2 RPG Kickstarters You Should Back Because the Creators Give Back to the Industry – Haunting of Hastur, and Lex Draconis

Everyone experiences setbacks and defeats. Gamer, writer, and publisher, Jeremy Tangman, is going through a difficult period due to “several major spinal issues”. Jeremy, co-writer and publisher of the steampunk RPG, Avenadia, found himself short of the financial means to cover these medical expenses on top of his day-to-day, at the same time, these spinal issues reduced his ability to work. Like many individuals trying to bridge the financial gap, he set up a fundraiser on Facebook. After reading his plight, I wanted to offer something beyond a one-time payment; to help incentivize individuals to help Jeremy, I offered to do a review for up to three publishers that contributed to Jeremy’s fund. This inspired several other creators to chip in products and time to help Jeremy out. With several publishers offering products and services, I thought the best way to spread the word would be an article about it and, between the additional focus and the fantastic offerings, its helping to move the needle for Jeremy.  

Without being solicited, these creators and publishers joined in. Because they helped another gamer, one they didn’t know any better than I did at the time (I’ve since established a rapport with Jeremy), I want to shine a spotlight on their Kickstarters. This is my way of saying thank you for their generosity and making gaming feel like a community. This week, I’m looking at Kickstarters from Kevin Watson (Dark Naga Adventures) and Ray Machuga (Higher Grounds Publishing).


Dark Naga – Haunting of Hastur – Hardback – 5e and OSR by Dark Naga Adventures (an imprint of Fat Goblin Games

Ends on Sun, February 17 2019 7:00 PM EST. 

“Hardback, color omnibus edition of the Haunting of Hastur modules. DNH1, DNH2, DNH3, DNH4, and DNH5 with VTT Maps and extras

The Haunting of Hastur is a campaign designed to integrate with starting adventures like the 5e boxed set, or other introductory works and take the party through level twelve. 

The party members start out on a job to investigate missing people and are pulled into a confrontation with those who would bring Hastur back to the world.

The campaign is a non-linear adventure that leaves a lot of room for roleplaying. 

The book will be about 240 pages, case bound hardback with a full cover interior on 70-pound paper. This tome includes the following adventures: DNH1a – Sidequest – River Crossing, DNH1 – The Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil, DNH2 – The Buried Zikurat, DNH3 – The City of Talos (Adventure, Gazetteer and Bestiary), DNH4 – Confronting Hastur, and DNH5 – Carcosa. All of which have been previously run as individual projects on Kickstarter to publish the old school, detached cover module prints. 

The PDF rewards for this campaign include the PDF versions of the Complete editions of the five individual modules. The complete version includes the 5e, OSR and in two cases, the Pathfinder version of the adventures. 

Over the last month, I have been able to get VTT Maps for DNH2, DNH3, DNH4, and DNH5. Getting VTT Maps for DNH1 is a stretch goal for this project  

I am in the process of having the art colorized, so the hardback will be in full color. I have also commissioned a new cover. The work that has come in so far looks great. See the video for a few samples. A few pieces have been reworked by the artist in minor ways. That was at the artists discretion. 

Here is a link to the past Dark Naga Kickstarter Projects, the first five modules and a special print run of the OSR versions that fans wanted, but never were able to unlock as a stretch goal. 

There have been some improvements made to the modules since they were released. Mostly minor edits to bring things more in alignment with 5e standards. For example, I was bad about using Opportunity Attack and Attack of Opportunity interchangeably. 

Dark Naga Adventures is my company. I started it a few years ago to publish adventures for 5e that wanted to see in the market. Adventures with less combat focus, with multiple solutions, and elements that can be tackled in any order. Key elements of the classic sandbox style. Something I was not seeing in the RPG market for 5e. Something I think is sorely needed. Most importantly, something I find more entertaining as a GM and as a player. The conversions to OSR followed, logically, when the ease of conversion was such that they could be essentially done in parallel with the 5e version. 

Website: darknaga.com (in the process of being rebuilt, coming soon.)

Facebook: facebook.com/darknaga

Twitter: @darknagagames

Watch the video below to take a look at the rough hardback proof of the book and see how much of the project is already completed!

 project video thumbnail

The small town of Boldon, and its surrounding villages are afraid.  Dozens of people are missing, some speculate lost to some nefarious  purpose. A broken drunkard tells fantastic tales of an evil temple and  the horrible things within. The rare few who know the legends and  history of the region are beginning to think the dark times have  returned; not seen since the fall of the first age of man. 

People are  beginning to feel the icy fingers of fear closing in. The party becomes  aware of these events and is inspired to investigate. This leads them to  a broken man who tells them a story of a lost temple. Has it been  rediscovered by men seduced by its forgotten evil? The drunkard’s tale  leads to others who might help the party discover more before they faceThe Lost Temple of Forgotten Evil. 

 The clay mining operation at Caford has discovered a large step pyramid or zikurat. This imposing structure was buried completely in the clay sheet they have been mining for decades to make brick and other ceramic products. The local miners see what they think is an obvious entrance, but cannot get past the slab of stone. A call for aid is sent to the capital city of Meawold, and the party is sent to investigate.

Could this be one of the Nexuses that traded goods from the subterranean Land of Night to the surface world?

Places where treasures of the subterranean kingdoms, like mithril weapons, were traded for surface goods. Bastions of trade that were lost during the fall of the First Age of Man. Why has it been dormant for almost two millennia? What lies within? Is it a threat to Caford, or the Kingdom of Meawold as a whole? If they can get inside, the party will have to navigate millennia-old magic locks and security sentinels to find answers to these questions and more within The Buried Zikurat.

Talos, a city of legend, focus of tales dating back to the First Age of Man—exotic and forbidden. Buried deep in the Formene, this lone gem of the subterranean realms has legends as tall as the mountains under which it lies. Scholars and sages know more: it is the capital of the Elven race of the subterranean realms, sealed off from the surface world, supported by smaller towns, trading nexuses, and the wealth of knowledge accumulated by the Formene Elves who ward it.

In this Land of Night, dozens of nations, formed from the Formene races, join the elves in a powerful confederation of trade, protection, and mining of the most valued metal—mithril.

Recently, a trading nexus was uncovered and explored. The leaders of Meawold want to restore contact with the Formene Elves and access mithril, other rare Formene metals, and minerals for the first time in two millennia.

The explorers of that trading nexus found letters and journals suggesting a vast, untapped wealth of gems, metal, and minerals, as well as forgotten cities full of treasure, some with magical wealth.

What waits in the Formene? Both the city of Talos and the Formene wilds offer incredible opportunities for adventure and wealth.  And also, incredible dangers. 

 About two millennia ago, Hastur nearly conquered the continent of Barestir before being defeated by a coalition army of humans, elves, dwarves, gnomes and halflings. Since being cast from the world of Tumunzar late in the First Age of Man, Hastur has long sought to return. The elves of the Barestir continent offer an opportunity for Hastur to maintain an aspect indefinitely on Tumunzar.

Someone in Meawold is working to build a temple, build a host and pull an aspect of Hastur across from the beyond, where the Old Ones wait and plot their dreams of feasting on worlds. The Formene Elves detect this activity and ask the party members to investigate.

They are given a list of people who have the ways and means to build a cult or are acting suspicious and asked to investigate, confront, and find the person or persons involved in this horrible plan.

 After defeating the second incursion of Hastur’s cult under Castle Brytha in Meawold, preventing the kingdom from falling under his control, the party members find themselves drawn into Hastur’s domain: Carcosa.

With twenty-four hours to escape before they become a permanent part of the domain, the party members must navigate the foreign land and find a way home. Four demon lords, three brothers, and the demonic seductress they all worship, control Carcosa. Perhaps one or more of them can be manipulated to help get the party home.” 


Egg’s Thoughts: 

Kevin Watson (Dark Naga Adventures) was the first creator to reach about providing his work to assist Jeremy Tangman. By offering PDFs of individual parts of his Haunting of Hastur module, Kevin sacrificed profits and time to help a creator in need and that gesture did not go unnoticed. If Dark Naga Adventures and Kevin’s name are familiar, it may be because I’ve interviewed Kevin (here) and featured his products (here). It may be because you’ve followed his adventure series of Dungeons & Dragons 5e and OSR, Haunting of Hastur, on Kickstarter. From February 2016 through September 2018, Kevin leveraged crowdfunding to bring his 5-part series to the light of day. Developed for 5e, OSR, and, for certain parts, Pathfinder 1e, this series pits the players against the followers of Hastur as they’re working to return Hastur to the world.  

The current Kickstarter is the culmination of that series, printing all five parts as a “240 pages, case bound hardback with a full cover interior on 70-pound paper.” All of the art is being colored for this project to make the hardcover full-color throughout. If you want “a non-linear adventure” that will carry your table from level one through level 12, Haunting of Hastur is waiting for you.  

Questions about the system? Check out D&D 5e’s System Reference Documents (SRDs) at: http://www.5esrd.com/   

This crowdfunding campaign ends on Sun, February 17 2019 7:00 PM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.    



Lex Draconis – Be The Dragon by Higher Grounds Publishing 

Ends on Mon, February 11 2019 10:00 AM EST. 

“What would you sacrifice for power? Be the dragon and roar in this tabletop RPG corebook for the Modern RPG Universe!

“Some roads you shouldn’t go down. Maps used to say, “there be dragons here.” Now they don’t. But that don’t mean the dragons aren’t there.” – Lorne Malvo; Fargo

Here Be Dragons

Lex Draconis is the latest entry into the Modern Universe that allows you to play the traumatized and dangerous dragons in modern Earth. Lex Draconis is a standalone corebook designed for use in the same setting as Modern RPG but stands alone as its own playable game that asks the question… 

What would you sacrifice for power?

Lex Draconis is a game about dragons living in the modern world who must balance their nearly-divine thirst for power with their mortal lives.  The game takes inspiration from  American Gods, Vampire The Masquerade and The Eddas. It can be used in a number of different story styles: 

  •  Draconic Conflict: Many times, a dragon’s biggest enemy will be another dragon who wants what they have, whether it be their territory, relics, or even their mortal happiness or one that has given up their mortality for power. These stories erupt as dragons face off in a back-and-forth that makes them thankful they have a friend to lean on. 
  •  Personal Struggles: Your stories might explore more of what it means to be a draconic soul leading a mortal life, how relationships falter and change with your newfound power and deal with exploring who the character truly is and what it means to be mortal.
  •  Quests: Some dragons may want to dive headlong into their heritage and search for new power, mythological artifacts and hidden secrets to their own lost history in quests fraught with untold dangers. 
  •  Defending What’s Yours: As you balance your search for power with your mortality, others will inevitably try to take what is yours – your hoard. These stories involve an onslaught of monsters, hunters, mortals and even other dragons as they come to your territory to wage war or even simply to live their own lives. 

In Lex Draconis, you’ll explore what it’s like to acquire nearly god-like powers that threaten to drive you mad, discover your personal lineage and relationships to myths and legends of history, battle world-threatening powers, monsters, and hunters and develop your relationship with other dragons, mythological beings and even the mortals around you. Throughout your story, you’ll need to make tough decisions. Being a dragon gives you access to universal powers, but are you willing to risk your sanity, your mortal body or the people you love in order to acquire it? Can you balance your need to survive in a mortal-dominated world with your need to rule with an iron claw? 

This book is filled with opportunities to explore what it means to be a dragon in the modern world. You can play out budding romances with mortals or even other dragons and other mythical beings, unlock the strange mysteries of Earth, the universe and your own primordial lineage and pursue power unlike the world has ever seen. Each draconic lineage has their good sides and their bad, powers and weaknesses. Each lineage is a peep-hole into the soul of the character and informs who they are as a dragon. It is your decision whether your character will follow her lineage or buck against her very nature as a primordial power. Each lineage opens a wealth of story potential. 

The core Lex Draconis system uses the familiar Pathfinder d20 system under the Modern RPG rules changes.

Long ago, during the Hadean Period, Earth was being formed and the Primordial Powers were the only life. For a time, these Powers were in a state of chaotic, shifting balance. Before the ancestors of the first races and prehistory, as we know it, Earth looked more like hell than home. The same ingredients, the dust, and the fire, that birthed our planet also gave birth to these Primordial Powers. They were the aspects of the Earth, cornerstones of what it would become as it began to pull itself together from the fragments of the universe. These creatures were the reflections of our planet’s birth pangs. The first dragons came forth from the endless oceans of molten rock. These were the eldest dragons, the Great Wyrms

Forged from the very same ingredients of our infant Earth, the Great Wyrms were creatures of sheer force and will. They swam within the roiling seas of lava and flew between the stars. The Great Wyrms were solitary creatures. Even in the featureless expanses of molten rock and the empty black of space, they claimed the territory as their own and fought to protect what was theirs.

The dragons of today are but shadows of the power the Great Wyrms possessed. Their powers are diminished from the fracturing of their powerful souls through wars, nuclear explosions and extinction level events they have endured. Most are born to mortal families completely ignorant of the spark of draconic light they hold within their soul. When this spark awakens, their lineage boils to the surface and they become what they were always meant to be. Through the powerful rituals of their Elders, the Lex has become the means by which modern dragons may retain their mortality and resist the hubris and rage of their Calling. They can choose to protect those they love with their newfound power, defend their world from Outsiders and cosmic threats, carve their own territories and build their hordes. Those who fall to their soul’s Calling become the bestial dragons of legend – creatures of instinct and anger, hunted and feared by the world. Dragons must balance both worlds, or risk losing both. 

This Lex Draconis book is planned as an 8.5 x 11 hardcover book with approximately 300 to 375 pages with full-color interior art. At the launch of this Kickstarter, the book is about 50% completed and I am on track to make its debut by GenCon 2020. The majority of the funds collected through this Kickstarter project will be used to commission art and to pay for a proper design team. All funds raised through this project go toward making this book and subsequent supplements as awesome as possible. The best part about being a backer for the Lex Draconis project is that you get the book before anyone else, and you get to help make sure this awesome project comes to life!” 


Egg’s Thoughts: 

Ray Machuga of Higher Grounds Publishing was the second creator to read about Jeremy Tangman’s plight and offer to help out. What Ray offered was amazing, to do a review. Why are reviews amazing? Because you have to read, analyze, and, possibly, play then write your findings up. As a journalist, it’s your job. As a publisher, it’s taking time away from your job. Add to that, as a journalist, if you give something a critique (read, a negative review), you may be able to sidestep blame because it’s your job. As a publisher, a critique may come across as libel. Offering to do a review was a brave decision and I applaud Ray for making the offer.  

For his current Kickstarter, he is building on an idea he’s already published books for. The Modern RPG uses a modified version of Pathfinder 1e to create an RPG set in today’s world, but one that is populated by the classic races and monsters of Pathfinder. While Pathfinder gave him a foundation for the game engine, White Wolf’s original World of Darkness line inspired his approach to books. Focusing on individual races like they were Vampire: The Masquerade’s clan books, Ray plans to tackle each major faction in their own publication. So far, beyond the core rulebook, that’s led to the Book of Elves. Now he’s delving into dragons, playing as “traumatized and dangerous dragons in modern Earth.” Keep in mind, these dragons use similar mechanics to those in Pathfinder, so that helps to define the power level you’re contemplating. How would dragons play out in an urban fantasy today? To find out, check Ray’s Kickstarter.  

 Questions about the system? Check out Pathfinder 1e’s System Reference Documents (SRDs) at: http://www.d20pfsrd.com/  

This crowdfunding campaign ends on Mon, February 11 2019 10:00 AM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.  



If you’re interested in reading more about Jeremy Tangman and what motivated these creators (and more) to assist him, read my article 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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