3 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back – Adventure Omnibus, Crystal Heart, and The Vagabond’s Cyclopedia

This week I’m looking at RPG Kickstarters that build on existing systems but also build on their own legacies. While their engines use Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, Powered by the Apocalypse, and OSR concepts, these products also continue properties from their respective publishers whether it be a capstone reprint of their work or an expansion of their game, or bringing their setting to a new medium, these are pedigreed RPG Kickstarter that you should back: 

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The Vagabond’s Cyclopedia: an OSR + PbtA Supplement by Sigil Stone Publishing 

Ends on Thu, December 27 2018 1:00 PM EST. 

“A massive character-centric expansion for Vagabonds of Dyfed RPG. Tables, tools, and new rules for PCs and GMs alike!

The Vagabond’s Cyclopedia is an enormous character supplement overflowing with hundreds of new character rules, tables, guidelines, and suggestions on how to play as a vagabond. While it’s designed specifically for Vagabonds of Dyfed, it’s still useful for other fantasy adventure PbtA or OSR roleplaying games.

Already know all about Vagabonds and just want to see why you should buy the Cyclopedia? Keep reading. Have no idea what we’re talking about? Scroll down to the What is Vagabonds? section. 

by Flygohr
by Flygohr
  • Playing as a vagabond
  • Character generation tables (traits, descriptors, etc)
  • Seven new lineages and eight new archetypes
  • Over 100 new techniques
  • New rules for wealth, reputation, magic rituals, and more

The Cyclopedia is a player-facing, character-centric expansion. The majority of the book is built to make it easier and more interesting to run characters, expand your library of available options, and give you new tools to use for your vagabonds. 

An essay on vagabonds: guidance on how to play as a “vagabond”: a grave robber, a wandering miscreant, a bannerless mercenary compelled to plumb dark pits for plunder and face demonic forces for the thrill of it. 

Tables and tools: random tables and generators for each of the six character traits, dozens of descriptors, inspiration for roleplaying, random core flaws, and even a semi-abstract way to come up with fresh character concepts you wouldn’t have on your own. 

Advancing beyond level 6: new rules for high-level play including how to handle powerful characters and deal epic damage. Wipe out entire swaths of enemies and strike fear into hordes with a single roll!

by Flygohr
by Flygohr

New archetypes: there are eight new archetypes — fully pre-made characters that include all of their traits, techniques, and equipment. Pick up and play as the Inquisitor, the Visceralist, the Monk, or others in a matter of seconds.

New lineages: seven new lineages to hail from, giving new options, special abilities, and characteristics for your vagabond. Play as the rodent-like nezumi, the planar-touched ichoroid, the powerful minotaur, and more. 

An abundance of techniques: techniques are an enormous part of Vagabonds gameplay, defining your character beyond simple modifiers. The Cyclopedia adds over 100 techniques in all manner of categories and levels of complexity. These flavorful entries are a combination of entirely new subsystems (such as crafting poisons), tried-and-true “moves” (such as recruiting new retainers), and straight-forward mechanical and narrative cues (bonus to damage; never fail at certain actions; consider this as that, and so forth). 

The Cyclopedia introduces technique “trees,” which allow you to invest more heavily into a specific type of action or ability. Even further, some techniques produce entirely new modes of play, such as the Warhound technique tree. 

Warhound allows you to train and leverage a highly capable canine companion, with special rules that combine elements from equipment, techniques, and NPC allies. Ever wanted to play as a ranger with a trusty wolf in your pack? Now’s your chance.

by Flygohr
by Flygohr

Not just for the PCs, the Cyclopedia gives GMs tons of rules and tools on how to better flesh out their world and non-player characters. The tables in the PC section serve double duty as useful inspiration for ad-hoc NPCs; but in addition, the Cyclopedia supplies new rules for:

Reputation: the PCs will develop a reputation, and the Cyclopedia breaks down how different NPCs react. Further, the party’s infamy and glory can be tracked, making their impact on the world more obvious. Burning down the Royal Guard’s capital ship? The Crown has a bounty on your head, but the Freebooters of the Skull Isles love you for it.

Connections: a quick method to determine if a PC has any known NPC allies, relationships, or networks in the area. This can be used to somewhat randomly (but consistently) generate a complex web of relationships. The PCs are vagabonds after all; they’re likely to have tumbled through most salty towns at some point or another.

Expanded allies: the rules for “allies” have been significantly extended. Each ally can have a framework of special benefits, tags, and even ways to advance and improve over time.  

Sometimes the tried-and-true core rules just don’t cover off on everything. What happens when the party’s amount of silver becomes difficult to track? What’s the outcome of a raucous celebration? How can the party’s dark sorcerer delve more deeply into the arcane?

Wealth: the Cyclopedia contains a simplified and abstracted way to represent a character’s wealth, how to leverage these riches, and how it can easily change based on their actions and assets. Want to bribe your way to a seat at the Council Table? Roll +wealth. 

Rituals: spells and magic in Vagabonds of Dyfed are pretty flexible and abstract, with only a few techniques to go off of. We’ve included rituals to greatly expound upon the nature of casting large-scale spells, including a highly detailed “requirements” subsystem which includes things like materials, time, sacrifice, and so forth. Wither entire farmlands, strike down armies or curse the Emperor (all it’ll cost is some dragon fangs and the blood of an innocent). 

Critical damage and injuries: it’s easy for vagabonds to start to feel pretty invincible after their first few adventures; likewise some GMs struggle to appropriately penalize their PCs for getting knocked to 0 HP too many times. The Cyclopedia’s critical injury rules make combat significantly more deadly and wounds more permanent — lose limbs, go blind, crack ribs, and more. 

by Flygohr
by Flygohr

Carousing: what’s all the silver in the world worth if you can’t throw an insane party? The Cyclopedia contains rules on carousing, a new form of downtime activity. Carousing uses the basic “move” core mechanic but leverages how much silver you’re willing to toss into having a memorable night. Each time you carouse, you roll on a series of tables to determine what maladies, mishaps, or happy coincidences you wake up to the next morning. 


  • Black and white, square format, two columns
  • Internally hyperlinked and bookmarked


  • Print on demand from DriveThru RPG
  • Black and white, square format, two columns
  • Heaviest paper available at DT

We’re sticking with our format for other Vagabonds products — 8.5” x 8.5” square format, black and white interior, softcover color exterior. We order the heaviest paper we can to ensure the best print-on-demand durability available.

The book’s layout is meant to be easy to reference at the table or to print out a page or two at a time to use as a handout. With two columns (except for some tables) and plenty of white space, it’s easy to quickly find what you’re looking for. And since the PDF will be fully bookmarked and internally linked, your digital games will be speedy.

Wait, What’s Vagabonds?

by Per Folmer
by Per Folmer

You can pick up Vagabonds of Dyfed and its supplements during this Kickstarter for a reduced, bundle price. 

Vagabonds of Dyfed is designed to emulate old-school RPGs with streamlined mechanics. It focuses on “traditional” emergent storytelling and fictional positioning while leveraging a cut-down Powered by the Apocalypse mechanic.

Vagabonds picks the pockets of greater games: World of Dungeons, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, Barbarians of Lemuria, Blades in the Dark, City of Mist, the Black Hack and the White Hack, and of course Moldvay’s venerable Basic.

  • Less swingy and random than most d20 games
  • Easy rules for tactics, clever approaches, and problem-solving
  • Players roll everything (usually)
  • A single roll for attack and damage (which scales)
by Per Folmer
by Per Folmer

The game is (mostly) mechanically compatible with OSR retro-clones, but benefits from a non-binary PbtA style system.

  • A single PbtA “move” core: 2d6 + mod, tiered results
  • Player-generated traits instead of playbooks or attributes
  • Genre-appropriate special abilities and magic
  • High character lethality (low HP, old school damage)
  • Strong GM authority (permissions, GM adjudication)

Basically, we set out to make World of Dungeons on steroids and came pretty close.” 


Egg’s Thoughts:  

The Vagabonds of Dyfed RPG combines OSR elements (like early D&D or Sword & Wizardry) with a variant of the Powered by the Apocalypse engine in a fantasy RPG. The concept of meshing those two systems (collaborative RPG with D&D’s crunch) sounds like an internal combustion engine built with paper parts, it may go like a bat out of hell, but I need to see it to believe.  

Some RPGs are one-and-done products, ideas so novel that they’re released as almost proof-of-concepts given to the world with no further support. VoD’s elements would leave me thinking that this is simply an RPG novelty until I factor in that this is their fourth book, and a rules expansion to boot. Having a library that you are developing over time shows real legs as VoD has a core rulebook, an adventure book, a setting book, and this rules expansion. With a string of books, it’s clear that the publisher is serious about VoD and has built a credible game. Having a string of books, and a series of positive reviews, gives me confidence in the product, and I’m eager to see try out this game just to see what creator, Ben Dutter, has wrought.  

Questions about the system? The Vagabonds of Dyfed RPG mixes elements of Powered by the Apocalypse (like Dungeon World with examples at the Open Gaming Store) with OSR components.  

This crowdfunding campaign ends on Thursday, December 27 2018 1:00 PM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here


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Adventure Omnibus by AAW 

Ends on Thu, December 20 2018 1:10 PM EST. 

“Omnibus Collector’s Edition in four books. A, B, and C-series adventures from 2010-2018 numbering over 2,200 pages for Pathfinder RPG.

Help us combine our Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible A, B, and C-Series adventure modules into four collector’s edition books numbering over 2,200 pages. Each book will be lavishly decorated with limited collector’s edition cover art created by Mates Laurentiu. 

The Adventure Omnibus Kickstarter combines every single A, B, and C-series adventure released by Adventureaweek.com (AAW Games) from 2010-2018. We would like to preserve the essence of each adventure like a snapshot captured in time by keeping each module exactly as it was when released. The extensive work required isn’t in expanding or adding to these adventures but rather going through old files compiled by numerous layout artists and working gently yet fastidiously with each to bind them all together into complete volumes. We’ll be creating new tables of contents, renumbering all pages, and fitting pieces together to create both interactive PDFs and beautiful print versions; your contribution helps make this work possible.

You’re probably wondering what distinctly differentiates each of these adventure series.

The A-Series was where it all began with Todd Gamble and me back in 2010. We dreamt up an entire world called Aventyr to use as a campaign setting available only on Adventureaweek.com with adventures which could be played in the setting or easily moved to a GM’s own campaign or setting of choice.

Primarily adventures dealing with the struggle of nature vs. civilization, with cause and effect as opposed to good and evil having a profound and lasting impact upon the world in which the PCs exist. 

With this Kickstarter, we’re unlocking all of the Aventyr Campaign Setting content on Adventureaweek.com so anyone can access information on the setting absolutely free. So whether you plan on using the A-Series in Aventyr or your own setting of choice, you’ll be covered. 

Samples of A-Series Adventures:

Crow’s Rest Island

Search for the Tri-Stone

Incandium’s Eruption

The B-series was created by special guest authors and includes over 24 adventures designed for use in any campaign setting and a multitude of environments from city to wilderness, desert to temperate and everything in between. You’re sure to find something useful for your new game or ongoing campaign in this fantastic series of adventures.

Samples of B-Series Adventures:

Cave Beast’s Hoard

Tower of Screaming Sands

For Rent, Lease or Conquest

The C-series is inspired by and pays homage to tabletop roleplaying game legends such as Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, and David C. Sutherland III. Dangerous dungeons and exotic encounters with challenges which can only be overcome by using one’s wits. These adventures will surely challenge both players and GMs alike. 

Samples of C-Series Adventures:

Alagoran’s Gem

Sufferhorn Castle

The Sussurus Tomb

It was that email which set all the gears in motion. My dear friend Todd Gamble, who was previously the cartographer for the D&D 3.5 core rulebooks, the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil, and hundreds of other products, set off with me on the journey of a lifetime. As the years went on, we would gather a close-knit group of people who acted not only as a team but more importantly as friends. Joshua Gullion (RIP), Stephen Yeardley, Will Myers, Tim Tyler, and many others helped craft that which we would ultimately become. 

Now that eight solid years of releases have passed we decided the time has come to take the culmination of our efforts in the three major series we produced and put them into a retrospective omnibus, looking back at all we have done, capturing a moment in time if you will, and performing careful surgery upon ancient files in such a way as to produce something that has exactly the feel and quality of the original whilst adding in updated page numbers and links to accommodate for each series and the combined nature of the product. 

Behold, the Adventure Omnibus for Pathfinder Roleplaying Game! A culmination of works from 2010-2018 in four massive volumes numbering well over 2,200 pages in length!” 


Egg’s Thoughts:  

As I mentioned in last week’s article, the RPG publisher/retailer question of 2018 is: Will there still be an audience for Pathfinder 1e?  

Based on this project, Adventure-A-Week (AAW) would answer that question in affirmation. AAW gambled (in the sense that all crowdfundings are a risk for the creator) in the belief that Pathfinder 1e is fine and, so far, the numbers look good as they celebrate PF1e by reprinting their Pathfinder adventure series in handsome hardcovers. These series represent their adventures from 2010 to 2018 as four books of 2,000 pages. This isn’t just a campaign, this is a statement about the love fans have for Pathfinder 1e, it may be headed into the sunset, but there are enough fans that want to preserve those fun times to warrant a massive keepsake. Many publishers are afraid of getting too involved in producing new Pathfinder 1e products, but AAW (and Legendary Games) seem happy to wade in and find the fans waiting for them.  

These examples make me wonder if the question publishers should be asking is: In 2019 and beyond, is there enough of a PF1e fanbase to justify a PF1e-dedicated publisher? There is some evidence that there could be for some time to come.  

Questions about the system? Check out Pathfinder 1e’s System Reference Documents (SRDs) at http://www.d20pfsrd.com/, and examples of Pathfinder games at the Open Gaming Network.  

This crowdfunding campaign ends on Thursday, December 20 2018 1:10 PM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here


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Crystal Heart – a colourful setting for Savage Worlds by Up to Four Players 

Ends on Tue, December 11 2018 6:59 PM EST. 

“Become a Syn Agent, replace your heart with a Crystal and gain superpowers! (Also lose your mind, but just a little)

Crystal Heart is a new setting for the popular Savage Worlds role-playing game. It’s based on the current storyline in our webcomic, which has been running for several years. Our protagonists have been having a blast with it, and now you can too!

In the world of Crystal Heart, people’s hearts are literally made of stone. Some people – notably, the player characters – can replace their hearts with ancient Crystals, which grant unique arrays of superpowers… but also change their personality. 

With your help, we’ll be able to finish and publish the setting book. Countless of Crystals still wait to be discovered across the Five Lands – off we go, to adventure!

The setting book will be printed in softcover “graphic novel” format (6.625 by 10.125 inches; 17 cm x 26 cm), with about 200 pages in full color, and tons of new art by Aviv.

The book includes: 

  • Rules for using and misusing Crystals
  • A few dozen Crystals for your characters to start with
  • A few dozen Crystals for your players to find, including their feral manifestations – the strange effects surrounding uncontrolled Crystals
  • Guidelines for using and creating Crystals
  • Everything you need to know about Syn (and a few of the things you shouldn’t know)
  • Everything you need to know about the world of Crystal Heart and each of the Five Lands in order to have fun adventures in them
  • A full Plot Point campaign spanning 10 adventures
  • Lots of adversaries worthy of your antagonism, whether human, animal or Crystal-tainted
  • And all the Edges, Hindrances, weapons and setting rules you need in order to get the coolest Crystal Heart experience possible. 
Mockup for the Crystal Heart setting book
Mockup for the Crystal Heart setting book

A typical Crystal Heart adventure begins with the Agents arriving at a new locale, sent by Syn to chase after rumors of Crystal activity. They might face natural hazards, angry locals, cunning rivals, pits filled with venomous snakes, or death traps. What’s more, any of these might be corrupted by the Crystal’s power, manifesting uncontrollably and twisting its environment.

Upon reaching Veteran Rank the characters become Free Agents, able to pursue their own agendas. By now, however, they have seen enough clues to learn of a mysterious connecting thread, woven behind the scenes, an overarching plot that must be foiled. Chasing these leads throughout the Five Lands they’ll eventually uncover the secret and face the villain!

Up to Four Players is a webcomic about tabletop games and the gamers who game them. It follows a group of friends playing a tabletop role-playing game, with all the cool, sometimes frustrating, sometimes surprising things that happen when you’re involved in such an activity.

There are now more than 3 years worth of strips and pages in our archive, and it’s all available on uptofourplayers.com

  • In Wild at Heart, the players get used to the characters they just created, as they chase a bestial killer threatening a small Bogovian village.
  • In Home is Where the Heart Is, our Agents arrive at an ancient manor deep in the swamps, confronting the worst enemy of all – the one you can’t just stab with a sword.
  • In Heart of Stone, our current storyline, the Agents find themselves in the middle of a civil war brewing in the mining community of Cragtown, while trying to get a grip over a new Crystal.

Read the story and get to know the setting – and even learn to play Savage Worlds as you do!”

The Crystal Heart webcomic
The Crystal Heart webcomic


Egg’s Thoughts:  

The RPG setting within the webcomic, Up to Four Players, Crystal Heart is jumping media from the webcomic to become a tabletop RPG powered by Savage Worlds. In the webcomic, the characters are playing Savage Worlds set in the Crystal Heart universe. With this Savage Worlds supplement, you’ll get to tie your experiences directly into that system and this world and, if you are going to the extremes of meta, play as the players playing the characters in Savage Worlds. The layers this experience could offer a collection of Crystal Heart and Savage Worlds fans is intriguing.   

If you’ve never read the comic, why should you back this? The concept, for one. In this world, you replace your stone heart with a crystal one that grants powers and comes complete with a new quirky personality. The system opens up the power play options as well as roleplaying options giving in broad appeal to players.   

For another reason to back this, unlike many settings this concept has been rolled out to the world before, endured public review, and emerged stronger for it. Like The Vagabond’s Cyclopedia above or AAW’s Adventure Omnibus, you’re not being asked to back something that lacks a legacy, Up to Four Players has put their game out there for public scrutiny for some time which will make this a stronger product for your gaming table.  

Interested in games that use the Savage Worlds system? Try out these games at the Open Gaming Store.  

This crowdfunding campaign ends on Tuesday, December 11 2018 6:59 PM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here

About Egg Embry

Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer™, wrote comic book short stories, edited comic book series, wrote and drew a webcomic, and contributed to comic book journalism across the 2000s. With the advent of Kickstarter, and the resurgence in his love of role-playing, he bought a series of writing opportunities in tabletop role-playing games in the tradition of vanity press. Now he freelances for EN World, Open Gaming Network, and Tessera Guild, and writes for a variety of game publishers.

View all posts by Egg Embry →

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