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RPG Crowdfunding News – Hellboy, Dark Matter, Wondrous Expeditions, and more

This week’s list of RPG crowdfunding products end by September 10th. I share some popular Dungeons & Dragons options as a system neutral sourcebook and a dice tower. There are some winners this week which begs the question, what are you backing?

Hellboy- The Roleplaying Game.gif

Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game from Mantic Games and Red Scar Publishing :dndnext:
  • END DATE: Mon, September 7 2020 3:00 PM EDT.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: £30 + S/H for the PDF and print versions of the book
  • TRY BEFORE YOU BUY: Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game Quickstart free at DriveThruRPG
“A brand-new Hellboy roleplaying experience, based on the visionary Hellboy graphic novels by Mike Mignola and powered by 5th Edition. In this standalone game, you become a member of the B.P.R.D. and build your character from the ground up. Will you be a researcher skilled in the study of the occult, a hard-nosed B.P.R.D. security agent, a rookie with hidden supernatural powers and more… the choice is yours. Based on the hugely popular 5th Edition, we’ve made sure that Hellboy: The Roleplaying Game truly captures the experience of the graphic novels. We’ve added new mechanics – such as Doom and Ingenuity – along with unique classes and feats that drive the agents of the B.P.R.D. in their mission to wipe out supernatural threats. When creating your agent, you’ll have a range of skills to choose from. Will you specialise in science, technology, investigations, or become an expert in the study of the occult? Making the most of your special skills will be key in piecing together the clues and completing the case.”


Dark Matter Starter Set: Science Fiction for DnD 5E from Mage Hand Press :dndnext:
  • END DATE: Mon, September 7 2020 10:00 AM EDT.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $75 + $10 US S/H for the PDFs and print versions of the book and starter kit
Dark Matter is a rip-roaring futuristic campaign setting set against a mashup of sci-fi and fantasy influences, which lets you play DnD in Space without learning a new system. Play as bounty hunters, galactic explorers, or daring space marines in a universe inspired by the likes of Star Wars, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Expanse, and Doom. You and your crew can pilot breathtaking starships, face down alien horrors, battle evil space wizards, and explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy. Dark Matter is for any player or GM who wants a little more sci-fi at their table. Though it's a full 298-page campaign setting, Dark Matter is designed with flexibility as a top priority: the rules and options in Dark Matter can seamlessly be applied to any 5E campaign from definitely-not-Star-Wars settings to all-inclusive fantasy games.”


Wondrous Expeditions: Forests - Roleplaying Guide from LoreSmyth
  • END DATE: Thu, September 10 2020 10:02 AM EDT.
  • SYSTEM(S): System neutral
  • PROJECT TYPE: Sourcebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: €55 + S/H for the PDF and hardcover of the book as well as the cards, dice, and more
“Make wilderness journeys just as exciting as the destination with this worldbuilding book for GMs - For any fantasy roleplaying game. From the creators of Remarkable Inns & Shops comes a brand-new sourcebook for GMs. Wondrous Expeditions: Forests helps you turn wilderness journeys into truly epic roleplaying experiences. It provides you with a myriad of world-building tools, gameplay ideas, new biomes, unique flora, fauna, and monsters to invigorate your wilderness travels with boundless ideas to launch your players on their next wondrous expedition... The most popular fantasy novel of all time taught us that the journey of a fellowship can be just as exciting as the final destination. So how come with roleplaying we are often glossing over travel just to get to the "good bits"? At least half the fun is getting to your next destination, or so it should be… A staggering 70% of surveyed game masters say they struggle to keep wilderness travel interesting for their players, while 85% agree they want to make wilderness journeys a more meaningful part of their game sessions. Sound familiar? The Wondrous Expeditions books are designed to make wilderness explorations easier, more fun, and exciting. Blossoming with imaginative, system-neutral content that is like a super-food for game masters, you will confidently bring the environment to life in great detail and atmosphere so it is an integral part of the story.”


The Grim & Deliberate Beast from Dubious Merit Games :dndnext:
  • END DATE: Fri, September 4 2020 7:55 AM EDT.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Source cards
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $25 for the PDFs of both products
“A Deadly New System of Narrative A. I. for the 40 Most-Played D&D Monsters. The Grim & Deliberate Beast. 750 instant, d100-rollable combat narratives for the 40 most-played RPG monsters. Unique extras for your campaign: Offend your friends with 200 Combat insults. Kill and maim with extensive and brutal Critical Hit & Death blow tables. Thieves rejoice with 200 original new Tricks & Traps. Plus deep monster culture, psychology, & lore. Gorgeous monster art, clean design. Fear and excitement for your playgroup.”


Tarot Adventures, Book Three: Death comes to Glenfallow from Sinopa Publishing :dndnext:
  • END DATE: Fri, September 4 2020 11:59 PM EDT.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Adventure module
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $10 for the PDF and POD of the book plus the digital map
“A deadly 5E adventure for dnd characters of 3rd to 5th level. Return to Glenfallow & do battle with the restless dead! Zombie apocalypse, supernatural horror and a necromancer serial killer: frightful elements are combined in this horror themed adventure for the 5th edition of the worlds most popular tabletop role playing game. It's been a year since the liberation of the Echo Rock Silver Mine and the people of Glenfallow are preparing for their fall festival. A year of peace, growth and prosperity while Pieron continues the restoration of Glenfallow Keep, farms are reaping bountiful harvests and the people are well fed and happy. The restoration of the Temple of the Sun continues and trade is booming. It is during these happy days that a terrible evil arises and Death comes to Glenfallow. As citizens vanish in the night a plague of walking dead rises to feast upon the living. A canny and powerful foe plots to murder the happy community in a perverse bid for necromantic power. Death comes to Glenfallow is a difficult to deadly adventure that challenges your players with undead foes and a powerful necromancer serial killer who is determined to wipe out the living residents of Glenfallow.”


Round Dice Tower + Custom Dice Vaults from Mystic Wood Forge
  • END DATE: Thu, September 10 2020 6:51 PM EDT.
  • PROJECT TYPE: Dice tower
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $202 + $10 S/H for the “Round Dice Tower + Tray, Dice Vault with Personal Dice Tray, Mechanical Pencil, [and] Milled from beautiful sinker mahogany”
“Hand turned dice towers that are works of art. Enhance your D&D or other Tabletop Role Playing Game by adding an realistic elements. We Are Back with a completely new design including solid wood ROUND dice towers and solid wood Square towers just in time for Christmas! Roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons and others deserve the very best in accessories for your game play. Our dice towers and trays are hand crafted designs that are turned by hand, and the trays milled with our CNC machine. They are hand sanded and then a hand rubbed finish is applied to the wood revealing it's natural beauty.”


RPG Quick Hits

Hexplorer: Create Whiteboard Maps for 5e and Other TTRPGs from Headless Hydra Press
  • END DATE: Mon, September 7 2020 7:54 AM EDT.
  • “Create maps for with magnetic, dry erase hex tiles. Ideal for hex crawls, west marches campaigns, and games that feature exploration.”
Sword Noir, Second Edition from Sword’s Edge Publishing
  • END DATE: Thu, September 10 2020 1:28 PM EDT.
  • “The second edition of a hardboiled, sword & sorcery roleplaying game.”
The Dream Prison: A D&D 5e Adventure from Menagerie Press :dndnext:
  • END DATE: Thu, September 10 2020 4:00 PM EDT.
  • “An original D&D 5e level 6-8 adventure: The adventurers must enter the Outer Planes and rescue an ancient hero from a dream prison.”
Abracadabra: A Guide to Becoming a Magical Games Master from The Grinning Frog
  • END DATE: Thu, September 10 2020 12:00 PM EDT.
  • “An inspirational art filled guide to help all games masters create magical encounters and adventures for their players.”
The Palace of Unquiet Repose from The Merciless Merchants :osr:
  • END DATE: Thu, September 10 2020 7:00 PM EDT.
  • “A Labyrinth Lord adventure in the Age of Dusk. For character levels 3-5.”
To Catch A Unicorn from Anders "The Night Owl" Jordahl :dndnext:
  • END DATE: Thu, September 10 2020 4:00 PM EDT.
  • “Epic DnD 5E adventure in enchanted forest!”
The Cursed King: A 5E Adventure from Dead Channel Studios :dndnext:
  • END DATE: Wed, September 9 2020 1:49 PM EDT.
  • The Cursed King is an epic 5E TTRPG adventure set around a mysterious cursed king and the flower of Lythillium.”
Hunting The High Priest, D&D 5E One-shot Adventure from Elaine Roberts :dndnext:
  • END DATE: Fri, September 4 2020 8:14 AM EDT.
  • DnD 5E one-shot adventure, with full-color maps adaptable with VTTs and all major devices, with stats, colorful and printable maps.”
Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG and Amazon.
 
Egg Embry

Egg Embry









I'm glad Grim and Deliberate Beast changed its name. The previous title was way too close to The Monsters Know What They're Doing.

The Kickstarter I am most excited for is Lost Lands: Tehuatl

Finally a Mesoamerican setting for 5E. I think aspects of North and South America are woefully underrepresented in fantasy gaming.
Given the RPG industry's, um, mixed history with non-Western European settings and peoples, I wish Necromancer/Frog God would tell us more about these three authors and how they'll avoid the mistakes their predecessors have. (That's not to say they're going to make World of Darkness: Gypsy, but it'd be nice to hear some reassurances before plopping down $28 for the PDFs.)
 


Dire Bare

Legend
Supporter
I'm glad Grim and Deliberate Beast changed its name. The previous title was way too close to The Monsters Know What They're Doing.


Given the RPG industry's, um, mixed history with non-Western European settings and peoples, I wish Necromancer/Frog God would tell us more about these three authors and how they'll avoid the mistakes their predecessors have. (That's not to say they're going to make World of Darkness: Gypsy, but it'd be nice to hear some reassurances before plopping down $28 for the PDFs.)
They mention on the Kickstarter page that some of the visual artists are Central American . . . . but not a peep about the writers. So, Frog God is aware there is a desire out there for products that work hard at avoiding appropriation . . . but try a sneaky side-step around the issue. Didn't inspire me with confidence, so not backing. I find myself less and less tempted with each FG crowd-funding campaign . . .
 

jerryrice4949

Adventurer
They mention on the Kickstarter page that some of the visual artists are Central American . . . . but not a peep about the writers. So, Frog God is aware there is a desire out there for products that work hard at avoiding appropriation . . . but try a sneaky side-step around the issue. Didn't inspire me with confidence, so not backing. I find myself less and less tempted with each FG crowd-funding campaign . . .
Sometimes believing the best until proven wrong feels nice.

My glass half full world view aside, they have done a couple interviews about the product that are viewable on YouTube and their Facebook page. They do spend some time talking about how they approached the product to be as respectful as possible. For example, unlike Maztica, there are no conquistadors or colonialism.
 

Retreater

Legend
They mention on the Kickstarter page that some of the visual artists are Central American . . . . but not a peep about the writers. So, Frog God is aware there is a desire out there for products that work hard at avoiding appropriation . . . but try a sneaky side-step around the issue. Didn't inspire me with confidence, so not backing. I find myself less and less tempted with each FG crowd-funding campaign . . .
I just don't have an interest in another campaign setting, regardless of the writers/illustrators. I did support Rainbow Mage on IndieGogo though.
And considering the response on here the last time there was a FG crowd-sourced project, I didn't want to bring up their latest project.
 

jerryrice4949

Adventurer
I just don't have an interest in another campaign setting, regardless of the writers/illustrators. I did support Rainbow Mage on IndieGogo though.
And considering the response on here the last time there was a FG crowd-sourced project, I didn't want to bring up their latest project.

I am the opposite. I love settings if just to read. Though I often incorporate elements into my home setting too.
 

My glass half full world view aside, they have done a couple interviews about the product that are viewable on YouTube and their Facebook page. They do spend some time talking about how they approached the product to be as respectful as possible. For example, unlike Maztica, there are no conquistadors or colonialism.
It feels like a weird choice for them to not mention it that I can see on their Kickstarter page, even in the FAQs.

Anyone doing this sort of project is going to raise eyebrows in 2020. (The recent WotC threads were pretty epic.) Just trying to ride it out is a bad strategy compared to tackling it head-on.

Show us some public previews, give us some information about the background of the writers (maybe one of them has a PhD in Latin American history!), don't make us guess.
 


jerryrice4949

Adventurer
It feels like a weird choice for them to not mention it that I can see on their Kickstarter page, even in the FAQs.

Anyone doing this sort of project is going to raise eyebrows in 2020. (The recent WotC threads were pretty epic.) Just trying to ride it out is a bad strategy compared to tackling it head-on.

Show us some public previews, give us some information about the background of the writers (maybe one of them has a PhD in Latin American history!), don't make us guess.

I see your point and if it was me, I probably would have done that.

At the same time, for some people nothing will be good enough. If they hired a cultural consultant people will debate the consultant’s qualifications. Hired Central and South American artists. Great, but tell me about the author’s credentials. What is the litmus test to know the ”right” people were hired for this project. Who decides that? How is it decided?

Cultural appropriation is a problem. I see that too. This is a tricky tightrope to walk. No decent person wants a product full of gross stereotypes. Ultimately, we won’t know until we see the final product and even then, there will probably be disagreement.

My belabored point is don’t let perfect get in the way of good, very good or great. Otherwise only Eurocentric material will be represented and our hobby will be poorer for it.

If for some reason this product ends up being reductive, offensive or worse, I will be the first to criticize and condemn it.
 
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Johnny Angel

Explorer
I'm probably the only one disappointed that "Dark Matter" isn't set in the show's universe.
I'm actually kind of annoyed because the name Dark Matter is already associated with a science fiction RPG I happen to like. But I understand. The old Alternity Dark*Matter has been out of print for 20 years. How long did I want them to hold the name?
 

Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
I admit, when I heard Dark Matter was being Kickstarted, I assumed the old Alternity setting too.

Egg should give a shout-out to Mnemonic: A Weaver's Almanac! It's about storytellers exploring the memories of a fantasy world, using card and dice mechanics. The setting has a loose canon with blank spaces for players to fill with their own invented details as they discover the world's history (kind of like how 13th Age handles its setting).

The project aims to pay contributors well, has physical stretch goals for custom cards and dice, and also features a very generous Community Copies feature for giving pdfs away to anyone who can't afford it.

Disclosure: some of my game designer friends are working on this project!
 

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