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The Biggest TTRPG Kickstarter Creators: Free League Is King!

They say you can't make a million in tabletop RPGs. With 26 successful campaigns totaling nearly $8,000,000, Swedish company Free League is one of the big heavyweights of tabletop roleplaying Kickstarters. Their latest offering, Ruins of Symbaroum, has already joined that streak of killer Kickstarter campaigns with over three weeks still to go.

Free League currently tops the chart (boosted by its recent $2M The One Ring campaign), but Monte Cook Games is right behind them.

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Everybody has heard of the giant $1M+ Kickstarter successes (Matt Colville, John Wick's 7th Sea, The One Ring, Coyote & Crow, Twisted Taverns, and Humblewood). I've already compiled that list. This list, on the other hand, is a look at the totals raised by various Kickstarter creators over all their projects which add up to $1M or more. These totals were correct at the time of posting. If you're reading this in the future, they're probably outdated!


It's a work in progress, so if I've missed any obvious contenders, let me know. I only included creators who were primarily doing tabletop RPGs on the platform, but I didn't audit every project, so the totals will include any other things they've done. I also stuck to Kickstarter for the sake of my own sanity; several other crowdfunding platforms are available!

Company/Creator​
Projects​
Known For​
Biggest Campaign
Total Funded​
1Free League
25​
Tales from the Loop, The One RingTHE ONE RING Roleplaying Game, Second Edition$7,839,651*
2Richard Thomas (Onyx Path)
45​
World/Chronicles of DarknessDeluxe Exalted 3rd Edition$7,264,672
3Monte Cook Games
19​
Numenera, Cypher SystemNumenera 2: Discovery and Destiny$6,671,520
4Hit Point Press
7​
HumblewoodThe Deck of Many Animated Spells, Tarot, and More for 5E$3,865,801
5Shane Hensley (PEG)
25​
Savage WorldsDeadlands: the Weird West$3,569,108
6Matt Colville
2​
Strongholds & StreamingStrongholds & Streaming$3,494,150
7Kobold Press
18​
Midgard, 5E hardcoversVault of Magic for 5th Edition$2,867,580
8Jim Searcy (Studio Agate)
11​
EsterenEncyclopedia: Lore Books & Toolbox for your 5E Campaign$2,254,420
9Eldermancy
2​
The Seeker's Guide to Twisted TavernsThe Seeker's Guide to Twisted Taverns$1,990,428
10Evil Hat Productions
16​
FateThe Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game$1,969,348
11Frog God Games
28​
Swords & Wizardy, Tome of HorrorsRappan Athuk$1,906,713
12Ghostfire Gaming
3​
Grim Hollow (5E setting)Grim Hollow: The Monster Grimoire$2,373,990*
13Loot Tavern
3​
Heliana's Guide to Monster HuntingHeliana's Guide to Monster Hunting$1,874.061
14Goodman Games
30​
Dungeon Crawl ClassicsDCC RPG 4th Printing$1,756,612
15John Wick
8​
7th Sea7th Sea: 2nd Edition$1,640,153
16Ulisses Spiel
14​
Fading Suns, Dark EyeTorg Eternity$1,621,113
17Modiphius Entertainment
7​
Conan, Star Trek, many other licensed 2d20 gamesRobert E. Howard's Conan Roleplaying Game$1,618,550*
18RiotMinds
12​
TrudvangTrudvang Chronicles$1,461,447*
19Russ Charles
3​
Animal Adventures (5E setting)Animal Adventures: Tales of Dungeons and Doggies$1,413,286
20Warchief Gaming
1​
Auroborous (5E setting)Auroborous: Coils of the Serpent$1,260,863
21Morrus (EN Publishing)
25​
5E products, Judge Dredd, WOIN, ACE!Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Roleplaying Game$1,142,648*
22Connor Alexander
1​
Coyote & CrowCoyote & Crow the Role Playing Game$1,073,453

*converted to USD
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

At this point yes. Wick read his market wrong.

The problem here is that there are people who actually like 2nd edition who are still owed stuff from the kickstarter...



If I were Chaosium, I would not wait for Wick.

Go straight to a "3rd edition" is the way to go.

I would try to come to a deal with the Kickstarter people - up to and including refunds...

However, I am not privy to Chaosium financials. Such a move may be utterly impossible.

So 7th sea fans may be in for a long wait...
I pretty much agree.

I've got all these PDFs for 2E that I cannot read, which don't work well with the computer reading it to me, and which are based upon a game engine I'm not going to play, because there was no provision to only get the 1E PDFs. I got my money's worth, in terms of over 20 hours reading of 1E stuff....
 

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Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Free Leagues latest Kickstarter "Ruins of Symbaroum for 5e" is trending towards a million Dollars according to Kicktraq.. That will create a healthy lead on the leaderboard.


View attachment 135717
Kicktraq’s predictions are nonsense, and early in a campaign frequently predict totals 3-4 times the actual end result.
 

jerryrice4949

Adventurer
A disproportionate amount of pledges are in the first 48 hours and last 48 hours. So early in a campaign Kicktraq is often very inaccurate. My educated guess is between 550,000 and 600,000 total.
 


Jaeger

That someone better.
I've got all these PDFs for 2E that I cannot read, which don't work well with the computer reading it to me, and which are based upon a game engine I'm not going to play, because there was no provision to only get the 1E PDFs. I got my money's worth, in terms of over 20 hours reading of 1E stuff....

This was one of the things that in 20/20 hindsight caused Wick to read his market wrong.

The kickstarter for 2e 7th Sea was a screaming deal for 1e fans.

Even after his pledges got the rules and many were turned off by the new system; so many stayed in just for the 1e pdf's that he probably thought his new rules set was more accepted than it actually was.

He most likely gave criticism over his 2e rules short shift because he looked at his numbers and thought to himself: "So many have stayed in for 2e - these 1e rules grognards are just a vocal minority!"

Sorry Mr. Wick, but the people who actually liked the new 2e rules were the real minority... Everyone else was there for the 1e pdf's and any new lore they could mine from the setting updates.

Which due to the big numbers that the kickstarter did, that was a Very easy mistake for Wick to make.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Oh dear, so they might make something between a lot of money and a whole lot of money. Lets fight about the details we can't control! Or, you know, admit that Sybaroum is a great setting that deserves a great KS for a 5E version. YMMV if you suck.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Oh dear, so they might make something between a lot of money and a whole lot of money. Lets fight about the details we can't control! Or, you know, admit that Sybaroum is a great setting that deserves a great KS for a 5E version. YMMV if you suck.
What on earth was that for?
 

CapnZapp

Legend
But I believe they are also planing a 5E version of the one ring or whatever it is called, later in the year and that may well hit a million.
You're talking about a second edition of Adventures in Middle-Earth.

While it does make sense to issue a second edition to match the second edition of The One Ring, the existing edition of AiME is already for 5E.

Edit: Or are you... Turns out, all we have for official news is this: "Takaichi also confirmed that a version of the game compatible with Dungeons & Dragons 5E would follow the release of The One Ring." This can be read as them planning an entirely new 5E-compatible game, just as you say. That is, we might get a "TOR 5E" rather than a 2nd edition of the existing (but Cubicle 7 produced) AiME.
 
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This was one of the things that in 20/20 hindsight caused Wick to read his market wrong.

The kickstarter for 2e 7th Sea was a screaming deal for 1e fans.

Even after his pledges got the rules and many were turned off by the new system; so many stayed in just for the 1e pdf's that he probably thought his new rules set was more accepted than it actually was.

He most likely gave criticism over his 2e rules short shift because he looked at his numbers and thought to himself: "So many have stayed in for 2e - these 1e rules grognards are just a vocal minority!"

Sorry Mr. Wick, but the people who actually liked the new 2e rules were the real minority... Everyone else was there for the 1e pdf's and any new lore they could mine from the setting updates.

Which due to the big numbers that the kickstarter did, that was a Very easy mistake for Wick to make.
The PDFs of 1E weren't delivered until after the KS. If you wanted the PDFs, you HAD to stay in for getting 2E as well. No option for just 1E. But plenty commented about 1e being why they were there. Still, a lot of us had hopes that 2E would be good.

The concept is good: Att + Skill d10's, make totals of 10+ on the dice for "raises" (equivalent to successes in Shadowrun, YZE, BW, or WoD). But raises can be one action each, rather than improved
outcome on a single action. (this is similar to how the wagers in Houses of the Blooded and Blood and Honor work). When everyone's out of raises, reframe the situation and make another pass... or exit the situation as fast as you can.

It sounds great on paper... but d10's for 10's are simply too hard with the low number of dice.

To be honest, if he'd used the Houses of the Blooded engine for 7th sea 2E, it would have been a much stronger game.

Chaosium seems to be sticking with it, tho'...
 

eyeheartawk

Works 60% of the time, every time
Sorry Mr. Wick, but the people who actually liked the new 2e rules were the real minority... Everyone else was there for the 1e pdf's and any new lore they could mine from the setting updates.
Even that was disappointing. Look at what they did to my boy Eisen. Instead of being a ruined country after a 30 years war equivalent with a cool set of armor instead of a national magic it got turned into Ravenloft with crap, usless magic. I still mourn.

Also, the 2E combat engine is the most boring thing in the world. I spend a raise, okay I do one wound. Repeat. What joyous fun!
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Kicktraq’s predictions are nonsense, and early in a campaign frequently predict totals 3-4 times the actual end result.
You would think they'd update their algorithm to improve accuracy.

To not assume the first or last couple of days is a good indicator of the average day, for instance.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Yes, lets kvetch about 7th Sea 2E. What that has do with the OP I'm not sure. That said, I didn't buy in. I love 1E, I own a lot of stuff for it, and I haven't run it in years. I think I'm ok. As much as I LOVE most of Wick's stuff. Houses of the Blooded is bloody genius.
 

Yes, lets kvetch about 7th Sea 2E. What that has do with the OP I'm not sure. That said, I didn't buy in. I love 1E, I own a lot of stuff for it, and I haven't run it in years. I think I'm ok. As much as I LOVE most of Wick's stuff. Houses of the Blooded is bloody genius.
It was (AFAIK) John's biggest KS, and John is on the list in the OP.

Understanding why people bought it, and why they bought, is of potential use to other creators, and to those looking at the figures trying to figure out why they worked.
 

evilhat

Explorer
May also want to look at backer counts. For example, while the Dresden Files card game is our most successful campaign by dollars, its buy-in for the core product was higher than Fate Core's or Thirsty Sword Lesbians, so that might be expected. TSL had 8152 backers, which DFCO exceeded by only a few hundred at 8616; but Fate Core over 10k backers. Dollars don't paint the whole picture, just like page count doesn't paint the whole picture of whether an RPG book is good or complete or whatever your qualitative metric of preference is.
 


Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Keeping an eye on Free League and Richard Thomas as both of those have current Kickstarters which means the list will need updating. And Warchief's Auroboros is almost certain to join the list in a couple of weeks (or days....)!
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
May also want to look at backer counts. For example, while the Dresden Files card game is our most successful campaign by dollars, its buy-in for the core product was higher than Fate Core's or Thirsty Sword Lesbians, so that might be expected. TSL had 8152 backers, which DFCO exceeded by only a few hundred at 8616; but Fate Core over 10k backers. Dollars don't paint the whole picture, just like page count doesn't paint the whole picture of whether an RPG book is good or complete or whatever your qualitative metric of preference is.
Yeah, I might do that at some point -- it takes bloody ages though! I'll need a rest before doing this again. :)
 

Ulfgeir

Hero
Yeah, I might do that at some point -- it takes bloody ages though! I'll need a rest before doing this again. :)
Sounds like you need some automated tools to gather all the data and dump in a conveniant file. ;)
Of course given how f****d up some of the laws are in some places, you would risk getting labeled a hacker, and sentenced accordingly.
 


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