[Kickstarter] Wicked Ones final 72 hours! Play as a monster. 700+ backers and several stretch goals hit, plus more to come!


So let's start with a tl;dr. I wrote a game that mixed Dungeon Keeper with Blades in the Dark because who wouldn't want to play as badass monsters making a dungeon and killing adventurers? It's up on Kickstarter and doing awesome - 600 backers, busted through 6 stretch goals, and we partnered up with the makers of War for the Overworld to do some tie-in content (how cool is that?!). One of our own is also writing an entire supplement focusing on undead monsters that toolkit tier backers will get for free! It's been a crazy, amazing month and our Kickstarter is just wrapping up - then our closed playtest for backers is about to begin. We have a few more very ambitious stretch goals we'd love to hit and backing now could have you playing a very playable version of the game within 2 weeks. So here's what I'm asking - come see all of the work we've already put into this thing, see if you can trust that we'll put your support to good use making the most awesome game we can, and help me bring home the coolest project I've ever had the pleasure of working on. I really think you won't regret it.

The Kickstarter is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/b-design/wicked-ones?ref=1k9spv (please watch the video, it got me pretty pumped making it and shows off the art and tone well!)

So here's the long version. It's a wall of text and kind of me just pouring out a month's worth of built up emotions from the Kickstarter and what I love about my game. Sorry.

I always wanted to play a game as monsters, building a dungeon, and fighting off adventurers. It needed a system behind it - the minions and traps needed to have meaning and a place in the mechanics. There wasn't anything like that out there, so I spent the last year writing Wicked Ones and the last six month on focused playtesting of it. After all of that, the delivers on the play experience I was aiming for - the PCs act like monsters and are rewarded for doing so, the dungeons feel like dungeons and have this fantastic emergent quality to them, and the stories the game generates are incredibly entertaining.

I'm so pumped about my game and I want to invite you to come help us make it better. I launched a Kickstarter campaign last monh with two purposes: funding development and launching a large playtest. 600+ backers later and I'm stunned by the support - we're building a great community (150 members) on our Discord and we're launching the playtest for all backers in 2 weeks. So yeah, if you're interested in helping, 2 weeks from now you could be making your own dungeons and helping us make Wicked Ones into the best game it can be.

Since I launched the Kickstarter, two amazing things happened. First was a unique chance for me to work with one of the games that inspired me. I reached out to Brightrock Games, makers of War for the Overworld, asking for some Kickstarter advice and seeing if there might not be some opportunity for us to work together. As you might know, WFTO reignited the Dungeon Keeper torch years after DK3 was cancelled and did so using Kickstarter, so I thought they’d be the perfect people to ask for advice. Anyway, long story short, working together a bit seemed like a natural fit and Brightrock Games kindly agreed to let me base some Wicked Ones content on WFTO units and lore. As a fan of the game and obviously the genre as a whole, I can’t tell you how exciting that is for me! Now one big stretch goal looms on the horizon - a full splatbook and sandbox setting for WftO that'll be provided to all backers for free. It's our final, ambitious stretch goal and hopefully you can come help us hit it. I'd love the chance to work on it.

Second, one of my playtesters and longest contributor to Wicked Ones has stepped up and is writing a full supplement for the game called Undead Awakening. He's going to lay out playing undead in depth - giving that group of monsters the attention it deserves. This supplement is available free for all backers at the Toolkit tier, which is an awesome surprise for everyone, me included!

While I have you here, let me tell you a bit about the game. This is going to get even longer.

You play monsters working as a team building a dungeon. Circumstances pus you together and more or less, you act like a normal RPG group - except every monster has a flaw deep inside them - something dark and horrible. This is your monstrous nature and it gives you, the player, a kind of pass to do monster stuff. Your flaw is going to push you away from your goals, usually to the detriment of your group - but you're gonna get XP and bonus dice to spend when you go along with it. The mechanical benefits make everyone at the table cool with you playing up your monster side - it's disruptive, in a fun and constructive way. And you can always decide to suppress it when your goals are more important than being a monster. Players have a ton of control over the narrative with this simple mechanic. I can't stress this enough - we've managed to make it fun for everyone when you play into these selfish tendencies. Capturing this aspect, of playing as monsters with goals (and thus having a satisfying ongoing campaign experience) while at the same time delving into what's most fun about being a monster was the toughest challenge we faced and we think we nailed it.

But more than that, I'm especially proud of pulling off one essential design goal - you actually build a dungeon, laying it out on paper. You recruit and detail the minions that serve you, lay out intricate traps, build locks to direct the flow, and create tricks to push invaders into doing what you want. There's a ton of moving parts and it all flows smoothly and all of these decisions matter when adventurers come knocking! Every 3 or 4 sessions, you're going to be defending your dungeon from outside invasion and it plays out in this crazy, intricate story informed by how you set up your dungeon! You spend so much time working on the dungeon and doing things inside it that the place comes alive. The balance and pacing of its construction and the bonuses it provides took a TON of playtesting but it finally feels right.

Adventurers, a constant thorn in your side, are these crazy badasses that will stop at nothing to get to that gold. The GM is encouraged to play them like PCs would play a hero - powerful wild cards that it feels awesome to finally bring down.

Raiding human lands is loads of fun - you see a fantasy world from the other side. You stay off roads, wary of patrols, trying to fly under the radar of civilization. When you're a minor dungeon, a small hamlet of very angry farmers feels more formidable than you'd imagine. Your dungeon grows by hoarding goal through raiding, which creates the core loop to the game - raid a bunch, piss off civilization, get invaded, repeat. But this gold is more of a byproduct of raiding, always giving you incentive to get out there but also leaving a lot of room to work on your own goals. Dungeons set their own goals and gain XP for working towards them - wipe out a nearby settlement, sacrifice a powerful NPC to dark gods, or corrupt the forest surrounding your dungeon. Whatever your dark motivations, accomplishing them is beneficial to you both narratively and mechanically.

There are 5 different dungeon styles with very differently themed rooms which gives your dungeon a lot of personality. A magical enclave is going to feel and play totally different than a warmongering stronghold. The choice of dungeon type in the first session helps bind your group together and give them a common path and goals as well. This was an issue in early playtesting - the dungeon style manages to avoid a lot of indecision we saw with more open building. And if your group wants, you can just lose the dungeon style and instead build your dungeon with a more freeform list of available rooms.

The game comes with 5 different sandbox maps to grow a dungeon in. These have factions with goals, other monstrous groups, powerful NPCs, and plenty of points of interest but they only create a skeleton structure for your campaign. The GM can flesh it out a bit or you can just play to find out, filling in details together as you go along. I imagine a lot will have ideas for the kind of settings they want to run in, but the sandboxes give a lot of good advice on how to set up a world that's dangerous for monsters. I think a lot of GMs might not have experience with this and making civilization a formidable enemy can be a challenge. Just a town of 200 peasants is SCARY for most monsters - it's hard to challenge that. Civilization has numbers and organization and representing that can sometimes be challenging. The sandboxes help put that into perspective.

But there's an entire other side to the game - it's an awesome way to generate dungeons for other games. In fact, our second to last (yet unreached) stretch goal is a solo dungeon mode. You set up a dungeon and run it by yourself, through maybe an afternoon or so of play. The dungeon grows organically during that time, responding to the needs of the inhabitants. Using dungeons your players cook up or these solo dungeons in other games would be fantastic. Also seeing the entire situation from the monster perspective is sure to make you an incredibly devious GM in your other more hero-centric games. You can pull every dirty trick your players pulled off in Wicked Ones against unsuspecting players in those other games.

So okay, if you think any of this sounds fun to play, I really hope you will come join us. Back us on Kickstarter and your support will go towards providing more content for everyone and making the game even cooler. In return, you'll also get a playtest package 2 weeks from now - a version of the game that you're definitely going to enjoy (even if it is a bit rough around the edges).

To finish this off, I'd like to dump some images and links here. There are a ton more images up on the Kickstarter of course.

The book cover and example of the adventurer deck: https://b-design.io/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Top-Header-Books-2.jpg
A dungeon developing over time: https://i.imgur.com/hZVGsso.gif
Our recent streamed and recorded playtest sessions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_3NZHif_eeVCFiuZzxzZAQ/featured
Our Discord: https://discord.gg/JcuExnC
Example character sheets: https://drive.google.com/file/d/19Fn-tl0WSmsHTdGabWZdiOBKU496bkQx/view?usp=sharing
Kickstarter link again: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/b-design/wicked-ones?ref=1k9spv

Feel free to ask me anything on here as well. I'd be more than happy to answer any questions you have.