Because there are so many deserving RPG projects on Kickstarter, I’m experimenting with the format on this article, mixing the quotes and reviews a bit more and covering some additional projects including two literary adaptations, two Pathfinder 1e projects, and four D&D 5e projects.
- Terry Mancour’s Spellmonger by Battlefield Press
- The Demon’s Veins: A Module for D&D 5E and Pathfinder by Ramen Sandwich Press
- Love’s Labour’s Liberated – A 5e RPG Zine by John McGuire, Leland Beauchamp, and Egg Embry
- The Call of Cthulhu – Illustrated by Baranger by Fria Ligan / Free League
- Professor Humbert Drumsley: 5e RPG Adventure Codex by Terry Herc
Ends on Wed, March 20 2019 9:06 PM EDT.
I’ve interviewed Jonathan Thompson of Battlefield Press (on the Open Gaming Network here) about his successful Kickstarter to reprint Stewart Cowley’s Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD. Continuing their success in adapting literary settings, Battlefield Press is converting New York Times best-selling author Terry Mancour’s Spellmonger series into RPG settings for both Pathfinder 1e and Dungeons & Dragons 5e.
What is Spellmonger? It’s the tale of Minalan, a human mage descended from space colonists, set amid a fantasy’s war. The pitch for the first novel could be paraphrased this way:
“Minalan gave up a promising career as a professional warmage to live the quiet life of a village spellmonger in the remote mountain valley of Boval. It was a peaceful, beautiful little fief, far from the dangerous feudal petty squabbles of the Five Duchies, on the world of Callidore. For six months things went well. . . Then one night Minalan is forced to pick up his mageblade again to defend his adopted home from the vanguard of an army of goblins – gurvani, they call themselves – bent on a genocidal crusade against all mankind. All that stands between the gurvani horde and the people of the Five Duchies is one tired, overwhelmed baker’s son who wanted nothing more than to be a simple village spellmonger!”
The RPG books will include a great deal of content including:
- “New Archetypes for classes, especially for the various types of magic users.
- Information on how the existing classes fit inside the world of Callidore
- Write ups on the pantheon of Callidore
- New spells and magical developments, including how divine magic works in the realm.
- Rules concerning the witch stone, irionite, and its usage.
- Information on the Censorite, an organization of magic users designed to limit the abilities of mages.
- Details on mage blades used by the warmages in the realm.
- Background information and maps of the five duchies and the location of the conquered lands
- Information on the Farisian Campaign.
- History of Callidore from the Magocracy to the Five Duchies, terminating in the Gurvani and the Dark Lord, Shereul the Dead god’s, attack on the Boval Vale.
- Write ups on non-human races such as the Alka Alon, the Karshak Alon (the Stonesingers), the Gurvani, and others.
- Character write ups on the notable characters.
- Bestiary of Callidore”
Adapting a known property to the two most popular RPG systems is a good move. Having a built-in fanbase allows Battlefield Press to ask for enough money to pay the projects’s authors, for artwork, to design and layout the book, and, of course, print it without having to cut any corners.
This crowdfunding campaign ends on Wed, March 20 2019 9:06 PM EDT. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.
Ends on Mon, March 11 2019 7:17 PM EDT.
“An RPG location module about some dwarves, their mine and the demon who lives next door.
Places by the Way is a series of short modules that I’m creating for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition and Found by the Way is a parallel series of modules that we launched last year for use with Pathfinder. They work fine as short stand-alone adventures, but each module is a kit for creating a memorable interlude in a larger campaign.
One [source of inspiration] is the line of mini-adventures that AEG published as part of the D&D 3rd Edition open license boom. I recall that the word count for those modules was only 5,000 words. I wrote a few of them, and they suggested to me that the short form could be made to work in adventure modules as it does in fiction.
In module #6, a colony of dwarves digging for mithral under a mountain know that they live next door to a demon. They found it lurking deep in a fissure in the rock that they uncovered while expanding the mine. But they think they have it penned up, and they have started marketing it as a tourist attraction. They don’t realize that their neighbor from the Abyss is just waiting for the right moment to strike and wipe them all out.”
Ramen Sandwich Press (Douglas Sun) is creating a series of interlude adventures for both Pathfinder 1e and Dungeons & Dragons 5e. I wanted to include them in this article because they specifically address Ramen Sandwich Press’ approach to the PF1e vs PF2e debate.
“Our first Pathfinder 1e-oriented campaign launched just two weeks before Paizo made the announcement [about Pathfinder 2e]. That was exciting, for sure.
Here’s what we’re going to do to accommodate Pathfinder fans, without being sure which version they prefer or will prefer: All Found by the Way modules published before the official launch of 2nd Edition will be written for Pathfinder 1st Edition. Found by the Way #5 included notes for running it with the 2nd Edition Playtest rules, and so will this module. We remain committed to Pathfinder, even though this is a time of transition between editions.”
They’re planning to support both editions until a clear “winner” emerges. That’s an exceptional level of service and I’m glad to see that level of support.
This crowdfunding campaign ends on Mon, March 11 2019 7:17 PM EDT. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.
Love’s Labour’s Liberated – A 5e RPG Zine by John McGuire, Leland Beauchamp, and Egg Embry
Ends on Sun, March 3 2019 1:33 AM EST.
System SRD(s): Dungeons & Dragons 5e
“Cavaliers, Enchanters, and Magic Items
The ideals of Chivalry, the power of Enchantment, and the magic of love deserve a place in your 5th Edition fantasy campaign. To ignite that creative spark on game night, Love’s Labour’s Liberated introduces several thematically-appropriate variations of 5e mechanics.
Within this zine, you’ll find rules for a romance-flavored Cavalier archetype, the Cavalier of Love. A passionate defender of worthy causes, the downtrodden, and even a squire-most-handsome as much as any maiden fair, this idealized fighter makes war for love.
Cavalier are a champion of a cause.
This likens back to stories where Knights or warriors would actually stand for specific ideals, or they would swear their loyalty to specific duties or concepts. Their skills and abilities are planned around being such champions and keeping the oaths they make.
We see this as an image of knights swearing themselves to defend the Queen, or Joan of Arc, where they fought for specific people or ideals.
Ready to play an Enchanter? Your silver tongue is magical and as spellbinding as the most amorous sonnet; all who meet you want to bask in your presence. For your mage, there’s a new spell list that expresses your magics in more evocative ways, and thoughts on how to make your character the paramount paramour.
The Enchanter spell selection is being picked to reflect wizards of legend, more of a “power behind the throne” type of thinking, using examples like Merlin or Circe. Spells will be heavier in Enchantment and Illusion types of spells, but not necessarily restrictive to those. The power base may relate to less combat-oriented abilities, but it does not mean they are useless by any means.
Beyond archetypes and spells, there are Magic Items forged in the fires of love and loss. These treasures are powered by the flames of emotion, offering simple story hooks as well as full adventures to claim them. In addition, expect poetic notes and essays about amore played out in your game.
Many of the traditional legends and myths that D&D stems from held romanticism in some sense or another. Unfortunately, this often is taken out, and the theme is lost. Our zine is looking to provide information and ways to re-introduce romantic themes to 5e adventures.
Even though the overall design of our zine is connecting the content via adventure hooks, the real goal is to provide content that could be taken and utilized in any 5e setting. We are not looking to create one time use content, but instead content that can help to add some seasoning to a campaign.
Enhancing the feel of this project is the the mood-setting poetry of Leland Beauchamp.
- A variant Fighter archetype: Cavalier of Love. NOTE: This will be different than the official Cavalier archetype
- Enchanter spells list with tips on how to play without needing to fireball everything
- Adventure ideas/hooks focusing on Chivalry, Lost Loves, and quests to prove your worth
- Love-themed Magic Items like the Eye of Venus, which connects the wearer and their love, when their amore is physically harmed, it sends the wearer into a berserker rage
- Other Magic Items with backstories connected to passion and sacrifice and tips for how to connect them to the Player Characters
- A sandbox-style adventure with maps for 1-3 level characters, “Heart’s Hostage”
- And more…
Why is all of this ardor packed into an RPG zine? Because there’s no better way to share the 5e tabletop love than through a zine! Zines are Cupid’s new arrow! As well, a zine lets us spread the love cheaply ($5 for the PDF, $12 for the PDF and physical zine). As part of Kickstarter’s February Initiative, Zine Quest, this is a by-the-rules RPG zine. Black and white, 5.5” x 8.5”, saddle-stitched. How many pages? We’re thinking this will come in at 36 pages or more.”
For Kickstarter’s February initiative, Zine Quest, I worked on two zines. One as the sole creator, POWERED by the DREAMR. The other I work with a pair of friends: Love’s Labour’s Liberated focuses on bringing love and romanticized concepts of roleplaying to your 5e gaming table. Cavaliers, Enchanters, love-based magic items, love-themed adventures, and poetry created for your game.
As we roll into the final week, we (co-creators John McGuire, Leland Beauchamp, and myself) decided to offer copies of my recently funded Powered by the Apocalypse zine, POWERED by the DREAMR. What does POWERED by the DREAMR have to do with Love’s Labour’s Liberated? Other than my presence and the fact that they’re both zines, not much. So why offer a PbtA zine with a 5e zine? Because we believe POWERED by the DREAMR will put an extra candle of spotlight on Love’s Labour’s Liberated. We want LLL to be a success and, as such, for the final week of the campaign, we’ve added an extra zine and some new backer rewards for those that want everything we love.
My crowdfunding campaign ends on Sun, March 3 2019 1:33 AM EST. You can support my Kickstarter campaign here.
The Call of Cthulhu – Illustrated by Baranger by Fria Ligan / Free League
Ends on Thu, March 7 2019 3:00 PM EST.
NOTE: This is a Kickstarter for an artbook. However, they’ve reached a stretch goal to produce an RPG based on HP Lovecraft’s work that they are tentatively titling, The Great Old Ones. “This game will feature Baranger’s art and will present a new take on Lovecraft’s stories.”
“We will make a Lovecraft-inspired tabletop roleplaying game full of Baranger’s art. Pretty neat we think!
It’s still early days but we want to let you know a little bit about or plans for the game. The focus will be to emulate the feel of the Lovecraft stories, where characters truly go mad and die. This means we’ll focus on well written and lavishly produced one-shot scenarios with pregens, not longform campaign play. And of course, awesome art and rules. We aim for a 2020 release. Much more information about this will come later!”
Because this column is about RPGs, I am focusing on the RPG portion of this artbook Kickstarter.
Free League is the publisher behind Tales from the Loop RPG, the award-winning game based on Simon Stålenhag’s artbook of the same name. With this project, Free League is continuing that pattern, this time with French artist, François Baranger, and his work based on the HP Lovecraft short story, The Call of Cthulhu, written in 1926 and first published in Weird Tales in 1928. They’re crowdfunding that artbook and have reached the stretch goal to create an RPG. I’m curious to see what they’ll produce with their version of this widely explored property. Clearly, it will be one of the best looking Cthulhu RPGs available.
This crowdfunding campaign ends on Thu, March 7 2019 3:00 PM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.
Professor Humbert Drumsley: 5e RPG Adventure Codex by Terry Herc
Ends on Fri, March 1 2019 10:00 PM EST.
System SRD(s): Dungeons & Dragons 5e
“A collection of short 5e adventures featuring the ponderous, oblivious, disastrous (and recently suspended) Professor Humbert Drumsley!
Professor Humbert Drumsley: 5e Adventure Codex is a collection of short adventures compatible with the latest edition of the world’s oldest fantasy roleplaying system. Not only are these adventures ideal for low-level characters, but they’re also designed to be fun, fast-paced, and light-hearted.
The finished Codex will be approximately 80+ pages in a 5.5 by 8.5 inch format. It will contain 10 short adventures, a character write up, statblocks, magic items, and more!”
This crowdfunding campaign ends on Fri, March 1 2019 10:00 PM EST. You can support this Kickstarter campaign here.