4 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Life on Gaia, Runewild, Whispers of Persephone, and Secrets of Starfall

Friends and acquaintances ask me to look at their Kickstarters, and so I did. In this roundup, there’s an audiobook based on an RPG, and products for 5e, including one I did an interview about on the Open Gaming Network (here). Normally, I give my thoughts on these but time is short (this is the second roundup of the week after looking at some RPG-related comic books). For this article, I’m looking at:



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Life on Gaia: An Audio Anthology of Post-Apocalyptic Stories by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sun, October 7 2018 4:00 PM EDT.


“Leo Cosh voices an audio book of short stories in the world of Gaia, where Infection runs rampant and humanity is a dying race.

At Shades of Vengeance, we don’t just create games, we create worlds! 

We love building huge, expansive environments and bringing them to life through different types of media.

We also like to allow everyone in our team to express their creativity. A chance for Leo Cosh, a professional voice actor in his own time, to bring one of our games to life was too good an opportunity to miss!

And so, we have detailed the world of Gaia, a post-apocalyptic world where zombies and mutants roam, threatening Humanity and often causing them to turn on each other!

This audio book is our first attempt at a major audio product, bringing over 4 hours of material to you.

A hundred years ago, there was a cataclysm. Maybe a biological weapon was set off, or a parasite evolved… honestly, no-one really cares any more.

What matters is that the parasite was airborne, infectious and could live in any warm-blooded creature. Those affected are driven insane and mutate, becoming a threat to those around them. This doesn’t even end with death: corpses of those Infected are reanimated and will wander the world, seeking nourishment.

Humanity is a dying race now. In another hundred years, there won’t be any of us left. A bite or scratch, or a breath in the wrong place spells doom.

We have made some progress, however. The development of a drug, known as Injection, means that humans can encounter the Parasites and live to tell the tale.

People have adapted to this situation in different ways – some choose to fight it, preserving as many lives as possible, or searching for a cure to the Infection. Others, lost in the hopelessness, turn to stealing from any who cross their path. With the loss of communications, Runners have begun carrying messages as the only form of long-distance communication. Still others try to burn everything that stands in their way, cleansing it, or hide underground in concealed bunkers, waiting for the Infection to burn out.

In this world, surviving is a matter of wits and cunning…

The stories in this anthology explore the different factions of this detailed world, and the experiences of various people as they try to survive.

Want to hear what the stories sound like? We'll be adding more throughout the Kickstarter!
Want to hear what the stories sound like? We’ll be adding more throughout the Kickstarter!

The Runner (Story 2)

Nihilist (Story 3)

The High-Rise Slums (Story 5)

  • It’s an Audio Book!
  • The total length will be around 4 hours.
  • It’s an anthology: each story takes place from a different perspective.
  • Each story varies in length, but most are around 6 minutes.
  • It will be delivered in .mp3 format.
  • It has been voiced by a professional voice actor, using different voices for each character.

Leo Cosh is the voice actor who has brought the world of Gaia to life. With a wide range of experience on different types of projects, he was the perfect choice to give voice to the people of Gaia!

Ed Jowett is the creator of the world of Gaia, director of the audio book and writer of many of the stories. Primarily creating roleplaying games, he has published over 50 books through Shades of Vengeance.

Jennifer Martin has worked with Ed Jowett to bring the characters of Gaia into sharp focus. Having worked with Ed for over five years, her chilling style sucks the listener into the world!

Mikhail Greuli is the artist who supplied the various images used in this Kickstarter. His incredible talent for bringing the mysteries and creatures of Gaia to life have been invaluable in creating this project!

Martin Popovski has brought the world of Gaia to life through the title video! We’re very grateful to him for his work on this project!”


You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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The Runewild – A Dark Fairy-Tale Setting for 5E by Sneak Attack Press
Ends on Thu, October 18 2018 10:00 PM EDT.


“A 5e setting book and hexcrawl in a forest filled with witches, fey, and things that go bump in the night.

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 Campaign Setting is a dark fairy-tale hex-crawl 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 full-color book will be at least 160 pages long and 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 hex-crawl campaign.
  • A new feat: Fey-Touched.
  • 8 new Runewild-specific backgrounds (including hag-owned, Runewild folklorist, time-lost knight, and polymorphed animal).
  • 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.

Forest of a Thousand Stories

The Runewild Campaign Setting is a hex-crawl first and foremost, but as the player characters explore the Runewild, they’re sure to find themselves caught up in the many conflicts that threaten the ancient forest. Here are just a few of the larger story arcs that might become a part of your Runewild campaign:

Ianto the Red: A powerful bandit lord named Ianto the Red controls a network of murderers and thieves who plague the roads between settlements. Rumor has it Ianto traded his soul to a coven of witches in exchange for eternal life.

The Thistlewhip Children: Cort and Cora Thistlewhip’s seven children are missing. Unbeknownst to their parents, the children undertook a quest for King Wobbly-Odd, a Runish lord who fell prey to a fey curse centuries ago. Unless someone recovers the children, the Thistlewhips may become lost in the Runewild forever.

The Broken King: In the heart of the Runewild, a mysterious figure known as the Broken King assembles an army of goblins. No one knows what the Broken King wants, but the trail of petrified victims his goblins leave behind may provide a clue.

The Witch Queen Griselda: Humans and elves united to defeat Griselda’s forces during the Witch Wars, but the hag herself survived and fled into the Cronemarsh. Now she plots revenge and rebuilds her network of allies. Griselda rarely leaves her home, but an ancient curse demands she visit the dreams of anyone who slays a witch within the Runewild’s borders.

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

Preview 1 – Missus Switch, Swine Witch: The history and statistics of Missus Switch, the Swine Witch, as well as 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. These magic 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 Runewild: the helpful fey lion, the thought-stealing fiddlehead, the enigmatic Seven-Tail, and the terrifyingly beautiful Golden Bodach.

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

Finally, we have two products already for sale that tie in to the Runewild.

The Goblin Market:  A magical marketplace full of strange treasures and goblin vendors eager to part the heroes from their coin. (Note: we will incorporate most of the material from The Goblin Market into the final book.

The Marriage at Midsummer: Two star-crossed lovers have gone missing from Caerfell’s Midsummer Festival. Their families are at each other’s throats. Deep in the Runewild, a mysterious figure called the Bishop promises to unite the couple. But the Bishop actually has other plans. This is the first in the Seasons of the Runewild series of adventures.

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 role, we offer two backer reward options:

Denizen of the Runewild

The Runewild Campaign Setting 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 the 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. (By pledging at Part of the Art, you grant permission for us to use your likeness in the Runewild Campaign Setting and promotion for it, but not in other products.)

The focus of this Kickstarter Campaign is the Runewild Campaign Setting, but we also want to create adventures you can use to introduce players to the Runewild, either as a one-shot or part of a larger campaign. Each adventure centers around a different seasonal celebration in a different settlement around the Runewild.

The Marriage at Midsummer: Two star-crossed lovers have gone missing from Caerfell’s Midsummer Festival. Their families are at each other’s throats. Deep in the Runewild, a mysterious figure called the Bishop promises to unite the couple. But the Bishop actually has other plans. This is the first in the Seasons of the Runewild series of adventures. (Already released and available as an add-on.)

Bonedigger: The townsfolk of Ill Hollow practice a strange tradition: each Harvestide, they bury an animal’s bones in a false grave to prevent Bonedigger, a witch’s ghostly hound, from finding his mistress’s true remains. This year, however, something has gone wrong. Not only has someone dug up the real witch’s grave, but a local youth who hoped to spot Bonedigger has gone missing. (Everyone who pledges $3 or more will get a PDF copy of Bonedigger when we release it, just after the Kickstarter campaign ends.)

All Through the Long, Dark Night: Every year the village of Widderspire gathers around Widderspire Pond to celebrate the winter solstice. This year, frost imps attack the celebration, leaving the villagers entombed in ice. To save Widderspire, the heroes must brave the depths of Widderspire Pond, pass through a magical portal into the fey realm, and rescue a powerful fey named Ember John. ($6,000 stretch goal)

Springtime Comes to Kidwelly: Before spring can begin, the halflings of Kidwelly must lure a fey creature called the Monax out of its burrow, but this year the Monax is nowhere to be found. Unless the heroes locate those responsible for the Monax’s disappearance, Kidwelly may be locked in winter’s grip forever. ($8,000 stretch goal)


You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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Whispers of Persephone ~ The bloody book of Necromancy 5E by Sinopa Publishing LLC
Ends on Tue, October 30 2018 11:57 PM EDT.


“All Original Necromancy Content New arcane tradition, spells, rituals, poisons, magic items & alchemicals. 5E 5th Edition DnD RPG

What this project creates:

This campaign funds the art and backer reward fulfillment costs of Whispers of Persephone,a necromantic source book for use in your role playing game. This book is written for specialist necromancer wizards, and describes a new arcane tradition, Stygian Necromancy. Created as a book of 120+ pages, containing entirely original art in full color by Christian Martinez and all original game content by W.S. “Sam” Quinton. Whispers of Persephone is a wonderful role-playing aid.

*Written for mature role-playing audiences, this book is NOT appropriate for children.

Art for Whispers of Persephone by Christian Martinez
Art for Whispers of Persephone by Christian Martinez

This is a source book for those who like their dark arts, to be DARK!

How far along is the book now?

Writing: The writing of the game play material is complete! This book is presently in its final play testing stage, and will likely see some revisions as this campaigns draws to its end.  All that remains, is to complete the material for those tiers pledged that add the names of backers at The Necromancer, Acolyte of Death, and Fallen Heroes tiers, and to complete those character descriptions (stat blocks, and some narrative biographical text), as well as completing the example of play/use.  That material is expected to take a couple of days to complete and another day or two for proof reading and final formatting.  Character material will be completed as backers pledge at those tiers, so look for messages from me if you are pledging as The Necromancer, an Acolyte of Death, or as a Fallen Hero.

Art:  The covers are complete. The interior art that has been completed thus far is displayed on this page. By reaching funding goal, the remaining art that is essential to this book can be completed. Stretch goals are structured to allow for additional art to be commissioned and added to the book.  Page background art is being revised for better legibility.

Two different covers available:

Screen capture of the "Black Cover"
Screen capture of the “Black Cover”
Spinal cover
Spinal cover

Things you’ll find in the book:

Introduction from play test version 3.0
Introduction from play test version 3.0

Whispers of Persephone contains descriptions of spells ranging from cantrips up to level nine, as well as rituals of the foulest sorts of levels one through eight. Materials on poisons, potions, and alchemicals are included; as are rules for the necromantic practices of the sacrifice of sentient beings. Comments attributed to the Necromancer, Acolytes of Death and Fallen Heroes are found throughout the book.

The Stygian Necromancer arcane tradition: The path to power is soaked with the blood of your victims, and adorned with the cries of their suffering. The brave fear you and the wise flee from you. Whispers of Persephone details a new arcane tradition for wizard characters, Stygian Necromancy. This tradition is designed to lend a new style to the play of practitioners of the darkest magical arts of blood, death, and souls.

 2 New Monsters ~  Darkling Horror and Stygian Mummy

The Stygian Mummy by Christian Martinez
The Stygian Mummy by Christian Martinez

 5 New Feats ~ Dark Prodigy or Hematomancer, which to choose?

 9 New magic items  ~ Enchanted Skull cup, Canopic Jars and more.

 10 New alchemicals, potions, and poisons ~ Would you care for tea?

 12 New Rituals  ~ Blood sacrifice is the just the beginning!

 15 New Spells  ~ Clean HandsIld’s Eye Rot, and the Curse of Spite among others! Bring the pain and suffering to your enemies with these and more searing spells.

Information about the Necromancer and the 13 Acolytes of death: Such as the heinous acts of Kroalish, the first acolyte of the Necromancer. His vile acts are matters of horrific legends!  This section also details the dark prodigy known as ‘Ild’ a young woman possessed of a dark heart and gifted in the arts of murder.

Ild, apprentice of Kroalish and necromantic prodigy.
Ild, apprentice of Kroalish and necromantic prodigy.

All original art created by Christian Martinez specifically for this book!

Why you want this Book:

Whispers of Persephone is a great player aid. Players can use it as a quick reference book for spells and can work the book into their character backgrounds. Whispers of Persephone is also suitable for use as an in-game prop. Game masters can use it as a treasure item recovered in their campaigns. This book can also bring new adversaries into play as the player characters are confronted by followers of the Necromancer seeking to retrieve this valuable resource.

This is a darkly beautiful book, filled with fantastic art created by Christian Martinez. It looks great in your collection, and menacing on your gaming table.

Drinking from the skull of your enemy is back!
Drinking from the skull of your enemy is back!

Whether used by player characters or used against player characters, Whispers of Persephone is a great resource for your games.”


You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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Secrets of Starfall: A 5E Adventure by Dragon-Knight Publishing (DriveThruRPG or Open Gaming Store)
Ends on Thu, November 1 2018 3:01 PM EDT.


“Secrets of Starfall: a 5th-10th level adventure for 5th Edition

A 5th-10th level adventure for the world’s greatest roleplaying game!

Following the events that took place in “Whispers of Starfall”, this adventure can also be used as a filler adventure for any campaign.

Rado, the Gnome wizard, has vanished, leaving the crossroads town of Hyran to grieve their losses. The Elenhodel has given a clue to his possible misguided actions but it is up to you to determine how best to proceed. Expanding on the custom world of Ambaran, players will travel across the new world, over a blistering desert, an angry sea or a treacherous mountain. Filled with options, characters are encouraged to go where they wish and stop the evil that is Rado from destroying Ambaran as they know it.

There will also be 2 new races, the Lydran and the Xrystis! Both of these races are not only NPC’s to interact with, but also able to be played as characters if you choose! The images are still being worked on but we will, which will be included right here once the art has been completed. If we hit a few stretch goals, we will even be able to offer a miniature of both of these races. We have a rough draft of the Lydran race while the miniature prototype is still being processed.

Lydran Warrior Brave
Lydran Warrior Brave


NOTE: I interviewed Jon Neddo about this Kickstarter on the Open Gaming Network (here).


You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPG here or the Open Gaming Store here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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Disclosures: This article contains affiliate links.

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

8 Questions with Ed Jowett (Shades of Vengeance) about Era: The Chosen

I’ve interviewed Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance four times before, each one about one of his games – Era: Balam, Era: The Consortium, and Era: The Empowered on the Tessera Guild as well as Battlecruiser Alamo RPG (Powered by Era d10) on the Open Gaming Network, so it only makes sense to talk to Ed about his latest RPG on Kickstarter, Era: The Chosen. As you can see from the title of games, they are rooted in the same system, yet cover a lot of ground because Ed is one of the hardest working folks in RPG.

That said, Ed will challenge you (in a good way) at, and away from, the gaming table. When I sent him the questions for this interview, I had a note that said I’d write the introduction to the article later. I get the answers back and Ed’s one-upped me by telling the world I explained the game in an “excellent introduction.” Now I have to figure out what Era: The Chosen is?! The horror!!! 😛 So…

Era: The Chosen is a horror tabletop RPG that pits humanity against an inhuman enemy that has the upper hand in every situation. For the Chosen that can perceive these monsters, the stakes are all or nothing. It’s not about survival, it’s win or our dimension is doomed.

[So, how’d I do, Ed?]


EGG EMBRY – Ed, over the years we’ve talked a good deal and always about your Era d10 games. Before we get into the latest one, let’s catch everyone up. What are the Era games, and how are they related, and not related?

ED JOWETT – Firstly, for anyone who hasn’t seen one of these interviews before, welcome! It is always a pleasure to talk about the games I create and I hope you find this interesting!
The Era games fall into two distinct categories: ones with “Era” in the title and ones “Powered by Era d10“. The latter sort (such as Battlecruiser Alamo!) are not settings created by me, but games made in other universes which other people created and then worked with me to bring to life through the Era d10 Rule Set. As a result, they are not linked to any of the other games in terms of story – the Triplanetary Confederation Universe (Battlecruiser Alamo RPG), for example, is linked to a series of novels by Richard Tongue. I took the feel of his universe and created mechanics which supported that style of gameplay to make this game, and worked with him to write the setting material.
The settings which have “Era” in the name (there are 8 so far – Era: The Consortium, Era: Lyres, Era: The Empowered, Era: Survival, Era: Silence, Era: Hitman, Era: Balam and now Era: The Chosen) are a slightly different story. These settings were created by me and have a common thread which connects them, if you look relatively carefully. I have not publicly revealed yet what it is, but I am certain some people have picked up on it from various hints I have dropped over the years in Kickstarter updates, panels and interviews.
Era: The Chosen, actually, builds on this quite heavily, and is the biggest clue I have given to how these settings link up since Era: Survival.
Ignoring the links, each game explores a genre thoroughly:
Era: The Consortium offers the chance to play any sub-genre of Sci-Fi you can think of with its 500 years of playable history – you just jump into the time period which suits the style of your game and then, when that story is complete, you choose the next one and have the chance to play ancestors or descendents of previous characters as well as brand new ones!
Era: Lyres offers players the chance to tell literally any story they want in the low-fantasy setting it offers. The GM plays as an audience who will assess their story while they attempt to earn the gold and glory due to adventurers. But, as they don’t really have experiences, they have to be careful of inconsistencies! This game lets the players really express their creativity and provides endless opportunity for stories (as well as giving the GM a rest!)
Era: The Empowered, similar to Era: The Consortium, offers every sub-genre of superhero story within its timeline. Choose whether you want to be a newly-emerging individual, finding your powers for the first time, or work as part of a large, world-spanning team, or stand against invasions by the Old Gods or Atlantis, or joining the “Empowered Department” in their attempts to police supervillains in a co-ordinated, government-led way.
Era: Survival offers a post-apocalyptic setting – a hundred years after the cataclysm – where the last days of Humanity are approaching fast. Unsure how to survive, the people of Gaia have splintered into 14 different factions… and each has their own alliances and enemies. I am sure you can imagine that this provides a difficult world to step into. Will You Survive?
Era: Silence is based on an island which is a High Fantasy testing ground. Entering a portal to the mythical Isle of Silence, you will have to earn your name if you expect to escape… by completing challenges and working together. The catch here is that no person is able to speak on the Isle of Silence and, being barbarians, you cannot read or write very well. So, how do you work together when you cannot communicate so easily?
Era: Hitman is based in modern times, and allows you to step into the role of a team of assassins. The twist here is that many of the assassins in this world have superpowers! These are fast-burning and reduce in effectiveness as you use them, so you will have to be extremely careful about when you activate them. And, of course, your target might have powers as well! You never quite know what is around the next corner in this game, so you have to plan carefully!
Era: Balam asks you to step into the role of a fighter pilot. No pilot is truly complete without their craft and this game is based around that duality: without your fighter (which is highly customisable), you are not a complete character and could be easily killed by the alien hordes which roam HX-7371. As a small squadron, you will have to adapt your fighters and work as a team if you hope to save Humanity from this threat and protect Earth…
And Era: The Chosen you already know something about, thanks to Egg’s excellent introduction above… and I will be talking more about it below.
The link between the settings of these games is perhaps more evident than another important aspect: the rules are module and can be combined. I am going to talk more about that in a later question, so read on to know more!

Our world is not safe. It is besieged by creatures from another dimension...

EGG Era: The Chosen is a move into straight-up tabletop horror roleplaying. You did Era: Survival before, which had horrific elements. What made you decide to go full horror?

ED JOWETTEra: Survival has a different focus to Era: The Chosen. Era: Survival is about a zombie apocalypse and a divided humanity, which doesn’t know or believe in itself or each other any more – to a high degree, no-one trusts the people they meet on Gaia. Humanity is, in reality, its own worst enemy and the truth is that they could probably survive if they worked together.
Era: The Chosen is quite different. It is a game about the horrors of war when fighting against enemies you cannot understand. Humanity is united against this threat – those that perceive it, anyway!
But that doesn’t make it less terrifying. The Anonassi are biologically superior, intelligent and tactical… and know more about Humanity than you would like them to… especially when it comes to the fact that they enjoy eating us.
This game is about fighting a descent into madness and loss of control as you fight the Anonassi to protect our dimension. The horror aspect is much more psychological than in Era: Survival, making it a very different kind of fear to “when will I run out of ammo”, or “is a zombie waiting for me around the corner?”.
What made me do this was really a long love of two franchises: Dr Who – specifically the brand of horror where the primary reason you are scared is that you don’t understand – and the Turok games on the N64! I have long felt that the two would combine into an excellent setting (with numerous tweaks, obviously!).
Finally, it is something I haven’t done before! I am sure you can imagine that there are a lot more things I want to create and I am working through them. This brand of horror is something I can now tick off my list from a “setting” sense, and focus on expanding that universe!


EGG – How compatible are the different games?

ED JOWETT – They are very compatible – the aspects of the rules which are unique to each game (for example, Specialities, Karma, Implants and Party Confidence) are modular and can be carried across between games.
For example, if you want to play Sci-Fi Survival Horror, you can combine Era: The Consortium and Era: Survival’s rules to make a “Dead Space” type of game (we actually did this in a published book, Era: The Consortium – Revival!). If you wanted to tell stories of your exploits to con people out of cash in Era: Hitman, you could integrate the Era: Lyres rules… and if you were feeling very ambitious, you could combine all of them to make a “super game”!

The power of games running on the same rule sets is obvious – you don’t need to learn a new rule set each time. But when you can combine aspects of the rules and the system supports it? I think that makes something quite special, though I admit I may be biased!

"Creepy alien starfish... why did it have to be creepy alien starfish?" - Kevin Kutlesa

EGG – Some of the settings for your games have expansive timelines. Tell us about the timeline for the game, and what makes that span appealing in Era: The Chosen?

ED JOWETTEra: The Chosen offers 3 time periods to play in, and the attraction here is that the experience varies quite a bit depending on which you choose.
Perhaps you like the idea of fighting huge, terrifying monsters with pikes and flintlocks. If that is the case, then the “First Era” is for you! In this time, people aren’t sure what the Anonassi are, mostly assuming they are demons of some sort or, in some cases, fallen angels (a name which sticks as a descriptor!). If you like supernatural horror settings where not everything can be explained, this is allowed for here, along with the slightly more light-hearted, “swashbuckly” feel where you have to rescue the princess and save the day, but overcome your fear to do so.
Or maybe you like the sort of horror which you get from Victorian era literature – Frankenstein, for example. In the “Second Era”, you have technology advancing faster than humans learn how to control it. What if you could bring people back to life, just by integrating a technological device which you found lying around in the Lost Lands? Would you find it morally acceptable? Would everyone else? This period also brings in some of the more monstrous Anonassi for the first time; as they are driven back by superior weapons, they begin to deploy larger and more terrifying creatures.
In the Third Era, weapons are at modern levels and the war is being won. At this point, the Anonassi begin to deploy new, more sinister, tactics – swarms of insects which can devour flesh to the bones of either Anonassi or Human in seconds, and Ethereals who can possess Humans and even pass into our dimension safely for long periods of time. How do you fight when you don’t know that all who stand beside you are still the people you trained with? Who do you trust?
I think that the timeline setting was the only way for me to offer all of these types of play in the same game and playtested have very much encouraged this variety!
And, of course, when you consider that different things are horrifying to different generations, there is even more scope for differences in experience…


EGG – For some of your games, there’s been a standout mechanic or setup (Balam’s fighter craft and Battlecruiser Alamo’s duel characters). Will there be any new mechanics for the system?

ED JOWETT – Yes, there are!
Terror is the result of your experiences in the fight. Perhaps you got eaten by an Anonassi and had to blast your way out… if you were to be threatened with being eaten again, you could understandably have a severe psychological reaction to that.
This is covered by the Terror system in Era: The Chosen. As you begin to experience the Lost Lands, you will build Triggers (such as “being eaten”!). When they occur, you will have the opportunity to roll a check… but if you fail, you gain Terror. Each Terror brings with it more Triggers, so the result is a decline in your ability to cope with the Lost Lands. If your Terror bar fills, you will collapse and have to be returned home for treatment… and will probably never set foot in the Lost Lands again.
Trophies are almost the opposite. When you overcome a particularly difficult challenge – floor a giant, brutish Anonassi in the middle of it charging you, for example – you may gain a Trophy. In this example, you might gain a Trophy in the form of the Anonassi tooth. It would remind you that you can take down an Anonassi when it is charging you, so you might no longer be able to be Triggered by that event!
There are also numerous special rules for the Clans, particularly the Chike, who can transform into half-Anonassi forms. If you want to know.more about that, I recommend checking out our actual play session on Kickstarter: https://youtu.be/2j7TRgXlg6U

Chike - “Understanding is the key to survival, and not accepting preset biological limits is the key to victory.”

EGG – The $5 reward on this Kickstarter is for the digital Player’s Guide. That’s an incredible price! What will the Player’s Guide include?

ED JOWETT – I feel it is a good price, yes! The Player’s Guide includes the complete Rules (word for word the same as the Core Rulebook so there is no confusion!), an introduction to the setting for each era, full character creation and the vast majority of equipment (some stuff is so rare that it can be excluded to keep the page count a little lower and be communicated by the GM if it is used!).
What it doesn’t include is the full story of the setting or, more importantly, the Bestiary of Anonassi you might meet…!


EGG – For someone that has never played an Era d10 game, what would you say is the secret sauce that makes this a standout system that they should jump into?

ED JOWETT – It is easy and quick, it is representative without being painful and, if you are a brawler, the grapple rules are 2 pages and/or a flow chart which explains the same content!
It also gives huge flexibility for the GM to counter things like min-maxing (or not, if you prefer!), as well as the opportunity to leap into any of these genres while learning only a few extra rules.
The games are well-supported as well, through our Patreon and period campaign module releases, so if you are someone who likes grenade modules, we have you covered there too!

EGG – For those that want to check out the Kickstarter, where can they find it at?

ED JOWETT – You can join us right here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/shadesofvengeance/era-the-chosen-a-horror-rpg-defend-our-dimension-0?ref=9nc0yr

Thank you very much for reading and I hope you will consider supporting Era: The Chosen!

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Ends on Fri, September 14 2018 2:00 PM EDT.

Disclaimer: I am a creator on this project.
“Contributing authors James Ward, Lenard Lakofka and more share some of their pro tips on how to create your first fantasy RPG adventure”
Looking for advice on how to create your tabletop RPG along with stock art to get you going? Learn from ” industry greats and legends James M. Ward, Lenard Lakofka, as well as exceptional talents such as Johnn Four, Rick Hershey, Lucus Palosaari, Kevin Watson, Bobby Nash and Egg Embry.” I’m excited to be a part of this project and offer my insights into the world of crowdfunding!

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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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).

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
Ends on .

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
Ends on .

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


* * * * * *


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
Ends on .

“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
Ends on .

“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).

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.

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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 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).

Kickstart the Comic – Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord!

There is a term for comic books that became a slightly bad way of referring to them: Funny Books. Meaning they were good for a few laughs, but that was about it. Yet, my friend and I like to take that derisive term and embrace it when we talk about comics. Whether it is Marvel or DC or Image or anything and everything else out there – they are our funny books. They should bring smiles to your face because you are enjoying what you’re reading because that means the people creating the book must have been having “fun” as well.


Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord!

From Shades of Vengeance Comics

Writer/Letters – Jonathan Lewis

Artist – Sebastian Sala

Colorist – Slamet Mujino

Kickstarter campaign ends on Sunday, December 3, 2017 at 9:34 AM EST.


The Pitch:

Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord, is the story of the Mistress of Shadows meeting her greatest foe, a lagomorph with great night vision!

The Story:

On a heist to steal a piece of alien technology, rumored to increase the abilities of any Empowered who holds it, she faces off against Wild Hare. He has an aim to test his skills against the slickest of escape artist. Together with the small army of security, Wild Hare will make sure it isn’t Penumbra’s lucky day.

John’s Thoughts:

Like I said in the preamble, this looks like a comic where the creators are just cutting loose and having fun. I mean, a master thief up against a two-legged bunny? And the thing is that comics don’t always have to be these dreary things that we force ourselves through just to have said: “hey, I read that thing – yeah, it depressed the hell out of me, but I read it!”

I gotta think that after you read this issue the response is much more likely to include lots of laughter rather than tears.

The Rewards:

The other thing about this campaign is that the overall amount being asked for is only about $467, so the rewards all lean towards the various digital rewards. However, if you want to spring for something a little different, the $66 level has a “Personal short story by the writer including Penumbra and an Original character of your choice”. If you have that one character you wish you could include in other people’s worlds, here’s your chance.

The Verdict:

Master thieves and the Rabbits that chase them. Nuff said. Go get yourself a funny book.


To learn more about Penumbra, check out the Shades of Vengeance website 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.


Era: The Consortium – Gameplay Review of The Stiletto Unit Adventure

At AetherCon VI* on November 12, 2017, I had the opportunity to play in an Era: The Consortium** adventure with Shades of Vengeance owner and Era d10*** creator, Ed Jowett. [Before we go any further, here’s the disclosure: I’m freelancing for Ed on an Era: The Consortium product here.] The adventure we played at AetherCon was an excellent opportunity to be at the same table as the game’s creator and get the rules as well as the spirit of the game right from the source. This session brought the mechanics and the intent of the game into focus and from it I want to share two scenes to discuss the gameplay but without giving away the whole plot. That said, light SPOILERS ahead for this Stiletto Unit adventure.

If this product interests you, Shades of Vengeance is running a Kickstarter right now for Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 which adds more rules and species and adventures to the Consortium universe, including one by me (if the stretch goal is reached).


* * * * * *


Before we get into the review, Era: The Consortium uses the Era d10*** system which is explained in more detail below, but the quick version of it is:

  • a d10 dice pool system generally created by adding an Attribute plus a Skill and rolling against an Action Difficulty/target number where each die could be a success or a fumble.

We opened the Google Hangouts session by picking our pre-generated characters from Stiletto Unit, a band of freedom fighters that are a part of the Resistance against the Consortium. What’s to resist? Era: The Consortium is a far flung future in which companies openly run the worlds. The “openly” part is key – companies are the government and you’re a part of a group that’s fighting that status quo. In the adventure Ximian politician and Resistance backer, Ixitixl, has Stiletto Unit investigate a Moritagas Pharmaceuticals base on Arawn looking for a superweapon that will destroy all of the Resistance. With that setup, we got into the game.


* * * * * *


How well do non-combat skills work? 

After the fight at Moritagas Pharmaceuticals’ base on Arawn. The first mission and combat of the adventure came about when we failed to covertly infiltrate Moritagas Pharmaceuticals’ base forcing <gasp!> combat. After the combat and some meaningful story clues, Stiletto Unit boards their spacecraft and we have a chance to work on some non-combat skills.

Zeelaay, our pilot, used [Attribute] Wits + [Skill] Pilot against an Action Difficulty of 7 and rolled 2 successes to launch our ship into space. Onboard, after a series of events set off an EMP that knocked out our cybernetic implants, Dr. Curay and Styxtirian [me], a Ximian engineer, combined actions to repair each cybernetic implant (Int + Medicine for 3 successes from Dr. Curay and Int (1d10) + Engineering (4d10) for 5d10 and 2 successes from Styxtirian). Another Stiletto, Takahashi, had a stealth suit (think Predator) that was burned out in the combat (first combat and your character’s “gimmick” is wiped out early, always fun!). Aboard the ship, the character repaired the suit with 4 successes.

Era d10 Non-Combat Skills Pros:

There’s enough range and options to cover every situation that we encountered without being overwhelmed with choices. Standard Action Difficulty is 7 and that made it so most dice pools (which ranged from 4 or 5 dice up to 22 in one instance) had successes. The logic of why X+X forms the dice pool worked well and led to moments where we could name what we wanted to do and the dice supported our decisions.

Era d10 Non-Combat Skills Cons:

The GM is needed for a lot of pre-roll decisions. What Attribute and what Skill produces the result you’re going for? For many of these actions there’s a set combo of Attribute and Skill but there’s enough variation that alternative combinations can be introduced and that requires GM approval. Another common question for the GM is “What’s the Action Difficulty?” While 7 is the default, the GM may set the bar higher and there are scenarios (using Luck, having a situation-specific Speciality) that alter the number, which means that every player needs to talk to the GM before rolling to be sure they’re getting the right dice pool and difficulty. It’s not a problem because the rulebook has all of these instances well-defined, but it does slow the process down a bit when you’re new to the setup.


* * * * * *


How well do combat skills work? 

Fighting a Smertios Security (DIS)ARM. Our next mini-mission within the larger mission was to board a capital ship (we did) which led to the six PCs facing off against one of the game’s superpowered battlesuits, the (DIS)ARM.


As a group, we turned the corner and there’s the (DIS)ARM and it’s round 1! We roll initiative and in Era d10 you only roll 1d10 and add the number of levels you have in Willpower and Wits to that. In Styxtirian’s case, that’s 1d10+5 (from 3x Willpower and 2x Wits).

The (DIS)ARM went first and and off the bat it fumbles (rolling more 1s than successes in its attack dice pool) so its mini-gun falls off of the armor.

Quick note about combat. You succeed on your roll to hit, you roll a number of damage dice equal to the number of your to hit successes. The damage dice have two Action Difficulties/Thresholds, one is to damage and one is to kill (so, for example, a roll of a 6 deals damage but a 9 kills). Thus ends the lesson.

Two of the PCs shoot the (DIS)ARM doing damage to its shield though no harm to the unit or the pilot, just the shields. Zeelaay, the pilot, also loves rockets and shoots 4 into the ceiling above the (DIS)ARM because dropping debris (with 8 damage) incapacitates the armor beneath the wreckage. One of the Stilettos, Gyter, decides that his mission’s to crack open the armor, get the pilot out, and take it for himself. He gets on top of the immobilized armor and does a called shot with armor piercing rounds. A called shot halves your dice pool of Wits + Gunnery to hit but lowers the kill threshold for a called shot to the head. Gyter’s shot hit but because shields deflect armor piercing rounds and the (DIS)ARM’s shields were still up the shot goes wild. Takahashi goes into stealth mode and attempts to slip around the (DIS)ARM in the corridor. Dex + Stealth for the pool so 8 dice and she succeeds against an Action Difficulty of 10, which allows her to sneak behind the mech and attempt to interface with it in a contest to control it. For the contest, it’s a series of roll-offs as Takahashi and the AI both try to reach 10 successes and mastery of the computer first. For Takahashi, it was Intelligence + Computer (8 dice with an Action Difficulty of 7), however they both reach 10 successes on the same round so there is no winner. Styxtirian (me) is a strong Ximian and a melee combatant. He’s going to try and rip open the armor which should be easy for him with 16 dice (Str + Brawl)… I got 3 successes (I roll badly in most games) so Styx was unable to rip the armor open.

Round 2. Still immobilized, the (DIS)ARM throws Gyter off of him and across the hall leaving a spot for Steve Adams to land on. Dr. Curay injects Styxtirian with a drug that will amp his Str from 6 to 11 for 5 minutes and then after that it will be a Str of 5. Gyter shoots at the (DIS)ARM’s faceplate to no effect. Takahashi is still digitally wrestling with the unit and tries to overcome it again and Ed (the GM) rolled a fumble so, as long as Takahashi did not fumble, she could override the AI. After accessing the (DIS)ARM, her only option is to activate its self-destruct and she does. The (DIS)ARM explodes. The denotation rips a hole in the ship’s haul forcing everyone to leap into the next section before the bulkheads seal.

Unfortunately, Gyter never got his (DIS)ARM[or] and Styx had to wait until the next combat to get any advantage from the drug he was injected with. The entire party survived the combat with a minimum of wounds mostly because of the fumbled loss of the mini-gun at the start and Zeelaay’s decision and amazing roll to drop the ceiling onto the (DIS)ARM.

Era d10 Combat Rolls Pros:

I’m sure that reads like a lot of actions but in under two full rounds a very tough unit was defeated and several combat styles were utilized (melee, range, area of effect, digital) with interesting scenarios generated by each. It moved quickly and logically as we never had any disagreement about the outcome of a situation. As a *TERRIBLE* dice roller, I liked that there was an option for the damage dice to do wounds or an insta-kill. Having a chance to close out the combat is a win (no pun intended) in my opinion.

Era d10 Combat Rolls Cons:

As above with the non-combat skills, the GM is pulled into a bit of discussion as to what needs to be rolled. It was not as much as non-combat skills, but its presence slowed the game a bit.


* * * * * *


Era d10 Conclusion:


I’m freelancing for Ed (the GM) on Era: The Consortium so I’m not apt to dislike the setting or the GM (ha!). For this review, I wanted to focus on the Era: d10 system to share how it works and feels. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, Ed has an innovative system that feels right for the sci-fi genre.

If I had to say that there’s one thing I’d do away with, it’s the fumble. This is not specific to Era: The Consortium, it’s a general distain. I believe that the fumble is the in-game mechanic that leads from serious RPG to goofing around. In the adventure, I fumbled… twice, I think? Ed fumbled three times. Dr. Curay fumbled once and so did another character. In game, fumbles are likely to have one of two effects:

  • The opponent gains a critical or deadly advantage and you roll up a new character
  • Something Monty Python happens

Which route does your table go?

Having read the rules, written scenarios, and played the Era d10 system, I can say I’m excited to do it again. The game is a lot of fun, it’s logical, and led to some fun in-game scenarios with a lot of heart and humor. The story Ed told was epic and achievable in a single sitting and I’d recommend the adventure to anyone wanting to try out Era: The Consortium. I want to thank AetherCon, Ed Jowett, and all of the players for the experience.


If you want to try the game yourself, there’s a Kickstarter for the Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 that ends on 


* * * * * *


*What is AetherCon?

AetherCon is a free to attend, free to partake, non-profit initiative. Throughout the weekend there will be a plethora of tabletop RPGs on offer for all to play in. All games will be run on the free, browser-based virtual table top Roll20 and/or Google Hangouts. This program will allow GMs and players alike to simply click on a link and enter the playing area as opposed to needing to download and install the software to participate.


**What is Era: The Consortium RPG?

Humanity has left Earth over a thousand years behind, landing on a new planet and founding a new government. The Consortium is an inspiring ideal – three star systems teaming with life and four species living and working together. As time passes, however, cracks are showing in the Humanity-led society and those less scrupulous have taken power.

Enter at any point in 500 years of playable story, following the Consortium’s growth from a small colony to a multi-system economic and political establishment. Explore new worls and encounter alien races, direct or fight in battles which span a solar system and will decide the future of the Consortium or join a Resistance movement against the government to save or destroy billions of lives!

What you decide will define the fate of the Consortium…


***What is the Era d10 system?

“The Era d10 ruleset is designed to allow you to experience this universe in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible without being misrepresentative. By choosing your skills carefully, your character can dominate in any of 5 forms of combat, talk their way out of any situation or protect their teammates from harm.

The rules could be described as “A Success-counting dice pool system where you roll Attribute + Skill in d10s and the difficulty of the task determines which numbers count as Successes.”

In case that was a bit too brief or jargony, here’s a bit more detail:

The system is based around multiple dice – the more skilled you are, the more dice you have – and a variable goal based on activity difficulty.

Using an Attribute and Skill system, which each define their own areas of influence, you roll your dice depending on what you’re attempting – whether Dexterity + Engineering for a precision piece of work, Intelligence + Engineering for a more theoretical problem or Luck + Engineering for a complete long shot, you’ll be able to adapt to your circumstances and focus on your strengths.

Although you roll more dice the more skilled you are, the number you are attempting to reach varies depending on the difficulty of the action – if shooting someone in clear conditions, the GM would ask for a 7. If someone was laying a mine, more likely a 6. Firing over your shoulder at someone 30 metres away, while crouching behind a low wall would definitely be a 10!

If you would like to try the rules, please see our Quickstart Pack!


Read my interview with Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance here.

You can check out Era: The Consortium RPG on DriveThruRPG here.


* * * * * *


Shades of Vengeance Signal Boost:


1) Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 by Shades of Vengeance 
The critically acclaimed Sci-Fi RPG returns to Kickstarter: get expansions to the universe, as well as the Definitive Edition Rulebook!
Ends on .

Want to know more about the game? You can get the (free) Quickstart pack right here and try it out!

Why signal boost this? Because I’ll be writing one of the stretch goals – Sirona Specials Part 1 (Sessions 1-10)!


* * * * * *


2) Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord! by Shades of Vengeance
Everyone’s favorite mistress of shadows is back! But can she defeat the bunny lord?
Ends on Sun, December 3 2017 9:34 AM EST.



* * * * * *


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).

5 Gamebook, Prose, and Comic Kickstarters You Should Read – Malika, Neverland, The Awakened III, Penumbra, and Decision Underground

After reading the Kickstarter for the gamebook, Rider of the Black Sun, its rekindled my love for Choose Your Own Adventure-style projects. Putting my RPG review aside for a day, I look at two gamebooks, two comics, and a fantasy prose anthology as I combine all of my interests – games, comics, and writing – in one article!


Check out John McGuire’s The Gilded Age steampunk graphic novel on Kickstarter!


Malika – Warrior Queen Part Two by You Neek Studios
Ends on .

“Malika – Warrior Queen is a historical fantasy that takes place in a 15th-century West Africa. Part Two concludes Malika’s epic story!


Set in fifteenth-century West Africa, Malika (pronounced “Ma-LIE-ka”): Warrior Queen follows the exploits of queen and military commander Malika, who struggles to keep the peace in her ever-expanding empire. In Part Two of the hit graphic novel series, Malika uncovers a painful betrayal by one of the people closest to her. The treachery unnerves a usually stoic and composed Malika, allowing her enemies both known and unknown, internal as well as external, encircle her, positioning themselves for the destruction of Azzaz, the empire she spent her entire adult life building. Can Malika recompose herself and save her people once again? Or is this betrayal the beginning of the end for Malika and the people of Azzaz? Only time will tell.

Malika prepares to address the crowd at the Hall of Hassan
Malika prepares to address the crowd at the Hall of Hassan

It’s been amazing to see how well Malika has been received since it’s release in May. One of the most rewarding experiences was having chapter one of the graphic novel selected for Diamond Comic’s Free Comic Book Day event in May, where it was one of the most sought-after and best-reviewed books of the bunch!

Producing this series has definitely been the most painstaking for me as a writer. The last two years have been filled with sleepless nights, months of research, moments of self-doubt and more. But I’ve loved every minute of it. Why? Because as much as this is a fictional story, it is both heavily inspired and framed by African history. I drew inspiration for some aspects of Malika’s story from one of West Africa’s most significant female rulers. Queen Amina of Zazzau. In addition to that, Malika’s empire, Azzaz, is surrounded by African kingdoms and empires that existed before colonization. Africa has a wealth of history and mythology that is yet to become mainstream knowledge for everyone to experience and be inspired by. My hope is that the Malika series slowly begins to change that.”

The Olon Jin make their first appearance
The Olon Jin make their first appearance
And its not pretty
And its not pretty


Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m a fan of diversity in gaming – Mythic d6, A Far Off Land, AMP: Year Four, Seven Worlds – and comics – Niobe, Route 3, Sorghum & Spear – so I’m excited to see the sequel to the Free Comic Book Day Malika #1 on Kickstarter! This comic offers sword and soul and is something I am eager to read. I’d love to see this go the distance and make it over to be a RPG!


The first graphic novel is available through Amazon here.

You can support the Kickstarter here.


* * * * * * 


NEVERLAND – Here Be Monsters! by Jonathan Green
Ends on Sat, December 2 2017 5:00 PM EST.

“J. M. Barrie’s ‘Peter Pan and Wendy’ meets Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Lost World’ in this brand-new, thrilling gamebook adventure!

NEVERLAND is a brand new adventure gamebook – a multi-path book, very much in the style of Choose Your Own Adventure or Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, in which you choose the course of the story – inspired by both Peter Pan and Wendy, by J. M. Barrie, and The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

It’s Treasure Island meets Jurassic Park! It’s Cutthroat Island meets King Kong! It’s Pirates of the Caribbean meets The Land That Time Forgot! It’s Pirates versus Dinosaurs! And you can play as either shipwreck survivor Wendy Darling or automaton avenger Peter Pan. Anybody who has read and played The Wicked Wizard of Oz or Alice’s Nightmare in Wonderland will have a very clear idea of what to expect!

My name is Jonathan Green and I am an author, editor and games designer. I am probably best known for my Fighting Fantasy adventure gamebooks, as well as YOU ARE THE HERO – A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks, and my Pax Britannia steampunk novels.”

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Amazon UK links have been replaced with affiliate Amazon US links.]

Adventure gamebooks written by Jonathan Green
Adventure gamebooks written by Jonathan Green


Pax Britannia steampunk novels by Jonathan Green
Pax Britannia steampunk novels by Jonathan Green


YOU ARE THE HERO - A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks - Parts 1 & 2
YOU ARE THE HERO – A History of Fighting Fantasy Gamebooks – Parts 1 & 2


Egg’s Thoughts:

I’m a fan of gamebooks/Choose Your Own Adventures/Tunnels & Trolls’ solo adventures and I’m a fan of Peter Pan so this book is the concept. What would you do as Peter Pan? Jonathan Green lets you decide.


More books by Jonathan Green are available through Amazon here:

You can support the Kickstarter here.


* * * * * * 


Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord! by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sun, December 3 2017 9:34 AM EST.

“Everyone’s favorite mistress of shadows is back! But can she defeat the bunny lord?

Penumbra: Fear the Bunny Lord, is the story of the Mistress of Shadows meeting her greatest foe, a lagomorph with great night vision!

On a heist to steal a piece of alien technology, rumored to increase the abilities of any Empowered who holds it, she faces off against Wild Hare. He has an aim to test his skills against the slickest of escape artist. Together with the small army of security, Wild Hare will make sure it isn’t Penumbra’s lucky day.

Will she succeed? Will she get paid? Did she think to bring carrots? Back the comic and you’ll find the story in your email before even Penumra could steal it!”


UPDATE 2017-11-15 10:15AM – Ed Jowett shared the creative team with me:

  • Written by Johnathan Lewis
  • Art by Sebastian Sala
  • Colours by Slamet Mujiono
  • Penumra created by Ed Jowett


Egg’s Thoughts:

[Disclosure: I am working for Shades of Vengeance on their Era: The Consortium RPG.]


Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance is a nice guy who does gaming and comics and employees lil’ Egg Embry. He has two Kickstarters up right now, this one and the Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2. He’s one of the hardest working folks in gaming and this comic is a product of that work-ethic. Zany heroic comedy as a thief faces a bunny-man!


To see more comics, and books, from Shades of Vengeance, click here.

You can support the Kickstarter here.


* * * * * * 


The Awakened III Anthology by Battlefield Press International and Samurai Sheepdog
Ends on Wed, December 6 2017 9:54 PM EST.

“The Awakened III brings together several amazing authors to tell their stories of triumph, failure, fear, and acceptance.

On the world of Grimaton, turning nineteen is more than just a rite of passage into adulthood. When the two moons cross, it can also change your life forever. As awakened, the men and women of Grimaton are possessed of magic in the form of a special bond with an animal or a knack for manipulating the underlying energies of the land. They throw rainbow fire, swim beside alligators, or shape the blood of their enemies into weapons.

Join us for a third time as publishers Battlefield Press International and Samurai Sheepdog work together to bring ten amazing authors together. In our latest anthology you’ll find tales of triumph, failure, fear, and acceptance set once again in the fantasy world of Grimaton. Enjoy new stories with the heroes and villains from Book I. Meet entirely new characters as interesting and dynamic as the rest. Return to the fictional realm of the awakened and watch as its remarkable history continues to grow. When the moons cross, anything can happen.

  • Ed Greenwood
  • Darrin Drader
  • Darren W. Pearce
  • Ty Johnston
  • Doug Herring
  • Ted Fauster
  • Torah Cottrill
  • Rosemary Jones
  • Jonathan M. Thompson
  • Hal Greenberg and Ken Shannon
  • Kevin Glusing
  • Interior art by Ruth Ducko”


Egg’s Thoughts:

When Jonathan M. Thompson of Battlefield Press International told me about this – that his company was trying out prose publishing – I was excited by the prospect and even more interested after seeing the contributor’s list! It’s sword, it’s sorcery, it’s prose, it’s a series, and it’s a win! They have two prior anthologies to sample (links below).


More books from this series are available through DriveThruFiction (here) or Amazon:

You can support the Kickstarter here.

Read an interview with Jonathan M. Thompson about a prior project here.


* * * * * * 


Decision Underground: A Choice-Based Criminal Adventure by Jimbo Mclaughlin
Ends on Tue, December 12 2017 7:12 PM EST.

What is Decision Underground?

Decision Underground is a choice-based novel in which you must choose your own path through a dangerous and twisted criminal underworld where making the wrong decision could lead to very serious consequences ranging anywhere from getting locked up for the rest of your life to being murdered horribly. Choosing wisely however, could lead to stacks of cash, infamy, and most importantly; your freedom and your life.


Egg’s Thoughts:

Like I mentioned with Rider of the Black Sun and NEVERLAND – Here Be Monsters!, I am a fan of solo adventures/CYOA/gamebooks and this one is, to me, unique – a Choose Your Own Crime. Instead of being set in fantasy or sci-fi or superhero worlds, it’s set in our world and you’re a nogoodnik. Grand Theft Auto the book, I like the concept and want to see how it goes… I mean, how many endings are death and how many are jail?


You can support the Kickstarter here.


* * * * * *


Signal Boost:


Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 by Shades of Vengeance 
The critically acclaimed Sci-Fi RPG returns to Kickstarter: get expansions to the universe, as well as the Definitive Edition Rulebook!
Ends on .

Read my interview with Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance here.

Want to know more about the game? You can get the (free) Quickstart pack right here and try it out!

Why signal boost this? Because I’ll be writing one of the stretch goals – Sirona Specials Part 1 (Sessions 1-10)!


* * * * * *


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).

12 QUESTIONS ABOUT Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 WITH Ed Jowett (Shades of Vengeance)

I’ve interviewed Ed Jowett of Shades of Vengeance before about his Era: Balam Kickstarter. Well, he’s nearly fulfilled that one and back with a new project. For my part, I’m excited about his latest Kickstarter because I’m freelancing on one of the stretch goals, Sirona Specials Part I (Sessions 1-10). Since the project is up and running, it felt like a good time to speak with Ed again.


Check out John McGuire’s The Gilded Age steampunk graphic novel on Kickstarter!


EGG EMBRY – I want to thank you for agreeing to another batch of questions, Ed. Let’s start out with the big ones, what is Era: The Consortium? And what is the Era: The Consortium expansion that you’re kickstarting?

ED JOWETT – I am always happy to answer any questions you have, Egg – it’s a pleasure to be back!

Era: The Consortium is an epic Sci-Fi RPG with 500 years of playable history. It follows the story of a group of Humans who have left Earth and travelled for over 1000 years to reach a new region of space. They encounter new alien races, explore this new region of space and continue to expand during the presented history.

This amount of history sounds like a lot to read and understand, but the reason that this amount exists is that the intention of the game is to enable the players to explore any sub-genre of Sci-Fi that they wish. If you’re interested in exploring space and encountering new species, the history allows that fairly early in the timeline, and adapting to live with the species you encounter follows on naturally from that. From facing an alien race which is hell-bent on the destruction of the Consortium to a peaceful society with transhumanist tendencies and from cyberpunk style hi-tech dungeon crawl to standing up to an evil government and dismantling their schemes, every form of Sci-Fi which you can imagine is available within Era: The Consortium‘s timeline.

These options mean that it’s very hard to explain in just a few words what Era: The Consortium is – a significant amount of that answer is up to the player! However, I hope that people who have read this understand what I mean when describe it as an epic Sci-Fi RPG!

Just as there’s not one answer for what Era: The Consortium is about, I’m actually Kickstarting quite a number of expansions (anywhere up to 18!).

I should mention before I leap into those that if you’re new to Era: The Consortium, there is a chance to get your hands on everything that already exists in a handy reward tier as well – both the Definitive Edition Rulebook and all of the expansions exist (8 so far!) in Digital Format at the £25 tier, which will add all of the books which we unlock with the Kickstarter.

The first three new expansions are already unlocked by the Funded Campaign:

  • Free Trader gives rules for trading and piracy through the Consortium, with over 30 Trading Posts across the various planets and the prices for 40 cargo types at each one!
  • New Worlds offers the chance to explore a new solar system at the end of the timeline, 250 years after the last one was discovered and explored, providing all the needed equipment and rules to do so.
  • Predictive Genetic Algorithm allows players to create their own alien race for gameplay, with a huge variety of bonuses and penalties, including those available on the current playable alien races!

Beyond that, we’re unlocking a number more expansions, including:

  • The next part of the Time Travel Campaign (Part 4), which explores what would happen if a group of agents went back in time to the start of the Consortium to reshape it.
  • Home Base, which offers the chance to build (and defend) a base of your own. It also provides the rules for building facilities within the base, which give you various bonuses as a result of their existence!
  • Sirona Specials, which you ask me about in a later question.
  • Creatures Of The Outsystem, which offers 30 encounters with strange and amazing life forms on the edge of Consortium space.
  • And much more…

Every Stretch Goal we meet will unlock a new expansion, and every Reward Tier includes whatever we unlock in Digital Format, meaning no-one will miss out!


EGG EMBRY – Tell us about the Era d10 Rule Set that you use for all of the Era games and why it’s so versatile?

ED JOWETT – The Era d10 Rule Set was designed to be a system which could work with any genre from the start, which had a significant impact on its versatility. It’s also designed to be simple to learn but complex to master – I’ve been playing for 4 years with a group of mathematicians, computer scientists and physicists and none of them have cracked it yet!

The difference between games is modular, with the majority of the rules remaining the same. This means that every game has a familiar feel and most of the rules are reasonably intuitive once you’ve played for a while. Beyond that, though, it allows people to take modules from one game and transpose it into others. For example, the rules in the Revival Expansion (one of my absolute favourite books we’ve written!) are actually the rules from Era: Survival, presented in a Sci-Fi context.

This provides the versatility that you’re talking about, in my opinion: if I need to add some new rules, I make sure that they follow the same paradigm and add a new module for the game.


EGG EMBRY – You just finished the Era: Balam Kickstarter and have already shipped the rewards, correct? What brings you back to Era: The Consortium at this point?

ED JOWETT – Era: Balam was completed and shipped for all physical and Era d10 rewards. I, personally, have completed everything except layout work on the Fate and Savage Worlds books, so I’m finished on that project until the awesome people – who are much more expert than I in those systems – complete their review of the work I’ve done, and their own writing. As a result, I’ve got a bit of a hole in my schedule, which lets me look at another project.

All of that said, Era: The Consortium is a game that I never really leave, to be honest! Between the end of the Kickstarter almost exactly a year ago and this year, I’ve come up with 8 additional expansion ideas for the existing timeline (not including things I have thought of for the next 500 years!).

I’ll be honest, out of the games I’ve created, this is my personal favourite because of the universe it offers. I’m very proud of the other games as well, but I could happily play this game for the rest of my RPG life, personally. As a result, I never want to stop making things for it, as long as people still want to get them… and it’s clear from some of the feedback I’ve already had that the people backing the Kickstarter definitely want me to continue!


EGG – I’ve asked a variation of this question to several interviewees lately – SoV has a free preview of Era: The Consortium, how has it “tracked” so far and have you seen an uptick in interest since the latest Kickstarter launched?

ED JOWETT – That’s an interesting question. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but we actually offer the free preview all the time. I would say there’s been a minor uptick from the Kickstarter traffic, but a lot less than there was a year ago.


EGG – I mentioned that I’m assisting on the Sirona Specials Part I (Sessions 1-10) stretch goal and since it’s difficult for me as the freelancer to tease what it’s about in your interview, can you tell the audience what the setup for this campaign expansion is?

ED JOWETT – Sirona Specials is the story of a group of prisoners who are offered their freedom in exchange for using their… talents. It will follow their adventures through the Consortium as they help the company which has offered them this deal improve their standing within society.

If they do enough, they will be given new identities and set free, and as they achieve success they are given more tangible perks, such as good meals and better living quarters!

It’s said no-one escapes Sirona. Of course, if they aren’t prisoners any more, it wouldn’t really be escaping, right?


EGG – What inspired the idea that the Consortium would have something between a chain gang and DC’s Suicide Squad in the form of the Sirona Specials?

ED JOWETT – That’s quite simple – companies in the Consortium are all always vying for power. Crone Correction holds some of the true masters of their craft – the people who were good enough to commit crimes to the extent that a sentence on Sirona was the only way to keep them out of circulation.

I find it hard to believe that Crone Correction, even though it is mandated to exist by the Consortium Charter, is satisfied with its position. The leaders of the company want what every CEO in the Consortium wants: more power… and they wouldn’t be afraid to use the assets they have to achieve it!

To me, this was a logical step, and I was glad to run into someone else who agreed it was a fun idea for an RPG campaign!

[Editor’s Note: Egg is the someone else. Egg is proud to be the someone else. Victory = Egg!]


EGG – As the publisher, can you highlight one pledge level/backer reward that you think is the standout for Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2?

ED JOWETT – I’m going to highlight two, but for a good reason!

If you‘ve never heard of Era: The Consortium before, then you can get hold of everything that exists for Era: The Consortium (currently 11 books, with an additional one unlocked by each Stretch Goal!) with several of the tiers in this Kickstarter.

To those people, I’d recommend the £40 tier, Katana Unit, because I think that nothing beats holding the book in your hands when you’re playing these games. The games are available in Digital only, as well, of course.

If you’re an Era: The Consortium veteran, I’d say you can’t go wrong with the other £40 tier, Scimitar Unit, which offers all newly unlocked expansions in Digital Format, along with your choice of 3 in Paperback! This includes not only the new expansions, but also the older ones as well, so you can get hold of A New Dawn, Revival and Free Trader if you like (for example!).


EGG – Recently, Shades of Vengeance attended MCM Comicon, what games did you demonstrate while you were there? How was the response to them? And what upcoming conventions will you attend?

ED JOWETT – We had an absolute blast at MCM Comicon – I don’t think we’ve ever sat down so many people at our gaming tables over a weekend!

We demonstrated all of our games: Era: The Consortium, Era: Lyres, Era: The Empowered, Era: Survival, Era: Silence, Era: Hitman and Era: Balam, as well as both of our card games, Champion of Earth and Evil Overlord’s prototype!

We had an overwhelmingly positive response, which is always inspiring to see, but the best thing is always when we see people who had never heard of roleplaying or didn’t really think they would ever try it sit down and play, and instantly fall in love! I know that my team loves running these conventions as much as the players enjoy attending and trying out whatever we have new – we certainly have a lot of “repeat offenders” these days, who remember us from previous conventions and came searching for us!

We’ve got a couple more this year, AetherCon is this weekend and we will be there inside the virtual environments they are offering! We will be running three games – one of Era: The Consortium, which is full, along with one of Era: Lyres and one of Era: The Empowered.

It’s actually a fantastic time to join us for games, because it’s something that is totally virtual and we play via Google Hangout, so you can join us from the comfort of your own living room!

If you’d like to join us, you can grab a free ticket for the games here:

Era: Lyres (Friday): http://aethercon.com/ACEventMan/Tickets/viewevent.asp?EventID=137

Era: The Empowered (Saturday): http://aethercon.com/ACEventMan/Tickets/viewevent.asp?EventID=136

We’ll also be doing an entire segment on what’s coming in the future for us! If you want to know more about what we have planned for the Era universe, you can join us for here: http://aethercon.com/ACEventMan/Tickets/viewevent.asp?EventID=39

Beyond AetherCon, we have Dragonmeet in London to finish off our year! That’s at the start of December, and we’ll be there demonstrating all the games we have, as usual!


EGG – Since I have you here and we talked about Era: Balam last time, how would you rate the outcome of that Kickstarter in terms of fan response and what you delivered?

ED JOWETT – Interestingly, the primary response that I’ve heard to Era: Balam is how interested people are to integrate the rules into Era: The Consortium‘s gameplay!

The Era d10 version of Era: Balam has been received very well, with about 75% of people who backed the Kickstarter choosing to receive it. I think, overall, the project has been a great success, as well as proof that Era: The Consortium does still have more things that could be done, if people think there is more that could be added!


EGG – Era: The Consortium has received a great deal of praise, what’s the quote that gives you the warm and fuzzies as a creator?

ED JOWETT – Oh, that’s easy. There’s a review that was done very early on by RPG Knights who really inspired me to continue. In the low moments, I come back to it – I figure if one person likes the game this much, there will be others who like it just as much as well!

“It is literally the best sci-fi Role Playing Game I have ever seen and hence Era The Consortium is the game that I have been looking for.”



EGG – What other RPG projects are you currently developing for Shades of Vengeance?

ED JOWETT – I currently have 9 active RPG projects! I can’t talk about all of them, but here’s what I can say!

The Core Rulebook for Era: The Empowered is close to completion. We expect to have all of the writing and artwork completed by the end of the year. That means we’re going to be looking closely at launching early next year on Kickstarter. This Core Rulebook will include the full character creation rules (which I finished writing on Saturday!), along with a complete history and multiple different types of superhero sub-genres to explore!

Era: The Chosen is something I’ve been working on for a while now (I recently realized I actually started artwork for it in January, although it had a bit of a break mid-year!). I also expect that to be done by the end of the year, and it is a bit of a race between Empowered and Chosen to see which one will get out first. Era: The Chosen is a Horror RPG – think Dr Who meets Turok 2: horrible creatures are snatching people from our world… will you be able to stop them? It also features some brand new rules around being terrified!

We’re also working on two high fantasy games with very different aims, which I expect to get at least one of finished this year. We’re working on a cyberpunk game, inspired by the Matrix, where you can actually modify reality as you travel through it…

And the last one I can talk about for now is one which is inspired by Final Fantasy in particular and JRPGs in general. I’m working with the talented Mr Mark Miller on the levelling up methods in order to get them nice and authentic with the correct feel.

There is one other game that I am not currently at liberty to announce… but I will be in 3 more days! Please join us at the AetherCon panel about what is to come to find out more [here].


EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about Ed Jowett and Shades of Vengeance?

ED JOWETT – You can find us at www.shadesofvengeance.com , where our news is always kept up to date. You can also look for us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/shadesofvengeance/) or Twitter (www.twitter.com/Shades_of_Venge). Finally, you can follow us on Kickstarter (and if you want to know what’s just become available, that’s the best place!): https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/shadesofvengeance/about

I’d like to thank everyone for reading! I hope to see you at Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 [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!


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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 on Facebook (Egg Embry) or on Google Plus (+Egg Embry).

9 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Alien Bestiary, Artifices of Quartztoil Tower, IDENTECO, SideQuests II, and more

For this post, I’m reviewing nine RPG Kickstarters that are powered by the D&D 5e, Era d10, FATE, Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, Starfinder, and more systems. Nine RPGs that are running campaigns and hoping you’ll back them. Let’s count’em down!


9) Era: Balam by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sun, September 24 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

“Explore a solar system and defend Humanity from an alien fleet! Era: Balam runs on your choice of Era d10, FATE or Savage Worlds!

In this game, you are a pilot, with your own “Paladin” one-man ship, sent out to explore space and defend Humanity! Together with other pilots, you’ll form a squadron and head out into the black…

This game offers rules for space combat, salvaging materials and upgrading your fighter, a list of bases you can visit (both friendly and not-so-friendly), space-based dogfights and a variety of weapons from bullet-based to plasma cannons!

If you like games such as Homeworld, Freelancer or Elite: Dangerous, this is the RPG for you!

In Era: Balam, your ship is a part of your character, as much as the pilot.

It defines most of your physical statistics, providing a duality to this game which I’ve never explored before: while a pilot may technically survive without their ship, it will feel like they have lost a part of themselves.

A Paladin and its Pilot are a single character in this game, working together!
A Paladin and its Pilot are a single character in this game, working together!

The Paladin ships which appear in this game are fully upgradable, and provide various options as the players progress, including painlessly changing “Class” by replacing the Main Module!”

Want to learn more? Here’s the link to my interview with Ed Jowett about Era: Balam.

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’ve covered several Shades of Vengeance games in this column, I’ve interviewed Ed Jowett of SoV, and I’m freelancing on an Era d10 project for SoV, clearly I’m all for Vengeance. But among SoV’s games, what makes Era: Balam stand out? In a word, expansion. In this game you’re both your character and your ship, which explains this game’s setup concisely while offering a lot of cool options. Both the person and the tool have a role to play and together they elevate this RPG to be something akin to Star Wars: Rogue Squadron or Battlestar: Galactica. Add to that, this RPG is available for Savage Worlds, FATE, or Shades of Vengeance’s house system, Era d10, and you have a winner.


You can see examples of Shades of Vengeance’s work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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8) Pathfinder Modern Adventures by Higher Grounds Publishing, LLC
Ends on Mon, September 25 2017 2:00 PM EDT.

“Take up sword and gun to seek fame and fortune in this gritty fantasy game set in modern-day Earth.

“I know what you’re thinkin’, kid. With all the stuff out there, all the cash, treasure, monsters and adventure waiting to be had.. what the hell is anyone doing in a nine-to-five, waste-of-time job?”, the old dwarf grunted with a voice like rolling gravel. “Well, I’ll tell ya, it sure as shit doesn’t have anything to do with really livin’, that’s for sure.” The dwarf was eye level with the kid, even though the human boy was probably only a small fraction of his own age. Stubby fingers curled around his massive, braided beard and stroked downward, flattening out a few stray red-and-gray hairs that had gone astray. “It’s all about security. See, cities like this one got all kinds of that stuff. Vancouver. Atlanta. Hell, even the most dangerous hood in Detroit ain’t got nothin’ on the shit you’ll find taking up gun and sword and heading off into the tombs. Most folks’ll tell you that, and most folks are right. I done seen more death and carnage than any CEO could ever dream about in an entire lifetime. I’m the sole survivor of a group of seven of us.” the dwarf said with a half-psychotic grimace that may have been mistaken for a smile, showing off those yellowed teeth interspersed with gold ones that replaced the teeth that had been knocked out by god-knows-what. “It’s a shit life, being an adventurer. You’re going to go hungry. You’re going to get hurt. Shit, you will probably even die.” he said with a chuckle. “So why do I do it?” the dwarf peered at the kid with his one good eye and got close enough that the boy could smell the leather of his armor and the whiskey on his breath, “Kid. If you gotta ask, you ain’t ever gonna know.”

Pathfinder: Modern Adventures is a game of fantasy based in the real-world. It’s Earth, with a twist. Humans are not alone. There are elves, gnomes, dwarves and all manner of other strange creatures, hybrids and half-bloods earning a living and trying to get by. Nearly everyone just wants a comfortable, safe life where they are free to exist in peace, earn a liveable wage and die with a few grandchildren under foot.

Then, there are the adventurers. 

The adventurers make their living by scouring the lands trying to find old tombs, abandoned catecombs and places lost to time. They battle monsters, brave dangerous traps and explore the unknown. Some do it in the hopes of getting rich. Others do it to earn a name. Some simply want to test their own mettle. Adventurer’s leave the relative safety of the lives they know, working jobs, tending their home or living on the streets in order to explore parts of the world that no sane person would ever enter.

From the veil of the city, you might never see the truth of the world beyond. All the magic and monsters that only rarely creep into the cities themselves are waiting for a brave soul to come and face them, and earn vast richest and fame in so doing.”


Here’s my Q&A with Ray Machuga about Pathfinder Modern Adventures.

To read Dan Davenport’s Q&A with Ray, click here.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Ray Machuga of Higher Ground Publishing messaged me about this project before it came out (the press release is here) and the concept hooked me. The timing for a Pathfinder product that sits, more or less, squarely in the middle of the timeline between Pathfinder and Starfinder could not have been better timed. Starfinder is a hit and Ray’s product is the logical outgrowth of that – Modern Adventures. How would elves and trolls and mortgages and gazebos live together today? This is the game to answer that and offer new levels of adventures.


You can see examples of Higher Ground Publishing’s work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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7) Henchmen – A Fate RPG campaign world by Canterbury Games Studio 
Ends on Thu, September 28 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

“A Fate Core campaign setting of villainous henchmen in a hero thwarts Doomsday device world.

Your money will bring our Henchmen to life.

The Premise

Henchmen is a game in which characters get to explore the trials and tribulations of being little cogs in the grand machine of an evil organisation.  While many games focus on gaining power and overcoming foes, this game takes a slightly different approach.

You can play the game any way you want to, but we envisage Henchmen being played in two ways, the ‘day in the life’ tribulations of an expendable goon squad, or as a long ‘Villains Journey’ campaign. For the latter, we have outlined a ‘development arc’ of significant milestones, linked to each character’s personal journey from nobody to nightmare.

Unlike more ‘heroic’ games, Henchmen is not predicated on PCs succeeding on their various errands and missions.  Success might be achieved of course, but often failure, disaster and doom must be coped with, blame must be deflected and whatever credit is left must be seized.

The Evil Organisation is a unique Fate Fractal for Henchmen, with its own aspects, skills, Fate points and perks.  You might even think of the PCs as its stress boxes, since it will expend them to protect itself from consequences.”

Wanna-lancer Reward Levels:

“Recruited to Evil / Master of Evil / Master of Good
Pledge £100 ($129) or £150 ($193) depending on reward level 

Work with our team to design a Henchman/an evil organisation/an opponent for the Henchmen to join our existing examples. Cast yourself, a friend or a favoured character as…


  • Credit as a Contributing Designer”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Want to be the villain? This setting is founded to be the stage for that idea as you play the no-goodniks! Canterbury Games Studio is offering several options to create NPCs or an evil organization for their FATE-based setting; so, if creating enemies using FATE is your idea of fun, Canterbury Games has you covered.


You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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6) IDENTECO Core Rule Book by Humanoid Games
Ends on Thu, September 28 2017 1:00 PM EDT.

“A new cyberpunk-themed tabletop roleplaying game where your identity has become the most valuable commodity on the planet.


IDENTECO is a game about the struggle to define humanity and retain identity in the highly digital era known as “The Static Age.” Corporations hold more power over the people in the world. They have created ways to monetize and commoditize a person’s identity using massive data farms and social engineering hacks to influence everyday life. Through carefully crafted marketing and slick branding, the Corps don’t force their will onto people, as much as they enforce their worth in people’s minds.

You play a character trying to survive in the Static Age, starting at the bottom and working your way up the social or corporate ladder by any means necessary.

IDENTECO is built on an new, modern D20-based system that emphasizes fast gameplay and rewards social interaction and role playing. Every interaction builds onto the story and the legacy of the characters. The more you play the game, the more you construct your character’s identity, or possibly identities. As the game progresses the thin line between famous and infamous depends solely on who’s watching.


​The year is 2099. The world is a much different place.

After a series of devastating terrorist attacks on America’s heartland by an unseen enemy the government was in disarray. The corporations were the only thing left to protect the populace and rebuild society. So they did. Like technocratic gods they rebuilt America™ in their image, and then used new economies of scale and political financial systems to reshape the globe. As a reaction to the attacks, the U.N. created the Centralized Human Identity Program (C.H.I.P.), a sort of universal I.D. program for the world. The C.H.I.P. is implanted in your arm when you are born and is encrypted using your unique DNA sequence. It standardized passports, medical records, employment histories, education records, and much more. It’s a sort of living history, if you will. And Corps have figured out ways to use this information for dubious means.

Now neon-speckled city-states called megaplexes have sprung up around the world. These enormous urban areas have reshaped the landscape, blending tech and corporate culture into shiny playgrounds for consumers and industries alike. There is a steep divide between the haves and the have-nots; those in the city, and those on the fringe.

Outside the cities, non-CHIPed folk live off what is left in the wasteland areas in between cities. Small settlements and simple cities act as rest stops for weary travelers and nomadic tribes. Out in the wastes, you battle beast and man to live a “free” life away from corporate influence. It’s a simpler, but no less deadly, place.”

Wanna-lancer Reward Levels:

“Pledge $150 OR $250
Entrepreneur OR Greaser

You get to work with the designers to create a custom Corporation OR a custom R.O.V. [Remotely Operated Vehicle] that will appear in the Core Rule Book, plus all the rewards at the Operative level.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

To help establish the feel of this RPG, Humanoid Games produced a prose anthology set in their world (you can check it out on Amazon here). This will give you a better idea of whether this game is for you. For me, post-apocalyptic cyberpunk presented in a variant d20 system with great art and wanna-lancer* options where I get to create a corporation and then fight it in the game has my interest piqued! Bring it on!


*Wanna-lancer™ – A gamer that’s pursuing freelance RPG work. Some back RPG Kickstarters that offer rewards to create NPCs, spells, items, adventures, etc. in order to build up their resume, make contact with publishers, and learn what’s expected on assignments.


You can see examples of Humanoid Games’ work at Amazon here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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5) Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals by Island of Bees 

Because John McGuire has an in-depth review of this campaign on the Tessera Guild, I’m going to link it here and let you absorb his thoughts on it. Steampunk Fridays – Kickstart the Game – Westbound: Revolvers and Rituals


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4) Alien Bestiary for 5E, Starfinder, and Pathfinder RPG by Legendary Games 
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 12:59 AM EDT.

“A massive tome of nearly 300 out-of-this-world creatures for 5E, Starfinder, and Pathfinder sci-fi and space adventures!

In space, maybe no one else can hear you scream, but those cries of terror are music to the GM’s ears. While there are monster books aplenty for fantasy games, there has never been a truly encyclopedic tome of terrors from beyond the stars… until now!

Cover image is a placeholder. The final cover piece is out of this world!
Cover image is a placeholder. The final cover piece is out of this world!

The Alien Bestiary brings you hundreds of monsters for your space and sci-fi game, whether you play with the brand-new Starfinder Roleplaying Game or the 5th Edition of the world’s most famous RPG!

In addition, by popular demand we have added the Alien Bestiary Companion for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, which is now available to bring all of our awesome new monsters and your favorites from our More Monsters polls together, with an appendix guiding you to other awesome extraterrestrials already published in official Pathfinder sources.

The Alien Bestiary is a full-sized, full-color bestiary features at least incredible aliens of every description, from tiny robot walking eyes to Lovecraftian Great Old Ones, from humanoid races both friendly and foul to inhuman abominations from the darkest nebulas. Of course, fans of the star-spanning Legendary Planet saga will recognize the fiendish foes like the savage klaven footsoldiers, sinister jagladine genetic engineers, warmongering bil’djooli shock troopers, and many, many more!

Bil'djooli Shock Trooper, by Lance Red
Bil’djooli Shock Trooper, by Lance Red

In addition, as part of our continued partnership with Robert Brookes and the gang at Encounter Table Publishing, fans of the awe-inspiring Aethera Campaign Setting will also find more exciting additions to their spacefaring saga, from the invading taur and aether-touched infused to the organic symbionts, living machine phalanx, and, of course, the magnificently malevolent kytons!

That promise of 200 pages of marvelous monsters is just the starting point. As our Kickstarter goes along, we’ll be adding tons of terrific space-dwelling monsters from across the fantasy/sci-fi legendarium, from insidious intellect devourers and aboleth to parasitic viper vines, brain-eating neh-thalggu, space-warping hounds of Tindalos, murderous gugs, lethal lunarmas, a regiment of robots, and spectacular star-soaring solar dragons! Best of all, when you back this project YOU get to help decide which monsters make the cut! Vote early and often for your favorite featured creatures as we keep adding more and more to this beautiful book!”

Solar Dragon by Tanyaporn Sangsnit
Solar Dragon by Tanyaporn Sangsnit

Wanna-lancer Reward Add-ons:

Xenobiologist: Add $150 to select an existing monster from any published source; your monster automatically gets added to the Alien Bestiary and converted for Starfinder and 5th Edition rules. We can’t duplicate creatures from non-OGL sources, like 2nd Edition space-fantasy games involving a Jammer of Spells, but we’ll work with you to create something awesome and evocative of the original! Your pledge includes a beautiful illustration to accompany whatever you create, and you’ll be listed in that compendium’s credits as a Xenobiologist and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of your sponsored creature!

Join the Space Program: Add $200 to submit a Starfinder or 5th Edition character for one of the races in the Alien Codex (or any of the standard Starfinder RPG races)! Your character will be included as one of the standard NPCs for your chosen race, and your character will be beautifully illustrated. You’ll be listed in the credits as a Astronaut Adventurer and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of your sponsored illustration!

It Came from Outer Space! Add $300 to help design a new monster for inclusion in the Alien Bestiary! Your name will be listed in the final compilation as a Space Spawner and you’ll receive a high-res PDF (and high-quality print along with a print order) of the monster you create!”

Ysoki Rogue by Arrahman Rendi

Egg’s Thoughts:

Monsters for 5e, Pathfinder, or Starfinder, and you can create a monster for it, and they have art like the Solar Dragon… I know my level of interest is through the roof! I believe that this does not need any more selling, you know if you need this in your library or not so here’s the link.


You can see examples of Legendary Games work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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3) SideQuests II: More Easy Adventure Modules for 5E DnD by Dominic M.
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 5:02 PM EDT.

“Another collection of one-shot 5E Dungeons & Dragons adventures, designed to easily implement into your campaign setting.

SideQuests are back!

SideQuests are a collection of short adventures designed for Fifth Edition Dungeons and Dragons. These one-shot style campaigns are designed to be compelling standalone stories that can be implemented, played through, and completed in just a few sessions. Whether you’re using them as a filler adventure between your own major story arcs, as one-offs to play with people unfamiliar to D&D, or just because you forgot to plan your next session, the second edition of SideQuests aims to be even more invaluable tools for your DM toolbox.

SideQuests II: The Covers
SideQuests II: The Covers

Each campaign comes with a variety of customization features: Adventure Hooks and Epilogues — so you can naturally ease your players in and out of each and every quest. SideQuests are designed to work in tandem with your own campaigns, so you can easily substitute anything within the modules for your own original content. Each volume also comes with a variety of role-playing, puzzle, looting, and combat scenarios, so players will enjoy them no matter what they personally value in a roleplaying adventure.

Every adventure module comes as a full-colour, beautifully designed PDF, as well as a more minimal print version: So you can either print the modules off, or run them digitally straight off of your laptop or tablet. Every module features stunning design, original artwork, and gorgeous photography.”


You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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2) Dungeons & Dragons 5E Module: Secrets of Oyster Cove by Ramen Sandwich Press
Ends on Sun, October 1 2017 8:34 PM EDT.

“Places by the Way #3: Secrets of Oyster Cove is a short location module for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition.

Welcome to Ramen Sandwich Press’ third Kickstarter campaign in support of Places by the Way. This campaign offers one last chance to pre-order copies of the Limited Edition of Places by the Way #3: Secrets of Oyster Cove.

Secrets of Oyster Cove

Places by the Way

For those of you who missed our first two campaigns, Places by the Way is a series of short modules that I’m creating for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. They work fine as short stand-alone adventures, but each Places by the Way module is meant to be a kit for creating a memorable interlude in a larger campaign. Each entry in the series consists of two versions sold separately but similar in content. One version is set in the Forgotten Realms, so Ramen Sandwich Press sells it exclusively through Dungeon Masters Guild. The other version assumes a generic setting and complies with WotC’s Open Game License. It’s available through DriveThru RPG, RPGNow and Dungeon Masters Guild, and a print version is available through Amazon and other online outlets.”


You can see examples of Ramen Sandwich Press work at DriveThruRPG here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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1) Artifices of Quartztoil Tower – 5E Adventure – Only $10! by Nord Games 
Ends on Wed, October 4 2017 12:00 AM EDT.

“An exciting 3-5 session adventure playable at any level for use as a side quest or part of a main storyline!

A town is beset by incursions from strange creatures; constructs of metal, magic, and old bones. All signs point to the mysterious Quartztoil Tower, standing tall over the mountains to the north, and thought long abandoned. Rumors of the magical secrets contained within have not gone unnoticed, however, and others are drawn to the tower by dark dreams, and darker voices…

Book Specs

Page Count: 50-60
Color: Full Color
Binding: Perfect Bound Softcover
Paper: Glossy”


You can see examples of Nord Games work at DMsGuild  here.

You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.


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Egg’s Thoughts for SideQuests II, Secrets of Oyster Cove, and Artifices of Quartztoil Tower:

SideQuests and Secrets of Oyster Cove and Artifices of Quartztoil Tower are one-shot modules for 5e. They’re meant to be insert adventures between a larger campaign. They all have a great deal to offer and could fill a hole in your campaign or, collectively, be your campaign.

I want to draw attention to Artifices of Quartztoil Tower because the art is amazing and Nord Games has produced some outstanding products. Top that off with a $10 price tag and it’s a winner!


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Signal Boost:

Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War – A role playing game setting, for the Savage Worlds and Cepheus System, based on Robert Asprin’s The Cold Cash War. From Battlefield Press International


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Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.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).


I first discovered Shades of Vengeance when I covered their Era: Hitman Kickstarter for my blog. The idea behind the game – “Be a super-powered assassin” – spoke to me because it’s charmingly action movie and engaging. Who doesn’t want to be the bad guy and mind blast someone? Discussing the article with Ed Jowett, owner of SoV, led to working on an adventure for him and we’ve stayed in touch since. When he launched Era: Balam, I knew I wanted him to lead my new RPG Kickstarter interview column. So, let’s talk Ed, SoV, Era: Balam and more!

EGG EMBRY – Thanks for joining us, Ed. If you don’t mind, let’s dive in – Tell us about your current Kickstarter campaign, Era: Balam? What is it about? Why should fans back it?

ED JOWETT – Era: Balam is the latest in our series of Era games, the seventh entry in the group. It’s a game which focuses on the theme of a pilot and their ship being an entity together. It provides exploration, and alien threat to fight against and the chance to save Humanity from invasion!

This game is also offering something new for us – a version in Era d10, but also one in FATE and one in Savage Worlds! You can choose which you prefer from the Kickstarter.



EGG – Why did you make Era: Balam a part of Kickstarter’s Project of Earth initiative?

ED JOWETT – When Kickstarter launched their Project of Earth initiative for the anniversaries of the Voyager probes, I was inspired not by what Earth is today, or what kind of message I might send into space, but by what might happen to a probe when it arrived on an alien world. What reaction would aliens have to it? How would they respond to this thing appearing? I took that one step further – what would happen if it accidentally did damage to their society?

On the surface, that seems bleak, but while I wanted to make an interesting story, bear in mind everything that this implies – our probes reached other solar systems, travelling across the vastness of space and no matter what happened afterwards, it contacted an alien race for Humanity. Is that not what we all dream of when we send probes like Voyager into interstellar space?


Landing on Balam, the main Human colony…

EGG – How does Era: Balam relate to your other sci-fi setting, Era: The Consortium?

ED JOWETT – It relates in the sense that both originate with colony ships from Earth – the colonies in the system where Era: Balam is based are an offshoot of a main colony ship that was nearby.

The rules are extremely compatible, though, and Era: Balam offers one of the few things that can expand the Sci-Fi experience of Era: The Consortium – while the latter game offers space combat, it’s primarily focused around larger ships with crews. You can fly a fighter, but it’s not usually an even match and most of the larger ships have great point defence. In Era: Balam, you get the chance to conduct dog fights on a relatively equal footing with the aliens – huge fleets of fighters exist on both sides and it gives the chance to face a different sort of threat to what you’re likely to face in the Consortium’s region of space.



EGG – As the publisher, can you highlight one pledge level/backer reward that you think is the standout for Era: Balam?

ED JOWETT – I’d have to highlight the £55 or more pledge, “SPECIAL REQUEST – All the Sci-Fi Eras!”

I’ve had a lot of questions about Era: Balam and how it relates to Era: The Consortium. There’s a lot of possibility there for cross-play. It gets better – you get not only the physical of Era d10 Balam and Era: The Consortium, but you get the Definitive Edition Rulebook of Era: The Consortium, with loads of extra content, along with your choice of rule set for Digital Era: Balam!

It’s giving you loads of amazing stuff for just £55, along with the discount on retail prices on that entire bundle.



EGG – What inspired you to create the Era d10 gaming system? What makes it stand out from other RPG systems?

ED JOWETTEra d10 was the answer to what my group and I wanted out of rules: I roll terribly, so I hate single dice systems. With Era d10 providing multiple dice, along with flexibility of matching any Attribute with any Skill built into the system itself, you both combat the “I roll badly” factor and min-maxing at the same time – a min-maxed character with no Intelligence could well struggle in certain situations!

It also provided a combat system, particularly around Brawling, that was playable to a greater degree than other things out there: any Brawl action can be described in a single-page flow chart.

I think it stands out because it’s easy to learn, extremely flexible and intuitive – everything works in the same way and once you know the core of the rules, it’s not hard to guess. I’ve had a lot of people comment that they could not find a rule so they guessed and when they found it later on a read-through, they were completely correct.


From Era: The Consortium

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

ED JOWETT – A combination of things, but I’d probably have to say somewhere between Paranoia and World of Darkness.

Paranoia was the first game I played and then GM’d 2 weeks later. We used a non-standard rule set – not that any of the players knew that, of course (because, for anyone who doesn’t know, it’s against the rules for the players to know the rules in Paranoia…).

That got me into gaming, but what secured my attention – because the Paranoia rules we used was a one dice system! – was a World of Darkness homebrew we made which will be very familiar to anyone who knows Era: The Consortium. It was very much the predecessor of the game you’re playing today, created by those of us who were running a local 24-hour game!



EGG – Tell us why you jumped from gamer to publisher and created your company, Shades of Vengeance?

ED JOWETT – It was a friend of mine, actually, who convinced me to publish! I’d finished my first campaign and my brother wanted to try running one, so I was writing down the rules. Dru, my friend, was chatting and I showed him what I was working on. He said I should publish it, and things just spiraled from there!


Their reaction was fairly… extreme!

EGG EMBRYShades of Vengeance has completed Kickstarters for both RPGs and card games; are there any difference in how you run a RPG Kickstarter versus a card game Kickstarter?

ED JOWETT – Good question! The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that I don’t know entirely what that difference is and don’t yet consider myself as much of an expert on card game Kickstarters as I do on RPG ones…

I have a lot more card games in the works, so I expect to continue learning!



EGG – As a Kickstarter veteran, what advice would you give others thinking about launching a gaming Kickstarter?

ED JOWETT – Know your domain on Kickstarter. Know what the bottom end of projects get before you start, because that is where you will sit with your first Kickstarter. Don’t look at Seventh Sea for RPGs and expect to get that, look at the new people. That means scrolling all the way to the bottom of the Tabletop Games list and looking at those. Set a realistic goal for where you are at.

And, if you don’t know what you’re doing, get some help! One of the things Shades of Vengeance does is assist people with getting their games on Kickstarter.


Kurmaja Park remains the centre of the Consortium

EGG – What projects are you currently developing?

ED JOWETT – When I counted just recently, I realised I had 9 projects on the go, so I have quite a bit going on.

The next one people will see is the Era: The Consortium – A Universe of Expansions 2 Kickstarter. The last one we did funded 8 expansions to Era: The Consortium, but I had 26 ideas at the time. I’d like to get more of those out there, and I’m looking forward to the chance to do it!

After that, you’ll start seeing Era: The Empowered, our superheroes game, Era: The Chosen, our brand new horror game and Era: Legends, a Fantasy game, popping up. We’ve also got more card games, including a “sequel” to Champion of Earth, called “Evil Overlord”, Era: Survival Colony and one based in the Era: The Consortium universe!

We’ve got loads more on the way, including a matrix-inspired cyberpunk game, a JRPG-style game and a High Fantasy game. We’re definitely hard at work here, with an ambitious 2-year plan and a desire to see it fulfilled!




EGG – Any parting thoughts? Where can we find out more about Shades of Vengeance?

ED JOWETT – I’d like to thank Egg for his time and the chance to talk about the thing I enjoy most – gaming! There’s a lot more to come from Shades of Vengeance and I hope you’ll consider keeping an eye on us, because we’re doing great things.

If you want to know more about Shades of Vengeance, you should glance at our Kickstarters, or at our website blog (http://www.shadesofvengeance.com/blog/) or Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/shadesofvengeance)!


To see more games by Shades of Vengeance, check them out on DriveThruRPG here.

To back their Kickstarter campaign for Era: Balam, click here.


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Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.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).

5 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Spire, HC SVNT DRACONES, Dark Obelisk, Sixty Mile Sky, and Befouled Maze of the Demi-Lich

The maze of a demi-lich, good dark elves, dark obelisk, mechs in space, and furries in space. Kickstarter is offering some variety in the RPG choices this week. Let’s count them down (and show some love to Battle for the Purple Islands and the Champion of Earth card game).


5) HC SVNT DRACONES: Sound and Silence by Weapons Grade Funk
Ends on .

“Sound and Silence is a comprehensive setting guide and lore expansion for the HC SVNT DRACONES role playing universe.

Sound and Silence is the first setting guide to the HC SVNT DRACONES role playing game. This is a lore book, full of beautiful artwork, expansive stories, and detailed information about the HSD setting and the roles players can embody there. For Guides, players, and fans alike, this book is the quintisential reference for culture, setting info, and history that didn’t make it into the rulebooks.

Sound and Silence is a single book broken down into two parts:

Sound is the name of the lore compendium intended for everyone’s use. It contains story ideas, descriptions of corp activity, layouts of cities, details on agent interaction so you can flavor your characters better, and a descriptions of unique grottos and universities for inclusion in your stories. Players and Guides can both go through this book without worry of spoiling anything in-game. Sound contains over 100 pages of content and is a great way to inspire people looking for character ideas for themselves of their NPCs.

Don’t know what this is… Other than weirdly awesome!

Silence is the second half of the book, containing detailed accounts of many of the aspects left vague in the HSD core rulebook. Things like the origins of the Palemen, what’s going on with Earth, and who the Shadow Presidents are. It has large sections on the nature of Transcendent technology and what humanity actually found when they made use of Hydra. This book is primarily for Guides, to give them fun things to let the players discover through play. It’s about 100 pages long and includes stories and behind-the-scenes info that make for great hooks in large operations.”


Egg’s Thoughts:

This campaign gives you the setting for the HC SVNT DRACONES rules system. The art for this project is beautiful. For most fans, sci-fi anthropomorphic decides their level of interest. In space, no one can hear you meow. At the gaming table, no one judges you. (Save the GM… literally part of their job.) A good rule set and a fun setting – like Sound and Silence appears to be – are going to go far toward creating a fun gaming night. Well worth checking out!


You can find HC SVNT DRACONES’ core rulebook here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.


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4) Dark Obelisk: Druid Enclave (Pathfinder/5E RPG City Setting) by Infinium Game Studio
Ends on .

“A richly-detailed RPG city campaign setting, the Druid Enclave from Dark Obelisk 2 has NPCs, Quests, lore, >100 maps, and much more!

TL;DR: The Value Proposition

If you’re looking for a richly-detailed, lavishly-mapped city campaign setting with plenty to do and see, Druid Enclave is an outstanding gaming asset for any Pathfinder or 5E/Fifth Editiongaming context.

If you want to get on board with Dark Obelisk, or if you are playing any Pathfinder or 5Eadventure that involves any city or Druid context, and want a way of fleshing out some detail, this book will be valuable to you.

Art credit Jack Kaiser
Art credit Jack Kaiser

What is This Book?

This product is a 300+ page full-color PDF and hardcover roleplaying supplement that will enhance any Pathfinder or 5E campaign in any setting.

The Druid Enclave will be a richly detailed hardcover gaming sourcebook, and companion to one of the most ambitious and massive indie RPG adventures in recent memory.

Finally, if you’re new to it, this campaign is the quickest, easiest, and best-value way to get on board with thousands of pages of adventure.

Creative Input Add-Ons

  • $75 Muse: Design a Character: Name, and help design, a character. Your character will be included in the book, and have custom full-color artwork associated with him/her/it. These Add-Ons will be limited to 5.
  • $125 Vibrant Muse: As Muse, but the character will have a persistent role to play in the greater Realm of Aquilae mythology and Dark Obelisk Adventure Path storyline. These Add-Ons will be limited to 2.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

I’ve mentioned the Dark Obelisk series before. This outing is more great fantasy material for Pathfinder. This project continues Infinium’s streak of beautiful art which is made all the more awesome because you can opt to design a NPC and have it drawn.


Want to sample some of Infinium Game’s work, they have several free products on DriveThurRPG here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.


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3) Sixty Mile Sky by Benjamin Arndt
Ends on .

“A game ruleset designed to run a Sci-Fi roleplaying game in a variety of worlds. This game uses a d10 system powered by the apocalypse.

What is Sixty Mile Sky?

There was a need for a sci-fi role-playing game that did not downplay the lethality of space, but remained story-focused and gave players a variety of explicit mechanics to deal with problems in non-violent ways. This game is build to fill that need.

Campaign design in Sixty Mile Sky is structured to create episodic sessions that all drive toward a main goal. That goal may change, or evolve as mysteries are solved or allegiances shift, but there is always a sense of overall purpose.

Mechanically inspired by games like Dungeon World, Blades in the Dark, and Dungeons & Dragons, Sixty Mile Sky is a d10 based game, where classes are equipped with moves to help guide the story and create dynamic answers to conflicts.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This is a relaunch of the Sixty Mile Sky Kickstarter with a lower goal (already achieved). Everything that I liked about the original campaign is still in place. Still using the Powered by the Apocalypse system, still offering the option to design a NPC, weapon, or tool, and still a game that plays more heavily in sci-fi. Well worth a look.


You can find this Kickstarter here.


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2) Befouled Maze of the Demi-Lich, 5e DnD Adventure Module by Wyrmkeep Entertainment
Ends on .

“An adventure for 10th to 12th level characters who embark on a rescue mission against a lich and his bewitched maze.

Are you a gamemaster looking for an interesting and challenging adventure for your players that can be completed in one session? Well, I have just what you want: Befouled Maze of the Demi-Lich is a fantasy role-playing game mini-adventure module designed for a band of 6-8 5e DnD characters of 10th to 12th level.

A common saying among the wise is “Curiosity kills the rogue,” but sometimes interesting possibilities seek you out instead of the other way around. And so it is with a party of adventurers who decide to veer into the forest to investigate some strange lights. They find a small shine inhabited by a old, wizened man in grey robes.

He greats the travelers and reveals to them, via a tarot card reading, an intriguing side quest: saving a demigoddess’ beloved companion, who was kidnapping by a lich named Ulsus Malachite and held in a bewitched hedge maze.

The party is a little apprehensive about contending against a lich, even if the undead fiend is in a weakened state, but the old man’s hint of priceless rewards for a successful rescue, including one heart’s desire, makes the endeavor seem worthwhile.

Of course, this maze will surely be full of terrible beasts and devious traps ready to destroy the unwary, but such is way of the adventurer. Will the party survive to claim the prize? And what exactly does the lich gain by this kidnapping? So many mysteries…”

Egg’s Thoughts:

This game was on my radar to review and then the creator, Joe Pearce, reached out to discuss the book. I was happy he did (it’s nice to hear from the creators, especially the nice ones).

I love the OSR look of the project combined with 5e guts. The adventure revolves around a maze so the wanna-lancer* options are unique – dedicate a bench in the maze that offers a piece of the maze’s puzzle. I dig that it’s an out of the box vanity press reward. Well worth checking out.

*Wanna-lancer™ is a gamer questing to become a RPG freelancer.


Want to sample some of Wyrmkeep Entertainment’s modules, check out their DriveThurRPG here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.


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1) Spire RPG by Grant Howitt/Serious Business
Ends on .

“Join the dark elf resistance against their cruel high elf overlords in this urban fantasy-punk tabletop RPG.

Artist's impression of the finished book

You are a dark elf. The touch of the sun burns your grey skin, and you hide from the light in twisting corridors, crumbling temples and the lawless undercity of the metropolis known as Spire. The high elves, rulers of the city, alien and capricious, allow you to live here as an underclass forced to beg for scraps.

Your religion, your culture, and your people are being destroyed all around you. You have seen your fathers, your mothers, your grandparents subjugated by the high elves, and you have had enough. You have joined the resistance: the ministry of Our Hidden Mistress, worshippers of a forbidden goddess.

You have sworn in blood that the high elves will fall, that you will destroy them through subterfuge, and insurrection, and terror.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

Evil high elves versus good dark elves in a fantasy-punk world. The stylized art from Adiran Stone brings to life the idea of fantasy-punk with just the right amount of elves gone punk. Like so many projects, the art speaks volumes and this one puts me in mind of the setting.

For the wanna-lancers, their £165 pledge, Make a Mark, offers either an amazing deal… or they’re calling you a rube. You decide.

“You will be immortalised in the game as a hapless rube for the player characters to take advantage of, complete with a brief backstory and a suitably changed-up Spire name. We’ll work with you to make the NPC as gullible as possible (subject to final approval by the creators).”


Want to sample some of Serious Business’ games, check out their DriveThurRPG here.

You can find this Kickstarter here.

Spire RPG


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Signal Boosting

Why am I signal boosting projects from Kort’thalis Publishing and Shades of Vengeance? Because they speak to the RPG/CCG fan in me, and [DISCLAIMER the First] I am in the beginning stages of doing freelance work for each of these companies,  and [DISCLAIMER the Second] I have a small bit of material appearing in the Battle for the Purple Islands. Very excited about that last bit!


1) Battle For The Purple Islands by Kort’thalis Publishing
Ends on Thursday, August 10 2017 11:23 PM EDT.

“The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence returns; OSR scenario of warring factions competing for dominance in a purple world gone mad.

The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence has done well as an O5R campaign setting. I’ve been asked countless times if I’m ever going to go back to the purple islands.  Well, this Kickstarter is a resounding “YES!” to that query.

The purple islands (there’s three of them very close together, and are usually considered a single place) is an eldritch science-fantasy setting with gonzo sword & sorcery.  Both books will be usable with any sort of Lost World, Mars, Dream Lands, Hyborian Age, alternate Earth ruled by civilized apes or menaced by dinosaurs and sleestak, or a world of savagery, super-science, and sorcery.”

Egg’s Thoughts:

I covered this (and praised Venger) last week, it says it all. Well, not all… I have a small bit appearing in this Kickstarter. I’m proud of that.

Love. Me. Some. Venger. Through RPG, I’ve met a legion of incredibly nice folks. Jeff Duncan, Dan Davenport, Dan Dillon, Ed Jowett, Nathan Tucker, Chris Helton, Justin Halliday, BJ Hensley, and so many more that I’m forgetting. They’ve all been welcoming and I could not be happier to know them. High on my list of RPG friends is Venger. He’s helped me with direction, published some of my work via his recent NSFW Trinity of Awesome Returns series – Stairwell of V’dreenHis Flesh is Key, and High-Stakes Q’uay-Q’uar – and always been open to helping me along the path to RPG freelancer. When he launched his sequel to The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putrescence, I was happy to support it.

Why should you check out Battle for the Purple Islands? Because it’s unlimited budget grindhouse glory in the form of a RPG! It may be purple, but Venger creates some dark games!

Why should you support Venger? Because, if you’re like Egg and you want to create fantastic games, reach out to Venger on Google+ or at his blog. He has worthwhile advice (and books of advice) to share. He’s open and direct with what works and what doesn’t. He’s worth talking to.


You can find this Kickstarter here.


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2) Champion of Earth: Robots & Cyborgs join the invasion! by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Saturday, August 19 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

In the first expansion to our fan favourite card game, new enemies join the invasion! Defend the Earth with brand new weapons!


Egg’s Thoughts:

Shades of Vengeance is offering the core card game and/or their first expansion for it. It’s everything and the kitchen sink sci-fi which looks hilarious. I’m looking forward to the game.


You can find this Kickstarter here.


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Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links to DriveThruRPG.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:

3 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Plush ConTessa Mascots, Era: Hitman, and Samyaza

We’re going to go from hitmen to stuffed animals as we look at tabletop role-playing games on Kickstarter you should back! Let’s count’em down!

Bea the Eyeball Monster from the Plush ConTessa Mascots Kickstarter says “Fund me, Seymour!”

3) Plush ConTessa Mascots by Stacy Dellorfano of ConTessa
Ends on Sunday, July 16 2017 5:31 PM EDT.

“Support ConTessa’s mission of diversity in tabletop gaming by funding plush versions of our mascots!

For nearly five years, ConTessa has been changing the face of gaming through the awesome power of positive representation. To pay for all that, we sell ConTessa merchandise in the form of pinback buttons, magnets, lanyards, and t-shirts. Through these sales, we’ve been able to grow the program, allowing us to run bigger events at more conventions where we can reach even more people.

One of the most commonly requested forms of merchandise we’ve been asked for are plush versions of our adorable mascots, which we had commissioned years ago as illustrations for both merchandising and promotional purposes. Until now, that possibility was too expensive, but thanks to a combination of our growth, and the fine folks at Budsies, we’re finally able to offer up plush mascots – with your pledge!

We’ve set this Kickstarter up so we only have to sell 50 toys in order to create 100, so your purchase not only helps us create the toys, it also helps us build stock we can sell to fund our trips to conventions all over the US (and hopefully, someday, the world).”

Bea and Tessa.

Egg’s Thoughts:

Plush Bea-Holder!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

If this were QVC, you know my grandparents would already be dialing the 800 number! “I know lil’ Egg sure likes The Dee and Dees…” They’d get me Bea and Tessa plus the upsell fuzzy dice!

To get Bea the Eyeball Monster unlocked, this campaign needs to reach $5,000. Don’t let Bea down!

Ok, Egg, I love the plushes! But what do they have to do with your experiment? What can stuffed animals do for the wanna-lancers* around the world?

Glad you asked. This Kickstarter offers the opportunity to play a RPG with members of the gaming industry. This is a chance to put a face with the dice, so to speak. What better way to get to know someone than gaming with them? This is a golden opportunity to combine work and pleasure! The professionals and games are:

  • Stacy Dellorfano: Swords & Wizardry: Zaya’s Promise
  • Darcy Ross: Numenera: The Nightmare Switch
  • Senda Linaugh: Love & Justice (a hack of Lasers & Feelings)
  • Emily Morgan: All Outta Bubblegum: Attack of the Kraken
  • Pranks Paul: Star Wars Edge of the Empire: The Tail of Cat Bane

Ok, let me jump from what passes for Egg-humor to why this project is on my mind: These plushes are more than stuffed animals. They represent a real opportunity to help expand the gaming industry by making it as inclusive as possible. ConTessa is “…an organization dedicated to increasing diverse representation in tabletop gaming by running events led entirely by marginalized people, and enjoyed by everyone. We run our own conventions online, and attend popular conventions around the United States, bringing games, seminars, workshops, and panels using our innovative convention-within-a-convention format. We aim to provide open, inclusive, and safe environments that diversify what a leader looks like within our hobby.” This is for a good cause… whether that’s diversity or Plush Bea-Holder is entirely up to you.


You can back this Kickstarter here.


*Wanna-lancers are RPG fans that want to be RPG freelancers. In Egg’s case, he’s building a resume of RPG writing credits by backing Kickstarters offering rewards like creating NPCs, magic items, adventures, and more.


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2) Era: Hitman by Shades of Vengeance
Ends on Sunday, July 16 2017 6:59 PM EDT.

“Be a super-powered assassin – Era: Hitman, now in Paperback!

The much-loved super-powered assassin RPG returns to Kickstarter to bring you a printed Rulebook for the first time!

In this game, you are a hitman, an assassin who eliminates targets for anyone paying the right amount. 

Whether your skill is stealth, approaching your enemies unseen, firing a bullet from a neighbouring rooftop, hacking automated defences or demolishing a building to eliminate everyone inside, you are always in demand. With the protection of the Guild, you need not fear retribution once you escape the scene of the crime – the scrubbers have your back. Every trace of you, every piece of camera footage, everyone who will testify that you were there will vanish without a trace. 

All that falls to you is the kill itself and, in that, you’re an expert.

Pledge £30 or more


You get to submit an idea for an assassination mission, which we will put into the list of backup challenges on the Shades of Vengeance website, with credit to you for the idea!

You also get the Physical and Digital Versions of Era: Hitman, along with the Digital Extras!


  • Create a Session!
  • Digital Rulebook
  • Digital Extras – Bonus Campaign and Extra Material
  • Paperback Rulebook
  • Name on Contributors List”

Era: Hitman

Egg’s Thoughts: 

The concept for Era: Hitman is on the nose for RPGs are played – killing for cash. Maybe I’ve played at too many violent tables, but Era: Hitman’s lack of pretense spoke to me. Hack. All. Day. Long.


Building from that core, they’re able to seamlessly expand it with their wanna-lancer/vanity press reward, Client. The game’s about hitmen and in this reward, you’re the client and you create the mission. It is immersive and you can already envision the whole project from this reward.

Need more? They have a quickstart guide here.


You can back this Kickstarter here.


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1) Samyaza: A Cyber-Fantasy RPG Roleplaying Game by Craig Gladden
Ends on .

“Samyaza is a table top role-playing game built to tackle a more technologically advanced world with magical and fantastic undertones.

Samyaza is a tabletop role-playing game setting using a mixture of cyberpunk, fantasy, and science fiction. The Samyaza setting spans from the years 1995-2230. I’ve built a setting that uses real world issues of today, what the 80’s thought the future would look like, and some fun twists to keep you on your toes. You will be able to explore the world’s newest marvel, Samyaza, the first city to take flight. Or, should you choose, fight on the ground in New York as the city rebels against it’s corporate overlords. You even have the option of exploring the new Martian front in the year 2230, as the “native” life pushes back. I wanted to create a setting that was flexible and allowed my imagination to really run wild.

I wanted to have the freedom to create whatever story I wanted and add any enemy without worrying about it not fitting within a specific setting. This brought me to Samyaza’s first campaign books, the Utah Saga. It’s a two part story built with cyberpunk at the helm but fantasy as it’s second mate.

“The year is 2079, our heroes find themselves in Salt Lake City, home to the mega corp The Church ™, a company that makes it’s money from the public’s fear of the after life. Just as the churches of old, this company has taken up the belief that God will forgive all of your sins, but for the right price. Yet there seems to be something more to them. They had been witnessed at recent sites which the news reported as comet crash sites, only to find that the news had been falsified and that the comets were, in reality, relics from the moon. Weapons made for the 1st Lunar War (2033), made of technology beyond their years. The relics seem to call out to the heroes, expressing a need to return to the moon. As the heroes look up towards the moon, they feel a shift in the wind. Maybe The Church ™ isn’t what it seems, maybe there are forces they don’t yet see at work fighting to change the very course of history.””

Samyaza Floating City

Egg’s Thoughts:

Samyaza is a new system and setting for a cyber-fantasy campaign. With this Kickstarter, you get that plus the opportunity to design a NPC, weapons, vehicles, cyber-enhancements, or a whole party. If you’ve been itching to make something for the near-future set, this may be the one for you.

For a fantastic Q&A about this game, visit Dan Davenport’s blog here. Dan hosts a range of RPG Q&As with game creators and they are a wealth of knowledge about the products.


You can back this Kickstarter here.


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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!

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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: