RPG Crowdfunding News – Sands of Doom, Black Sword Hack, Epic Levels, and more

This week’s list of RPG crowdfunding projects end between January 6th to the 19th. This sampling has projects campaigning on Kickstarter, Pinnacle Entertainment’s Game Changer, and a unique option on DriveThruRPG from Philip Reed. As we start out the new year, these crowdfundings promise some winners. If you're looking for the most anticipated RPGs coming in 2023, check out EN World's list right here.

Sands of Doom.jpg

Sands of Doom from MrRhexx
  • END DATE: Fri, January 13 2023 2:59 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Adventure
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $25 for the PDF of the book
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? An army of 30,000 undead gnolls marches on a tiefling city, are you prepared to stop them? This 5e campaign covers levels 1 to 11. As the undead march, there’s a prophecy that predicts ten catastrophes with two right at the beginning of the campaign. This project by MrRhexx (Fermin Caballero) gathered a solid amount of support during the holiday season as you can see from the chart below. Despite the holiday noise, the idea of prophecies, undead armies, and so much more has found a base. If you’re interested in joining in, check out the campaign page.

New Adventures and Exotic Locales for your Savage Rifts® Campaign! from Pinnacle Entertainment Group
  • END DATE: Fri, January 6 2023 8:00 PM EST.
  • CROWDFUNDING ON: Game Changer
  • SYSTEM(S): Savage Rifts®
  • PROJECT TYPE: Adventures and sourcebooks
  • COOLEST PLEDGE: $135 + S/H for the PDF and print versions of the boxed sets, books, maps, pawns, and more
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? If you’re a fan of Pinnacle’s conversions of classic RPGs to the Savage Worlds system, this is a cool option. Rifts® for Savage Worlds kickstarted in 2016 and, with this project on Pinnacle’s internal crowdfunding site, Game Changer, they’re offering the first Savage Rifts® boxed set campaign, Rifts® for Savage Worlds North America: Terror on the Dark Frontier Boxed Set. This set includes two 192-page Rifts® for Savage Worlds books: Terror on the Dark Frontier and South America: Land of a Thousand Islands. On top of that, they’re offering a boxed set of archetypes, map of South America, location maps, and a box of pawns. If you’re a Rifts® for Savage Worlds fan, this is worth checking out. (Shout out to EN World poster dbm for reminding me that this campaign ends soon.)
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D100 City Hooks, Fantasy RPG Encounter Ideas from Philip Reed Games
  • END DATE: Fri, January 6 2023
  • CROWDFUNDING ON: DriveThruRPG
  • SYSTEM(S): System neutral
  • PROJECT TYPE: Sourcebook
  • COOLEST PLEDGE: $4.95 for the PDF of the book (soon to increase to $6.95 due to unlocked stretch goals)
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? At DriveThruRPG, Philip Reed performed an experiment with his latest PDF, D100 City Hooks, Fantasy RPG Encounter Ideas. Between 2022-12-28 and 2023-01-06, if the campaign reached Silver Best-Seller status, he’d add four additional pages to the 26 page PDF. If it reached Electrum, he’d add two more, and Gold would add another four. This is similar to Itch.io’s Itch funding where you build up funds to build out your game, only DTRPG doesn’t have a formal setup for that. Philip unlocked all three levels of DTRPG stretches in a short amount of time, so the campaign’s goals are complete. I’m sharing this with the hope that DTRPG uses this as a model to create their own Itch Funding style system to encourage popular products to continue to innovate after their release.
Black Sword Hack - Ultimate Chaos Edition.jpg

Black Sword Hack - Ultimate Chaos Edition from The Merry Mushmen
  • END DATE: Fri, January 13 2023 6:00 AM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): OSR
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: €25 + €12 S/H in the US for the PDF and print versions of the book
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This campaign is bringing a new edition of the Platinum best-seller OSR by Kobayashi to tabletop. Inspired by David Black’s The Black Hack, this rules-lite OSR comes in at 110 pages with new artwork and updates to some of the rules from the original including faerie ties. The campaign page evokes old-school gaming and names like Michael Moorcock, Fritz Leiber, Karl Edward Wagner, Jack Vance, and Robert E Howard to suggest its mix of fantasy and sci-fi. If you’re looking for a streamlined OSR, one with added depths of player lethality, this may be the RPG for you.

Adventurers of Combat & Quest! Intro Edition from Flying Monster Games
  • END DATE: Thu, January 19 2023 1:56 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): An original system
  • PROJECT TYPE: Core rulebook
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $4 for the PDF
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This project offers a 60-page first look at this OSR that calls up video games like Diablo, Path of Exile, and Torchlight. This system offers GM optional and solo RPG options. Mechanically, it’s more math than many modern systems, but that also means more customization. If you’re looking to preview a new fantasy system with some solid artwork, this might be for you.

TANARES RPG 5E - EDICIÓN ESPAÑOLA from Dragori Games and Akuma Studio
  • END DATE: Thu, January 19 2023 5:59 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Adventure
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: €145 for a lot of content
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This project localizes Tanares RPG – 5e for Spain. The original Tanares RPG – 5e crowdfunding is part of the million dollar RPG Kickstarter club. Since the original is quite a success, it makes sense to translate the text to Spanish and spread this project to more gaming tables. I like seeing translations of RPGs across all sectors of tabletop. If you’re a 5e fan in Spain, this may be of interest to you.

Enoron Adventures Vol.2 from Dungeon Studios
  • END DATE: Mon, January 9 2023 12:03 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Adventures
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $30 for the PDFs of 7 adventures
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This is a new series of adventures. As adventures, they’re linked through a campaign setting with lore, species, classes, NPCs, monsters, and everything you’d need for this 5e world. The adventures are titled Briney Boatel, Pillars Of Light, Dark Escape, Misty Towers, Titan's Peak, Generals Lost Galley, and Rise Of The Ravenlord. If you need a series of outings for your table, each related to potions and magic, this may be for you.

SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES: The Madness of St. Avon - ONLY $1! from Laidback Dungeon Master
  • END DATE: Wed, January 11 2023 7:19 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Adventure
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: AU$1 for the PDF of the adventure
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? AU$1 for a one-page one-shot for 5e or OSR with grid and gridless maps and monster stat blocks. It’s a good return on that single dollar. Kobolds in the wine cellar and the undead, this one-pager will get you into the action keeping it simple for the GM and exciting for the players. If this sounds interesting, check out the campaign page for a link to a free preview.

A Year of Adventure: A dozen 5e One-Shots from SeaBreeze Games
  • END DATE: Thu, January 12 2023 4:59 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition
  • PROJECT TYPE: Adventures
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: €25 for all 12 PDF adventures
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? One adventure per month in 2023 meaning every month, you’ll get a new adventure. Meant for levels 1 to 9, each one-shot is a single three to five hour session with unique hooks, 5e monsters, and more. If you buy the full year’s worth, it’s just over €2 an adventure. The Kickstarter campaign page for this project describes the creator’s journey, how they went from players to publishers and what they learned along the way. When the campaign began, they’d completed one adventure, have a second fully written, and have the other ten plotted, so they have a bit of a buffer. If you’re interested, check out the campaign page for more details.

Epic Levels : Armor Classy Cdungeon from Epic Levels
  • END DATE: Fri, January 13 2023 11:49 PM EST.
  • SYSTEM(S): System neutral
  • PROJECT TYPE: RPG accessory
  • MOST POPULAR PLEDGE: $18 + $5 S/H in the US for the CD with booklet and map
  • WHY SPOTLIGHT THIS CAMPAIGN? This is a hip-hop fantasy album and the 10-room system neutral dungeon crawl that the music inspired. That’s right, you’re getting music and an adventure with this campaign. Based on the description, think of this as a fun romp over a deathcrawl. If you’re an RPGer and a fan of music, this might be worth checking out. If you’re curious about the music, here’s a link to the album.

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry




Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
I honestly don't know why more people don't do what Phil Reed did with this project. The 4 pages/$1 number is pretty well known among publishers now, I think, and it encourages a lot of early sales to get in before prices go up, which then has the net effect of speeding up sales. It seems like a situation where everyone wins, so long as the creator can keep up with the extra content and doesn't mind the possibility of being left with a few pages created for "free" when demand tapers off.
 

Dire Bare

Legend
I honestly don't know why more people don't do what Phil Reed did with this project. The 4 pages/$1 number is pretty well known among publishers now, I think, and it encourages a lot of early sales to get in before prices go up, which then has the net effect of speeding up sales. It seems like a situation where everyone wins, so long as the creator can keep up with the extra content and doesn't mind the possibility of being left with a few pages created for "free" when demand tapers off.
Part of Reed's success is name recognition, he's an industry veteran known for good design. And while his projects tend to be small, he's prolific and kicks out a lot of these. Plus, it's his side-hustle and not his main source of income (he still works for SJG, right?).

His style works for me though . . . even when I've busted my budget, pledging a $1 for his latest Kickstarter is easy to do, and all of his projects so far have been fun, quality, and useful! As soon as I discovered him back when he was doing the "Dozen Rumors" series, I've backed everything he's done, except for the Mork Borg stuff (which is good, but not my cuppa tea).
 


Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Part of Reed's success is name recognition, he's an industry veteran known for good design. And while his projects tend to be small, he's prolific and kicks out a lot of these. Plus, it's his side-hustle and not his main source of income (he still works for SJG, right?).
For sure. I've been buying his stuff since the 3E days.

But this model of content leveling up is one anyone can do and, in fact, probably benefits lesser-known folks more, since they can put out four pages of content for $1 and more people will be willing to take a risk on an unknown quantity. As more people purchase it, it levels up and expands, providing both more content and the implicit suggestion that other people found the work valuable, since each jump in price and content comes with a corresponding higher tier badge from DriveThruRPG.

Why, I might already be thinking of jumping into DriveThruRPG myself, finally, with a $1/4 pages product that will level up in a similar fashion. I got the idea from the same place I suspect Phil did: M.T. Black's article on the economics of DriveThruRPG.
 
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Dire Bare

Legend
I got the idea from the same place I suspect Phil did: M.T. Black's article on the economics of DriveThruRPG.
Link? :)

I agree, it sounds like Reed's model might be a good one for someone trying to break in to RPG publishing, as well as a veteran like Reed. But Reed's success goes beyond just his model I think, although that's an important element to it.
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

100% that gnome
Oh, man, after stumbling upon it repeatedly over the years, I'm now having a heck of a time finding it. Will circle back when/if I do.

It's a longer piece with a lot of hard numbers about sales, etc., but the figure I was focusing on in this case was that the average price for content on DriveThruRPG is four pages for a dollar, which was used as part of a larger calculation about how many man-hours should be put into a PDF, etc.
 


philreed

Adventurer
Supporter
Why, I might already be thinking of jumping into DriveThruRPG myself, finally, with a $1/4 pages product that will level up in a similar fashion. I got the idea from the same place I suspect Phil did: M.T. Black's article on the economics of DriveThruRPG.
I'm not sure what this article is, but I'll chase it down.
 


Part of Reed's success is name recognition, he's an industry veteran known for good design. And while his projects tend to be small, he's prolific and kicks out a lot of these. Plus, it's his side-hustle and not his main source of income (he still works for SJG, right?).

His style works for me though . . . even when I've busted my budget, pledging a $1 for his latest Kickstarter is easy to do, and all of his projects so far have been fun, quality, and useful! As soon as I discovered him back when he was doing the "Dozen Rumors" series, I've backed everything he's done, except for the Mork Borg stuff (which is good, but not my cuppa tea).
Yeah, I back a lot of his stuff that I’m not sure I’ll even use as I know he does great work and it’s only $1. He’s well and truly earned his reputation at this point.
 


J.M

Explorer
I honestly don't know why more people don't do what Phil Reed did with this project. The 4 pages/$1 number is pretty well known among publishers now, I think, and it encourages a lot of early sales to get in before prices go up, which then has the net effect of speeding up sales. It seems like a situation where everyone wins, so long as the creator can keep up with the extra content and doesn't mind the possibility of being left with a few pages created for "free" when demand tapers off.
I agree, that is a fantastic idea, kudos to Phil. I'm taking notes!
 



Black Sword Hack is definitely the one that caught my eye too. I do already have Through Sunken Lands, which occupies a similar Sword & Sorcery niche, with Moorcockian Law vs. Chaos.

I bought the current PDF to check it out. I think my players would get enough out of the game to enjoy both play and character building. I really like the NPCs and monsters which include things I haven't seen before. Having ship rules is a big plus because I always want that option in a campaign. And world building is built right in with guaranteed changes by campaign's end. World building is huge. It seems like I have over a dozen fantasy RPGs with baked in worlds when what I really want is to build my own. This one seems like a real winner checking off most if not all of my RPG want boxes.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Touch grass

Moderator Note:
Having your very first post be insulting and dismissive is maybe not the best approach to becoming part of the community. We at EN World aim for folks to show a little basic respect to each other. Please treat folks better than this.
 

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