[UPDATED] RPG News, Press Releases, and Conventions – Origins Hotels, Kobold Press Back to PDFs, Where’d My Column Go, and more

Let’s round up some news bites: Richard A. Knaak’s Rex Draconis, my latest Storytellers Vault review, Origins hotels, where’d the “RPG Kickstarters You Should Back” column go?, some press releases, and a deal! Let’s dive into this news roundup.

 

NEWS BITES

  • Going to Origins Game Fair from June 12th to 16th, 2019? While early bird badge registration starts November 15th, the downtown hotels are already available at a discounted rate. Some are sold out, but there are still options. If you’re thinking of going, here’s the links to the discounted downtown Columbus hotels for the show. Click it to see what (if any) options remain.

  • On ENWorld, I look at the [now ended] Vampire: The Masquerade Humble Bundle as well as David MacDowell Blue’s Savannah by Night COMPLETE for the “Storytellers Vault Roundup.” Why did I pick Savannah by Night COMPLETE to review? Because the city lies on the coast of my state (Georgia) and I’ve frequented it a number of times. It’s interesting to see what David created by adding vampires to this colonial metropolis.

  • Several months ago, I shared a press release about Wet Ink Games upcoming Kickstarter, War World Occult RPG. Based on Charles Ferguson-Avery’s art, this “is a gritty horror setting where an eldritch hellscape flows over the battlefields in a fantasy World War”. The game will use the Compass System. We now have a date that the campaign will launch to Kickstarter, October 30th.

  • I’ve made no secret of my childhood love of Richard A. Knaak’s Dragonlance: The Legend of Huma, Kaz the Minotaur, and more. How much have I enjoyed his work? Enough to write several articles and roundup some more reasons to back the Kickstarter to develop this setting for D&D 5e and Pathfinder.
    • On the Open Gaming Network, I interviewed Richard A. Knaak, Phil Beckwith, and Micah Watt about their D&D 5e/Pathfinder 1e conversion of Richard A. Knaak’s latest fantasy series, Rex Draconis, into an RPG setting. Read it here.
    • I reviewed the first book in Knaak’s Rex Draconis series, Rex Draconis: Under the Dragon Moon, here.
    • To add to this, John McGuire shared his thoughts on Knaak’s early Dragonlance books here.
    • I looked at the Kickstarter for Rex Draconis RPG – Rising Tides here. The product is funded, unlocked its first stretch goal, and ends Sunday, October 21 2018 10:02 PM EDT.
    • Want a preview of some of the gaming content? Check out their latest update here!
    • And there’s a Rex Draconis RPG newsletter with even more preview content and thoughts from Richard A. Knaak as well as the game creators. You can sign up for it here.

  • What are you doing this weekend? On Saturday, October 20th, I’ll be at the GAMA Retailer Award-winning Giga-Bites Cafe with Craig Campbell of NerdBurger Games and more (local RPG creators and gamers) playing some RPGs from 2PM to 6PM or 7PM. I’m excited about it and hope your weekend is equally gametastic!

  • [UPDATE on October 19th, 2018 at 10:10AM] On Paizo’s blog, Niobe: She is Life creator, Sebastian A. Jones, talks about Niobe, Stranger Comics, their latest Niobe Kickstarter, and Niobe: She is Pathfinder [not the actual title] that will let you play in the Niobe-verse using Pathfinder rules! Read it here

To see the Kickstarter, click the image.

 

DEALS

 

 

PRESS RELEASES

 

* * * * * *

 

 

Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

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

PRESS RELEASE – Tales of the Old Margreve PDFs Tiers Are Now Available

EDITOR’S NOTES: I reviewed this Kickstarter on the Open Gaming Network here.

Details about the addition of PDFs to Kobold Press’ Tales of the Old Margreve Kickstarter campaign can be read here.

 

News from the Warrens
This Forest is Filled with Fabulous Treasure!
Did you hear? We recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a new 5e adventure book: Tales of the Old Margreve! It comes with a Player’s Guide containing new player options that will help you explore the dark, primeval forest. The adventures are set in the Old Margreve forest of Midgard—and it’s easily transferable to any ancient, mystical forest in your own campaign setting! You can now pledge towards getting it in print, PDF, or your virtual tabletop of choice!
We talked a lot about the Tales of the Old Margreve Kickstarter campaign in the last edition of the Kobold Courier; but we’ve burst through several huge stretch goals since then, so there’s plenty more to talk about in this issue! Let’s check out the secret treasures of the ancient woodland. Read on, fellow kobolds!
5th Edition roleplaying adventures in the deep and menacing forest, for PCs level 1 to 10
Forests in fantasy roleplaying games are dark places, full of secrets. With this project, we bring the Old Margreve to the 5th Edition of the world’s most popular RPG. The Margreve is an ancient, enchanted forest that defends itself from those who come to cut its timber, poach its creatures, or steal its magic. Within its borders the Old Ways are strong, the word of the druids carries great weight, and griffons, dragons, and stranger creatures nest and hunt, undisturbed by humans, dwarves, or other lordlings.
Until your adventuring party shows up. Then things get really interesting.
Tales of the Old Margreve is a brand-new book from Kobold Press filled with
new adventures, encounters, monsters, and everything you need to make a memorable 5th Edition campaign. Whether your campaign is set entirely in the forest, or simply takes a brief detour there, this book will help make your wilderness adventures thrive!
The Old Margreve Kickstarter is made up of three main parts:
  • The Adventures! The Tales of the Old Margreve adventure campaign hardcover for the GM.
  • A Player Resource. The Margreve Player’s Guide softcover gives the players of this campaign knowledge and resources that will help them navigate the lightless boughs of this ancient forest.
  • Miniatures (Unlockable Only!) If we unlock this stretch goal, the campaign will also set of thick cardboard standups, the Margreve Pawns, similar to those created for Tome of Beasts and the Creature Codex.
But that’s not all! More than a dozen stretch goals unlock new adventures, monsters, maps,a dn more. Some will increase the size of the campaign book , making it an even better deal, and some expand the Player’s Guide!
In the end, some experiments are interesting but not successful. For this Kickstarter we’d planned to focus on print and VTT; but the backer support for PDF is too huge to ignore. So Tales of the Old Margreve also includes PDF options!
Our goals are primarily about improving the hardcover book by adding new material to the adventures, expanding the lore of the deep forest, and providing more player options.
That said, we also have several big goals to unlock: a poster map of the forest village that appears in several adventures, the set of custom pawnsmentioned above, and more will certainly become available as the campaign goes on!
Over the past week, we’ve unlocked 7 incredible stretch goals, adding additional content to the Tales of the Old Margreve adventure book and theMargreve Player’s Guide. Every stretch goal makes these books thicker!
Here are the goals we’ve already achieved, thanks to our backers:
And More?
Those seven unlocked stretch goals are amazing… but we’re not done yet. The Old Margreve forest contains dangers and treasures beyond imagining. Take a look at just a tiny sample of the stretch goals you can help us unlock.
The secrets of the Old Margreve are deep and dark, and the hidden depths of the Tales of the Old Margreve Kickstarter campaign are far from fully revealed. Keep an eye out on the Kickstarter page (and on our social media and future Kobold Couriers) for more as we navigate to this forest’s heart.
One Final, Incredible Prize
Decades ago, when the game of D&D was young, a man named Dennis Sustare created a class that lives on to this day: the Druid. Indeed, Gary Gygax was not the creator of the druid class, but we have good news. Dennis Sustare has agreed to join us in creating brand-new spells, items, and even a new subclass for the 5th edition druid. New druid material by the guy who created the class for D&D? Only the mystical forest can hold such wonders.
We want to make this happen, but we can only do it with your support. Help us break through to this mind-bogglingly cool stretch goal!
Do We Have Miniatures for You:
Arise, Creature Codex and Tome of Beasts Pawns!
Fully 300 pawns for your 5th Edition game featuring fearsome monsters from the Tome of Beasts, from tiny to huge!
And the same for the brand-new book of monsters, the Creature Codex. Get 300 full-color pawns for the new monsters in the greatest monster manual since the Tome of Beasts!
Other Recent Kobold Press Titles
The Old Margreve Kickstarter is exciting, but there are other incredible new books from Kobold Press for you to check out!
Journey into nine different creature lairs that highlight Kobold Press’s newest monsters in Creature Codex Lairs.
Plan cunning schemes as you delve into secret lore about the realm of the faeries in Warlock 7: Fey Courts.
These monsters are bit darker than most. Our most horrific designers get to flex their muscles in the Warlock Bestiary.
The Tome of Beasts is a 400+ page book—what if it were a bit lighter?
Behold, from the deepest pits of the earth crawls forth the Deck of Beasts! This deck of cards includes the full stats of monsters from the Tome of Beasts, giving you all the power of the best manual of monsters for 5th Edition in the palm of your hand.
The Deck of Beasts: Challenging Creatures includes over 80 creatures from the innovative Tome of Beasts in a portable format that is easy to clip to a GM Screen or tuck into your module notes! Featuring most creatures with challenge ratings from 6 to 9, the deck includes the Chronalmental, Shadow Fey Elves, Oozasis, Tophet, Vine Lord and many more.
Start from the beginning of
THE WORLD TREE BURNS
Watch the First Official Midgard Livestream on YouTube
or
Listen to it on the go as a podcast!
Using 5th Edition rules, Game Master Dan Dillon and his five players have woven a story of dark magic, sorrow, and true heroism in the dark fantasy world of Midgard.
In The World Tree Burns, five unlikely heroes gather in Zobeck and discover a terrible secret about the world—one that threatens to tear Midgard apart at the seams. Acclaimed game designer and Kobold Press regular Dan Dillon joins the regular cast of Encounter Roleplay to bring you an adventure of epic proportions.
The World Tree Burns has just concluded its first epic season, and you can listen to every glorious second of it on YouTube and in podcast form. Start the adventure from the beginning with Episode 1 on EncounterRoleplay’s YouTube channel, or as a podcast hosted by our friends at The Tome Show.
Dan Dillon is the author of Last Gasp, and one of the expert designers behind the Midgard Heroes HandbookMidgard Worldbook, and Tome of Beasts. He is also a contributor to the upcoming Undermountain dungeon crawl Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage.
Caine, laconic dhampir ranger and vampire hunter; a betrayer of the Blood Kingdoms.
Cloak, enigmatic gnome fled from Niemheim and on the run from Baba Yaga’s horsemen.
Glaz, erudite trollkin geomancer on a mission of knowledge.
Kari, shadow fey and cleric of the cat domain. She lives for the thrill of the hunt.
Riodan, dhampir cleric, a noble on the run from the wars that have torn the Blood Kingdoms asunder.

3 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Creature Codex 5e, Dice Tower of Power, and Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood

Let’s start out 2018 right by finishing up a few 2017 RPG Kickstarter campaigns! One setting, one monster manual, and a reasonably priced dice tower, and all of them are worth checking out!

 

Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood 2e (Savage Worlds) by Battlefield Press International
Ends on .

“Welcome to Sherwood Forest, home of heroes and outlaws

Cover for Shewood for Swords & Wizardry
Cover for Shewood for Swords & Wizardry

Welcome to Sherwood Forest, a place of mystery and excitement. Band together to oppose the forces of the Sheriff and Prince John in England during the Third Crusade. Create your characters to do what is best for England and King Richard by protecting his interests at home.

This setting book allows you to play in the Medieval England of the period of the Third Crusades. The book is designed to not only emulate the historical period, but also the mythical one as well. Play in any level you would like from historical to mythical, emulating various novels, stories and tv shows about Robin Hood.

This setting can be played in either historic or mythical mode. Historic is more realistic, leaving out magic, but in mythical mode, magic has been added to the setting allowing you to play in the fantastic.

This book is the second edition and is written by Jonathan M. Thompson and Wil Upchurch and will be available for the Savage Worlds Role Playing Game. The manuscript is complete, and an alpha draft will be made available to all confirmed backers at least one month after the Kickstarter has been funded.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

I did an interview with my friend, Jonathan M. Thompson, about Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood 2e (Savage Worlds) here that gives more details. It’s worth checking out.

 

Is this game going to be a winner? Like Jonathan says in our interview, he’s “done versions of this book for Pathfinder, D&D5e, and Swords & Wizardry.” I think this is going to be a solid offering.

 

You can find their work on DriveThruRPG here.

To support their Kickstarter campaign, click here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Dice Tower of Power – Simple Cardboard Dice Rolling Solution by Eric Chan & Luke Hammons
Ends on .

“Why pay $30-$200 per dice tower when you can get THREE Dice Towers for $25? A simple cardboard dice tower solution for a simple problem

Dice Towers for a price in line with its function (rolling dice)

Like you, we play a lot of board games. Anyone who plays board games knows that rolling dice is a pain in the ass. You lose them under furniture. You ruin your board games by knocking over all your pieces.

A common solution is to get a dice tower but dice towers aren’t cheap. They can range from $30 to $200. But… if all its meant to do is roll dice why is it so expensive?

That’s why we created the Dice Tower of Power. It’s a simple solution to a very simple problem.

Why spend $200 for something that can be replaced by a piece of cardboard?
Why spend $200 for something that can be replaced by a piece of cardboard?

Why the Dice Tower of Power?

  • It’s made of recycled cardboard so its good for the environment.
  • It takes about a minute to assemble.
  • It can be disassembled for easy transport and storage.
  • It’s durable and can take a lot of punishment.
  • If you spill a drink on it or somehow destroy it – no big deal its cheap to replace.
3 Dice Towers are perfect for 4-6 players!
3 Dice Towers are perfect for 4-6 players!

3 Dice Towers for $25 (or less)

One other benefit of the Dice Tower of Power is that we sell them in packages of 3. Most games are played with 4-6 people. So with 3 dice towers you don’t have to pass the dice towers around. Just pass the dice. This saves time and is a lot more convenient. Lastly, the price. We’re selling 3 dice towers for $25. So for less than the price of one dice tower available today you get 3.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

I really want a dice tower, but every time I look at other dice towers the prices make blood run out of my nose. The idea of THREE dice towers for $25 is the deal I’ve been waiting for! They come in three-packs so it’s a purchase and a gift! Buy a pack and keep one for yourself, give one to your GM and give one to the player that always shoots a die into your drink cause his aim is… owe!

 

To support their Kickstarter campaign, click here.

 

* * * * * *

 

Creature Codex: 5th Edition Monsters Including Commissions by Kobold Press
Ends on .

“Demons, dragons, kobolds, & undead galore, from the creators of the Tome of Beasts–plus commissions and monsters designed by backers!

From the creators of the titanic Tome of Beasts! Kobold Press is at it again, with a lethal and highly entertaining horde of 5e-compatible monsters to challenge new players and veterans alike.

The Creature Codex will bring over 300 new monsters to 5th edition, including lotus golems, wasteland dragons, shadow goblins, and so much more. All Creature Codex Kickstarter backers can submit an original monster design for possible publication, while high level backers can commission Kobold Press to design and illustrate their monster idea. In addition to the Creature Codex, this Kickstarter will fund the creation of monster pawns, encounter maps, and more!

We Kobolds love to make bestiaries and monster books! However, it costs quite a bit to create a high-quality, art-heavy, playtest-honed, rules-crunchy volume of 5th edition monsters—and printing a product of this size calls for some financial clout. We’re Kickstarting it to make sure we have the funding necessary for a small, medium, large, huge, or even gargantuan print run, as required.

With your support, we expect to deliver a big book, a juicy and useful PDF, and plenty of extras! Thanks to our prior outing with the Tome of Beasts, we have a seasoned team of skilled 5e monster designers, so you can expect even more innovation and fresh ideas to challenge your players, no matter what level of play they are at.”

 

Egg’s Thoughts:

Did you back the Tomb of Beasts for 5e? This is more of that, and that project was gold! Those were amazing 5e monsters and this promises to add to it. Best of all, even if you back it at $1, you get a chance to submit a monster for Kobold Press to review and *possibly* publish. As of this writing they’re going to take 30 backer submitted monsters, and they’re likely to unlock 35. That’s 35 chances that a monster you submit will be picked to appear in the book. I’d buy that for a dollar!

 

You can find their work on DriveThruRPG here.

To support their Kickstarter campaign, click 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:

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).

Vanity Press: Resume Credit – Deep Magic 9: Ring Magic

We can all agree that your resume should be factual and that every experience listed on it should be able to be corroborated. For tabletop role-playing games, verification generally requires opening a book to find your name. However, occasionally there are too many contributors to itemize on a project and your role – playtester in this week’s instance – is not spelled out. Not to denigrate playtesting or playtesters, but the heavy lifting of RPG is the design, development, editing, and art. From that perspective, not listing the playtesters is acceptable. However, since I am building a RPG resume, the credit has meaning for me. Thus, this article is my corroboration.

Deep Magic 9 – Ring Magic

Deep Magic 9: Ring Magic by Kobold Press
Available for purchase here or as a stretch goal reward from the Midgard Campaign Setting Kickstarter

Their Pitch:

Deep Magic of the Dwarf-Rings!
Since the dawn of the world, dwarven smiths have fashioned rings of surpassing beauty—but it is not for the sake of beauty alone that these rings are made. There is power in them, which can be unlocked by the wise. Ring magic practitioners channel their magic through these rune-etched metal bands, increasing the devastation wreaked upon their foes; and can even imbue them with spells that someone else can unleash later.

Deep Magic: Ring Magic brings the secrets of ring magic into your 5e campaign, featuring:

  • New ring magic feats, and a new Ring Warden arcane tradition
  • 12 new spells, including enchant ring, curse ring, and create ring servant (with monster stats for this new construct), and more!
  • New magic items: molten fire forge, oathbound ring, warden’s link, and Karrek’s Bastion
  • The history of ring magic, the dwarves who are its masters, and the secrets of their legendary stronghold

Deep Magic 9 – Ring Magic: The Ring Warden

Journey deep within the earth, to places where molten rock flows like rivers, and the sounds of hammers never cease. Here you will find the true power of the rings—learn their ways, and use them wisely and well.

What Egg Did:

I playtested the Ring Warden, an arcane tradition for the wizard class in 5e. I received an early version of the subclass, made a character, leveled it through a few adventures, and provided feedback. The most rewarding part of this experience was comparing the playtest version to the printed version to understand the evolution of the concept that the designer went through.

Egg’s Thoughts:

The book has a new subclass, related feats, spells, magic items, history, and a monster that is so integrated into this arcane tradition that it creates its own story. It touches on how this is dwarven magic, a corner of fantasy that is rarely delved into. This type of sourcebook is composed of parts that tie together and create a greater whole. Deep Magic 9: Ring Magic will inspire amazing characters, backstory-related adventures, and good nights around the gaming table.

The Ring Servant

This book was designed by Dan Dillon. I read his comments on social media frequently, and have reached out for his feedback once or twice. In every instance, he proves to be a knowledgable and friendly gamer. He has a clear understanding of the 5e ruleset and can explain the rules and the logic behind them in short, easy to understand morsels. Add to that impressive skill a list of products that are well thought out with potential stories threaded throughout and you have a RPG writer worth following. I appreciate what he designed on this project – an inspiring slice of Midgard.

This is an excellent book and I’m proud to add this one playtester credit to my tabletop RPG resume.

 

* * *

 

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™

Wanna-lancer™ Checklist T-shirt available at Cafepress

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

 

* * *

 

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

Vanity Press: What Kickstarter RPG Rewards Are Available? – Midgard Campaign Setting: Dark Roads & Deep Magic

Two weeks ago, I discussed picking up a RPG playtester resume credit from Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts and Book of Lairs Kickstarter. This week, I’m looking at Kobold Press’ 5e campaign setting, Midgard, the early access to playtest materials that they’re offering, and their stretch goal that will open this campaign setting up to let anyone write and publish in it.

Midgard Campaign Setting

Midgard Campaign Setting: Dark Roads & Deep Magic by Kobold Press

Kickstarter campaign ends on Friday February248th, 2017 at 4:00 PM EST.

Their Pitch:

Five years have passed; high time to update the Midgard Campaign Setting, and add Deep Magic, adventures, and player options galore!

Welcome to Midgard’s shadow roads, traveler! The way is winding and dangerous, but the rewards are great for the adventuresome and bold.

The rewards for the Midgard Kickstarter include 3 primary books, plus a slew of thrilling adventures and crunchy expansions! The core rewards include these volumes:

Dusk Queen of the Shadow from the Midgard campaign setting

Midgard Campaign Setting for 5th Edition and Pathfinder RPG: A 300+ page volume describing the Midgard regions, from the Northlands to the Western Wastes, and from the Southlands to the Crossroads. With detailed locations, cities, rulers, heraldry, plots, and adventure hooks galore, plus full details of the various pantheons, masked gods, and dark gods, there’s enough here to fuel years of adventuring!

In this updated edition, you’ll get the expanded Blood Kingdom of Morgau and updates to Zobeck, the Cantons, the Western Wastes, and other regions. If we meet our goals, we’ll also  add the Shadow Realm and Blood Kingdom as standalone chapters, and may even open the golden gates of Khandiria… It’s a rich and standalone edition of the setting.

This book is available in both a regular cover and in a special limited edition with leatherette cover, bookmark, and stamped gold foil, plus a handbound leather edition.

Midgard Heroes Handbook for 5th Edition: Full details for Midgard races, variants, archetypes, and backgrounds—everything you need to play trollkin, ravenfolk, kobolds, and others! You’ll also get more than a dozen new cleric domains, new weapons and equipment, and Deep Magic spells and traditions such as Clockwork Magic and Ley Line Magic. Stretch goals will add even more Deep Magic to the book, plus expanded races and broader options for existing ones.

Midgard GM’s Screen

Midgard Player’s Guide for Pathfinder RPG: Collects all of Midgard’s racial lore, class options, feats, and equipment under one set of covers—plus new material for ley line magic, and more. We hope to expand it with shadow magic and other stretch goals. Developed by Paizo staff developer Amanda Hamon Kunz.

Eldritch Lairs: A series of short 5th Edition adventures written by James Haeck and other designers, somewhat like the Prepared! collection of one-shots. This starts as a set of PDF stretch goals, and it will become a print volume included with the premium tiers once the collection is big enough (it will be an add-on for Basic pledge tiers).

***

Pit of the Dust Goblins from the Midgard campaign setting

Their tenth update: Open World of Midgard

From the earliest days, the Midgard Campaign Setting has been an open world: pre-Kickstarter, patrons brainstormed elements of Zobeck, the Margreve Forest, and the horrors hidden beneath the Ironcrag Mountains. Over the years we’ve kept that door open, with an open freelance submissions policy and frequent design contests to bring new talent into the field.

Well, now we’re taking a big step beyond that. If we get enough backers on this Kickstarter, we’ll launch Midgard as an Open World on DriveThruRPG and RPGNow.

What will it mean for Midgard to become an Open World? Glad you asked! Like the Forgotten Realms and Ravenloft in the DM’s Guild program, Midgard will be open for anyone to use and publish locations, adventures, characters, lairs or other playable material (under certain conditions). In this case, it would cover supplements that are compatible with 5th Edition, Pathfinder RPG, and 13th Age RPG.

Midgard Table of Contents

How close are we to that goal? We need 2,000 backers to form a strong enough nucleus of new designers to attempt it; we’re currently at just over 1,000 backers, with a little more than 2 weeks left. That means we definitely need your help to make it happen. It’s possible, but it’s not a slam-dunk.

What gets us there? Every backer of the project counts toward this goal, regardless of dollars pledged or rewards chosen. That means if all 4 players in your local game pledges $1, we’re 4 backers closer to the Midgard Open World. Any and all of those backers get first peek at Backer Updates in this project, which might also inspire them to roll up some homebrew encounters or build out that archetype they’re always talking about. It’s up to them.

Why Open Midgard? The reality of a small press is that we can never keep up with the demand for new material, and we’re always scouting talent. This approach helps with both, by providing additional Midgard adventures and resources, while opening up a way for talented-but-unknown designers to be recognized. Our hope is that participants in an Open Midgard will also become freelancers who keep the setting vibrant and join the Kobold crew on future official releases. That’s the plan; all we need is a large enough set of backers to launch it!”

***

Midgard Open World

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m building a RPG resume by purchasing creator opportunities on Kickstarter. This Kickstarter has pledge levels that offer early access to playtest materials for one of the largest third-party publishers. As a bonus, if the campaign reaches 2,000 backers then Kobold Press will make the Midgard setting an open world.

What’s an open world? In this case, it’s a RPG setting that you can publish content for (with certain restrictions). Want to set an adventure and characters in the Midgard’s Ironcrags and publish it for profit? If this stretch goal is achieved, that will be an option.

In a perfect kickstarted world, I’d want to playtest as much of Midgard as possible and use that knowledge to create worthwhile new content within the Midgard setting. With every new backer on this project, we’re getting closer to my goal.

***

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer & Artist
  • Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts for 5e available at KoboldPress.com – Playtester

Kickstarter RPG Reward Level: Vanity Press – Tome of Beasts

“I want to be a freelance RPG writer… so then, uh… why am I buying RPG playtester credits for my resume?”

Covers for the Tome of Beasts and the Book of Lairs

First, what’s a playtester? That’s an individual who puts an unpublished/untested game through its paces. They play and look for successes and flaws and communicate their findings back to the creator for consideration.

Second, why do I want to playtest something? Two reasons.

  • It’s enlightening to see how the sausage is made
  • Networking

Unlike my prior purchases, I’m not buying RPG experience for myself. This time, I’m showing that I have enough experience to improve someone else’s work.

This is my journey to freelancer and it starts with selecting the Kickstarter RPG Reward Level: Vanity Press.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Alseid from the Tome of Beasts

Tome of Beasts by Kobold Press

In October, 2015, Dungeons & Dragons 5e was 15 months into their commercial lifecycle when Kobold Press kickstarted the Tome of Beasts and the Book of Lairs.

Why did they create the Tome of Beasts? At that time, 5e had a lone official Monster Manual of all the critters to fight. Volo’s Guide to Monsters was unannounced and 13 months away. The largest resource for third-party monsters was either homebrew or Frog God Games’ Fifth Edition Foes. The Fifth Edition Foes had been kickstarted the same month that 5e launched (along with two other 5e books). They generated nearly $64,000, so there was precedent that showed fan demand. Despite the monster foes, homebrews and various one-offs for 5e, there was a desire for even more monsters. Enter Kobold Press and their offering, the Tome of Beasts.

Why did they create the Book of Lairs? 15 months into the commercial existence of 5e, there were a number of official adventure paths but not as many standalone dungeons or monster lairs. Just want a dungeon for your characters to crawl with a hook, monsters, and treasure instead of a whole campaign? Kobold Press‘ Book of Lairs is for you.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Ravenfolk Art

Let me type a few words on Kobold Press. They are one of the largest 3PPs (third-party publishers) in gamedom. They wrote the first two official hardcover modules for 5e – Hoard of the Dragon Queen and The Rise of Tiamat – and have proven to be a consistently nice group of folks. Kobold-in-Chief Wolfgang Baur, hobbylancer Ben McFarland, Kobold Minion Dan Dillon, and more have decades of combined professional RPG experience creating… well, throw a dart at any quality RPG product and chances are someone there had a hand in it.

Why Kobold Press is dear to my heart is spelled out in their FAQ. I’m not going to pretend to be an expert but I think – THINK – that they used to crowdfund and, to a degree, crowdsource their products.  Effectively, kickstart their RPG content the way I blog about before there was a Kickstarter. They were ahead of the curve in a way that foreshadowed what I want to achieve. Their FAQ hints at what I’m hoping to achieve – resume building through patronage.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

One of the holes in my resume is credited playtester. Is it an important part of your RPG resume? Yes. It shows you have the skills to look at a game that is 90% to 95% of the way to publishable and find that last bit needed to make it shine. Playtester credits “prestige” is ranked by what company or project that you are doing the playtesting for. As I said, Kobold is a large 3PP so I want to have that on my resume.

Nihileth from the Tome of Beasts

Kobold’s Tome of Beasts offered playtesting and more. For this Kickstarter, I put in $180. What did I get for that?

  • Full-color, hardcover volume of the Tome of Beasts with leatherette cover, foil stamp, ribbon bookmarks, and special endpapers, plus the PDF edition for easy reference – $49.99 / $29.99 / $54.99 (Print + PDF)
  • The Book of Lairs in print and PDF – $29.99 / $14.99 / $29.99 (Print + PDF)
  • Printed pawns – $34.99 (Price from Paizo.com, currently unavailable)
  • All digital maps – $9.99
  • Southlands Heroes for 5th Edition (PDF) – $4.99
  • Cat & Mouse Adventure (PDF) – $3.99
  • Midgard Heroes for 5th Edition (PDF) – $4.99
  • Raven’s Call Adventure for 5th Edition (PDF) – $2.99
  • Tomb of Tiberesh Adventure (PDF) – $3.99
  • Prepard Encounters (PDF) – $5.99
  • Battlebards Sound Boards – ???
  • Total MSRP – $156.90

That encompasses the monsters, lairs, adventures, and sounds – the tangibles. What did I get that I can put on my resume and speak to:

  • Early access to playtest versions of all lairs and monsters for review and comment
  • A monster-design seminar with the Kobold Press design and edit team
  • Monster Submissions – All backers were eligible to submit a monster to the Tome of Beasts, and Kobold Press printed the best in the book
  • Feedback on the monster I submitted during the process and after
  • Vanity press upcharge – $23.10

I won for the extra $23.10! I got to playtest several monsters and provide feedback (the results of which I was able to see in the final product… now, whether it was my notes or every reviewer’s thoughts, I don’t know but changes were made).

For the Tome, I got to playtest monsters with several friends including John McGuire, Sir Leland Beauchamp, and my fiancee and we are all listed in the book. That’s a moment I reflect on from time-to-time, we got to have fun and put that fun into print.

Queen of Night and Magic from the Tome of Beasts

Experience-wise, I got to attend a virtual seminar with Wolfgang Baur and Dan Dillon to hear what makes a great monster and ask questions. With that education, I submitted a beast for their monster submission contest and got professional feedback from Wolfgang. I did not win but Dan gave me his thoughts and it amounted to [paraphrasing] not bad.

One of the challenges of buying credits is that the publisher has an obligation to make your submissions, whatever they are, work since you, you know, paid to be in their product. Since you are a customer, feedback from the publishers may be filtered. The monster submission for the Tome of Beasts was a contest open to every backer. Because it’s a contest, they were under no obligation to print my submission. I didn’t win but, based on their feedback, my beast had been in contention for one of the final slots. I lost because others were better, not because mine was awful. To get an unfiltered ‘not bad, not perfect, but not bad’, was encouraging.

For $157, I got some amazing 5e products. I get use out of them more often than any other 3PP I own. For $23, I got to provide feedback on a book that has gotten a lot of love, virtually meet the Kobold-in-Chief and Kobold Minion No. Dan (I don’t know his serial number… oy), submit a monster and get useful feedback that helped me to grow as a creator. That was $23 well-spent!

Vanity press RPG playtester’s credit number one complete! On to number two…

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Covers for the Midgard Campaign Setting and Hero’s Handbook

For anyone interested, vanity press RPG playtester’s credit number two is available now on Kobold Press’ Midgard Campaign Setting: Dark Roads & Deep Magic.

Want to playtest the revised Midgard campaign setting for 5e or Pathfinder? There are a number of pledge levels on this Kickstarter that let you playtest the setting. I’ll delve into the ins and outs of what vanity press options are available through that Kickstarter before it ends on February 24th. In the meantime, I suggest you check it out.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Kickstarter information:

Tome of Beasts: 400+ New Monsters for 5th Edition by Kobold Press
Raised $191,431 starting October 5th, 2015

***

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer

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

  • Sasquatch Game Studio’s Primeval Thule for 5e (2015) available at DriveThruRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Yrisa’s Nightmare for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer
  • Ember Design Studios’ Rats in the Street for 5e and Pathfinder available at DriveThurRPG.com – Writer & Artist
  • Kobold Press’ Tome of Beasts for 5e available at KoboldPress.com – Playtester