D&D 5E Auroboros Kickstarter From Warcraft Devs Has Launched

The D&D 5E setting from developers who originally hail from video game studios like Blizzard, and video games like Warcraft and Diablo, has launched on Kickstarter with a bang, as expected. Auroborus: Coils of the Serpent details a realm called Lawbrand, which contains a number of trade cities and factions. Will this one be the 4th in the last month to join the $1M club? The high-powered...

The D&D 5E setting from developers who originally hail from video game studios like Blizzard, and video games like Warcraft and Diablo, has launched on Kickstarter with a bang, as expected. Auroborus: Coils of the Serpent details a realm called Lawbrand, which contains a number of trade cities and factions. Will this one be the 4th in the last month to join the $1M club?

The high-powered team, under the banner of Warchief Gaming, includes Chris Metzen (Blizzard Entertainment, Warcraft, Diablo, Starcraft, Overwatch), Mike Gilmartin (Blizzard, Eidos, Maxis, Atari), and Ryan Collins (Hearthstone, Marvel Heroes, HeroClix).

The setting contains 5 new races and 4 new subclasses, plus details of 8 trade cities. It also features a new game rule called the Mark of the Serpent which lets you do incredibly powerful magical effects at a cost.


For $25 you can pick up the PDF bundle, or $50 for the hardcover. There are higher tiers with GM screens, world maps, slipcases, and more, with expected delivery in one year (March 2022).

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Reynard

Legend
My experience is there's two ways to have a mega successful Kickstarter. One is to offer some shiny new gewgaw that isn't available anywhere else, and the other is to be a creator with a proven track record and established fan base. In the latter case, the pitch is less "Here is this amazing idea I want to make happen!" and more "If you liked my previous work, come get in on the ground floor for the next project." Was the Critical Role animated series a record breaker because of the novelty of making an animated series about their group's D&D campaign? Of course not, it was a record breaker because it was Critical Role and for the nearly 90,000 backers that's all you had to say to sell them on it.

This is definitely one of the latter cases. Some people don't know who Chris Metzen is, and see this as just a vanity project from a retired computer game developer. For the millions and millions of people who have played Warcraft, though, Chris Metzen is a name that conjures happy memories and good associations. And out of those millions of people, at the moment a bit less than 5000 feel that's enough to get them to lay down money for this project. I should know, I'm one of them.

Really, that's not a very big conversion ratio, if you think about it. Less than 5000 people? That's nothing! It's only by the standards of the incredibly niche field of third party TTRPG books that it seems like a lot, and the Kickstarter total is being pumped up by people buying bundles with expensive addons like maps and dice.

So we have here a perfect storm of a creator with strong name recognition putting together a polished campaign and offering lots of addon options to raise the potential pledge ceiling from the people who really want them and can afford them. That's not something you can easily compare to other TTRPG offerings or deliberately replicate.
I get all that and I still hope folks get what they want, but I am happy to reiterate: it's his high school campaign world. NO ONE'S high school campaign world was any good. I wouldn't pay money for my own high school campaign world with snazzy art. Lipstick on a pig, and all that. It's crazy to me that people want that, even if they recognize the creator as someone who in the 3 decades AFTER making that thing created stuff they loved. But, again, maybe it will be awesome and they will be happy.

Anyway, my intent isn't to bad mouth Metzen. I really was just curious if this was a thing he talked about all the time and it was like Vin Diesel's with hunter class or whatever: something that kind of had a mythic status among gamers and they were FINALLY getting it kind of thing, or even something like the Crit Role world because people were familiar with it through a stream or whatever.
 

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TwoSix

Dirty, realism-hating munchkin powergamer
Anyway, my intent isn't to bad mouth Metzen. I really was just curious if this was a thing he talked about all the time and it was like Vin Diesel's with hunter class or whatever: something that kind of had a mythic status among gamers and they were FINALLY getting it kind of thing, or even something like the Crit Role world because people were familiar with it through a stream or whatever.
It's nothing like that, this is something with absolutely no prior buildup to hype it. It's literally people throwing money at a well-known name and some pretty art. I'm not saying that to deprecate the product, I'm sure it will be well done, but yea, this is being sold purely on presentation and name power.
 


Dausuul

Legend
I get all that and I still hope folks get what they want, but I am happy to reiterate: it's his high school campaign world. NO ONE'S high school campaign world was any good. I wouldn't pay money for my own high school campaign world with snazzy art.
So very true. I'm fairly proud of my world-building, but the worlds I built in high school? Those things have sunk away into the abyss of oblivion, and I would never in a million years want to see them crawl back out.
 


Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
Joking aside, I think lots of RPG Kickstarters are more than vanity projects, although I agree that many others are. This one just struck me as especially egregious given that one inclusion in the collector's set is a write up of the original campaign. Maybe I am out of the loop and this campaign is well known among the creator's fans and folks have been clamoring for just this product?
As someone who's been running a Ptolus game since 2006, a professional designer's homebrew world -- including lots of notes about the home campaign -- is appealing to me. To me, it suggests more depth, more playtesting and an understanding of what makes a setting work or not.

No, I don't really care about Monte Cook's players' characters (sorry, if any of his players are reading), but the fact that my players can walk into a shop that's had years of play behind it before it shows up in my game means it very often feels more fleshed out by all the little details that typically only come from years of actual use in a campaign.
 

Kurotowa

Legend
It's nothing like that, this is something with absolutely no prior buildup to hype it. It's literally people throwing money at a well-known name and some pretty art. I'm not saying that to deprecate the product, I'm sure it will be well done, but yea, this is being sold purely on presentation and name power.

And really, let's not undersell the importance of a name and some pretty art with a Kickstarter. A well-known name means you're less likely to have the finished product wildly fail to match what's promised, or possibly even never arrive at all. Pretty art up front means higher expectations for the production level and design budget of the project. These may seem minor, but unless it's one of those rare Kickstarters where the end product is fully complete and they just need funding for the final production run, those are often the only sort of indicators you have to work with.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
But is this game world known to that fanbase? I am just curious if there was an appetite for this thing prior to the KS launch?
The moment Metzen announced he was coming out of retirement (being a major player in a AAA studio means you can do things like retire in your 40s), people, including me, were hoping he'd release a D&D setting. All the early Blizzard folks are huge into D&D, as Warcraft and Diablo show. In fact, with so many old school Blizzard people departing, I wouldn't be surprised if Auroboros is only the first of a number of such products.
 


Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
I certainly never heard of it. Though, I have played in more that one world that was at least some of his creation, and I enjoy them quite a lot. As an example, and probably will be lost on many here, the creation, corruption, and fall of the Scarlet Crusade in WarCraft has always been a favorite of mine.
Warcraft's treatment of paladins has been more complex and interesting than anything TSR ever did. Uther, Arthas and the Scarlet Crusade are all full of paladins who each believe they're in the right, and each of whom have taken very different paths.

If his team brings a similar level of complexity to other traditional D&D concepts, this will be a good book.
 

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