Kickstarting Eastern Fantasy Adventures (5e & SotDL) with Mike Myler
  • Kickstarting Eastern Fantasy Adventures (5e & SotDL) with Mike Myler


    Mike Myler is a staple of EN Publishing, writing for EN World, editing for EN5ider, and designing on N.O.W. To add to that workload, he publishes a variety of RPG supplements, and has a Kickstarter funding a pair of eastern fantasy books for Dungeons & Dragons 5e and Shadow of the Demon Lord. Taking time from his busy schedule, Mike shared some thoughts on the Kickstarter*, the books, and how he became the first Shadow of the Demon Lord third-party licensor.


    EGG EMBRY (EGG): Thank you for talking to me, itís nice when the EN World family lifts up eachís work. To that end, tell us about your latest Kickstarter: Eastern Fantasy Adventures for D&D 5e and Shadow of the Demon Lord*.

    MIKE MYLER (MM): Thank you for interviewing me! This project is for funding 2 books for both of those RPGs. One is an adventure path that takes the party all over the continent of Soburin (Trade War; the 5E version is 338 pages of proofed hardcover awesome) and the other is an urban mega adventure (Imperial Matchmaker) that explores the imperial capital of Sanbaoshi.


    EGG: This spins out of your most-backed Kickstarter, Mists of Akuma. How do these two new books youíre developing connect with it?

    MM: These are adventures set in the prefectures of Soburin which are themselves detailed in the campaign setting book. While having a copy of that (available cheap as a pledge reward) is definitely going to enhance your experience with either Trade War or Imperial Matchmaker, everything a GM needs is included with itóyou donít need the Mists of Akuma setting book to use them. Imperial Matchmaker is specifically getting a whole lot of attention and weíre using the mega adventure as a space to really breathe life into the metropolis so ultimately itíll be a sourcebook of sorts.


    EGG: One of the systems for these books is Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Youíve done a stack of 5e books and youíve edited even more for the EN5ider Patreon. What do you feel is going to make this an exceptional set of 5e products?

    MM: Thereís nothing like Trade War. There are big adventure books for sure and adventure paths as well, but 90% of this book is me: writing, cartography, layout, art direction (sourcing and treating a bunch of ukiyo-e), graphics. Itís an auteur work of RPGs on a scale I donít think exists elsewhere. There are lots of other cool reasonsóthe unique premise of Mists of Akuma, comprehensive eastern fantasy setting, pyrrhic victories, tsukumogami and other intelligent itemsóbut youíre never going to find something this big this close to the source. For anybody worried that theyíve suffered from that solitary process: reviews for all of the individual adventure modules have been 5/5 stars.

    Imperial Matchmaker is definitely not the first or only D&D 5E mega adventure set in a big bustling city. It is however the only one I know of in an eastern fantasy setting and it has another unique element: the iconics! Sadly theyíre not a part of the Shadow of the Demon Lord version but 5E players can choose from these 8 pregenerated characters (free preview of them here!) emblematic of the campaign setting to play through Imperial Matchmaker. Throughout the metropolis there are clues and encounters for a meaty sidequest for each of the iconics all woven into and around one another, or designed with cumulative triggers so that eventually even the plots the adventurers donít run into (if they donít stumble into the threads of another characterís sidequest while on their own) come and find them. For folks that want to make their own characters though each sidequest is adaptable enough that any GM should be able to bend the narrative into shape for an original PC. To put it more succinctly: Imperial Matchmaker has a very personal touch.

    EGG: With the books available in 5e, youíd expect the additional systems youíd support would be for Pathfinder or OSR. Instead, youíre going with Robert J. Schwalbís Shadow of the Demon Lord. This was not a part of the original Mists of Akuma Kickstarter, correct? Why add it now?

    MM: Correct. We started support for Shadow of the Demon Lord back in 2017 and after a lot of fiddling with print files finally got a proper hardcover together at the start of this year (originally Mists of Akuma was a grayscale book but to get consistent quality from the prints everything had to go color). I met Rob at my first Gen Con and we got along well, so when I was looking about for another project I emailed him and got to be the first licensor of his RPG system! What we hadnít done was full support and up until now it was just the setting book that made the conversion leap. The third party market for Shadow of the Demon Lord is growing though and I didnít want to abandon that so here we are.

    EGG: There are differences in 5e and Shadow of the Demon Lord. Are there any story elements that youíre filling in for one system because it only exists in the other?

    MM: Thereís a much greater emphasis on unique character creation in Shadow of the Demon Lord so the iconics arenít making the leap from D&D 5E, but otherwise I think thatís about it because on the whole the systems arenít too dissimilar. For example, at the end of Trade War Iíve made an OGL friendly version of the 5E mass combat rules and Iím relatively sure they wonít need to be altered very much at all to fit with Shadow of the Demon Lord. Iím certain thereíll be surprises here and there but Iím not seeing any yawning chasms between the two adventures aside from feats (which are treated as Ancestral Blessings in the Shadow of the Demon Lord version of Mists of Akuma and will play a big part at the end of its version of Imperial Matchmaker).

    EGG: Piggybacking on those questions, what prompted you to forego producing this for Pathfinder or an OSR?

    MM: Iím producing this at a time where itís a little tough to muster support for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game because folks are getting into the PF 2nd Edition playtest, and even so, there are some content restrictions to be a Pathfinder-compatible publisher that disqualify Mists of Akuma (specifically the bit about harming children). Many folks have talked about how great the setting would be for Savage Worlds though and after another world of mine makes it over to the WOIN RPG Iíll look at porting Mists of Akuma over there.

    EGG: Youíve done a number of Kickstarters, what is the most important lesson youíve that you plan to apply to this campaign?

    MM: Donít ask too much of folks when they first look at the Kickstarter page. Time is valuable and the more that people have to invest to understand what a project is about, the less likely they are to give it full consideration. While it might at first sound great to have 8 PDFs each with great cover art for every one of the iconics, in effect people are less likely to engage with it than, say, a 40 page PDF that has all of the iconics conveniently inside of it.

    EGG: Iíve mentioned that you have done 5e books, can you share some of your accomplishments? Projects? Awards? Kickstarters that went well?

    MM: Yes! My most recent Kickstarter was for the decadently deliciously evil Book of Exalted Darkness (soon to be available for Shadow of the Demon Lord as well as D&D 5E), I won a Silver ENnie for Best Blog a few years ago, and this is my 8th crowdfunded project (itself a reboot of the 7th). In addition to being the editor for EN5ider I write the Mythological Figures column that posts here on Mondays, and my personal blog has something special going on until this Kickstarter ends. I should probably mention designing N.O.W. The Modern Action Roleplaying Game.

    EGG: I want to thank you for taking the time to discuss your Kickstarter. Where can fans of your work learn more about you, your upcoming work, the EN5ider Patreon, and Eastern Fantasy Adventures for D&D 5e and Shadow of the Demon Lord?

    MM: Thanks again for the interview! The Kickstarter page is a good spot to start with those freebie PDFs but thereís also www.mikemyler.com, Iím on Twitter @MikeMyler2, and Facebook as well.

    * Writerís note: Funding for Eastern Fantasy Adventures for D&D 5e and Shadow of the Demon Lord ends at 11:59 PM EDT on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018.

    This article was contributed by Egg Embry as part of EN World's Columnist (ENWC) program. Please note that Egg is a participant in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to DriveThruRPG. We are always on the lookout for freelance columnists! If you have a pitch, please contact us!
    Comments 8 Comments
    1. Connorsrpg's Avatar
      Connorsrpg -
      Sounds awesome, though it's a shame I missed the original Mists of Akuma - very interested in an Asian-influenced setting
    1. Egg Embry's Avatar
      Egg Embry -
      Quote Originally Posted by Connorsrpg View Post
      Sounds awesome, though it's a shame I missed the original Mists of Akuma - very interested in an Asian-influenced setting
      I'm glad you like it. If you have any interest, the original Mists of Akuma (including some free books) is available on:




      Thanks,

      Egg Embry, Wanna-lancer
      If you're looking for helpful tips and stock art for your RPG, check out CREATE YOUR OWN FANTASY RPG ADVENTURE - RPG RESOURCES BOOKS on Kickstarter (featuring James Ward, Lenard Lakofka, Rick Hershey, myself, and more).
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Connorsrpg View Post
      Sounds awesome, though it's a shame I missed the original Mists of Akuma - very interested in an Asian-influenced setting
      There are a few pledge levels (and a $10 PDF or $15 PDF/voucher add-on) that you can select to get the setting book at a discount from the regular price.

      Anyway MORRUS just helped push us over the threshold into funded territory! Thank you again dude!

      I've got the world's most talented D&D Twitterer and an excellent eastern RPGs enthusiast on deck for the first Stretch Goal--if you haven't checked out the project yet it's definitely happening now so please take a look!

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    1. Connorsrpg's Avatar
      Connorsrpg -
      Cool. Thanks guys.

      I will only add the extras if I can get a hardcopy book for the setting. Otherwise, I think I may have to head to DriveThru and order a copy
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Quote Originally Posted by Connorsrpg View Post
      Cool. Thanks guys.

      I will only add the extras if I can get a hardcopy book for the setting. Otherwise, I think I may have to head to DriveThru and order a copy
      If you can't wait (or don't want to wait!) for KS rewards to go out then by all means please pick it up!

      If you can wait, it's normally $40 plus shipping for a setting hardcover, or $50 plus shipping for the hardcover and PDF.
      Alternatively, you can pledge to the Kickstarter at a level that includes the campaign setting (or make a pledge at the cost of the setting book add-on - $10 PDF or $15 PDF/Hardcover) and get a copy for whatever you pledged plus $16.84 and shipping.

      TLDR You can save $10-$20 (depending) by getting the Mists of Akuma setting book via the current Kickstarter.
    1. Connorsrpg's Avatar
      Connorsrpg -
      Hey, thanks Mike. Sounds good.

      Shipping might be a little more (I live in Australia), but that is usual. Thanks for this. Sounds like a big discount on the setting book
    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      The first stretch goal has beeeeeen

      Name: IM Stretch Goal 1 UNlocked.png ► Views: 94 ► Size: 5,006.8 KB


      and we're onto the second, with a new pledge level (the $250 illustrated Imperial Guest) opening up for the last weekend of the campaign!

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    1. Mike Myler's Avatar
      Mike Myler -
      Name: IM stretch goal 3 draft dos.png ► Views: 90 ► Size: 1,658.8 KB

      The Golden Carp sidequest has been unlocked! Onto **more artwork** from the devilishly talented Claudio Pozas! We have one day left to push the project past this third stretch goal!




      https://www.kickstarter.com/projects.../posts/2291232
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