texas for a regional game convention, and while in my booth I scribbled out two pages worth of adventure notes for 5th Edition of the world’s oldest and most popular roleplaying game (yes, THAT one) and ran a few players through it before we packed up and drove back to Atlanta.

Then I sat down and typed about ten thousand words. Very quickly this became a real thing. The adventure premiered at the Origins Game Fair in 2017 with an Early Access edition.

Interest and sales of the Early Access version surprised me, and we’ve gotten great response to from groups that have run through it.

We want to offer a high-quality product and keep the price low for tabletop game retailers and the folks who shop at them. Our initial goal will let us pay everyone who’s helped with this product a fair wage, print enough to sell through distribution channels, and keep our business going. If we blow past the initial amount we will offer stretch goals that enhance and upgrade the product for everyone!

The Early Access version is complete, which means every backer at the $5 level or higher will receive a fully-playable PDF once the backer surveys are complete. These files will be automatically upgraded to the final version once the adventure has gone to press!

The “dungeon crawl” in the cave takes up most of the Early Access edition. The final version will expand the town of Shadowhaven where the story begins, providing adventure hooks to get the heroes involved in the mystery that threatens the community—as well as a potentially dangerous journey to the tomb of the town’s founder, whose bones rest in a cavern under a hill. The encounters and ending will be rewritten slightly and adjusted based on playtest feedback.

"Coblynau" by Lindsay Archer — a new fey creature!
“Coblynau” by Lindsay Archer — a new fey creature!

The black-and-white map of the main dungeon is complete, as well as a few interior illustrations. These will be supplemented by additional artwork and a full-color poster version of the map by artist Ben Mund (Serenity Atlas of the ‘Verse) that can be printed at 36″ x 48″ that will provide an attractive set-piece for gamers who enjoy a visual and tactical experience.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I followed the early edition of this game and its IndieGoGo campaign here and here. I enjoyed the DIY version of the crawl; now, I’m looking forward to the finished product.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley 2ed for Call of Cthulhu by Stygian Fox Publishing
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“‘New Tales from Miskatonic Valley’ 2nd Edition produced under license for the Call of Cthulhu RPG by Chaosium Inc.

New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley returns!

Lauded as authentically Lovecraftian and much loved for of its mood and style, New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley returns with a full-colour second edition. With its new art, varied formats (PDF, Kindle, softcover, and hardback), and an extra scenario, this Kickstarter will make its rightful return to print, uplifted to Call of Cthulhu, 7th Edition.

Call of Cthulhu is the Registered Trademark of Chaosium Inc., and is used with their permission. www.chaosium.com

Miskatonic River Press released New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley to great acclaim and it quickly became a favourite among Call of Cthulhu Keepers. Its faithful adherence to Lovecraftian themes and its location along the dark river it takes its name from, meant a return to an authentic home for many players who cut their anti-mythos teeth on earlier adventures set in the valley.

Started by Keith ‘Doc’ Herber and Tom Lynch, it quickly marked MRP as a company to watch. Tragically, Doc passed away while working on a subsequent title (Our Ladies of Sorrow with Kevin Ross) but Tom kept his dream alive and grew upon it with further books. Sadly, MRP closed its doors a couple of years ago and the titles have been out of print as Tom Lynch focused on writing fiction and his family.

Last year, Stygian Fox purchased four titles from Tom Lynch/MRP in order to bring them back to players of the world’s greatest horror game and in turn, we aim to release new and updated versions of New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley, More Adventures in Arkham Country, Our Ladies of Sorrow, and Tales of the Sleepless City.

In New Tales of the Miskatonic Valley, there are currently six scenarios and we aim to add a seventh set in the valley or Innsmouth (although Innsmouth isn’t in the Miskatonic Valley it is such an integral part of Lovecraft Country as to be hard to ignore). The original is black and white and 130 pages. We aim to increase that to 160 pages and to make it full colour with all new art.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

This product represents a rebirth. On EN World, I touched on some of the issues that Miskatonic River Press experienced with another CoC Kickstarter – including the end of MRP. What Stygian Fox Publishing did by purchasing MRP’s contents and creating this Kickstarter represents the restoration of one of the better licensed 3PP Call of Cthulhu products. By going this route, Stygian is letting gamers enjoy books that might have faded away, and I salute them for doing this.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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The Overworld and Beyond (13th Age RPG Planar Adventures) by Dread Unicorn Games
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“The Overworld and Beyond, planar adventures for the 13th Age Roleplaying Game by the legendary Ash Law.

Journey to the Planes with Ash Law!

The Overworld and Beyond presents planar-hopping adventures for the 13th Age roleplaying game. It includes a backwater setting that includes towns, wilderness, and gates to other worlds, all ready for you to incorporate into your gameworld.

Adventure for All Tiers of Play

  • The Carrow Hills a perfect sandbox for adventure-tier play. Hooks, rumors, and NPCs are all interwoven to create a setting where the locals think being close to other planes is just the way thing are.
  • Attack of the Koblins a champion-tier adventure. What are these strange creatures warped by transdimensional energies, and why are they striking out at innocent people?
  • Further Adventures in the Carrow Hills give the GM a collection of champion-tier adventure hooks that tie into what’s happened before, and foreshadow the epic-tier challenges ahead.
  • Into the Overworld presents the party with an epic-tier problem that won’t be solved without traveling to many planes

There’s a 5th-6th level adventure that has PCs up against forces from another world.

There’s a 9th-10th level adventure that has the PCs traveling to myriad other planes: the City at the Edge of Dawn, the Elemental Realms, the Fleshscape, the Green, the Lightless Realm, and the Middenlands.

The project includes pages of adventure hooks, a bestiary, 13 Weird Worlds, 13 Peculiar People, and more!”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

A new planar option for 13th Age is a win, but why I think this’ll be a great product is because of their prior work, The Gods Have Spoken. I covered Dread Unicorn Games The Gods Have Spoken for 5e here (13th Age edition available here). That game is alive with quirky detail and fun art. If The Overworld and Beyond approaches that level of good, it’ll be well worth adding to your library.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Savage Worlds Sovereign Stone by Applied Vectors
Ends on Fri, June 1 2018 5:17 PM EDT.

“This project brings Larry Elmore’s Sovereign Stone to the Savage Worlds game system.

Loerem is a world of beauty and enchantment created by renowned fantasy artist Larry Elmore, with development from New York Times best-selling authors Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Through Elmore’s vivid visual renditions of unique personalities, clashing nations, fantastical creatures, and enchanting landscapes alongside a saga weaved by Weis & Hickman, the culmination chronicled the mortals’ struggle to master the unfathomable power of the Sovereign Stone given them from the gods — an artifact forged for peace among races but which ignited war between brothers.

Applied Vectors LTD are pleased to be bringing this wonderful world into the Savage Worlds fold. This Kickstarter is to fund the development of the game and cover writing and layout costs. This will be built from the ground up specifically for Savage Worlds (this is no mere conversion).

This game references the Savage Worlds game system, available from Pinnacle Entertainment Group at www.peginc.com. Savage Worlds and all associated logos and trademarks are copyrights of Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Used with permission. Pinnacle makes no representation or warranty as to the quality, viability, or suitability for purpose of this product.

The game requires a copy of Savage Worlds that can be purchased from the Pinnacle Entertainment Group store.

The Sovereign Stone

The Sovereign Stone is a lustrous crystal pyramid of four triangles that form a quadrangle at the base and come together in a point at the apex. Approximately sixteen inches tall, the artifact is carved of a single piece of crystal. It was given to King Tamaros of the Vinnengalean Empire, and in order to broker peace, he separated it into four equal pieces. One quarter went to the humans, one to the elves, one to the orks, and the last to the dwarves.

Here is where the story grows murky, clouded over with rumors and tales, few of which can be believed. One thing that is known for certain is that an army led by one of the King’s sons marched on the city, and consequently the human portion of the stone was lost in a cataclysmic explosion which obliterated Old Vinnengael and left very few survivors, little accurate accounts are told of those last, terrible days. Much of what people know about King Tamaros and the Sovereign Stone is rumor and myth that has been building for the past two hundred years.

Since that day men have quested for the lost part of the Sovereign Stone to no avail. Old Vinnengael is now a cursed and abhorrent landmark. Few who venture there ever return alive, but still there are those brave or foolish enough to attempt it, drawn by the magic that pervades the city ruins and the riches said to be buried in the rubble.

There are accounts of a dark army marching across Loerem from the west, but few trust the tales. Still, some learned scholars have renewed their efforts to find the lost portion of the Sovereign Stone and reunite its parts in order to combat this or any other threat to the people of Loerem.

Do you dare trespass into Old Vinnengael or are you brave enough to face the threat from the west?

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Larry Elmore plus Savage Worlds equals gold! On Open Gaming Network, I have an interview with Ian Liddle (Applied Vectors) about Savage Worlds Sovereign Stone that gets into why I dig this project (link here).

 

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

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt orwall 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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

Kickstart the Comic: Cat & Mouse #1

Stories don’t want to be confined to our desk drawers or to our computer hard drives… they want to be out in the world where they can be consumed and absorbed into the minds of readers and creators.

 

***

Cat & Mouse #1

Writer – Roland Mann

Penciller – Dean Zachary

Inker – Barb Kaalberg

Colors – Kevin Gallegly

 

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 12:00 PM EST.

***

The Pitch:

Cat & Mouse is a crime action-crime-drama, set in the city of New Orleans, presented to you in saddle-stiched comic book format! Cat & Mouse #1 contains 22 pages of story and art.

 

The Story:

When Brett’s ex-girlfriend asks him to go to New Orleans to find her runaway sister, Bobbi, he stumbles on to a human trafficking operation run by Ms. Johnson, known on the streets as The Widowmaker. Brett has to figure a way to rescue Bobbi, and maybe take down the entire organization. Fresh out of the police academy, is he up to the task? Brett will seek the help of his friend, Jesse, an officer on the New Orleans police department, and will also receive help from … some unusual sorts.

 

John’s Thoughts:

I never read the original Cat & Mouse series, but I love the idea that a creator is able to take something from thirty years ago and bring it back to life through Kickstarter. As much as anything else, we all have these ideas and projects that have a bit more story left to tell. These creators have decided to do something about it, which is all sorts of awesome!

As to the story itself… well let’s see: it looks like we get a mixture of crime story, mixed with super-heroics in the form of martial art fighters/heroes. I’m only going to assume that is going to lead to some pretty nice all-out fight scenes… with ninjas!

Page 15, Cat & Mouse #1

 

The Rewards:

The good thing is that this project has already hit its goal (currently $3,610 at the time of writing). The bad thing is that a few of the rewards are no longer available. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to get the comic in pdf ($4) in print ($10) and signed by the entire team ($20). I’m also a big fan of projects, especially when you read the credits on each of the creators, that offer up and coming artists/writers/inkers/colorist an opportunity for a critique ($50). Sometimes all we need is just a little direction from an outside viewpoint to truly make that last leap from good to great. On the higher end of things, you can own some original artwork ($100+) from selected interior pages to the cover.

Mock-up of the RETAILER cover.

 

The Verdict:

This is one of those no-brainers. The artwork reminds me of some of those 90s style artists that I loved to pick up their books because I knew they knew how to tell a story. Each of the sample pages shown only reinforces that feeling for me. In addition, given that each of the team has worked professionally for decades, this seems like one that will certainly get done.

I’d say give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

 

***

To find out more about Roland Mann, check him out here.

***

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

3 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Overlight, Black Void, and Shattered Tower

In this week’s list, the three RPG Kickstarters I spotlight are a tour de force of art! These three have inspiring images that key in on the feel of the worlds and their mechanics. Each Kickstarter is an original system, each one a fantasy setting, and each one as beautifully rendered as one could desire, read on to see.

 

Black Void RPG by Christoffer Sevaldsen
Ends on .

“A dark fantasy tabletop roleplaying game about the fall and resurgence of humanity.

In the days when Babylon was the greatest city on Earth, mankind lived in placid ignorance of the grandeur, vastness and horror of the cosmos. Following cataclysmic events on Earth the fragile veil between reality and the Void was shattered and the truth of existence revealed. As mankind cried for salvation they were torn from their homeworld by Void-torrents and the surviving peoples of Earth were scattered among the stars. Countless were lost and mankind seemed all but perished. Over the decades the survivors, stragglers and ragged remnants of mankind’s tribes struggled for their lives across countless uncaring worlds. However, a few managed to go beyond mere subsistence and travel the Void-currents to congregate in fabled Llyhn, epicentre of the cosmos.

BLACK VOID is a dark fantasy tabletop roleplaying game revolving around the fall and subsequent resurgence of humanity after cataclysmic events have torn them from Earth. Pursuing power, prestige and enlightenment – humanity is struggling to find a new place and purpose in a vast and unfamiliar cosmos. Players can focus on the personal struggles and stories of their characters or expand their scope putting emphasis on the fate of humanity as a species and the part they play in this.

BLACK VOID core book: A high-quality, 400+ page, full colour and hardcover book with everything you need for players and game-masters. The book is filled with original art, novel species and monsters, extensive descriptions and rich lore, detailed maps and much more bringing the BLACK VOID to life.

Game themes: The game takes place in a distant past which is both familiar and outlandish in its dark and exotic ambience. As descendants of the survivors of Earth, characters can adopt many roles such as:

  • Serving as emissaries, defending the enclaves and last remnants of human civilization.
  • Travelling the Void-currents as explorers seeking riches and glory across the cosmos.
  • Venturing to find Earth, the long lost cradle of humanity.
  • Seeking influence and claiming a new home for mankind, taking their rightful places as leaders of mankind.
  • Diving into the intrigues of Llyhn or perhaps building an empire in the dark depths of the city’s underworld.
  • Discovering the true essence of existence finding enlightenment beyond the veil of reality; in a Void filled with mindless abominations.

Game Concept: At its core the game is about the exploration, struggle for survival and will-to-power of humanity as it encounters an outlandish, bizarre cosmos. This is not a typical game of “good versus evil”. Rather, it takes a less rigid approach and probes the grey areas where morals are point-of-view. The game revolves around three main concepts:

Into the unknown – How does humanity fit into a cosmos it knows little about and where the possibilities are endless? In a cosmos where humanity’s ideals and tenets are insignificant mankind needs to adapt or succumb!

Beyond the horizon – Exploring the cosmos and faced with adversity, political intrigue and cultural tension on a scale unknown to humanity, players must cope or risk becoming collateral damage in the struggles of uncaring factions. In the end humanity must claim its place in the cosmos or perish trying!

What is humanity – Humanity is exposed to strange and oftentimes bizarre philosophies and ideals. As a result the characters must define, establish and decide what humanity is and what its place will be in the cosmos!”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Dark and dangerous! A beautiful artistic contrast to Overlight (below). For the game concept, it’s a fantasy past where you’re an explorer in a deadly world. There are, perhaps, cosmetic similarities to Shattered Tower RPG (also on this list), but the theme feels darker and the world feels less safe. Should you dig in? You can get the quickstart BETA – “But don’t just take our and others’ word for it – go HERE to download the sample BETA-quickstart for free and judge for yourself. – Chris, Black Void Games”

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Shattered Tower RPG by Andrea Macchi
Ends on .

“Mythpunk RPG set in an hostile world, built on the ashes of an older and forgotten one, focused on survival and exploration.

Welcome Fearless Adventurer,

We’re extremely proud to get in the ring with Shattered Tower, our brand new project: we’re talking about a Myth Punk RPG, straightly focused on discoverysurvival and exploration.

That could sound same ole same ole, but – trust me – with this concept, this idea, this game… we wanna bring REAL ADVENTURE to the table.
Of course there is adventure in every big RPG we know, love and been playing to, but we decided to take the thrill to the next level.

HOW? well, let’s just say that, if dying while looking for artifacts can be common, here you can fall through the cold claws of death even just while taking a walk outside the city limits! 

Of course, at the very same time, your characters will be fully and colorfully equipped with every item and/or ability and/or extraordinary talent necessary to survive… if only you can figure out how to do it! ; )

[Note: All the material will be produced in 2 languages: English & Italian]

Shattered Tower will be a brand new rulebook containing a completely original background setting, the rules you need to go plug’n’play with our peculiar D6system, 3 Adventure modules and much more (following).

If funded, we will produce the Hardcover book consisting of  200+ pages (depending on the stretch goals reached) including:

  • Complete World Setting
  • Original Game System
  • 6 Playable Races
  • 60 Dangers: Inimical Environment, Special Creatures, Monsters, Flora and Fauna
  • Unique Exploration System
  • Unique Crafting System
  • 3 Complete Adventures
  • 3+ Short Stories

The spark that led us to create Shattered Tower, came straight out our personal passion for exploration and adventure (a passion we found out being pretty common between RPG players) and from the strong desire to produce not only something new and original, but something that could be a lil’ bit different from what’s out on the market today.
We really wanted to create a something where discoveryhard survival and world exploration are at the core of the whole game.

But there’s of course more than that..

The Setting:
Tyntyr is a vast and extremely hostile world that has risen from the ashes of a war between the world itself and an ancient and advanced civilization, fallen into ruin, shattered and partially forgotten.

Players will travel through an environment heavily dominated by nature, ruled by the Dra-Idjias, mystical and powerful creatures that imprisoned, and now control and govern the offspring of that ancient colonizers that survived the war centuries ago and still lives on the planet.

Players will be part of the Vanguard, a guild composed by the few people of their respective races able to bypass the tight control of the world’s sentinels and visiting the world outside, with the purpose of discovering what once was..  and what still can be… 

The player’s job is to incarnate explorers and adventurers, to get in the shoes of pioneersfinding a home in the Vanguard, willing to risk their lives, far from civilization, fighting to death just to earn the respect of the companions and to bring knowledge to mankind.

The System: 
Shattered Tower works on the peculiar D6System we created.

How does it work – we’ve got a classic but versatile list of skills (which also includes COMBAT as an ability, for example) and we put it together with the kind of mechanics that you can nowadays find in modern narrative RPGs, creating  a unique system which feels very functional to the setting.

Long story short, every character’s got his skills set with ability scores (from 1 to 6) determined by the construction of the player character (PC) build.
Those points define the number of dices the player’s gotta roll when trying an ability check. success is gained when dices give only 5 or 6.
The few basics of this system also include that the difficulty coefficient of the test that is faced – when higher than the score of the PC – determines the deprivation of X dice to pull, where X stands for each point by which the difficulty exceeds the score of the PC.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Artistically (and end-date-wise) this project falls perfectly between Black Void and Overlight. The Shattered Tower RPG has beautifully, grounded artwork that lends itself to a mixture of beauty and struggle. What’s the feel? You’re an explorer in an once great now fallen, violent world. There are things to learn (what came before) and things to decide (how will the world progress) and things to survive. As with each of these projects, if the art is any indication of the product, this is a winner.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Overlight RPG: A roleplaying game of kaleidoscopic fantasy by Renegade Game Studios
Ends on .

“Seven continents hang in the sky, stacked vertically far above an unending sparkling sea. Shining down upon it all is the Overlight.

Since the beginning of time, a race of serpentine, celestial beings have been the caretakers and observers of the cosmos. At some point in Earth’s past, probably around 1,000 B.C.E., a small contingent of these celestials argued that humanity was ready to learn the secrets behind the making of the world. That the Homo sapiens species had achieved such a level of cultural growth and spiritual awareness that they deserved to be shown all the wonders of the universe, to be given the literal Keys of Creation.

This small group of celestials was overruled by the will of the majority. Humankind was not yet ready. Defying this judgment, one individual fled to Earth with the Keys, and gifted them to humanity with one warning, “Do not use the Black Key”. Humanity did not listen.

All of reality was turned inside out. The burning heart of the world was now the bright white, unending sky, and the unknowable depths of space now a vast star-filled sea beneath. Entire continents float in the space between, without a moon or sun to guide them.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Light and brilliant! A shining visual contrast to the Black Void (above). The idea of floating lands that getting to and from is used throughout fantasy and sci-fi for good reason – it’s visually imaginative. Is this the one for you? I could offer thoughts but they have a sample you can get via email here that will answer a lot of your asks.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

Overlight – Hamanu Teacher

 

* * * * * *

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt orwall 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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

8 Questions About Art of War: Bushido/Wuxia Setting for Savage Worlds & 5e With Greg LaRose (Amora Game)

Greg LaRose (TentacleGreg on Open Gaming Network, where I write some articles) of Amora Game is running a Kickstarter for his latest creation, Art of War: Bushido/Wuxia Setting for Savage Worlds and 5e.

EGG EMBRY – Thanks for taking the time to talk about your project – What is Art of War?

GREG LAROSE – Hey, thanks for having me. Art of War is a dream project I have always had in my head brewing for years. Art of War is an epic storytelling action focused campaign setting inspired by the influences of Chia-Liang Liu martial arts films (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin & Heroes of the East), Akira Kurosawa samurai films (Seven Samurai & Yojimbo), Dynasty Warriors video game series, and a various anime (Basilisk, Naruto, etc).

It is a setting where the people of the San Empire are pulling themselves out of the chaos of a civil war, an invasion of flesh eating Oni, and a return of the restoration of the original royal bloodline. One role the players can take on as heroes is trying to restore hope back to the population. There are plenty of opportunities to play the hometown hero, indulge in a political landscape of deception, or to stand on the Wall and slay some monsters.

It is my love affair with Chinese and Japanese cultures, histories, and mythology.

 

EGG – This project is for two different systems, Savage Worlds and 5e. How are you interpreting the setting to get the most out of each of those systems?

GREG LAROSE – As a whole, the setting is a rich tapestry that easily be played with any system out there. It has access points for any type of story a group would want to play.

System mechanics wise, we adapted the setting to several systems over the past two years with Savage Worlds and 5e acting as solid frameworks to use. Moreover, what I mean is that both are flexible and “rules light” so that you can shape them. This gives us the ability to interject a power point-like system that can added to each rule set. You can scale it up or down to help determine how grounded or fantastical you want the game and characters to be. We call it the Chi System.

These power points fuel different additional rules that give the action movie feel we wanted to achieve. The system also supports Chi Techniques that give the character a specialization of power. Think of the youxia that can run up a bamboo tree and balance on a tiny branch without falling off or having it give to heavy weight. Or the samurai standing on bridge by himself against a squad of archers and he gives a deafening yell. Chi Techniques are those types of powers translated to simple and easy game mechanics.

Besides those being in common with these systems, the Savage Worlds version introduces Tropes that act as frameworks for the creation of heroes. For those familiar with Savage Worlds, think of them as beefed up archetypes or concepts. We also include new Edges and Hindrances. We adapted the classic nosebleed scenario found in anime as a Hindrance to add some comedic relief. I’m also excited to introduce two new Skills to the Savage Worlds ruleset, Acrobatics and Meditation.

Tropes in the 5th edition version, act as character paths for various classes. The Shinobi trope is a path for the rogue class. The fighter receives the Path of the Samurai as a viable option. The Youxia trope is available to both rogues, rangers and fighters, each one taking on a variation of the concept. We are also supporting numerous new Backgrounds, Inspirations, Feats, and equipment.

 

EGG – A number of Amora Game‘s products are for Pathfinder, why not offer a PF version of Art of War?

GREG LAROSE – Great question. We started to use Pathfinder as one of the systems to publish in and the project was called “Hands-Over-Fisticuffs”, but it quickly became overwhelming. There is a lot of amazing source material to pull from to get the mechanics right. But that was also the problem; we needed to pull rules for the revised action economy from this book, convert rules from that book, use OGL from this company. Develop a new class or archetype to handle this, spend more time playtesting to check the math on that. It became heavy, bulky, clunky and imbalanced.

We wanted something that wasn’t cumbersome for new players to jump in and play without multiple rules and errata. Light and flexible is what we wanted to focus on.

In addition, timing played a major factor. With the announcement of Pathfinder 2.0, we would rather see how the new system plays out then produce for an old system where support might fall to the wayside. While we have 200 pages worth material for a Pathfinder edition, it just doesn’t hold the feel we wanted for the setting.

 

EGG – You did not skimp on the previews. How have they been received, and which system is getting more interest from Art of War fans, Savage Worlds or 5e?

GREG LAROSE – Surprisingly they have almost equal numbers. Art of War teaser for Savage Worlds is racing ahead of Kemonomimi Race preview for 5th Edition. But I have been shocked that the 5th edition of South of the Wall has pulled down a few more numbers than the Savage Worlds version. In contrast, we have more backers on the Kickstarter buying in for the Savage Worlds. Ahead of that, is the backer level where you get both versions of Art of War. I’ve been happy with the turnout.

 

EGG – When I first approached you about doing an interview, I didn’t connect you were TentacleGreg on Open Gaming Network. For those who don’t know, what types of articles do you do on Open Gaming Network?

GREG LAROSE – So far I have focused on Starfinder articles. Showing off future archetypes and playing with Faction idea write-ups. Open Gaming Articles are a fun sandbox to play in at the moment. In one of the first articles, I rant about what I feel a Third Party Publisher Organized play society would allow and not allow. After the Kickstarter, I have a few 5e articles for character paths, more factions for Starfinder, and my lost notes for Pathfinder articles.

 

EGG – What was the game that made you into a gamer?

GREG LAROSE – Techno Wizard in the Rifts setting for the Palladium system was the first character I ever created. My Tremere for Vampire: The Masquerade was the first character I ever played in a game. West End Games d6 Star Wars was the first system I ever fell in love with. Shadowrun was my introduction into the world of cyberpunk and magic. Big Eyes, Small Mouth Third Edition was the birth of Art of War. I have fond memories of L5R and Magic the Gathering card games. But the game that made me a gamer? Well there are two of them: Mage the Ascension & Eberron campaign setting for 3.5 D&D rules.

My love for these two settings and rulesets are unparalleled to anything else. Mage being the handful of d10 Storyteller System and the other using the precursor to Pathfinder. I still have my original books on the shelves and go back to read through them. You can see an early inspiration for the Pathfinder Society concept in Eberron, when it was called the Wayfinder Foundation. Interesting name isn’t it?

You can see that is the name of a compass in Pathfinder. Coincidence? Maybe. Conspiracy theory of that being a key source of influence for a certain big company? Probably, yes.

EGG – Why did you start Amora Game?

GREG LAROSE – I started Amora Game in 2012 as an actual TTRPG publishing company, but we were a playtest company well before then. My gaming group was always home-brewing rules, classes, and all sorts of things. We liked using fan created material and pushing the limits see if they were broken or if we could break them. Over time we reached out to a few publishers and game designers looking for playtesters. One thing led to another and then we were holding playtesting sessions once or twice a month for several hours a session. Word got around and people started seeking us out to playtest, and paying us.

After a year or so after of messing around and playing with other people’s toys, I decided I would do my own. At the time I was playing Pathfinder after a gaming group converted over from 3.5 and just sort of went with it. I started publishing, hiring freelancers and artist. Here we are today.

EGG – For those interested in learning more about you, your upcoming projects, and Amora Game, where can they go?

GREG LAROSE – Currently we are focusing on two product lines. One is our monthly/bimonthly science fiction e-mag called Xeno Files. This is laying the foundation for our Xeno’Verse campaign setting. It focuses on Starjammer, Starfinder, and Savage Worlds rulesets. Exotic space places and exotic space races. Our second, of course is the Art of War line, which we are going to continue to push for a release date, even if the Kickstarter is unsuccessful. It will just take a little more time.

Where can you find us? Our facebook page is the most active spot. You can get there by typing in our website: AmoreGame.com, and it will direct you to it. After the kickstarter, I’m going try and put an article up twice a month in the Open Gaming Network site. You will also be able to catch those articles and anime ramblings on my blog under the same pen name: TentacleGreg.com

 

Amora Game has products available on DriveThruRPG and Open Gaming Store.

 

* * * * * *

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt orwall 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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

4 Gaming Kickstarters and MomoCon – TORG Eternity, Battlecruiser Alamo, Citadel Dice Tower, and LFG Stickers

This week is a news roundup as I look at some of the Kickstarters and events that are going on right now. RPGs, a dice tower, and Momocon!

 

Torg Eternity – The Living Land by Ulisses Spiele
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Why Am I Covering This?

Ulisses Spiele sent a press release about this Kickstarter to us (always makes me feel special when I get one in the inbox – read it here) and they provided some PDFs for a game review (coming soon). This Kickstarter is for the first book focusing on the COSM, The Living Lands. This will be a great addition to the TORG Eternity universe.

 

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Battlecruiser Alamo RPG (Powered by Era d10) by Shades of Vengeance
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Why Am I Covering This?

I covered this Kickstarter last week. I’m revisiting it to mention that I did an interview with Ed Jowett about the game on Open Gaming Network that offers more details for this licensed property. Read it here.

 

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The Citadel Dice Tower by Card Caddy
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Why Am I Covering This?

$12 shipped in the US dice tower and dice box. This one is the right price point to try out a dice tower.

 

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LFG Stickers (and Pins!) for Tabletop Gamers by Alyssa Raabe
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Why Am I Covering This?

This is the relaunch of this project by Alyssa with a more obtainable financial goal. On Open Gaming Network, I interviewed her about the first iteration of this project, why it is important to her, and why it’s important to the gaming community. Read it here.

 

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MomoCon in Atlanta, GA – May 24th to 27th, 2018

Why Am I Covering This?

I’m planning to attend the convention and cover some of the gaming that happens there. What RPGs are you thinking about playing at the show?

 

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

3 Sci-fi RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Psionics Guide for Starfinder, FROM BEYOND:DESCENT, and Battlecruiser Alamo

Sci-fi space opera RPGs on Kickstarter is what I look at this week. Two for the Starfinder system and one for the Era d10 rule set. All are amazing looking additions to any gaming table.

 

Psionics Guide for Starfinder RPG from Dreamscarred Press
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“A psionics ruleset for the Starfinder RPG from Paizo by Dreamscarred Press, giving you new races, classes, feats and items!

Unlock your mental abilities in the Starfinder RPG from Paizo with the Psionics Guide! This new book from Dreamscarred Press will provide everything you need to use psionic powers in your Starfinder RPG campaign.

What’s In It

The Psionics Guide will include the following material to expand your options in a Science Fantasy campaign:

  • New Races – 11 psionic races to choose from the curious astreidi, the insectoid dromites, the immortal elans, the serpentine ophiduan, to the powerful half-giants
  • Four New Classes – the iconic Psion, the Aegis who shapes energy into armor and weapons, the Specialist who uses her psionic power to overcome obstacles, and the Integrator who joins minds together into vast neural networks
  • New Feats – new feats for the different psionic classes
  • New Archetypes – including a Wilder archetype and the Soulknife archetype, which use the Starfinder RPG archetype design
  • Psionic Powers – with powers from 1st level to 6th level
  • Psionic Equipment to outfit your character or augment their abilities
  • New Psionic Themes”
Sample mock-up cover, not intended to be final cover
Sample mock-up cover, not intended to be final cover

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

When Starfinder launched, space ships (obviously), magical cybernetics, and psionics were the aspects I felt would distinguish this franchise from its progenitor. To me, psionics feel so sci-fi that it’s almost a prerequisite… In this case, it’ll be a great addition to Starfinder. That said, the lack of psionics in SF is an oversight that Dreamscarred Press is correcting here. Really delving into psionics is the right call and I expect it to be a good 3PP product.

In case you recognize their sample cover mock up, it’s because it uses the same image as Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2nd Edition. That is not to say anything is wrong with that (the reasons for the same cover are myriad and they announce “Sample mock-up cover, not intended to be final cover” so I don’t believe both products will have the same final cover), it’s just a beautiful image and, I hope, it speaks to the excellence of the finalized cover.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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FROM BEYOND:DESCENT Sci-fi RPG Starfinder Roleplay Adventure by Davide Tramma
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“The second of six Starfinder RPG compatible adventures, a mystery to add to your game or create a new one.”

If the goal is reached the funds will go towards paying for artwork and editing as well. The module is made of 76 pages, around 25,000 words and five chapters.

The subroutine has made its second move. The second episode of this adventure path will see the PCs fighting to save the station from destruction, taking them to the surface of one of the planet that form the star system. They have to travel unnoticed and manually land. Will their ship, the Sawshark, endure the harsh planet atmosphere ? Will the PCs survive to what they’ll find out there ? They won’t be alone in this mission. If successful or not, will be up to you.

The PDF is ready to go and will be delivered when the project concludes. This adventure is the second episode of the FROM BEYOND adventure path. The adventure itself can be a scene in any existing game or be ran as a one shot without the setting detail making it versatile for improv GMs as well! A campaign setting will follow, with this adventure path being an introduction.

The adventure includes:

– 6 new creatures

– the Expert NPC class, which introduce the concept of NPC as permanent crewmember together with the possibility of level advancement and XP award.

– 2 Pathfinder Legacy races converted fro Starfinder. The hobgoblin and the duergar. Both races have been revised adding some specific racial traits.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I looked at Davide Tramma’s prior Starfinder Kickstarter, From Beyond: Distress Call, here. This Kickstarter is for part two in the series, proving he’s moving right along with the larger narrative. It’s well worth checking this out as he grows this sci-fi journey.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Battlecruiser Alamo RPG (Powered by Era d10) by Shades of Vengeance
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“For the first time, play in Richard Tongue’s expansive and exciting Sci-Fi universe – explore space for the Triplanetary Confederation!

“For a century, man has had the keys to unlock the universe. Our generation is privileged to be the one that opens the door. To finally realise the greatest dream of all, to touch the face of eternity itself. To reach the frontiers of our knowledge and to see what lies beyond.” 
– Commencement Address, Triplanetary Fleet Academy, 2169

Battlecruiser Alamo is a brand new roleplaying game based on the expansive and exciting universe described in the Triplanetary Confederation novels, particularly those of the Battlecruiser Alamo.

We are running this Kickstarter to help fund more of the amazing artwork that the readers of the book are used to. The Core Rulebook is a high quality, 220-page, full colour guide to the universe.

Written by Richard Tongue himself, and Ed Jowett (the creator of the Era d10 Rule Set) with artwork by Keith Draws (the cover artist for the series of books), this authentic and evocative book features not only everything you need to learn about the universe for the first time, but also some amazing new revelations which haven’t yet been included in the novels…

Powered by the critically-acclaimed Era d10 Rule Set, also seen in Era: The Consortium, Era: Lyres and Era: The Empowered, this game runs smoothly on a system originally designed to cater to science fiction!

Board your ship and secure for hendecaspace… you have some exploring to do!

Escaping a shattered Earth, millions of desperate refugees fled to the depths of the Solar System: to Mars, to Callisto, to distant Titan.

They built new homes, new worlds, but were unable to break the shackles of their increasingly tyrannical homeworld.

Finally, after decades of fighting, the colonies seceded, and the Triplanetary Confederation was born. It was an alliance forged in fire and tempered in the cold astropolitical reality of the post-war universe. The three worlds now work together, though sometimes uncomfortably, tied by their common goals for survival and self-determination.

There are many both within and without the alliance that would see it torn asunder, but more who will fight to the last to see it work, to keep the last flames of freedom alive…

Want to know more? Check out the Battlecruiser Alamo website!

Richard’s first three books are available on Amazon now:
Book 1: The Price of Admiralty
Book 2: Fermi’s War
Book 3: Victory or Death

The Core Rulebook for Battlecruiser Alamo RPG is a 220-page full-colour book containing everything you’ll need to adventure in the universe of Richard Tongue’s characters and vessels, including the Battlecruiser Alamo herself.

It is based entirely on the events within the novel series, and features details on factions, locations and individuals who you might encounter. It is intended to provide a framework to allow you to go off in your own direction, exploring your own part of space, while still very much existing in the same universe as the events in the novels.

The book also includes a complete guide to character creation, the game’s rules, a selection of equipment to choose from and a large number of suggested adventures and campaigns!

This book has been developed by the author of the novels himself, along with the creator of the Era d10 rule set, to provide a uniquely authentic experience within this universe.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I’ve done three interviews with Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance and one Era: The Consortium gameplay review, so let’s categorize me as a fan. This Kickstarter is Shades of Vengeance‘s first licensed product for their Era d10 rule set. It stays in the sci-fi RPG realm that Era: The Consortium and Era: Balam pioneered, but this game adds a new dimension using Richard Tongue’s novel trilogy as its backdrop. With that, Ed, Richard, and company are really trying to pull every potential fan into their respective universes and, I believe, Battlecruiser Alamo RPG (Powered by Era d10) is going to be the proper gateway.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

Battlecruiser Alamo RPG (Powered by Era d10)

 

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt orwall 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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

PRESS RELEASE – Torg Eternity – The Living Land Kickstarter

TORG Eternity is back on Kickstarter!

It launched on Tuesday, March 27 becoming funded in 21 minutes, hitting over $50,000 in less than three hours, and to date has so far broken 37 Stretch Goals. This Kickstarter ends on Tuesday, April 24. Last year the release of TORG Eternity on Kickstarter was a rocketing record setting event. By the end of the campaign it logged in at over $355,000 pledged. This made it the number one, largest Kickstarter of an RPG launch in 2017. In addition to that TORG Eternity also received a nomination for 2017 Golden Geek Award for Best RPG of the Year and already is a Top 100 Product on DriveThruRPG. Now TORG is available again on Kickstarter. This time with The Living Land supplements AND with another opportunity for backers to get the wildly popular monstrous Cargo Box, with all the stretch goals from the original Kickstarter included. “There was such a huge outcry from people who missed the first TORG Kickstarter that it became sort of a moral imperative to offer again the Delphi Council Cargo Box with all its Kickstarter rewards”, explained Darrell Hayhurst, TORG line manager for Ulisses. Here’s some tips and recommendations for getting the biggest bang for your buck on this Kickstarter: TORG Eternity Cargo Box Flashback Missed it the first time around? Get the monstrous TORG Eternity Cargo Box from the original Kickstarter (contains the bonus stretch goals for original Kickstarter pledge, as well). The original Cargo Box isn’t available through normal channels, so this is your chance to get it. Don’t miss out! Have the TORG Eternity Core rulebook? Then get the Living Land Survival Box. It includes all the Living Land goodness that you’ll want for this COSM (campaign setting), plus a host of unlockable physical stretch goals. Want it all? Get TORG Eternity and Living Land: All In. Perfect for those who missed the original TORG Eternity Kickstarter and want to make the most of this one. Contains the Living Land Survival Box and the TORG Eternity Cargo Box.

MORE ABOUT TORG ETERNITY LIVING LAND

The Living Land is a realm of primitive peril, savage sensuality, dangerous dinosaurs, and the invading Edeinos hordes (humanoid reptiles, with long tails and snouts). The Living Land supplements offered in this Kickstarter help you continue and expand your table-top role-playing game experience in the evolving world of TORG Eternity. There are amazing opportunities scattered among the Living Land’s perils. The Law of Wonders insures that lost treasures appear in the misty and unexplored jungles. These treasures might have disappeared from Earth long ago or they may be relics from COSM destroyed by the High Lords. Whatever their different origins, they are resurfacing here and now, for any adventurers bold enough to discover them! The Living Land is an amazing, in-depth addition for immersive play in TORG Eternity.

MORE ABOUT TORG

ETERNITY TORG is a classic that’s returned with the great setting that made it famous, but with new modern style runs that make it more fun to play than ever. It’s now called TORG Eternity. There is absolutely no game setting like multi-genre setting of TORG Eternity. There is amazing choices for players to control and create their characters. Thanks to the many celebrated game designers that created the game mechanics, it has extremely fun game play. It is truly unique. Check out the current Kickstarter for more details and videos about TORG Eternity.

For more on the Torg Eternity – The Living Land Kickstarter click here.

www.UlissesNorthAmerica.com

Survival Box as of 2018-04-05. More items may be added as stretch goals are unlocked.

3 Savage Worlds RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Freedom Squadron, Savage Tokusatsu, and The Dinosaur Protocol

Kickstarter has several Savage Worlds settings funding at the moment. Want to do your own 1980s-style GI Joe vs COBRA? Thinking you’d like to see giant robots versus monsters? What about post-apocalyptic dinosaurs? Right now on Kickstarter, Savage Worlds await you!

Freedom Squadron – A Savage Worlds Setting by SpyGlass Games
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“Freedom Squadron is a high-octane “Love Letter to 80’s Cartoon Action Heroes,” featuring new rules and new options for Savage Worlds.

It is the year 2051. After the startling discovery of VENOM—a paramilitary organization and global conspiracy that’s been interfering in world events since the end of the 19th century—the United Nations and leaders of the free world have been shaken to their core. In the aftermath of World War III, which they started, VENOM’s clear goal is world domination, and they will stop at nothing to achieve it.

The world’s response? Choose the greatest hero of the war, General Abraham Steel, and charge him to recruit an elite fighting force to oppose VENOM and protect liberty for all. That force, comprised of the best-of-the-best from all over the globe, is Freedom Squadron!

Players take on the role of those who’ve heeded the call to action. They are new Recruits who must first earn their stripes to become Commandos. Eventually, if they live up to the expectations of trainers like Sandbar, Corporal Carnage, Preedatore, and Blindsight, they may earn their Code Names and carry the fight to VENOM anywhere in the world… and beyond!

“Savage Worlds was created to handle the kinds of games I often like to play and run, where you can be a badass fighter or wizard or whatever, but you can also be a leader. A planner. I’m proud of how the game accommodates that, and my friend Sean Patrick Fannon has added even more to it in Freedom Squadron.

I had a blast in the Plans & Operations phase riffing off the other players, figuring out how best to use our individual characters’ skills, and then watching it all come together in the adventures that followed. Sean isn’t afraid of big games and big ideas, and this may be his best yet. I can’t wait to back, buy, and run it myself!”

Shane Lacy Hensley (Code Name: BUBBLES), veteran author and game designer, creator of Savage Worlds®, CEO Pinnacle Entertainment Group

Freedom Squadron has many new features for Savage Worlds® fans. Written and designed by Sean Patrick Fannon (ShaintarSavage Rifts®), these are special rules both inspired by his previous work and brand new for this setting. These include:

    • Plans & Operations: A unique combination of core Savage Worlds® game play elements that allows players to engage in multiple missions and actions in an “action cinema montage” style. Intelligence gathering, tactical positioning, investigations, covert insertions, computer hacking—anything and everything special ops Commandos might do between their epic battles with VENOM and other enemies. Fast-paced, inclusive, and designed to feature all of a hero’s skills, the Plans & Operations rules are sure to enhance any Savage Worlds® game.

 

  • Vocation Frameworks and Specializations: Inspired and adapted from the character creation rules of Savage Rifts®, these allow the player to choose a starting package of skills and abilities that reflect their primary role in the team, while also gaining cool extra abilities rolled randomly from various interesting charts. This is all on top of the usual core Savage Worlds® character building process.
  • New Edges: like Fighting Style, Operational Planning, Qi Focus, Strange DNA, and the innovative Zone Specialist (allowing heroes to truly shine in various environments like Arctic, Mountain, or Sea Zones).
  • Skill Focuses, Gear Points, and much, much more!
Psi War Big Epic Game at Ghengis Con
Psi War Big Epic Game at Ghengis Con

Freedom Squadron for Savage Worlds®, is based on VENOM Assault®, the board game created by SpyGlass Games. Evil Beagle Games has worked with World Designer Michael Knight to not only bring the world to life, but to expand on it as well.

Supplemental gaming accessories not included. Final design subject to change.
Supplemental gaming accessories not included. Final design subject to change.

While VENOM Assault® is not required at all in order to immerse yourself in the world of Freedom Squadron, you can check out SpyGlass Games’ website to view many character bios and even purchase the game!

Pinnacle Entertainment Group has created one of the most popular game systems in the world with Savage Worlds®, specifically oriented towards pulp and cinema action experiences. Sean Patrick Fannon of Evil Beagle Games has worked with them for years, and is the mastermind behind Savage Rifts®. Creating Freedom Squadron for Savage Worlds® was never a question.

With Pinnacle’s new release of Flash Gordon™ the Roleplaying Game, featuring many new rules updates, Freedom Squadron® is completely up-to-date and represents the state-of-the-art for Savage Worlds® fans.

New To Savage Worlds?

If you’re new to the Savage Worlds® rules system, Freedom Squadron® does require the core rulebook to play. You can get it in print and PDF from Pinnacle’s website. Pinnacle Entertainment Group publishes and manufactures the Savage Worlds® rules book, and maintains this website.

“Freedom Squadron offers an RPG experience like no other. This game is bursting with nostalgic tropes and themes, added to the rock-solid gameplay of the Savage Worlds system. The Plans & Operations rules are an innovative mechanic that focuses the action right where it belongs: on your characters facing down VENOM. Freedom Squadron is the perfect way to take on the roles of an elite, highly-trained special mission force and go on exciting adventures in this fully-realized setting!” – Ross Watson (Code Name: SKIPPER), Product Line Manager Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Wrath & Glory; Lead Developer, Savage Rifts; Lead Writer/Designer, Accursed

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Let’s call this what it is – 1980s GI Joe! The setup, the execution, the names, the file card feel of the bios, the art that’s reminiscent of Tim Seeley’s GI Joe comic work from a decade ago, it’s the feel of my youth and one of my favorite toy lines/cartoons. But, there’s one difference, this is going to be the best version of that era of GI Joe, it’s going to be your version and your stories. This is not to say this is an officially licensed GI Joe product, it’s not; instead, this RPG is based on the board game, VENOM Assault. Regardless of that, the concept will put you back in your childhood and wondering if you should crack open eBay and buy some figures.

But will it be a good Savage Worlds setting? Well, I think the answer to that question is Sean Patrick Fannon. I had the pleasure of roleplaying with Sean at AndoCon 2018 (read about it here). He’s excellent at his craft and he’s the lead designer and brand manager for Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage Rifts and I’d say he’s the perfect project lead for Freedom Squadron, an individual who loves the craft and the content. His presence as lead designer gives this a big stamp of approval. [By the by, Sean’ll be on this list twice.]

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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The Dinosaur Protocol (for Savage Worlds) by Battlefield Press International
Ends on .

[Disclosure: One of this project’s stretch goals is “$3850 – Stretch Goal #2 – One Sheet Adventure by Egg Embry“.]

“A post-apocalyptic table top role playing game of adventure and discovery in the jungles and plains of a world grown wild and strange.

65 million years have separated the ages of man and dinosaur. Until now.

“Some time in the 21st Century, something broke the world. No one knows for sure what happened. Solar flares, war, global warming, pollution and environmental collapse, or perhaps a combination of all of them. Perhaps it was something much stranger. All we know is that mankind fled the surface, retreating into vast underground shelters where they could wait out the centuries until the earth was habitable once more. But when we emerged from the darkness and prepared to retake our world, it was not as we remembered it. Something had happened to the world that once was. In the centuries without man, nature wound back the clock, returning the planet to an earlier, cleaner, more primal age. An age of dinosaurs.

Now humanity must choose – do we fight to reclaim our past, or do we make peace with the present and embrace a simpler future? Armed with the skills and technologies of our ancestors, do we struggle to recreate former glories, or will we use the second chance we have been given to avoid the mistakes of the past? Will human nature even give us the choice? Will we exterminate the reborn dinosaurs, enslave them, or something else? What will be our Dinosaur Protocol?” – From the journals of Archivist Roebuck

Written for the award-winning Savage Worlds game engine by Chris Halliday and Jonathan M. Thompson, The Dinosaur Protocol is a game of mystery, exploration, discovery and adventure. Players take the role of explorers, scientists, scavengers, hunters and traders, trying to survive a world whose first masters have returned. Will they stay at home and build their settlement, or blaze new trails through the saurian jungles of a World Reborn? Will they extend the hand of friendship to other settlements, or war for valuable resources? Will they hunt the dinosaurs, or study them? Where did the dinosaurs come from, and what other mysteries lie hidden in the ruined cities, dense jungles and empty deserts? Just who – or what – else is out there?

The Dinosaur Protocol presents a bestiary of prehistoric life, rules for encountering, battling and wrangling dinosaurs, details on how to carve your own settlement from the primeval jungle, rules for scavenging ruined cities and ancient installations, and a guide to the World Reborn… everything you need to create your own Dinosaur Protocol campaign.

A post-apocalyptic table top role playing game of adventure and discovery in the jungles and plains of a world grown wild and strange for the Savage Worlds Game Engine.

Alternate campaign frameworks will include:

Blast to the Past: Something went wrong the day they tested the weapon, and the sky tore open. Now your hometown is millions of years in the past, and you and your neighbours must survive a world you never thought you’d encounter.

The Broken World: Time has shattered. Imperial Rome has mingled with modern Europe. Blood runs down the step pyramids of Mexico, and at the bottom of your street is a jungle that wasn’t there yesterday. A jungle from which thunderous footsteps and distant roaring can be heard…

On Safari: Time travel has allowed humanity to retrieve extinct species from the past, and correct some of our worst mistakes, but it’s expensive. Chronos Corp allows universities and research institutes access to their Deep Time stations, while paying customers and their guides hunt the most savage and successful creatures in history. But something has gone wrong at the station. They’ve lost contact with home, the power is failing, and there’s a horde of hungry raptors gathering beyond the security fence…

Inside the Triangle: It was supposed to be a holiday, time off in the sun to recover from the stresses and strains of modern life. Only something hit the plane and now you’ve come down near an island that doesn’t show up on any map, populated by creatures that should have been dead for millions of years. Can you survive, let alone find a way home?

The New World: When scientists discover a crack in time leading to the distant past of a nearby timeline, it seemed like a gift from the gods, a means to escape an overcrowded world strangling to death on pollution. Now you and your family are pilgrims exploring a frontier like no other, building a new life in a primal land. But the factions and pressures of the old world may just have followed you here, and you no longer know who you can trust.

Cover Image is “Laelaps” by Charles Knight”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

[Disclosure: One of this project’s stretch goals is “$3850 – Stretch Goal #2 – One Sheet Adventure by Egg Embry“. You have been warned twice now. 😉 ]

Per the disclaimer, this project inspires me. For this action RPG, let’s strip out the need for superpowers, mutants, supernatural monsters, aliens, gods, magic, and made-up weapons, and get back to the reason we build homes in communities – Humanity vs Nature [in this scenario, Dinosaurs]. The idea of co-existing with the Earth’s apex predators is going to be the fuel for great battles at the gaming table! With the focus on the thunder lizards, expect all of the tools you’ll need to make your table Jurassic role-play as you tell stories of living in a world where humanity is an appetizer!

Oh, and Jonathan M. Thompson, co-creator on this project, loves him some dinosaurs and Savage Worlds! This is your chance to partake in his dinosaur love and see how well it will fit with the Savage Worlds rule set!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Savage Tokusatsu: Kaiju, Mechs, and Heroes for Savage Worlds by BPB Games
Ends on Fri, April 13 2018 11:59 AM EDT.

“Transforming heroes, kaiju running amok, giant robots versus the monster of the week, and more built for the Savage Worlds rule set.

Tokusatsu is the Japanese word for any live action movie or television show that makes heavy use of special effects. The word’s literal translation is “Special Filming.”

Even if you aren’t familiar with the word itself, you are familiar with the works that fall under its umbrella. Giant, lizard-like kaiju that breathe atomic energy, quirky teens that transform into superheroes to fight against aliens from the moon, and giant robots going blow for blow with one another are all fundamental works within the genre of tokusatsu.

Savage Tokusatsu is a game built from the ground up specifically for the Savage Worldsroleplaying game. Within the pages of this softcover book are new rules and character options to help you capture the feel of any tokusatsu story in the collaborative storytelling experience that is tabletop roleplaying.

You can be the transforming team of heroes working together to control a giant mech simultaneously. You can play the desperate humans trying to halt the advance of an unstoppable monster that towers above skyscrapers. All this and more is possible with Savage Tokusatsu.

Savage Tokusatsu is a Savage Worlds supplement with approximately 100 pages of new content to help you take your game from mundane to kaiju-sized.

It contains:

  • Frameworks to represent the diversity of the many transforming heroes genres of tokusatsu.
  • New Edges that encourage an even greater degree of cooperation and teamwork amongst teammates.
  • New Hindrances that capture the feel of youthful characters trying to find their way in the world.
  • Multiple new Optional Rules to help you capture the specific feel of whatever genre of tokusatsu you seek to emulate. Lighthearted action and grim, pessimistic horror are all just as welcome as the next.
  • An in-depth but highly intuitive system for designing iconic weaponry and suits of armorfor transforming heroes and special agents alike.
  • An in-depth but not intrusive system for designing challenging monsters for our more mechanically-inclined friends.
  • A simple Hero Tier system to help groups wishing to avoid Toughness Bloat work giant robots, kaiju, and normal-sized people into the same sessions.
  • A streamlined way to approach high Toughness creatures for groups looking to capture the durability and desperation of facing down skyscraper-sized beasts with a column of tanks.
  • Over 40 new statblocks including heroes, kaiju, monsters of the week, and big bads that give detailed examples for each type of playstyle.
  • full Plot Point Campaign for a light-hearted, transforming hero themed tokusatsu adventure with several Savage Tales.
  • High quality printing fulfilled with DriveThruRPG. The book will fit right in with your other 6.625″ x 10.25″ Savage Worlds books on the bookshelf!
  •  A collaborative system for creating and controlling a shared pilot mech.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Giant robots vs giant monsters using Savage Worlds! This is going to be big, dumb, action fun and I can’t wait for it! Want to test it out? They have a free test drive here. Add to that Sean Patrick Fannon’s second appearance on this list, this time as a guest writer for the project… which makes sense since he’s the lead designer for Pinnacle Entertainment’s Savage Rifts and he will bring the giant personalities this game needs to compete with its mechs and leviathans!

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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

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

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Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

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

9 QUESTIONS ABOUT ANKUR “Land of the first people” Africa setting expansion WITH Christopher M. Miller (Chris Miller Games)

I met Christopher M. Miller at The Atlanta Sci-Fi and Fantasy Expo 2018 where he shared his ANKUR RPG system and setting. He took the time to share not only the mechanics of the system but also why he built it and how he went about publishing it. Now he’s working a Kickstarter for its first expansion and he agreed to talk about that project.

EGG EMBRY – Chris, thanks for talking with us. Tell us about ANKUR: Kingdom of the Gods.

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER ANKUR is a sci-fi tabletop role-playing game based on Sumerian mythology and the ancient astronaut theory. It was the result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, and has been nominated for a GAMA award for best TTRPG of 2017.

 

EGG – You’re running a Kickstarter for ANKUR “Land of the first people”. What will this expansion offer?

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER – ANKUR “Land of the first people” is a game setting supplement for the tabletop role-playing game ANKUR. The book details the city-states of Kumat, Meluha, and Zimbabwe (among others); located in the continent of Mundwazi (Africa). The book introduces new professions, skills, and weapons to help make characters from this setting more unique. Inside you’ll also find a host of new creatures, places of interest, NPCs, organizations and adventure hooks that will help GMs immerse their players in this expanded world.

 

EGG – You didn’t go with a standard RPG publisher for ANKUR. Who published this and how did that come about?

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER – The game is currently being published by Ingram, and through them is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Drivethru-rpg. ANKUR is a “game”, but it’s not a board game or a card game, it’s a “book”. So, I went to the largest traditional book publisher in the world: “Ingram”. I have a Barnes & Noble store near my home, and in fact, I wrote most of the game while sipping expensive coffees in their café. I wanted to be able to walk in a B&N store and see my game on their shelves. I have succeeded in this dream, but the truth is, most gamers buy their games from game stores not book stores. All my merchandise is currently print on demand, which is very convenient for direct online sales to customers, but frowned upon by many game distribution companies, who prefer a very specific supply chain. Breaking into this exclusive supply chain can require both popularity and huge investments. I’ve currently got some very promising leads with several game distributors here in the South-Et. We’ll see what happens.

 

EGG – What’s the core mechanic for ANKUR?

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER – 1D12. All you need for this game is one twelve-sided die. Any time you want to attack or make a skill check, just add the appropriate Aptitude score to your skill circle number; the result is your “APN” or “Action Potential Number”. In order to make a successful attack or skill roll, the object is to roll your D12 and score equal to or lower than your APN. A roll of a 1 is always a success (but not a crit) and a roll of 12 is always a “critical failure”. In order to score a “critical success”, you must roll your exact APN. Virtually all forms of conflict resolution involve an APN or Action Potential Number.

EGG – What do you see as the secret sauce for the system? What’s the mechanic or setting that makes this a gamer’s go to system/setting?

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER – Well, there are two aspects to game play in ANKUR that have become fairly popular: Karma points & the fact that if you die, you can continue playing as a ghost.

Every character starts each game session with 3 “good” karma points. During play, they may spend 1 good karma point to re-roll failed rolls; spend 2 good karma points to forego rolling and automatically succeed at an action or spend 3 karma points to automatically create a critically successful action. The caveat to that however, is that for every good karma point spent by the player, the GM gets an equal amount of “bad Karma” points that can be used to make the player re-roll successes etc. Karma points can get you out of a scrape, but beware relying too heavily on them.

One thing that has always annoyed me about TTRPGs is unfortunate/untimely character death. Often in such instances the player is forced to sit out the rest of the game twiddling their thumbs. This is compounded by the generally lengthy process of character creation. I really began to contemplate this when a play-tester suffered a deadly wound during the first round of combat. It is no fun to have a character die, and while it may sometimes serve the story, sometimes it also makes a better story to have the slain character complete their mission. I’ve always been interested in the paranormal and thought it might make an interesting addition to the game. Characters who choose to become ghosts gain the ability to fly, walk through walls, possess the living etc. But they must also feed vampirically on the living in order to exist between worlds. It is also technically illegal to feed on humans, and there is a special class of psionic ghost hunters who protect the living. It can make for some very cool game play.

 

EGG – What was the game that got you into gaming?

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER – 1st edition D&D in 1981. Other favorites: WEG Star Wars D6, Rifts, TMNT, Beyond Supernatural, Warhammer fantasy, Conan.

EGG – When you’re not working on ANKUR, you’re active in the wider genre community, what else do you enjoy working on?

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER – Well, my wife and I have been doing the Rocky Horror Picture Show live on stage every Friday night at the Plaza theater in Atlanta for the past 16 years. I was an avid LARPer for over twenty years, and I was a guest liaison at Dragon-Con for over ten years. Nowadays, I mostly write at home with my pug.

 

EGG – What other projects are you currently developing?

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER – I’m working on a new card game called: Role-play Roulette. Basically, it will be a fast, easy card game that I hope will become a gateway for card-gamers to get into TTRPGs.

 

EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about ANKUR and this Kickstarter?

CHRISTOPHER M. MILLER – You can find all of my products (core rules, maps, adventures, short stories, GM screen etc.) at Drivethrurpg.com. The core rules book can be ordered through Barnes & Noble or Amazon. The Kickstarter for the African setting expansion: ANKUR “Land of the first people” is currently live but ends April 1st. I’ll be appearing at Momo-Con, Outlanta-Con, Origins Game Fair, Atlanta Comic-Con and Dragon-Con. Thank you.

 

You can find the Kickstarter here.

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

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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 orwall 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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

10 Questions about the Capers RPG with Craig Campbell (NerdBurger Games)

During AndoCon 2018 in Atlanta, I had the pleasure of playing Craig Campbell’s GM-less RPG, Die Laughing. Craig supervised (and Tweeted) some of the best moments from this horror-comedy-movie romp in which the point is to die onscreen hilariously and come back as… a movie producer! It’s a fun party game on the lighter side of RPG. During the con he also discussed another RPG gem (for which he’s running a Kickstarter), CAPERS.

EGG EMBRY – Craig, thanks for talking CAPERS RPG here. What’s it about?

CRAIG CAMPBELLCAPERS is a superpowered game of gangsters in the Roaring Twenties. You play gangsters and bootleggers looking to make your fortunes. Alternatively, you can portray members of law enforcement looking to bring these criminals to justice. Either way, you have superpowers!

 

EGG – What inspired the idea of superpowered gangsters?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – It started as wanting to make a supers game but not one set in the modern day. There are plenty of RPGs that do that. So I want looking into history. After trying a few ideas on, I settled into the 1920s, a period I find fascinating. As I worked on the game, it became apparent to me that I wasn’t designing a supers game, not really. And it certainly wasn’t a superHEROES game. I was designing a gangster game where the gangsters happen to have powers. That realization informed every design decision I made moving forward.

EGG – I talked about your GM-less, comedy RPG, Die Laughing, in the opening of this article. How different will CAPERS RPG be from that experience?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – Well, they’re both RPGs. Beyond that, they’re pretty different. CAPERS is a more traditional RPG. A bunch of players portraying characters with a GM guiding everything. You can play one shots or a campaign. There’s character advancement and rewards. Recurring antagonists and exploration of themes and tropes over a period of time. Die Laughing is a GM-less, short-play story game that’s designed to be run as a one-shot. It’s also much funnier and laced through with exaggeration, hyperbole, and a self-awareness of horror movie tropes.

 

EGG – Do you think The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults would have been better with booby-traps?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – For sure. That said, it would have been better if there had been ANYTHING in the vault. Anything at all.

EGG – Ha! True, true, true!

Moving on, as the publisher, can you highlight one pledge level/backer reward from that campaign that you think is the standout for CAPERS RPG?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – I love all my babies equally. That said, the Jacks and Jills level is the “super-fan” level. All the PDFs. A book and CAPERS themed deck of playing cards shipped to you. You get to create an NPC who fills an important role in the game. And the illustration for this NPC is your likeness, appearing both in the book and on one of the jacks in the playing card deck.

 

EGG – I love getting to participate in the game with a NPC. Very cool reward!

Tell us a little about you, what was the game that changed you into a gamer?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – D&D was my first RPG experience, specifically a Ravenloft game (which is poetic since I’m a horror movie fan). I played a bunch of RPGs throughout college, not just D&D. I think it was that experience as a whole that transformed me into a gamer, knowing that there were so many different games and getting a chance to play a bunch of them.

EGG – What prompted you to create NerdBurger Games?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – I had been freelancing for D&D (along with a little Pathfinder, Gamma World, and Iron Kingdoms) for several years. As Wizards of the Coast ramped down D&D 4E and started playtesting 5E, my freelancing started to dry up. So like a sucker, I decided to try to make my own RPG. That became Murders & Acquisitions and the beginning of NerdBurger Games.

 

EGG – As a Kickstarter veteran, what have you learned from your prior gaming Kickstarters?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – Kickstarters are a lot of work. People told me that before the first one. I said, “yeah, yeah, mine is a little game and I probably won’t even get that many backers.” Eight months later, after the Kickstarter and the publishing/fulfillment stages took up a significant amount of my free time, I understand. Now I understand.

EGG – What other projects are you currently developing?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – Die Laughing is the big one. It’s likely to be the next RPG from NerdBurger Games. I’m also tinkering with a very simple RPG that parents and kids can play together. And I have an idea for a sort of, kind of science fiction-ish game that takes place during an apocalypse that features an interesting twist.

EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about CAPERS RPG and NerdBurger Games?

CRAIG CAMPBELL – Thanks so much for having me do this interview. And thanks to all the people who have backed CAPERS so far. I hope to be able to say that to many more people in the coming days. You can learn more about my game stuff at NerdBurgerGames.com. On Twitter, I’m @NerdBurgerCraig. You can buy stuff at DriveThruRPG.com, but check the CAPERS Kickstarter first. M&A is an add-on there. So if you like both games, you can get a sweet deal.

 

You can find out more about the campaign here – CAPERS.

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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 orwall 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).

9 Questions about Era: The Empowered with Ed Jowett (Shades of Vengeance)

Superhero. RPG. Kickstarter. I’m talking to Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance about his superpowered RPG, Era: The Empowered campaign.

EGG EMBRY – Ed, thanks for joining me, as always. What’s Era: The Empowered about?

ED JOWETT – Thanks very much, it’s a pleasure to be back!

Era: The Empowered is an epic RPG which tells the story of the emergence of superheroes – Empowered – on a world called Terra.

Rather than offering only one scenario within the setting, the game’s timeline follows through 10 years, providing access to every sub-genre of superhero story you could want. For example, at the start, the first telltale signs of Empowered appear and vigilantes emerge to fight the supervillains who rise up. Following that, Atlantis’s forces rise from the ocean to attack the surface. Next, the supervillains and superheroes form groups to fight the larger threats to their goals. When the Old Gods of legend return and claim part of the planet as their domain, Empowered have to choose whether to try to fight them back or join them. When that threat is destroyed, the Assassins’ Guild begins to target Empowered individuals, attempting to eliminate them all, one by one. Before long, the UN supports the formation of the “Empowered Department”, a superhero police force which reports to them and operates in every country of the world. And, finally, the planet is attacked by a huge, extra-terrestrial force named “The Hunger”, which seeks to wipe out all Empowered on Terra.

That is Era: The Empowered – it’s a game designed to let you play any type of superhero game you like, just by choosing where in the timeline the characters exist!

 

EGG – This isn’t your first foray into the world of The Empowered. How did your “Tales of the Empowered” anthology influencing this RPG?

ED JOWETT – Actually, it’s my third foray into the world of The Empowered!

A little over two years ago, I created the Rulebook Primer for the game, which ran a successful Kickstarter Campaign. In fact, if you search Kickstarter for “Era: The Empowered”, you’ll find that project, which is long since closed. That book had an older style of artwork and didn’t include character creation rules or any of the history. I always intended to do more, and it’s taken me 3 years to get everything together for that book alongside the other projects I’ve been doing.

The Tales of the Empowered Anthology was devised thanks to the Kickstarter “Make100” initiative. They ask you to make 100 of something, as a limited reward on the Kickstarter.

I chose to offer 100 people the chance to add their own superhero to the Era: The Empowered universe. I took submissions from various backers, and we formed the “Tales of the Empowered” anthology from the stories we wrote for those people, plus the stories which had been written during the three years of development but weren’t going to make it into the Core Rulebook.

It’s come out very nicely, and makes a rather nice anthology. I’ve already sent it to backers and the physical version is about to go to print, well ahead of schedule.

So, the answer is that Tales of the Empowered isn’t influencing this RPG, it’s effectively filling in extra Empowered and describing what they were doing during the various events that take place throughout the timeline. There are many more Empowered than could possibly be featured in the main storyline I described above, and this was my way to include a few of them!

EGG – You’ve written a variety of comics. Which ones co-exist with Era: The Empowered and what inspired them?

ED JOWETT – The comics are either related to Era: The Consortium or Era: The Empowered. They tell a few extra stories which, again, we didn’t want or need to put in the Core Rulebook.

We wanted to expand the universe further – we really love these characters and the universe – and this was a fantastic opportunity to do so!

So far, there’s Lacuna, Blue-Shift and Penumbra #1 and #2 in the Empowered universe.

In fact, Blue-Shift is just running its own Kickstarter [ https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/sovcomics/blue-shift-frenemies?ref=ewlorb ], and has passed multiple Stretch Goals!

Each of these comics is linked to the others and also to the timeline we use in the Core Rulebook. They feature one of the major characters from the game, exploring an aspect of their origin. In the case of Lacuna and Blue-Shift, the comics look at the first time they fought supervillains, while Penumbra focuses on the stories of her various heists (she’s an Empowered thief, which one of your colleagues here wrote an article about previously: http://tesseraguild.com/kickstart-the-comic-penumbra-fear-the-bunny-lord/

While Penumbra is more light-hearted and the others are more “serious”, they all exist in the same universe.

 

EGG Era: The Empowered has a 5-year timeline. What are some of the other defining moments for the in-game history?

ED JOWETT – Well, I covered most of the main points above, although there are a few others.

The first time that heroes work together is when the main supervillain, “Harbinger”, traps them within a bubble universe. Lacuna, Penumbra and several others are forced to work together in order to escape this prison. Most of these individuals have never worked with anyone else before (although Lacuna and Penumbra have met during the events of the Lacuna #1 comic!) and the revelation that that is possible leads to some very interesting consequences…

The second one that springs to mind is the destruction of the robot supervillain, Hack. He’s not, in fact destroyed and, in the best traditions of Ultron, sits at the bottom of the ocean and self-repairs. While people on the surface consider his threat resolved – his creator even moves on to building a cyborg, which he hopes will be more stable! – he enters Atlantis and begins to destroy it. That’s the cause of the war between Atlantis and the surface world!

And one final event out of the timeline (although there are many, many more, of course!) is the realization of a character called Cecropia that when she kills another Empowered, she increases her own sound-based powers. When she finds out about the Hunger and the speed with which it is approaching, she takes over the Assassin’s Guild with one purpose: to eliminate all Empowered. That includes herself. She is going to save the world.

There are so many interesting events in this timeline, many of which have been contributed to by a 15-year veteran of comic writing, that I couldn’t possibly go into them all… but that’s a taster of just a few! If you want to know more, get hold of the book and immerse yourself in this rich, detailed story.

EGG – From a certain point of view, RPG was born of D&D, which could be seen as the celebration of fantasy England/Europe. From that same point of view, superhero comics tend to be the celebration of fantasy New York City/United States of America. Do you see Era: The Empowered through that prism or does it have its own niche within the superhero genre?

ED JOWETT – Honestly, I’ve never really thought about it in that light.

That said, the influences on the universe are going to be pretty clear: it’s a universe which has certain parallels to those of Marvel and DC – quite deliberately – with our own twists and turns within the story and the way it plays out.

We set out to create a superhero universe that was evocative of those, but told its own story and went its own way, both through the roleplaying game and the comics and stories which accompany it.

I’d like to believe that anyone can enjoy playing this, no matter their background, because whether fantasy, Sci-Fi or superheroes.

 

EGG – That brings up, who is your favorite superhero? And better yet, who is your favorite supervillain?

ED JOWETT – My favourite superhero is split between two, so I’m going to cheat!

Martian Manhunter is a fundamentally kind and good individual in most incarnations. You have to respect that from a person who is the last of their kind because their race was wiped out in a war. I also happen to love the possibilities involved with both telepathy and density shifting!

Iron Man is… well, we all know what he is. But, as is pointed out in the Avengers movie, what he is without the armour is *the guy who made the armour*. I respect intellect, and I always prefer someone who made themselves into what they are than someone who randomly had a mutation appear and their struggle is just about coming to terms with their nature. I like to imagine that people can change who and what they are, which I guess is the appeal there.

As for supervillains, it’s fairly clear, and follows the same sorts of lines for one of the classics: Dr Doom. “For those of superior intellect, words *are* weapons.” This guy is hated by everyone in the world, except for the population of the country he actually rules. He’s loved there, they have amazing living conditions and are, generally, extremely happy. There’s a duality in that which I find interesting – someone who will fight everyone else in the world, usually for very little obvious purpose (although Doom does always have a plan!), and yet is loved by his own people.

 

EGG – With Era: The Empowered, are their specifics for how to play a villain or a league of supervillains?

ED JOWETT – Absolutely, just as there are specifics for how to play heroes. Because, like most RPGs, it’s essentially a team game, you’ll often find yourself working with others, even if you aren’t officially a league.

In fact, one of our playtests involved two groups, where one played as the heroes and another played as the villains. After a couple of sessions, we all came together and had a big battle royale to see who was really superior! Great fun.

(The villains won. Obviously!)

 

EGG – How many Era settings have you developed? Do you have an idea of how many settings are yet to be born?

ED JOWETT – I have developed and released seven Era settings so far – Era: The Consortium, Era: Lyres, Era: The Empowered, Era: Survival, Era: Silence, Era: Hitman and Era: Balam.

I am currently working on a number more!

Era: The Chosen is a horror game, where creatures from another universe are invading ours and only a chosen few are able to see them. The game spans over 100 years of this war with the Anonassi, and sees development of technology from a renaissance level to a modern level, offering a few things we’ve not ever done before. Mechanically, of course, it also includes rules around terror and a descent into madness from the horrors you will experience in the Lost Lands!

Era: Atlantis is a game based around an underwater civilization, which is set upon by Humans from one side and great sea creatures from another. You’ll play as half-Human sea-life with various abilities, and a big part of the game will be appeasing your gods!

We’re working on several other games as well, which don’t yet have full titles, but there’s a High Fantasy game, which I ran a session of at a recent convention and was very well-received, a cyberpunk game where you’ll get the ability to do matrix-like reality manipulation, a JRPG-inspired game along the lines of Final Fantasy, and quite a few more.

In total, I currently have seven more Era games in development, not including expansions for Era: The Consortium or the game based on Richard Tongue’s Sci-Fi novels, Battlecruiser Alamo.

There’s a lot more to come from Shades of Vengeance, I think!

 

EGG – To that end, where can fans find out more about your Kickstarter and projects?

ED JOWETT – The best place is always our website, http://www.shadesofvengeance.com. Another good place is our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/shadesofvengeance/. For Era: The Empowered, we actually have a Facebook group, where daily posts are giving sneak peeks of stories, images and info about the book. If you’re not sure whether you want it, there’s no better place to learn more about Era: The Empowered! https://www.facebook.com/groups/eratheempowered/

Thanks very much for inviting me back, Egg, and I hope to speak with you again soon, about one of the other exciting projects we have coming up!

For more on Ed’s superpowered RPG Kickstarter, click here – Era: The Empowered.

* * * * * *

 

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

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

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

 

* * * * * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

Interested in being a wanna-lancer? Start with the official Wanna-lancer Checklist t-shirt orwall 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).

Steampunk Friday – Kickstart the Comic – Boston Metaphysical – The Scourge of the Mechanical Men

Inventors, investigators, intellectuals…

Madmen (and women)…

And a virus which threatens to turn people into machines…

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Boston Metaphysical – The Scourge of the Mechanical Men

Creator/Writer – Madeleine Holly-Rosing

Artist/Colorist – Gwynn Tavares

Letters – Troy Peteri

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Friday, March 2, 2018 at 3:01 PM EST.

***

The Pitch:

Granville Woods and Tesla are in a race for time to save Boston from a mysterious disease that turns human beings into machines.

The Story:

Granville returns home to Liberty Row only to find an almost insane Tesla hiding there. But his efforts to get rid of Tesla hit a snag when they discover that a virus is turning humans into soulless mechanical men. Realizing that Emily and Travis Morgan of Morgan Medicinals are behind the outbreak, they fear that the twins are after more than just control of Boston – They want to take over the Great States of America.

John’s Thoughts:

I interviewed Madeleine Holly-Rosing last year (which you can read here) where she mentioned that one of the next stories would focus on Granville and Tesla… and here you go! From her section on the page “The Story behind the Story”, it sounds like this started with a premise of getting two characters in the same place for an extended time and see how that worked out (and what might the writer learn about both characters in the process). It’s an amazing moment when that happens as a writer. When a character speaks to you and lets you know exactly where they would prefer you to go and how they would prefer to act. It makes writing them all the easier because it really does feel like they write themselves (and maybe they do).

It has been and always will be important to me to write characters who, though they come from diverse backgrounds and have different points of view, are able to work together for the common good.

The Rewards:

As this is a standalone story, you can pick it up on its own ($6 for the PDF and $10 for the print), but given the nature of Kickstarter you have that opportunity to play catch-up ($22 for the digital and $35 for print). At the higher levels, you have the opportunity to get drawn into the Granville and Tesla pinup in full period garb ($145). And if you are considering running a Kickstarter of your own you could opt for one of the Consultation packages which include reviews of your Kickstarter Homepage, phone conversation (plus all the goodies from the Kickstarter) ($225 for Economy Consultation and #350 for Premium Consultation).

 

The Verdict:

Obviously, if you have been there for a while, this becomes a no-brainer, but if you are just thinking about dipping your toes into the Boston Metaphysical Universe, this might be a good place to jump in and check it out.

***

To find out more about Boston Metaphysical Society, check them out here.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. 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

3 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – The Hidden Halls of Hazakor, Redshirt, Vol. 2, and On the Shoulders of Heroes

This week is a callback to RPG Kickstarters that I’ve done articles for elsewhere, for sequels to products I’ve already covered, and for relaunches.

 

On the Shoulders of Heroes – Reborn by Windmill Slam Games
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“A ‘Vikingesque’ campaign setting designed for use with the 5th edition and version 3.5 of the world’s most popular RPG.

Greetings explorer, welcome to our domain! The On the Shoulder of Heroes campaign setting is designed for use with world’s most popular roleplaying game. It is inspired by old school roleplaying games, traditional fantasy, Germanic and Japanese mythology. It is based on the idea that the world was built by the deeds of great people – both good and evil.

Most of the artwork (including the cover) is done by the talented Eoghan Kerrigan
Most of the artwork (including the cover) is done by the talented Eoghan Kerrigan

Content

The book is close to 230 pages divided in 9 chapters. It is beautifully illustrated in grey-scale by 4 talented artists and is bound in a sturdy hard cover.  We’ve uploaded some previews for you here.”

 

Introduction, Races and Classes
Introduction, Races and Classes

 

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

I covered the first version of it here and those thoughts still apply. This one’s major addition is that it will also be for 5e as well as 3.5e which answers my question in the first article.

 

To support their Kickstarter campaign, click here.

 

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The Hidden Halls of Hazakor by Insane Angel Studios
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“An RPG adventure for beginning Dungeon Masters and 1st-level characters — Written for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons

Every Young Hero Needs Somewhere to Start

The Hidden Halls of Hazakor is a fully illustrated, 64+ page starter adventure for fifth edition Dungeons & Dragons — and written with a special focus on young, beginning Dungeon Masters.

Hidden Halls of Hazakor

Created by designer and editor Scott Fitzgerald Gray, The Hidden Halls of Hazakor is a perfect introduction to classic dungeon-crawl adventuring for young DMs of ages 12 and up. In a friendly and straightforward fashion, it demonstrates some of the ways a good fantasy RPG adventure can be put together, and talks about some of the tricks and knowledge that all good DMs learn through the experience of running games — but which aren’t always instinctive for a young player sitting in the DM’s chair for the first time.

(Character concept art)

This adventure builds on the rules and information presented in the D&D core rulebooks and the D&D Starter Set, and on the first-time DM’s experience of having previously been a player in the game. A beginning DM running the adventure will learn to think about the ways in which the story can go in different directions based on what the characters do — and how to not be scared when it does. They’ll practice bringing NPCs to life by way of interesting quirks, to help the players engage with and remember them. They’ll get tips on running fun combat sessions, building from an initial slate of simple, single-foe encounters to more complex fights. And they’ll learn to use humor as a tool to make the game interesting and memorable, especially for other younger players.

The adventure’s approach to humor fits perfectly with the work of artist and comic creator Jackie Musto, whose full-color illustrations will bring The Hidden Halls of Hazakor to life. (And if you’d like the young gamer in your life immortalized as their very own RPG hero, Jackie will be doing a limited number of original illustrations as part of the Kickstarter campaign’s “Eternal Hero!” reward tier.)

 

In the vein of many classic starter scenarios, the adventure features a fully detailed local keep, where the characters meet and learn of the legendary lost ruins in the nearby wilderness. Those ruins then present a classic dungeon crawl in nine parts, featuring fifty different areas to explore, fun physical puzzles and daunting traps, a host of classic monstrous foes — including not one but two dragons — and other challenges that will bring the characters to 5th level… assuming they survive the threats of Hazakor’s lost halls.

 

This isn’t a stripped down or simplified adventure scenario, and there’s no reason why experienced players and veteran DMs won’t also have a good time running it. But The Hidden Halls of Hazakor has been designed and written with young DMs firmly in mind — helping them break down the processes of running an effective RPG session, creating a fun and dynamic world in the dungeon, and sharing that world and its stories as only roleplaying games can.”

Egg’s Thoughts: 

 

It’s an all-ages 5e DM’s toolkit and adventure. For more details on it, I interviewed the creator, Scott Fitzgerald Gray, on Open Gaming Network here.

 

To support their Kickstarter campaign, click here.

 

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Redshirts, Vol. 2: A Starfinder Comedy A.P. for levels 4-6 by Happy Gnome Publishing
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“Redshirts: Adventures in Absurdity Vol. 2 is a Starfinder adventure path guaranteed to make you laugh so hard you’ll pee your spacesuit

REDSHIRTS: ADVENTURES IN ABSURDITY, VOLUME 2!

What is Redshirts: Adventures in Absurdity?

 Glad you asked! It is a Sci-fi/Comedy Adventure Path that is 100% Starfinder compatible. We launched the first volume on Kickstarter in August, and opened the PDF to the public in December. Within 6 days it was the number 1  hottest Starfinder product on DrivethruRPG, and earned their “Best-Seller” status. The entire Adventure Path, which revolves around surviving a deep space exploration mission with a dysfunctional command crew, will be 4 books and take Players from Level 1-12.

How do critics describe it?

It’s been called “The Office Meets Survivor…in space.”

What is the tone of the game?

Absurdist humor mixed with low-brow puns. It’s great for fans of Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Futurama, or The Orville.

What Can we expect in Volume 2?

  • Chapter 4: When a ship of undead creatures kidnaps a Confederation Ambassador, the Redshirts must find a way to rescue her and destroy the vessal, before joining them in undeath, forever.
  • Chapter 5: When a routine visit to Plushy Prime, the happiest place in the Universe, goes wrong the Redshirts must unravel a mystery hidden away for thousands of years.
  • Chapter 6: When the Captain accidentally gets married again (to the Slurmolian Emperor) only the Redshirts can be trusted to find the one creature in the Universe that can perform the annulment before anyone finds out.
  • 20+ new monsters
  • New Equipment to kill your enemies with
  • 5+ new playable races:
Slurmolians: A race of underground dwelling slimy creatures. While normally friendly, their appearance and backwards cultural beliefs can be a turn off.
Slurmolians: A race of underground dwelling slimy creatures. While normally friendly, their appearance and backwards cultural beliefs can be a turn off.

 

Soulcage: Robots who go against there programming to do something so selfless and heroic, that they gain a soul from the universe itself.
Soulcage: Robots who go against there programming to do something so selfless and heroic, that they gain a soul from the universe itself.
  •  
Za’Rootyn: These tentacle-clad people worship their Sun, and follow the rule of the individual that the Sun chooses. They are powerful warriors, loyal friends, and vengeful enemies.
Za’Rootyn: These tentacle-clad people worship their Sun, and follow the rule of the individual that the Sun chooses. They are powerful warriors, loyal friends, and vengeful enemies.
  • Fungoids: The Fungus based people see the world in a unique way with a paranoia unbeknownst anywhere else in the universe. 
  • Val’hooligans: Ancient undead Viking warriors who were worshippers of Loki. Their incessant, never ending pranks and parties got them sent back to the world of the living, stuck between life and death, but still ready to party!

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

I covered the first volume here. This Starfinder project is expanding on the ideas and jokes of the first volume and, if that’s perfect for your gaming table, it’s worth checking out.

 

You can see examples of Happy Gnome Publishing work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

* * * * * *

 

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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

Kickstart the Comic: 5 Seconds Volume 2

When is a power a gift and when is it a curse?

And could it be both?

What happens when the person you save has an extraordinary ability of her own.

***

5 Seconds – Volume 2

Writer – Stephen Kok

Artist – P.R. Dedelis

Colors – Peyton Freeman

 

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Friday, March 2, 2018 at 6:02 AM EST.

***

The Pitch:

What would you do if you could see 5 seconds into the future? How will Jake use this gift when meets a girl who can hear your thoughts?

The Story:

5 Seconds Volume 2 is a YOUNG ADULT – 70 page – PERFECT BOUND – Graphic Novel which picks up directly after the first 5 Seconds finishes. Jake finds himself dealing with a new situation, a girl who can read minds. What deep dark secret is the girl hiding and can Jake (with his best friend Ellie) find out before the past catches up with them?

John’s Thoughts:

I’m in that boat, having not read the first volume, but I’m willing to take their word for it with this self-contained story.

I sometimes (all the time) wonder about how it would feel to be able to see into the future. How could you not these days when every new discovery, every new piece of handheld technology, and every advancement in knowledge makes you feel as if the old school science fiction writers had been left to guide us into the future. Going back to HG Wells, we all want to know what might lurk for us around the next corner. What happens if we choose this path over another path.

Where are we going?

Add to that the idea of peering into other people’s heads… all at once it is both enticing and utterly frightening. I think that if we knew what was going on in our friend’s heads at any time we all would seal ourselves away from the rest of the world (and it wouldn’t even be close).

Put those two things together…

The Rewards:

On the higher end, you can get the original cover artwork ($235) or get drawn into the comic ($102). If you are looking to play a bit of catch-up you have the PDFs available ($6) or print copies of both volumes ($39). One thing I really like is that you can also get pdfs of his non-5 Seconds comics (Tabby, Blue, and Word Smith) and really play catch-up on everything Stephen Kok has put out into the world thus far ($12).

The Verdict:

While I haven’t read Volume 1, I have checked out Word Smith by Stephen and really enjoyed it. If you like fun comics with a cool gimick at the core (whether that is words are magic or a glimpse into the future), you may want to check out the Kickstarter.

***

To find out more about 5 Seconds or other works by Stephen Kok, check them out here.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. 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

 

 

 

Steampunk Fridays – Kickstart the Comic – Make/100: Pneumatic Cases #2: Sleuthing Steampunk Spouses

The modern day Holmes and Watson are man and woman (or at least one version of them is)… but why not have that dynamic against the backdrop of a Steampunk world? And instead of the will they/won’t they – let’s just have them say I Do before the story even begins!

A love story, a murder mystery, and the happy couple who is at the center of it all.

***

Pneumatic Cases #2: Sleuthing Steampunk Spouses

Published by Last Ember Press

Creator/Writer – John Wilson

Artist/Cover – Rowel Roque

Colors – Lisa Moore

Letters/Book & Logo Design – Brant Fowler

Edits – Lisa Moore & Brant Fowler

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 12:59 AM EST.

***

The Pitch:

Lord and Lady Ravenscroft are two brilliant scientists and inventors whose Bohemian lifestyle and inventive ways are in direct contrast to the staid and proper ways of Victorian Era London.

Served faithfully by their steam-driven metallic Majordomo, Pneuman, and armed with a variety of elaborate self-created inventions, the Ravenscrofts pursue the one vocation that brings excitement into their world… solving murders!

The Story:

Brought in to consult on a mysterious murder, the Ravenscrofts began hunting down clues that might lead them to the devious culprit. Making waves and alerting the wrong people to their efforts nearly cost them their lives.

Now, the case takes them to Austria to seek out the next piece to this chaotic puzzle of murder and mayhem they’ve found themselves wrapped up in.

Issue 2, Page 1 Art – Rowel Roque Colors – Lisa Moore

John’s Thoughts:

I think I must have missed the first issue of this comic at some point, because I recognize the title, but obviously have not read it. Lucky for me, there are options to go ahead and catch up on the series. Regardless, this takes its nod from the mystery style stories of the time with a married couple at the center of it. I dig the idea of both of them being inventors as that way they both will have a chance to show off as the story progresses.

The sample pages/ opening to the story makes this feel like it might almost be a stand alone adventure for the two of them, and makes me very curious about whether the first issue was done in the same fashion. Given that my own Gilded Age comic is told in “done in ones”, it is a format that is near and dear to my heart.

Plus, kudos for the alliteration of their title…

The Rewards:

As part of Kickstarter’s “Make 100 campaign”, it’s a interesting idea to piggyback the Acrylic Charm ($39 level) with the comic campaign itself. I’ve seen many people do the small pin designs throughout the month, but couldn’t figure out a way to tie it into a potential comic campaign. Leave it to the Last Ember Press guys and gals to figure that piece out. In addition, at the $17 level they have basically a preorder for issues #3 and #4 as well which again is not only thinking towards the future, but really making it so that this project will get to its issue 3 and 4. At the highest level ($250) you can get Drawn In to issue #3… always a cool option.

The Verdict:

If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing that you have at least a passing interest in all things Steampunk. This is definitely that… so what are you waiting for? Go to the Kickstarter page here!

***

To find out more about Last Ember Press and their other comics, check them out here.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. 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

3 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Ultimate NPCs, Vital Hearts, and Tower of the Black Sorcerers

This week, I look at an AD&D adventure, a 5e book of NPCs, and a trapped-in-a-RPG role-playing game. All of these offer something fun for the gaming table.

 

Dungeon Delve #1: Tower of the Black Sorcerers by Dungeoneers Guild Games
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“Fantasy role-playing module for 1st or 2nd Ed AD&D, BECMI D&D, OSRIC, DCC, Pathfinder, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry, or other OSR.

THE PROJECT :

Tower of the Black Sorcerers” is the first project of Dungeoneers Guild Games’ DUNGEON DELVES adventure modules. This game adventure is designed specifically for the first edition of the original and everyone’s favorite fantasy role-playing game. It can easily be adapted to most fantasy role-playing games including the advanced 2nd edition game, the original game, the BECMI (“Basic”) game, and most old-school renaissance (OSR) role-playing systems or other game systems.

The module consists of 24 pages of high adventure, sorcery, and mystery with minimal plot that allows it to fit easily into any campaign world. It is designed to have the look and feel of the classic Dungeons & Dragons modules of the early and mid-1980s. The module’s origins come from an adventure I wrote for my current AD&D campaign that has been running for the last 15 years. The evil wizards and their minions proved to be quite a challenge for my players.

Tower of the Black Sorcerers” will be available in print and PDF versions. The print version has a classic module format with stapled booklet and cardstock cover. Maps are printed in dungeon blue on the inside the cover for that genuine old school gaming feel. Creating a module that consists of quality production, artwork, and printing that is also great to play is the ultimate goal of this project. If the first proof from the printer is any indication, that goal has been achieved.

As of this moment, all editing, layout, and artwork for the “Tower of the Black Sorcerers” are fully completed. All that is left is to have the physical copies printed. I have a professional, quality printer selected and ready to go.

"Tower of the Black Sorcerers" front cover with art by Bradley K. McDevitt. The sorcerer, Basharn, defends his tower from invading adventurers.
“Tower of the Black Sorcerers” front cover with art by Bradley K. McDevitt. The sorcerer, Basharn, defends his tower from invading adventurers.

THE MODULE:

The black sorcerers have dwelled within their baleful tower for hundreds of years. Now something evil stirs in the town of Bal-Curz — strange happenings of malefic magics and persons disappearing in the night. The fearful townsfolk whisper that its source stems from the Black Tower. Possibly a few bold heroes could Investigate the tower to uncover its secrets and put an end to this unseen terror? 

Tower of the Black Sorcerers” is an adventure for 5 to 7 characters of intermediate levels 5 to 8. In this module, the adventurers will explore a tower inhabited by a cabal of sorcerers. Set in a town, the DM can easily place this tower in an urban location in any fantasy role-playing game world they prefer.”

Russ Nicholson's depiction of the adventurers discovering the shrine of the loathsome god, Morraith.
Russ Nicholson’s depiction of the adventurers discovering the shrine of the loathsome god, Morraith.

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

Old school adventure for, really, AD&D, though it can be used for other systems, but based on the write-up, it’s calibrated for 1e. There are a number of OSR adventures that come out and the demand is always there for them. In a way, I’m always amazed that the system I cut my teeth on still has this level of demand. Then I think back to how fun the quirks of 1e are and I see the appeal. This one is well worth checking out.

 

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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Ultimate NPCs: Warfare for 5th Edition by Nord Games
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“200+ pages of excellent NPCs and pre-built characters at level 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. Statblocks, roleplaying cues, stories and more!

Following on from 2016’s Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery, Ultimate NPCs: Warfare presents a collection of 30 fully fleshed-out characters to populate your game world. From high command to the cook’s tent, you’ll find a variety of soldiers, auxiliaries, and noncombatants within, each with the backstory and statistics necessary to run as an NPC or player character.

How many times have you been put on the spot in the middle of a game and needed to generate one or more highly detailed and well thought-out NPCs? How many times have you spent valuable time pre-game building a fantastic NPC from scratch, only to have the players pass by the tavern they were located in? How many times have you been a player wanting to join a party but didn’t have any good ideas for a character build? How many times have you been running a game and had a player want to join but just didn’t know how to create a character and level them up to be comparable with the rest of the party?!

Ultimate NPCs solves all of these issues as well as a great deal more! The book is packed with exciting, versatile and dynamic character builds that can be used in a myriad of different ways in 5th Edition format.

The book has 30 uniquely designed characters at levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20. This gives maximum versatility for minimal cost and shelf space. Some of the characters are ones that we, the designers, have run in our campaigns for years, some are NPCs we’ve used to challenge or aid our players, and others are brand new builds.

Why did we choose levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20? Well, it seemed to us that these specific levels allow for the most options for the Game Master or player, with the least amount of pages. This allows for maximum value and versatility at a minimum price! w00t!”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

This isn’t Nord Games first Ultimate NPCs book as they’ve also done Ultimate NPCs: Skulduggery for 5e, Pathfinder and S&W!. However, this one has a narrower focus in terms of gaming systems. I like the utility of having a variety of NPCs at various stages of their existence (levels 1, 4, 8, 12, 16, and 20) on tap. This allows on-the-fly NPCs that can grow with the campaign and show up when needed. These types of books – collections of realized background characters – are a great DM resource.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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VITAL HEARTS: Tabletop Role-Play of Isekai+Reality by Sanguine Productions LLC
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“From the makers of FARFLUNG and MYRIAD SONG comes a game of mixed emotions, virtual mystery, and danger that is all too real.

Embrace the isekai spirit of Sword Art Online, Persona, Accel World, Log Horizon, Ready Player One, Dream Park, and other stories where there’s one world that offers far too little .. and another that’s all too much.

Vital Hearts is a tabletop game where you have not one but two characters: your personal user in a modern-day Japan… and an avatar in the next generation in multiplayer gaming. It’s fun at first, as you balance your work-a-day life with your hack-and-slash gaming. And sure, you might dismiss those fake screenshots and Internet hoaxes at first… but there’s definitely something mixed up around here.

A Tale of Mixed Realities…

You’ll be playing not one, but two characters: your persona in Real Life, who has to go to work, to school, and to do other chores… with your avatar in Virtual Reality, who uses fantastic techs of sword and spell to defeat monsters and win the day.  For the game of Vital Hearts, you must strike a balance between RL and VR. If your character spends too much time in the game, they’ll fall behind on their daily life. But if you can’t keep up the pace in the game, you may miss out on great rewards.

 

As you make your own stories, the line between the two gets thinner. Logic, math, and academic skills will help you solve puzzles in the game. Reflexes, wits, and bravery earned in the game can give you new confidence to deal with the ordinary. Whatever path you choose, let your past glories build your future success… because you’ll need to be ready for what’s to come.

… But It’s Only a Game, Isn’t it?

The Internet is full of viral hoaxes. And all kinds of people play these games, so it’s not that weird when one or two make the news. And you just want to play games, not get caught up in politics of anti-gaming organizations, patent disputes, and other things. But the longer you play the Vital Hearts game, the more things happen that are just … odd. Are you and your friends the targets of identity thieves trying to hack your accounts? What kind of publicity stunt goes so badly that the police get involved? Did those accounts go dark because those people just quit… or because of something else? Just what is going on?

You’ll have to work together with your friends, using both your VR champion and your RL self, if you don’t want to be just another victim. And it might not just be you and your friends who are in danger. WIth Vital Hearts getting ready to launch in all regions, the fate of the entire world could be at stake!

Vital Hearts planning committee is a joint effort between three veterans of tabletop gaming, Sanguine Productions, Gunship Revolution, and DriveThruRPG.

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

 

As they note, this is shades of “Sword Art Online, Persona, Accel World, Log Horizon, Ready Player One, Dream Park” or, further afield, the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon brought to the tabletop. In Vital Hearts, you’re playing a player in the “real” world AND their character inside the game. You make two characters so it’s the opportunity to indulge in a different set of skills – you playing the player playing the character. This offers the rare opportunity to really delve into your acting and lampoon your table habits like a good actor playing a bad actor trying to play a dice-driven character. Add to this, the creators of the game are clearly going for a meta experience where you could work in moments of real life and you have something worth checking out.

 

You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.

 

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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 onFacebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

Steampunk Friday – Kickstart the Comic – Grimwood Crossing Vol. 1 & 2 – A Stylish Supernatural Western

The stranger comes to town…

The Sheriff must defend everyone against bandits…

The corrupt cattle owners do their best to hunt down the ragtag band…

Zombies…

Werewolves…

Vampires…

Just another western? I think not.

***

Grimwood Crossing Vol. 1 & 2

Writer/Letterer – Conner Bartel

Illustrator – Atagun Ilhan

Logo & Book Designer – Marc Bartel

Cover Art & Design – James Liswed

Editor – James Davenport

Kickstarter Campaign ends on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 7:59 AM EST.

***

The Pitch:

Read the complete story of the supernatural western comic series about a monster hunter and his young apprentice.

The Story:

Grimwood Crossing is the biggest town in the grim old west. Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies are part of the everyday struggle for the townsfolk. That’s why Grimwood’s Sheriff also has the added job title of monster hunter. It’s a dangerous job so a replacement must always be arranged. With the help of his young, scat-talking apprentice, the Sheriff must fend off a vengeful outlaw with demonic powers.

In Vol. 2 the demonic outlaw confronts the duo face to face. The entire town must come together to keep the outlaw from destroying everything. Alliances are made, differences are put aside, and the community is put to the test.

John’s Thoughts:

Weird West stories hold a special place in my heart. One of the first real scripts I ever wrote was for a 8 page western comic with a werewolf appeared in it. So when you mention all the things which go bump in the night against the desperation and opportunity of the wild west… I’m going to at least take a look and see what it is all about.

From what I can tell of the characters, I like the idea of a former bandit suddenly helping a town against the monsters. And maybe they’re not entirely sure they can even begin to trust him. But they know that someone has got to protect them…

The Rewards:

At the $30 level there is an opportunity to have the book with a signed bookplate featuring the signatures of the writer and artist. Considering they live on two different continents, this would be pretty much the only way to get such an item.

For those of us who missed the Volume 1 Kickstarter, there is an opportunity to play catch-up at $20 for the print or $8 for the digital, both which are a great bang for the buck.

The Verdict:

Color me interested. The artwork gives the right feel for such a book and having it in black and white should only help that.  Around 200 pages of comics potentially… seems like a good deal to me.

***

To find out more about Grimwood Crossing, check them out here.

***

John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. 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