10 April 2021

Seeking inspiration in Kickstarters

In conversation on the tweet-machine about the desired properties of RPG supplements I framed it up as: "I want more art, lore and random tables in books; help me run the same six foes at the party in a dozen fascinating ways in your setting - circumstances, terrain, etc. Better same monsters, better environment than weirder foe in same 10 x 10 room."

WotC or whomever can sell me these things by the bucket load - I backed a bunch of kickstarters purely on the basis of getting my hands on this kind of content. I want windows into cultures I did not grow up in. I want genius ideas. Fever dream strangeness - anything and everything that I would not have come up with myself. The concept of Appendix N is exactly what I am talking about - folding in inspirations from all sorts of sources into campaigns. I will do another post on books to read.

A quick summary of 'setting driven' purchase decisions over the past while are below; these were all things I went after for the content and setting, independent of the system.

Ultra Violet Grasslands - I love and reviewed here. The caravan mechanics alone are worth it for spinning up a bunch of ideas for Spelljamming or planar caravan campaigns.

Wagadu Chronicles an Afrofantasy setting that I reviewed here with a really nice tweak to races/classes that I think brings the setting into character creation with a few deft mechanics changes.

Oceans of ink have been spilled about the phenomenon of Mork Borg as "the most dangerous tabletop role playing game" out of Free League publishing. Also Forbidden Lands - Bitter Reach - a Swedish take on classic fantasy as a survival sandbox.

Coyote & Crow - "a science fiction and fantasy tabletop RPG set in a near-future where the Americas were never colonized" by a team of Natives - I am looking forward to seeing what the team comes up with, I like the concept.

Creatures: Complete Monster Compendium for 5E out of a French studio. I love the French art and design culture from the bandes dessins that rarely percolates out and really like seeing something with these influences. I reviewed this earlier. I liked this enough that I backed the Encyclopedia too.

As a long standing fan of Brutal Legend, it was a no brainer to back Metal Gods of Ur Hadad to get the back issues - alas the project has stalled out which is a shame.

Spiral Isles as a hexcrawl through the afterlife.

The Devils Bridge drawing on Slavic myth and legend.

The just completed Inferno - Dante's Guide to Hell for 5e - originating from Italy, offering a take on the planes coming from different root-stock.

Other sources are Itch.io where some amazing work like Thousand Thousand Islands can be found, which I raved about before.

There is also this handy 'itchfunding' site which lists all games crowdfunding on itch.io for evern more variety. Lots of Troika! on that site. For me I chase D&D compatible because I can combo one great setting book with lots of existing bestiaries, other settings etc.

Right now there are a couple of live projects of interest:

On that same note Free League is going to convert Symbaroum to 5e - for all the protests I see about 'all becomes 5e' I am one of those folk that is now moved to pick up this new setting because it will be 5e compatible.

Venture Maidens campaign guide - stemming from the actual play podcast.

The second sourcebook for Spire - SIN is out in the wild - I liked that system quite a bit and the single-giant-city setting is interesting.

Possible Worlds is another I am keeping my eye on - with 6 micro-RPGs delivered in subscription box format. Lots of potential variety there.

Closing out then with some looks to the (retro) future for sci-fi / steampunk settings - these I look at less for a really different take on the lore but tools to remix it in an original way. I know one of the Adventuring Party podcast recently spun up their steampunk kaiju setting - thats the kind of thing I am looking for.

The Affinity project - with three different settings sharing themes is something that looks very interesting from a sci-fi point of view - dungeon crawling a mega-structure, mecha-fights for an abandoned alien vessel and steampunk on a desolate world - lots to like there and especially if they are plug-and-play compatible.

Comets & Cockpits - "A junker space fantasy setting where homesteaders cultivate a lost megaplanet and tech magnates explore a forgotten satellite city." - interested in what this is going to be - it sits in a nice 'girl genius' steampunky nexus that I could easily be persuaded by.

To close out Blue Planet is also live at present with its "journey into humanity’s precarious future on a distant waterworld where political unrest and a hungry alien ecology threaten the nascent colony effort" - this is a game I never played but have heard a lot of good things about.


  1. I love that you did this work. It is nice to see what is brewing around. comets and cockpits looked so nice until i read its a 5e setting XDDDD

  2. My steampunk kaiju game is fueled by copyright infringement, burning through movie plot and crossover ideas like the steam engines burn through coal. It is delightfully unlabored with the need to come up with original concepts, and can thus focus on getting these elements to interact and mutate off of each other, into a coherently incoherent game.