For nearly five years, ConTessa has been changing the face of gaming through the awesome power of positive representation. To pay for all that, we sell ConTessa merchandise in the form of pinback buttons, magnets, lanyards, and t-shirts. Through these sales, we've been able to grow the program, allowing us to run bigger events at more conventions where we can reach even more people.
One of the most commonly requested forms of merchandise we've been asked for are plush versions of our adorable mascots, which we had commissioned years ago as illustrations for both merchandising and promotional purposes. Until now, that possibility was too expensive, but thanks to a combination of our growth, and the fine folks at Budsies, we're finally able to offer up plush mascots - with your pledge!
We've set this Kickstarter up so we only have to sell 50 toys in order to create 100, so your purchase not only helps us create the toys, it also helps us build stock we can sell to fund our trips to conventions all over the US (and hopefully, someday, the world).
Meet Our Dragon - Tessa
For our first plush, we’ve chosen our dragon mascot, Tessa, our most-often-asked-for mascot. Tessa’s appeared on T-Shirts, lanyards, bookmarks, convention programs, websites, buttons, and anything we could print her on. She remains a perennial fan favorite, so naturally we chose her as the focus for the Kickstarter.
Tessa is a teal and green dragon that measures 13” from snout to tail, 4” tall, with a wingspan of 7.5”. Her favorite activities include playing RPGs that don’t require the killing of a dragon, and working with dragon advocacy groups to change the public perception of dragons.
Stretch Goal Toys
Each tier in our Kickstarter states you’re backing a “plush toy”, but you may notice we don’t specify a specific toy! That’s because we have two more plush toys possible if we meet our stretch goals. At the end of the Kickstarter, you’ll get to choose which toy(s) you’d like as your reward! Meet our other two candidates…
Stretch Goal #1 - $5,000 - Bea the Eyeball Monster
Bea the eyeball monster comes in shades of red and pink with 9 thick-lashed eyeballs and eight tentacles. Bea measures 6.5” tall, 4.5” wide, and has a 14” tentaclespan. Bea’s hobbies include binging Netflix shows 9 at a time, coming up with new names for what kind of monster she is, and painting miniatures using telekinesis (not as easy as it sounds).
Stretch Goal #2 - $7,000 - Mimi the Mimic
Can’t get enough? Mimi the Mimic is waiting in the wings, ready to be made into a plush toy. Though Mimi hasn’t yet been created into a prototype toy like the others, we’ll change that if we get to the second stretch goal! Mimi’s hobbies include playing pranks on greedy people, eating all of Tessa’s chocolate gold coins when she isn’t looking, and wishing she, too, could be a fuzzy, plush prototype.
To give you a sample of the kinds of things we do best, we’ve also added in some gaming events you can purchase tickets to exclusively through this Kickstarter.
Please note: Our ticketed event pledge rewards don’t include a plush toy. If you’d like a toy in addition to your ticket, add $28 for each plush or see ‘Add-On Products’ below for additional opportunities.
Can’t make it to our in-person conventions? This is a great chance to play with some of our favorite people without having to leave the comfort of your own home, or even put on pants! Each of these games will be run online sometime between July and October of this year (exact date and time to be arranged with the group and GM after the Kickstarter ends). Participants will need at the bare minimum a working microphone and stable internet connection to play.
Stacy Dellorfano: Swords & Wizardry: Zaya’s Promise
Game Description: In a long-forgotten valley in inhospitable territory lies an unplundered dungeon of unknown origin. In this adventure, written by Stacy and available through Frog God Games, journey into the unknown depths of a madhouse-style dungeon in an effort to discover its secrets and become rich and famous adventurers!
About Stacy: Stacy founded ConTessa nearly five years, and hasn’t slowed down since. Whenever she can find time outside of organizing ConTessa, she freelances as a game designer / project manager. Her most recent project was the completion of Swords & Wizardry’s third reprint featuring an all-woman design staff.
Darcy Ross: Numenera: The Nightmare Switch
Game Description: No delivery job is as simple as one would hope in the Ninth World, the weird, far-future Earth in which the technological bones of ancient civilizations lie about in various states of decay, their (dys)functions so advanced as to seem like magic. You come upon the town of Redstone in remote Seshar, only to find it plagued by hideous and debilitating nightmares; find a solution soon, for their sake and for yours.
About Darcy: Darcy Ross creates weird molluscan monsters by day, and games by night. She writes for Gnome Stew, co-hosts the podcast Cypher Speak, and has been thrilled to be a ConTessa staff member for 2 years.
Senda Linaugh: Love & Justice (a hack of Lasers & Feelings)
Game Description: Your adorable animal companion has gone missing, stolen by your nemesis! Can you and your team of adorable magical girl companions save the day -- or is this episode just another cliff hanger? Sailor says...play Love & Justice and find out!
About Senda: Senda Linaugh is one half of She's a Super Geek, an actual play RPG podcast highlighting women as GMs, and Panda's Talking Games, where she talks about running one shots vs. campaigns. She also writes for Gnome Stew and has a convention addiction.
Emily Morgan: All Outta Bubblegum: Attack of the Kraken
Game Description: What happens when you're on a beach one still, calm morning and a mysterious pirate washes up on shore with a treasure map? A kraken attacks of course!
About Emily: Emily Morgan is a co-host of She's A Super Geek, the actual play podcast highlighting women as GMs. She's been GMing for over a decade and loves story-forward gaming. You can also hear her on the Wednesday Evening Podcast All-Stars: Streets of Avalon.
Pranks Paul: Star Wars Edge of the Empire: The Tail of Cat Bane
Game Description: Luke Skywalker is press-ganged into attending Han Solo’s bachelor party, and he wants you to watch his cat for the weekend.
About Pranks: Pranks is a pun monster who loves Star Wars more than he loves most people. He’s the host of Never Tell Me the Pods along with some other dorks from the OneShot Network. He’ll also be joining the OneShot Network with a fanfiction show, Adventure, pretty soon!
Dungeon Crawl Party @ U-Con 2017
Join ConTessa for our second year at U-Con, located in Ypsilanti, Michigan at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, November 17-19. U-Con began as a University of Michigan game club offshoot in 1988, and offers a wide variety of games and gaming-related events, run by a fantastic set of volunteers.
Party with the ConTessa crew for a 6-hour dungeon crawl including pizza, refreshments, and snacks! Stacy will run Zaya’s Promise for a group of up to a dozen gamers in this party-like atmosphere. Ticket includes food, refreshments, and your spot in the game!
Want more than one stuffed animal? Looking for more ConTessa goodies? Want to get the most out of your shipping? Pick up some pinback buttons, lanyards, T-shirts, or extra plush!
To add an add-on product: Add the total of the add-on products you'd like to your pledge, and write it down somewhere so you don't forget! At the end of the campaign, we'll ask you what add-on products you'd like from your additional pledge dollars.
$5 - 5 Pinback Buttons
Over the years, we've made a ton of pinback buttons! We'll send you a handful of 5 buttons from our stock spanning all four years of our existence!
$10 - Lanyard
Grab one of our popular and colorful rainbow lanyards! Our lanyards are 1" wide, and soft and silky. Use it for your keys or ID badge when you're not at a con, and display your colors proudly when you are at a con!
$28 - Additional Plush Toy
Want more than one plush toy? Add $28 for each additional toy to your order, and we'll ask you to choose which of the unlocked monsters you'd like!
$25 - Commemorative ConTessa GC 50 T-Shirt
Every year at Gen Con, we design a unique T-Shirt as a thank-you gift to all our GMs and panelists. This year, you can get one too as an add-on to this Kickstarter! Not only will you get an awesome T-Shirt, you'll also help lower our per-shirt costs by adding to the overall quantity of our order, and each shirt through our Kickstarter pays for istelf and a GM's free shirt.
Our T-Shirts are Gildan 50/50 tees. Yours can be shipped to you after the con with the rest of your reward, or you can pick it up at Gen Con 50 at our HQ desk in Lucas Oil Stadium!
Shipping & Handling
To keep shipping costs down (and out of our funding goals), we’ll be charging for shipping AFTER the Kickstarter run through Backerkit. This will allow us to charge you as close to the actual cost of shipping as we can. Because all our items are soft, we’ll be sending them in poly bags, shipped through the USPS.
So you can do a little self-calculation, here’s the breakdown of the weights of everything we’re offering (rounded up to account for variations):
Tessa the Dragon: 3 Oz. Bea the Eyeball Monster: 5 Oz.
Mimi the Mimic: Unknown (Probably no more than 6 oz.)
T-Shirt: About 6 Oz.
Lanyard: 1 Oz.
Button Set (5 buttons): 1 Oz.
For shipments to the United States:
1 lb. (About 3 Plush) = $9
2 lbs. (About 6 Plush) = $13
3 lbs. (About 9 Plush) = $17
For international shipments to Canada:
Up to 2 lbs. (about 6 Plush) = $16
Up to 3 lbs. (about 9 Plush) = $25
For international shipments anywhere else:
Up to 2 lbs. (about 6 Plush) = $23
Up to 3 lbs. (about 9 Plush) = $34
Please do not add the cost of shipping to your pledge, as it can give us a false idea of where our funding is for creation of the plush animals. This will be collected after the Kickstarter is over, through BackerKit (we’ll email you).
Risks and challenges
This is our very first Kickstarter, and we've put time into making sure we've got all the 'gotchas' covered. We've already created prototypes through Budsies, who has also given us all the appropriate quotes for both creating and shipping us our items.
We'll be at Gen Con in August, so we've set the ship date for October. Our staff is small and mostly volunteer, so if something happens between now and then that requires 100% of our attention, there's the potential for shipping to slip until October or November at latest. This is an edge case, however. We don't anticipate any issues that would prevent us from shipping by September.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)