Happy Mayan Apocalypse Day! Or if you rather, Happy Winter Solstice Day! If neither of those work, we can go with a simple Happy Holidays and leave it at that.
If the world hasn’t ended yet, you might be interested in a few Kickstarters bouncing around these days.
1. Caveat Emptor, Kickstarter-style and A Touch of Intolerance
Ok, so we all know Erik Tenkar @ Tenkar’s Tavern has been doing a great job of shaking the Kickstarter/gaming community awake a bit to remind us all that pledging money and having it go to the project creator isn’t the end of the process, only the beginning… And I think it’s needed. In my own case, I know it’s far too easy for me to pledge without batting an eye and then wonder months later why I haven’t seen anything yet. But I’ll write about my own issues another time.
So recently Runeslinger @ Casting Shadows entered the fray with his own commentary on why some designers have lost his interest. How? By not following through on their promises. As he says – “Don’t promise what you cannot or will not deliver” and “Don’t give excuses, give results.”
(Apparently tardiness isn’t just limited to RPG-related projects either.)
Have you been burned by projects? What have you done about it?
But I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on another issue I found recently and I hope you’ll excuse a bit of seriousness. We live in a country where I’m thankful every day for the right to say what’s on my mind. I honestly don’t expect many people to take notice, but even so I stand by my comments. And if I’m wrong, I’ll be the first to admit, apologize, and move on whenever it’s possible.
Kickstarter has become another forum for free speech, not by design, but by virtue of where it lives. Every project is a form of free speech coupled with the intent to distribute. And I’m good with that. If I don’t agree with a project, I won’t back it.
Joe Bloch @ Greyhawk Grognard celebrates a pagan belief and I think that’s awesome. It’s another great thing about our country – you’re entitled to free speech and free religion. All faiths (so long as they don’t endanger others) are protected. Even my belief that I don’t have to choose a faith is protected.
With me so far?
When you combine free speech with free religion, sometimes you end up with an explosive combination. Just look at the popular media. It happens every day. So I’m not sure why I was so surprised by Joe’s rant about a particularly backwards game project on Kickstarter that deals with the witch hunts around Salem when people were killed in horrible ways for being suspected of witchcraft. I’m guessing it’s more of taking a position on the history than the intolerance of pagan beliefs, but I really don’t know and won’t likely find out.
This is the first time I’ve seen anyone go off about a Kickstarter before in a public forum like this. Joe has every right, as do the game creators, to express their points of view. But I was caught off guard by the vitriolic nature of the criticism. I guess in some ways I’m happy because it opened my eyes that it’s not just people of a limited set of religious or political beliefs who sometimes go to extremes.
I’m glad we can all share our views equally. I just wish we were all a bit more tolerant of others’ beliefs.
2. Round ‘em up!
If you’re looking for other Kickstarter project round-ups, I’d encourage you to check out sites like Game Banshee and Screwed Up Dice. Both offer their own spins on the projects they think you should check out. Exactly the same as I do, but completely different.
And the RPG Kickstarters tumblr from EN World is always a great place to get caught up as well!
3. Review ‘em!
Or if you’re looking for reviews of some current or funded projects at Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, David Miller @ Purple Pawn has you covered. Recently he covered Requiem Vampire Knight (IndieGoGo) and Candle Quest (Kickstarter). The cards for RVN look pretty cool and it seems to have a multi-layered strategy approach that’s refreshing despite the dark artwork. And CQ looks like it should be a fun family board game, though it only seems to have about two weeks to reach its funding goal. Help out!
4. Fancy Dice, Cards and Miniatures
What is our fascination with dice? Oh yeah… we’re gamers!
The d6′s being created by the Precision Machined Dice project at Kickstarter look beautiful. I can’t imagine a set of brass dice as anything but paper weights, but aluminum dice should be light enough to actually be used at the table… But I found it amusing that this project was hot enough it gained the attention of TechCrunch this week!
Next up we have the latest Kickstarter from Joe Wetzel @ Inkwell Ideas – Creature & Encounter Card Decks. These are gorgeous and a great way to show monsters at the table while also offering inspiration as to encounters. I still have the terrific art done for one of the earlier projects and the cards here seem to continue that high level of quality while adding some pragmatic bits to the equation. I’m going for a deck of system-neutral cards myself.
And lastly if we really needed another reason to love Wolfgang Baur’s Midgard – Easternfront Studios has been working with Wolfgang on a series of minis for use in Midgard campaigns. They’re amazing and different even than the diverse range we saw from the Reaper minis project a while back. But that project didn’t have Baba Yaga’s Hut!!
5. Friends and Enemies
I’ll be up front here and say I’m not a fan of the Hero System. Too much math for yours truly I think. But this new project for Champions 6th Edition sounds VERY creative from BlackWyrm Publishing – Imaginary Friends. Imagine if all your imaginary friends came to life? It’s like fighting the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man, only with comic book heroes!
Or if you’d rather stay in the fantasy genre, check out A Gallery of Rogues from Post World Games, Eric Lofgren and Jim Pinto. Just what you need for a thieves’ guild – a collection of thieves and criminals ready to drop into any city. And it’s not just one-off characters – these folks have relationships, histories, and ambitions to explore. Plenty for any enterprising GM to run with and drive a group of players crazy.
6. Navigating the Path to MMORPG
Take the huge, creative world of Pathfinder Role Playing, shove it into a computer, add the ability to play with friends over the Internet and what do you have? Pathfinder Online – an ambitious new project from Paizo and Goblinworks. With more than three weeks to go, they’ve raised nearly half of the $1 million they are hoping to achieve, so it’s obvious it struck a nerve with the 3,000+ backers so far in their SECOND round of Kickstarter funding (the first was just for a demo, this time it’s for a faster delivery time).
What do you think about the project? Is it going to succeed better than Neverwinter Nights, DDO, and the other D&D-related online projects that have and haven’t (I think both were somewhat successful) done as well as WotC would have liked? What are the keys to Paizo’s success in this new direction?
Well, Ryan Dancey sat down with Shawn Schuster @ Massively to talk about how it’s all going to come together. It’s extremely ambitious like all sandbox MMOs are and they definitely have some challenges. Seems that they have a plan however and are committed to it, so more power to them!
What do you think about Fate? I’ve only had limited chances to play with the system in a Spirit of the Century campaign that only lasted a couple of sessions, but was impressed by the flexibility and how integrated the characters became with the world. But though there have been many games based on Fate, there wasn’t a standalone basic system… until now. They’ve been working on it for a while, but it’s really kicked into high gear with the Fate Core Kickstarter from Fred Hicks & Evil Hat. This thing has gone insane, raising more than $160,000 (50+ times their initial goal of $3k) with more than a month left to go.
The number of expansion goals for the project is crazy – so whether you chime in for $10 and get electronic copies of everything or go for a physical copy, you’re guaranteed to get your money’s worth and plenty of great gaming stuff to play with.
8. With Great Power Comes…
That’s the great quote from Spider-man comics – “With great power comes great responsibility.” And what’s a superhero without a superpower?
Well Steve Kenson has the answer for your ICONS Superpowered Roleplaying… Great Power! is a whole book full of powers you can work with, tweak, skin, and arrange however you’d like to get your heroes in tip-top shape.
9. I want my mummy!
Long ago and far away I played Vampire: The Masquerade for a few years with a fun group. My Malkavian made up plenty of rules for the “game of life” and sometimes they got a bit confused, but it was always a good time to play a little crazy.
Well, one of the White Wolf games I never had a chance to play or even look at was Mummy: The Resurrection. I’ve been a fan of mummies ever since reading Ramses the Damned from Anne Rice, so this would have been a natural fit. Unfortunately I just never had time.
Now there’s a new project to reboot it as Mummy: The Curse! And I think I may be able to make a little time to check it out when it becomes available next year.
10. A Few Publisher Goodies
Inevitably there are more Kickstarters out there, but I always like to mix things up a bit in these links posts. So here are a few other tidbits from the RPG publishing community…
Are you excited about the upcoming Star Wars: Edge of the Empire game from Fantasy Flight Games? Well they’ve released an entire adventure: “The Long Arm of the Hutt.” And it’s free for the game. Not only does it look like fun, but it features some great art and should work well as an introductory adventure!
Next, sometimes it’s good to have a compass to point your way during an adventure. So why shouldn’t a GM get one (sort of like a “Magic 8 Ball”) to help point the way a bit? Swordgleam @ Chaotic Shiny released a cool tool – The Random Compass – to help do just that. Who knows where you’ll end up? And while you’re at Chaotic Shiny, check out all the other goodies that happen to be within clicking distance!
If you’re looking for a last minute holiday gift for your GM, another player, or yourself – why not pick up the GM Bundle from Evil Machinations? It includes The Adventure Creation Handbook and The GM’s Field Guide to Players in one bundle for $10. But it’s only available until January 2, so you better get cracking!
Meanwhile at Paizo, the RPG Superstar! contest for 2013 is in full swing, entering it’s second phase. Time to go vote for your favorite wondrous item! And start thinking of your new archetype for round 2, which starts January 22nd!
Villages come and villages go, but sometimes they just won’t die. Apparently Denton’s End is a place where the dead don’t stay dead for very long. The latest Village Backdrop from Raging Swan Press, this village could cause some serious chaos for a band of traveling adventurers… Can they save the village or will they simply try to escape with their own lives intact? Pick up a copy at DTRPG today.
Or perhaps you’d rather enter the dark fantasy world of the Shadows of Esteren RPG? It’s had some very successful Kickstarter campaigns and is now available at DTRPG for download. Book 0 and Book 1 are even on sale in a bundle through the end of 2012! These are truly amazing books that I’m still working my way through and loving every minute of…
As always, if you feel I missed something (and it would be impossible NOT to), drop me a quick note via the contact page or drop me an e-mail at news(at)gameknightreviews(dot)com and I’ll add it to the list for next week!