I am always curious what Kickstarters inspire other tabletop RPG designers. Last week, I asked several friends what they were backing and enjoyed seeing the answers, the overlaps, and the interest they have in games. This week, I reached out to another set of RPG Kickstarter creators to find out what they’re excited to see in Kickstarter. What projects excite the creators of:
“An old-school fan-made, DIY collaborative RPG Zine is a fandom supplement anthology for Masks: A New Generation by Magpie Games. We are paying all our contributors a fair and competitive rate, and are including a plurality of voices, all supported by an amazing system of fans and networks. As the editor and organizer of this zine, I’m immensely proud of this community of designers and writers who have dedicated their time and expertise to this zine.”
Linda H. Codega recommends:
“Zine Quest is winding down, but there are still a few RPG Zines I’m psyched about. If you’re looking for a last minute zine to support I recommend:
The Tomb of Black Sand: A more traditional OSR supplement full of fantastic and incredible art that is system neutral and an easy in for GMs. These creators make beautiful work, and sometimes it’s nice to do a traditional swords and sorcery gambit with a lot of leeway on the world you can create and system you can use.
Comrades:Fight the power, support anarchist ideals, fund indie artists, and bring down the corrupt government with your friends. This PbtA [Powered by the Apocalypse] game looks like it’s going to be fantastic, has multiple settings in the book, and includes playbooks that speak to traditional agitator roles and can also be used for both futuristic and ancient story narratives.”
“A tabletop roleplaying game about life in the revolutionary underground, where a roll of the dice can change the world.”
W.M. Akers recommends:
“I am extremely excited about Rosenstrasse, an “elegiac RPG” about romance across the boundary of religion in Berlin, 1933. I recommended it to the backers of Comrades because I felt like history-minded players who hate fascism—which is exactly the sort of person who likes my game—would enjoy this beautiful-looking RPG.
I’m also really intrigued by Grey Cells, a mystery RPG inspired by Agatha Christie’s Poirot. I write mystery novels—I’ve got one coming out in May—and I’m interested to see how they approach the difficulty of providing a satisfying mystery in a format that necessarily requires so much improvisation.”
“Bioengineered bounty hunters take on challenges in newly colonized space. Part Cowboy Bebop, part Blade Runner.”
Fraser Simons recommends:
“Obachan Panic! has a unique premise and stretch goals for hacking the concept into various OSR settings. Neurotic aunties who save the world. I’m down!
Manifest RPG is a sci-fi western game. While I’m not usually into westerns, the concept and explicit direction toward inclusion makes me hope that it’ll take all the interesting parts and discard the problematic things that tend to dog the genre.”
“Tavern Encounters: The Heroes’ Feast is a gaming book designed to enhance your favorite tabletop roleplaying game experience!”
Jaye Sonia recommends:
“I’ve backed over sixty Kickstarters, so the things I look for in a KS may vary wildly. I tend to back a lot of my friends’ Kickstarters, especially when those friends worked on something. I’m not sure when they’re launching, but I have several friends working on the Starfinder Kickstarter for Grimmerspace; I’m excited to see it, especially since my friends Ben McFarland, Lou Agresta, and Erik Frankhouse are working on it.
Mind you, two of the Kickstarters (outside of stuff I’m directly working on) right now aren’t live any long, but look incredibly cool nonetheless. I backed Into the Wyrd and Wild (which raised nearly 60k) because it looked breath-taking. A system-neutral bestiary, this book gave backers over 100 locations designed to keep your games weird and different. I can’t wait to get it.
I’m also gingerly flipping through my digital copy of The Expanse (which has some beautiful maps in it) and I can’t be happier with what I’ve seen so far. My hat goes off to Chris Pramas and the game design team over at Green Ronin.”
I get emails and messages and posts [Contact me here] asking if I’d be interested in covering this RPG Kickstarter or that one. Let me express my appreciation at being asked. I’ve never had anyone “tell me” to cover their work, instead it’s always a pleasant introduction and discussion around their work. Always a nice experience, and as best I can, I try to review everyone that asks. I don’t always have the time – I missed New tabletop RPG adventures from Melting Point Publishing from Ben Baker. Not because it was not good, I liked it, I just ran out of space/time –
With this week’s column, I realized that everything I planned to cover had also asked for coverage which helped to theme this article. With that said, let’s look at some tabletop RPG Kickstarters you should back!
“Welcome to Endless Realms, a new roleplaying experience with two corebooks and myriad realities with one constant: balance is fragile.
Welcome to Lumis
Welcome to the Endless Realms – a crossroads of infinite civilizations, animals, peoples, and abominations that gather in the world of Lumis. Those that live there readily manipulate the cosmic energies that the gods themselves used to forge the world, creating tools and resources that mighty spirits seek to claim for themselves. Riddled with tears in the fabric of time and space, Lumis has become a vibrant and turbulent melting pot.
Lumis is the crossroads where an endless number of realms overlap. The species that have made it their home – by fate, chance, or nefarious purpose – each have their own lore, history, and culture, providing rich soil from which to weave intricate and interesting narratives. Their complex views of morality present a scheme far greater than the simple axis of good and evil.
The Balance System
Lumis is a world of balance, from fragile diplomatic relations between races and cities, all the way down to the mechanics that make life and adventure possible. Every roll of chance, strategy, and choice is made with two ten-sided dice – one rolled by the player and the other by the Storyteller.
Bonuses are applied by skill and fiat, and even a critical failure can succeed in the hands of the right character and circumstances.
This carries over into combat. Attackers have a chance to show their mettle – and so do defenders. An attack may deal a high value of damage, a low value, or none at all; how much pain the defender feels depends on who has the stronger stats and the better roll.
The Balance System is easy to visualize, but versatile enough to allow for a variety of games and creative solutions. It encourages Storytellers to create interactive social encounters that test and reward players who put time into their backstories, fundamental vices and virtues, and skill choices in an immediate and tangible way.
It’s our mission to breathe fresh life into fantasy roleplaying, to connect with a new generation and veteran adventurers alike, and bring Endless Realms from our table to yours.
Both of the books are nearly complete – a 300+ page Core Rulebook and 280+ page Creature Compendium. Written, edited, play-tested and refined, with gorgeous illustrations liberally strewn throughout. All that’s left is last-minute adjustments, formatting, and printing; after that, it’s simply a matter of getting them to you!
It’s a start. We’re not done yet, not by a long shot – the next step is building a community of players and storytellers. We want to know what you like best so that we can tailor future content to your gaming style and keep giving you the best possible tools to run campaigns. We want to empower our players with everything from dice to expansive modules that allow storytellers to customize and build while allowing players to explore and grow.
Like the Balance System that drives Endless Realms, the more you put in, the more you get out. Once we’re into stretch goals we can start with the supplements, miniatures, dice, novels, and more. We can make that dream a reality. Come with us and let’s see how far we can go.
Please note that our delivery estimates, as outlined in the TIME FRAME section further down the page, include a generous window for any add-ons unlocked through stretch goals. Digital versions of the Core Rulebook, Creature Compendium, adventures, and short stories will be delivered as Amazon Kindle eBooks; all other digital content is in PDF format.”
What is one of the measures of how strong your creative team is? When one of the members proactively reaches out to spread the word about your game. Andrew J. Lucas, writer and consultant on the Endless Realms RPG, did just that, and I’m grateful that he did. Endless Realms RPGlooks like an exceptional piece of RPG with amazing art! The system – The Balance System – uses 2d10 with the player rolling one die and the GM rolling the other. They’ve promised a quickstart and I’m eager to sample it because I’d like to know how this system will work out at the table.
One side note, Lunar (Endless Realms RPG) Games’ CEO is Kirsty Garbe, an individual who is helping to make positive change in the fabric of the RPG industry. Great looking game from a creative team that is passionate about the project! I support her efforts as well as her team’s!
“Use drawings on Panels in limited time to create your character actions. Features fast-paced, simultaneous play!
Is It a Plane!? is not just about playing comic book characters; you create the comic book as you play!
Protagonists must create actions to deal with Situations, from Bank Robberies to Alien Invasions!
Players must DRAW their intended actions, rather than describe them; you may have three minutes… or you may only have thirty seconds!
No artistic skill is required; rudimentary and simplistic stick-people doodles are just fine.
Play is fast and frantic, and player action is entirely simultaneous.
When complete, Panels are placed in a sequence of events across two Pages.
You might have been attempting to fireball a villain and launch them through a building… but what happens next is what the Editor (GM) thinks you were doing, based on your doodles!
If you mean that you are bad at drawing, worry not true believer! In the limited time to draw that all players will have, even artists will create hastily drawn images that may occasionally be misinterpreted. If you can draw crude stick-people and wonky squares that are supposed to be houses, then that’ll do just fine.
GM playtester and backer Mike Hammond sums this up pretty well: “The funny thing about drawing skill is that it’s actually tangential to the game! The real skill this game calls for is more like art direction – choosing a distinctive colour scheme and framing your scenes with enough simplicity to convey the action. If you can pick a consistent colour and maybe one good distinguishing feature of your character, then as long as you can draw a stick figure and write the word “POW!” then you can play as well as anyone.”
The more you play, the more you will find easy ways to communicate what you are doing to the Editor (Games Master). You may also get better at drawing at speed when playing a campaign. This game could also be used to learn or relearn how to draw, and there is a potential draw for young players, and for people that may benefit from physical therapy.
If you cannot physically draw, then you could be the Editor. The Editor does not have to draw at all (though they have options to do so), and this is quick and easy to pick up, and far less complicated than most RPGs.
I am also working on adding in some additional optional rules to further aid players who are not confident at drawing or physically unable to do so in the way the game requires.”
Before Christopher Dean sent me a message about his game, I’d already seen it and knew I wanted to cover it. The core concept, role-play and then, for action sequences, draw your super hero character’s actions in a comic book format. It’s such a good idea! Add to it, the GM is the Editor, you’re playing the game in the medium of sequential storytelling, there’s a nice bit of meta-storytelling in this game. Are you role-playing superheroes, or playing freelance comic creators creating superhero comics?
You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPGhere.
“The World of Alessia Campaign Primer: Discover new species, classes, spells, and items with this brand new world!
Imagined by Finish visionary and tabletop RPG enthusiast Jere Manninen, the World of Alessia is a step into a truly fantastic future. Alessia casts off the traditional fantasy assumptions and introduces players to a wider world with a host of new species, technology, powers, and places to explore – for both Starfinder and 5e.
The World of Alessia is a high-fantasy campaign setting that combines Wuxia, science fiction, and magic-driven technology. It is a massive world where magic and technology coexist peacefully, impacting every aspect of life, from the Healing Houses of Sillias to the Great Towers of Xin. It is a land where Fyrean Genies meet with Asrian Wardens and The Gangs of Khatu push their Drifters across the desert sands, seeking resources and victims of every kind.
The World of Alessia Campaign Primeris a comprehensive introduction to Alessia. The primer includes details on the world of Alessia, its threats, the factions that drive its politics, and the many people who walk Alessia’s streets.
Beautifully illustrated with full-color art, the World of Alessia Campaign Primer will inspire GMs while providing players with a host of new options to take their 5e or Starfinder game to the next level.
The World of Alessia Campaign Primerbrings you:
11 new races (and more with each stretch goal we achieve).
4 new classes – the Marauder, the Psion, the Seer, and the Tecker.
A system of Stunts and Resolve (for 5e play).
A garage full of new gear, vehicles, armor, and weapons for your 5e and Starfinder games.
New rules for attaining unique familiars.
And lots more awesome options for your game!”
I attended Design Camp 2 – The Conversion! with Ben McFarland, Jason Sonia, and Brian Suskind. [FYI – I was a terrible camper.] Despite my lack of active participation in the camp, all of the instructors were awesome and everything that was shared was very instructional. As Jason Storm Bunny Studios Sonia was one of said instructors, when I saw the World of Alessia Campaign Primer for 5e D&D & StarfinderKickstarter, I knew I’d cover it. When Jason pinged me with “Basically, I’m writing Chinese Wuxia/SciFi meets High Magic. So Eberron meets Firefly meets Star Wars meets Spelljammer“, I knew I was in (and had a quote). What is this? A great Starfinder (and 5e, but more Starfinder) setting. Add to that, the art is WOW-FUN! Very stylized, vibrant, and eager to be seen. It’s 5e and Starfinder, it looks great, and Jason Sonia is an excellent creator, I recommend this book!
You can see examples of their work at DriveThruRPGhere or at the OpenGamingStorehere.
“Necrotopia is a pen and paper role-playing game. We are making books one and two in paperback and digital. This will fund further books
Necrotopia Handbook to the Apocalypse
Necrotopia is a role playing game written and developed by Keenan Dunham. This is an independent project of a combination of ideas and stories Keenan has created. Our goal is to release five role playing books in the Necrotopia Universe and then develop a complete hardback omnibus of the first five books. With the limited time-frame of the first kickstarter we will only be releasing books one and two along with some special bonuses. Artists are being paid up front for original art used, not from promises of future money. Some art used is public domain.
The game itself is meant to be a beginners pen and paper role-playing game that can appeal to anyone. It is simple and highly customizable. Here is a sample of the story from book one:
“Necrotopia’s story begins with sparks of an invasion of demonic and interdimensional forces attacking Earth, initiating a battle for survival and conquest. There is a battle between Heaven and Hell brewing and you and your friends are caught in the middle. What happens depends on you with one person taking the role of Game Maestro and the rest taking the roles of role playing characters.”
Keenan Duncan sent me an alpha, or beta, advanced copy of the first book in his RPG. I enjoyed it and was excited to read the campaign. However, after reading the campaign description page for Necrotopia: Handbook to the Apocalypse, I thought about suggesting some fixes because there were holes in the description (lack of details). I was going to, but then I read the campaign’s FAQ which answered most of my concerns. So, if you check out the campaign, I suggest you read the description page and the FAQ to get a better idea of what Necrotopiaoffers.
“Mix and match sci-fi stock art to create instant masterpieces for your tabletop roleplaying game.
Stock art & RPG tokens have their challenges.
This is an attempt to hurdle at least one of them.
This project will provide over 250 inked and colored components. Mix and match to create your own sci-fi masterpieces for RPG publishing or tabletop tokens. For this series, subjects will include: weapons, ships, portraits, characters, and scenes.
All components will be available in color as well as black and white PNG files at 300 DPI. Photoshop (.psd) files will also be made available for the Stock Art Master pledge level. These files will include vector lines and allow easy color changes and other editing options.
Files will be neatly organized by subject, color format, layer, and more.
The Just Tokens pledge level will include individual image components plus a Photoshop (.psd) file formatted for easy custom portraits and ships. Token images will be no larger than 300×300 pixels. Just toggle various layers for the image you want, then export for your personal tabletop use!
Backers will have the option of fulfillment through DriveThruRPG or a direct Dropbox link. Digital files on DriveThruRPG.com are stored virtually indefinitely.
All backers will have the ability to submit ideas to a suggestion pool for inspiration. Submitting an idea does not guarantee it will be selected or used. The Art Collector pledge level does have that guarantee though.”
I covered one of James’ prior art campaigns (that one a bit of fantasy art) here. The idea for this one, sci-fi stock art that is inspired by the contributors, is a win. Add to that, you can get the art as Photoshop files so you can customize it to better fit your setting. As an example, below is a GIF of how that customization might look.
Choose Your Own: Sci-Fi Stock Art by James Shields – Sample Customization
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: