RPG Crowdfunding News – Deathmatch Island, The Molt, Hellslayers, and more

This week’s article is a sampling of TTRPG crowdfunding projects, both regular and quickstarters, that end between November 9 and 15. In addition to some great game systems, look for my interviews with Negocios Infernales and Hellslayers. We also spotlight some underrepresented voices such as The Haunting of Devil's Hollow and Gubat Banwa. If you were amazed by the success of Critical Role at Wembley, check out Natural Six. We round out the coverage with some really exciting campaigns from Evil Hat and Onyx Path.

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Deathmatch Island from Evil Hat Productions
  • END DATE: Nov 14, 2023 at 10:00pm EST.
  • CROWDFUNDING ON: Backerkit
  • SYSTEM(S): “PARAGON system by Sean Nittner (AGON) and John Harper (AGON, Blades In The Dark, Lady Blackbird, Lasers & Feelings)”
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $30 + S/H for the PDF, POD discount, and print versions of the book
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? You wake up on a mysterious island with hazy memories of who you are, as an announcer lets you know the stakes of this TV production: win and be set free or lose and die. Designed for fans of Squid Game, Survivor, Lost, Battle Royale, Control, The Hunger Games, and The Running Man, this project touches on some of the same concepts as Goodman Games’ Xcrawl Classics TTRPG, which kickstarted earlier their year. You and your team wake, explore a mysterious island, complete some warm up tasks in the hopes of gaining an advantage before you jump into the final battle royale. Life and death are on the line, and there is no way to back out of this. The system, PARAGON, is fast and keeps the game rolling. Do you remember the good parts of the TV show, Lost? The production design for Lost’s Dharma Initiative, their in-universe company where all of their work and products looked like they were from a bygone era, the design and layout for Deathmatch Island gives the impression this is something out of another time. There’s a vision for this book that tells its own story. If you’re a fan of well-conceived books, death matches, and reality TV taken to the next level, this Backerkit may be for you.
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Lineages of the Long White Cloud (5e) from Kelly Makes Games
  • END DATE: Tue, November 14 2023 4:26 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Sourcebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: NZ$20 for the PDF of this book, VTTs, and four additional PDFs
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This week, there are two projects from two creators that list Aotearoa (New Zealand) as their home, and denote their nation as Aotearoa. Tim Denee is the key creator behind Deathmatch Island (above), while Kelly Whyte is the everything behind Lineages of the Long White Cloud (5e). Prior to these campaigns, I was not aware of the social movement to reclaim the original name of the country. That movement brings us to Lineages of the Long White Cloud (5e) and what it offers 5e players. This project takes some of the iconic wildlife of the island and turns them into playable races. Not only do you get new options for your PCs to embrace, you get some details such as the native names. For example, the fantail, a bird, has its original name restored, pīwakawaka, and given stats for 5e. I spoke with Kelly, who is a pakeha or New Zealand European, about this project and its language. “The words are te reo Māori (the Māori language), but they're really just the names of the animals. Many have English names (Kererū for instance are commonly called New Zealand wood pigeons), but for various reasons I prefer to use the te reo where possible. We've even included a pronunciation guide for those not familiar with te reo.” If you’d like to add Aotearoan elements to your 5e campaign, this project is worth exploring.


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Gubat Banwa - Southeast Asian Fantasy Tactics RPG from liquorcanini
  • END DATE: Thu, November 9 2023 11:00 AM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): An original system
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $60 + S/H for the PDF and print versions of the book
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This is a tactical TTRPG that imagines larger-than-life characters engaged in over-the-top battles. Taking inspiration from the “refulgent cultures of Southeast Asia”, this fantasy project offers visions of love juxtaposed to duty and battle. Honor and obligation are two of the storytelling ideas that rarely come up in TTRPGs. The Paladin in your 5e game pays lip service to the concepts, but doesn’t split the party over it. This RPG does not use the 5e system; instead, its engine pushes battle aimed at fulfilling social expectations as characters engage in losing encounters to save face. Better an honorable death than disgrace. If this concept and a fantasy setting influenced by Southeast Asia appeal to you, check out the campaign page for a link to the free preview PDF.


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The Molt | For Mörk Borg, evil lies at the planet's core from Creature Curation
  • END DATE: Fri, November 10 2023 9:00 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Mörk Borg
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $30 for the PDF and print versions of the book
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? Vast Grimm and Mörk Borg fans, do not sleep on this TTRPG! The Mörk Borg movement is as much about the TTRPG as it is about the layout and artwork from those books. Brian Colin, creator of Vast Grimm, understands and elevates all of the elements that make Mörk Borg games fun. His artwork and sculpting are next level, crafting a world of monsters and molten mayhem, while his layouts convey the feel of the world, page after page. In my opinion, Brian’s work is the best student of the Mörk Borg disciplines. Set at the core of the Mörk Borg setting’s planet, this RPG brings everything you’d expect including locations, monsters, a new set of prophecies, and a new magick system. If you’re a fan of beautifully laid out projects and art plus deadly d20-style gaming, this is worth a look.


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Hellslayers from Fragging Unicorn Games
  • END DATE: Thu, November 16 2023 12:00 PM EST.
  • ADDITIONAL REPORTING: In July, I interviewed Clifton Lambert, the creator of Hellslayers, about this project
  • SYSTEM(S): Mörk Borg
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $40 + S/H for the PDF and print versions of the book
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? Keeping with the Mörk Borg system, let’s talk about Hellslayers. This project is inspired by the video games Doom, System Shock, and Half Life, so expect violence from both the ideas and the engine. In a dying future, you play as a Hellslayer, a true believer or a convict conscript fighting against the alien monsters that invaded a dying Earth. As a Hellslayer, you’re fighting to preserve the planet or, maybe, a corpo’s quarterly report. If you’re a fan of death, defying, danger, and dystopia, this project may interest you.


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Scurvy Buggers - A found family RPG from 9th Level Games
  • END DATE: November 16 2023 11:31 AM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Polymorph
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $30 + S/H for the PDF and print versions of the book plus the card deck and patch
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? For fans of found [pirate] family and Our Flag Means Death, this Polymorph TTRPG takes the best of the zany world of TV pirate antics and brings it to tabletop. Using troupe play style, each player may play any character on the ship for any scene. This is a game of found family where your crew creates a specific flag and your adventures revolve around the ship’s goals. Adventure, freedom, wealth, or mischief, you decide the type of pirates you play as you roam the high seas.


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Negocios Infernales from Hernandooney
  • END DATE: Fri, November 10 2023 10:00 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): An original system
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook and deck of cards
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $45 + S/H for the starter set, deck, and more
  • ADDITIONAL REPORTING: My interview with Carlos Hernandez and C.S.E. Cooney goes live on November 2.
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This is a beautifully illustrated concept, a deck of cards that acts as both a TTRPG and story generator. The concept – aliens interrupt the Spanish Inquisition – sounds like a Monty Python parody, “No one expects [aliens at] the Spanish Inquisition.” While there’s a lot more to the setting (the locals treat the aliens as gods and there are magical powers to use), its the creators behind it, CSE Cooney and Carlos Hernandez, award-winning authors, that push this idea to a unique place. This TTRPG is GM-less and diceless in the sense that there are no dice and it is randomizer-less. You’re playing individuals that work for the aliens as you attempt to save the world. If the idea of cards, powers, and great art speak to you, check out this campaign.


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The Haunting of Devil's Hollow from Tina Glasneck
  • END DATE: Fri, November 10 2023 3:27 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Adventure
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $5 for the PDFs of the adventure book, the ebook, and map
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? Keeping with the theme of projects by novelists, this adventure is from USA TODAY bestselling author Tina Glasneck. The Haunting of Devils’ Hollow is a 5e adventure for levels 3 to 8. Set in the 1980s, this project deals with a world new 5e monsters, magic items, and maps as you deal with a mystery including clues, puzzles, and more. This adventure should fit nicely alongside Evil Genius Games’ Everyday Heroes without much rules revision.


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Natural Six: A new D&D adventure
  • END DATE: Wed, November 15 2023 5:00 AM EST.
  • PROJECT TYPE: Actual Play Stream
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: £20 for several digital rewards
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This actual play puts actors such as Doug Cockle (Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher video games), Harry McEntire (GM and Æthelwold in The Last Kingdom), Aoife Wilson (a host of credits including running games for WotC), and several other named creators together to make a "big name" UK-based D&D actual play. I think that’s the secret sauce in this project, professionals based in the UK. Clearly, Critical Role at Wembley proved that there’s a UK audience and I expect having more homegrown talent could make this a show to mention alongside CR and Dimension 20.


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The World Below from Onyx Path Publishing
  • END DATE: Nov 14, 2023 at 2:00pm EST.
  • CROWDFUNDING ON: Backerkit
  • SYSTEM(S): Storypath Ultra System
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $25 for the PDF and POD discount versions of the book
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This project is a dedicated subterranean fantasy TTRPG using the Storypath Ultra System. You’ll delve deeper and deeper, never reaching for the surface, always digging up new treasures. But, if you break the wrong wall or crack the wrong stone, who knows what horrors you’ll unleash. The concept feels Underdark with all of the associated species, but without the known trappings of D&D. If you’re looking for a familiar fantasy setting and a different system, this might speak to you.
Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.
 
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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

Deathmatch Island looks like the coolest RPG in many years and ideal for one-shots (a single episode), short campaigns (a season!) or ongoing play, which should get weirder and more conspiratorial as it goes on.

It could also be a great way to kick off a longer campaign using another system, assuming the PCs ever escape.

But I think I'm most excited about it as an excuse to play the Paragon system—though Agon and some of the other settings/premises have been neat-looking, this one really grabs me.
 

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dbm

Savage!
Something gaming-adjacent - Greg Stolze has an anthology of short fiction currently on Kickstarter with a little under two days to go and still needing more backers to fund. I’ve bought a couple of Greg’s earlier novels and found them a great read. They feel like the kind of slightly weird things that would happen in an RPG campaign, whilst being well written with interesting characters and twists.

Well worth a punt at $5.
 

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