In the run up to Christmas, I look at two projects, one that’s an epic adventure matched with gonzo art while the other is talking about a tabletop RPG that also offers you armor IRL (sorta). As well, there’s a Christmas bundle available that gives you a lot while your contribution will help bring the joy of a bike into one publisher/creator’s holiday. Let’s look at:
- Silent Titans by Swordfish Islands LLC
- Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition): Maps and Print Run by Gaming Ballistic
Silent Titans by Swordfish Islands LLC
Ends on Sat, January 5 2019 1:05 AM EST.
“This is Silent Titans.
But what is it? Silent Titans is an adventure for tabletop role-playing games, written by Patrick Stuart, writer of Veins of the Earth, Deep Carbon Observatory, Fire on the Velvet Horizon and a few other things, laid out by Christian Kessler who did layout for Fever Swamp, the award-winning book from Melsonian Arts Council, and with art by Dirk Leichty, of Troika, Codex Zine and Slade Stolar’s Dust, Fog and Glowing Embers, a so-far unacknowledged near-genius we were lucky to stumble into.
Wir-Heal itself is a time lost peninsula built on the tangled and comatose bodies of world-destroying trans-dimensional titans and suffering under a curse which slowly reduces its inhabitants to the status of wild woodwose.
On top of that, what government does exist is arguably not the finest, being dominated by an obese, cunning and rapacious feudal lord obsessed with extracting taxes and keeping out the kingdom’s near-mythical enemies.
The player characters fall through reality under Mysterious Circumstances™ and end up in Wir-Heal, the plughole of the metaverse.
Their only real problems are that they are lost in time, cut off from the rest of reality, dirt poor and that the Titans themselves are waking up and going to end the world.
As well as that, they have pissed off an evil Pig.
To prevail and escape Wir-Heal they must brave its nightmare-haunted shifting realities, find ways beneath the land, break into the Titans’ sleeping minds and steal their golden thoughts. This will put the Titans back to sleep, shift the realities back to something more closely approximating normal, and you get to keep the gold.
A simple enough operation.
What about the rules though? The rules are based on the first edition of Chris McDowall’sInto the Odd ruleset. Character generation is integrated into the adventure/game. Players are given specific, named characters to play, though a lot is left open to their interpretation (an idea I stole from Chris Himself).
The opening adventure is a classic ‘in media res‘ Patrick-style opening which brings the players directly into the first dungeon and gives them stuff to do right away.
And the physical book itself? Will it be nice? You’d better believe it. Silent Titans is being published by Swordfish Islands LLC (the team behind Hot Springs Island) and printed by Friesens up in Canada (the company that printed Maze of the Blue Medusa, and Hot Springs Island).
Binding? Sewn. Paper? As luxurious as that found in Veins of the Earth. Color? Everywhere. Ribbon bookmark? Of course. Archival quality everything? You bet. End papers printed with useful information? Absolutely. A dust jacket possessing both beauty and utility? Indeed. Foil stamping? On the book itself for sure, and maybe even on the dust jacket if the Kickstarter really takes off. A cloth cover? As gold as the Titan’s dreams.”
Just check out these digital mockups:
This project stands or falls on the art, and what art it is! Dirk Leichty brings visuals like 1960s Jim Steranko went into cartography, and broadened his landscapes to Windsor McCay’s level, all to be published by Top Shelf Productions (IDW). Truly, your backing lives or dies on your impression of the art, it’s very effective in how it incapsulates the contents of this world, and acts as a great banner for the product. Laid out by Christian Kessler, the artwork is master level visualizations of fantasy settings bringing an exaggerated idea of the physical layout of the world mashed with the psychedelic high of the gonzo crusade this adventure is intended to be.
With so much emphasis placed on the look of the work, I don’t want to omit Patrick (Veins of the Earth, Deep Carbon Observatory, Fire on the Velvet Horizon) Stuart’s story. The adventure is written from the “first edition of Chris McDowall’s Into the Odd ruleset. Character generation is integrated into the adventure/game. The opening adventure […] brings the players directly into the first dungeon and gives them stuff to do right away.” Its opens with mystery and allows the players to both explore the world and learn about their characters. The ideas presented here are as big as Dirk’s art and worth experiencing. This game is going to be well-loved at the gaming table.
Questions about the system? Check out D&D 5e’s System Reference Documents (SRDs) at: http://www.5esrd.com/
This crowdfunding campaign ends on Sat, January 5 2019 1:05 AM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.
Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition): Maps and Print Run by Gaming Ballistic
Ends on Sun, December 23 2018 10:30 PM EST.
“Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) is a mini-setting and adventure for the Dragon Heresy Roleplaying game. Dragon Heresy is a self-contained complete game in one volume, and the Introductory Set covers Level 1-5.
Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) contains
- A non-linear adventure for 4-7 characters of Level 1-5
- A detailed workup of the Viking-inspired town of Isfjall, suitable as either a home port for an extended campaign or a jumping off point for the adventure
- Rules for overland journeys in the wild north, several adventuring locations, and of course the quest to rediscover the Lost Hall itself
- A bestiary containing all the key creatures from the adventure, including the Dragon Heresy unique stats pre-calculated (Threat DC, Hit DC, wound and control thresholds, wounds, and vigor)
Lost Hall of Tyr is 112 pages long, in full color. The Kickstarter is to enhance the quality of the original combat/location maps and fund a high-quality print run.
The Battle Shield of Torengar ($650)
Just for fun, I will hand-build for you a mostly-authentic viking-style center-gripped shield. Made of quarter-sawn poplar wood, with a hand-carved oak handle, mild steel boss, and faced, backed, and edged with goat rawhide, it’s put together with hide glue, and tapered at the edges. Who doesn’t want their own Viking-style shield, made to historical dimensions? Make an impression at your next staff meeting.
You’ll also receive print and PDF copies of all four of my printed books.
If you pledge at this level (or buy one as an add-on), I’ll contact you and we can work out the details of size and how you want it painted. The shield will likely weigh about 4.5-7 lbs, depending on our mutually-agreed-upon specs.
This is only available in the USA because even inside the USA, this is horrifically expensive to ship!
Some prior samples below. The first two (and the plain black one, which is the hide-covered shield painted with authentic milk-based paint with charcoal pigment) are my Asfolk training shields. Each weighs 6 lbs. The rest were shields for backers of the Dragon Heresy project at the highest level.”
This Kickstarter will fund Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition): Maps and Print Run, a tabletop RPG adventure that uses a variant of Dungeon & Dragons 5e rules called Dragon Heresy. I didn’t copy and paste all of the Kickstarter campaign [see the omitted details here] so let me touch on Doug Cole’s Lost Hall of Tyr as well as the system it runs on, the Norse-inspired Dungeons & Dragons 5e variant, Dragon Heresy. What’s different about Dragon Heresy’s version of 5e? Largely, DH adds more viking-themes and combat crunch. Here are the additions and differences between 5e and DH from the DH Kickstarter:
- Division of HP into wounds and vigor for a more coherent treatment of rest and injury
- Shields are way, way cooler, providing active defense using your reaction, and protection against missile weapons and other swift attacks not available to melee-only fighters
- Enhanced use of existing mechanics to add nuance and risk to combat, especially exhaustion and reactions
- The ability to aim and evaluate, make a called shot, and rules to ensure long-reach spear-fighters are a force to be reckoned with
- Grappling rules that don’t suck! Dragon Heresy originated the rules that became Dungeon Grappling
- The changes in the rules have been painstakingly rippled through the rules for monsters and spells, updating each where appropriate
Beyond the game, if you’re wondering why there are so many pictures of shields in this review, and what that has to do with a TTRPG, they’re one of the rewards for this campaign. Why is that important? The novelty of the reward makes it stand out and that makes me curious if it will be a sought after reward. Instead of focusing only on gaming table specific options, this campaign is thinking out-of-the-box and providing a keepsake that few Kickstarters are. The reward – “The Battle Shield of Torengar ($650)” – provides a hand-built viking-style shield. If you pledge at that level, not only will you get the game, Doug will also work with you to develop your own uniquely designed shield. I’m looking at this Kickstarter to see if selling these helps to better fund RPGs. If so, will it start a trend of offering premium, non-game-specific materials? Something to keep in mind.
Regardless, do you want more 5e crunch? Would you like a shield with it? Well, whether for the game or your protection (kidding), Lost Hall of Tyr has something for your gaming room!
Questions about the system? Check out D&D 5e’s System Reference Documents (SRDs) to see what the original rules are like at: http://www.5esrd.com/
This crowdfunding campaign ends on Sunday, December 23 2018 10:30 PM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.
Ends on Christmas.
“Some of you may know that I like to mountain bike (oh some of you might not know I’m the owner/creator of d20pfsrd.com) Last winter I bought a fat bike for the first time and LOVED it. EXCEPT, this summer the frame cracked and since I bought it 2nd-hand I couldn’t get a warranty replacement.
Why do you care about this? Well because I’m running a special bundle sale at DriveThruRPG/RPGNow to try to raise funds for a new bike. I put EVERY d20pfsrd.com Publishing PDF into a special Christmas bundle for a flat $25. The total retail is over $300 so if you like grabbing some really highly-rated gaming stuff and also helping me fund a new bike, head over to
and take advantage of me!”
Over 60 PDFs with a retail of $321.14 worth of RPG goodness for $25 sounds good, but what are you getting in the d20pfsrd.com Publishing Christmas Bundle [BUNDLE]? Pathfinder 1e products galore, Dungeons & Dragons 5e products, Starfinder games, even more game expansions, plus a complete system and supplements for d20PFSRD.com Publishing’s Starjammer. With so many PDFs for so many systems, let’s touch on a core reason to pick up this bundle and treat the other parts as bonuses. Since you’ll get everything for the system including adventures and expansions, let’s look at Starjammer [5 stars on DriveThruRPG, 4.4 stars on Paizo]. This is d20PFSRD.com Publishing’s Pathfinder-in-space. But, what about Paizo’s Starfinder (Pathfinder-in-space)? In the introduction to Starjammer, they address the ‘what about’:
“Starfinder to Starjammer
First, there may be some confusion! This book was originally planned to be titled “Starfinder” but apparently, Paizo Inc. began development on a product they ALSO planned to call Starfinder, but they didn’t know about THIS product. They were very kind and contacted d20pfsrd.com Publishing to ask what could be done. An agreement was made that the name of the d20pfsrd.com Publishing product would change, allowing Paizo to continue developing under that name, and in return, d20pfsrd.com Publishing would receive ongoing development notes of their Starfinder project. This product you hold in your hands has NOTHING to do with the official Starfinder product by Paizo. None of the content herein has any connection to that product, other than being about Pathfinder in space. However, THIS product will be updated over time to be compatible with the new rules provided by the official Starfinder product from Paizo and is planned to be released simultaneously with the Starfinder product. If you purchased this product at the Open Gaming Store you will automatically receive a PDF update 100% free at that time.” [Buying the core rulebook for Starjammer in this bundle includes the Starfinder-specific rules.]
Why Starjammer? That’s best answered with a question: Want to play sci-fi at your gaming table using a ruleset you already know? Starjammer is waiting for you if you’re interested in a sci-fi Pathfinder option that hews closer to core Pathfinder than even Paizo’s Starfinder. This product’s coincidental production timeline, and popular core system proves that great minds think alike as Starjammer is a highly rated experience waiting for you to explore.
Let’s summarize some of the options in this bundle:
- 5-for-5e Book 1: 5 Magic Items for 5th Edition, Book 2: 5 Backgrounds for 5th Edition
- Affordable Arcana (PFRPG) – Magic Rings, Magic Rings II, Magic Rods, Magic Staves, Magic Tattoos, Wands, Wondrous Item Sets, Wondrous Items
- Blood & Steel (PFRPG), Book 1 – The Fighter, Book 2 – The Ninja, Book 3 – The Cavalier, Book 4 – The Monk, Book 5 – The Swashbuckler
- Call of the Wild, Book 1 – The Druid (PFRPG)
- Forces of Nature, Book 1 – The Druid (5e)
- Compendium Arcanum (PFRPG) Vol. 1: Cantrips & Orisons, Vol. 2: 1st-Level Spells, Vol. 3: 2nd-Level Spells, Vol. 4: 3rd-Level Spells, Vol. 5: 4th-Level Spells, Vol. 6: 5th-Level Spells, Vol. 7: 6th-Level Spells, Vol. 8: 7th-Level Spells, Vol. 9: 8th-Level Spells, Vol. 10: 9th-Level Spells
- Event Horizon
- Goldenrod Guide: A Guide to Swords & Wizardry Combat
- Into the Breach (PFRPG): The Magus, The Summoner
- Journals of Dread Vol. I: Secrets of the Oozes, Vol. II: Secrets of the Skeleton
- Manifest Destiny (PFRPG), Book 1 – Domains & Devotions, Book 2 – Cults & Clergy
- Mind over Matter (PFRPG): Psion and Soulknife, Psychic Warrior, Aegis & Vitalist
- Open Gaming Monthly #1 to #5
- Pacts & Pawns: New Pact Magic Options (PFRPG)
- Racial Profiles Expanded: Hungry Souls, The Arkhoons, The Tavi
- Starjammer: Core Rules, Core Rules (Starfinder Edition), Hailing Frequencies Episode 01 “Welcome to Epsilon Company”, Medical Marvels, Races of the Void Book One, Races of the Void Book One (Starfinder Edition), Races of the Void II – Zephra, The Black Codex – Alien Catalog Entry 1
- Station on the Borderworlds (Starfinder)
- Steam Powered (PFRPG): Devices of the Mechanical Age, Illustrated Catalogue & Guide
- Technology Reference Guide
- The Evolved Path (PFRPG)
- Threshold 3d6 RPG BETA!
- Ultimate Evil (PFRPG)
- Wands Recrafted (PFRPG)
Questions about the systems? Check out their System Reference Documents (SRDs) at:
- D&D 5e’s http://www.5esrd.com/
- Pathfinder 1e’s http://www.d20pfsrd.com/
- Starjammer’s http://www.starjammersrd.com/
This bundle ends on Christmas. You can get it here.