About this project
PLEASE NOTE: This project's name has been changed to THE PERILOUS WILDS, in order to avoid confusion with preexisting intellectual property bearing the name Perilous Journeys. The project header will be changed to reflect this as soon as possible. The title has been changed in the project description below, but not in the reward descriptions at right. I apologize for any confusion this might create.
This campaign will fund artwork and printing for a rules supplement for the tabletop RPG Dungeon World.
After the success of my previous Kickstarter, I polled my backers to see what they wanted me to do next, and the response was overwhelmingly in favor of a set of rules, tools, and tips for exploration and adventure in the wilderness. The Perilous Wilds is the result of me taking that mandate to heart and seeing how far I can run with it.
At present, The Perilous Wilds will be a 72-page, 5.5" x 8.5" book divided into the following sections:
- Learn the Language: a glossary of terms
- Draw the Map: guidelines for collaborative cartography
- Lead the Way: alternative rules for followers, by Jeremy Strandberg
- See the World: new moves and guidelines for undertaking perilous journeys
- Weather the Storm: suggestions and moves for handling weather
- Ask the Fates: a host of tables for generating wilderness adventure
- Plumb the Depths: rules for creating dungeons on the fly
- Live to Tell the Tale: five new compendium classes
- Trust Your Gut: advice for improvising overland adventure
- Name Every Person: sample name lists for people, places, and mounts
The Perilous Wilds is my attempt to combine Dungeon World's approach to collaborative world-building with the old-school RPG reliance on random tables to generate content on the fly, woven together by modifications to the original Dungeon World travel moves. The main differences between the use of tables in The Perilous Wilds and their use in older RPGs is an emphasis on exploration and discovery over combat encounters, and the baked-in methodology of using randomized results as prompts rather than facts, to be interpreted during play.
The collaborative map-making guidelines and all of the tables are system-neutral (usable with any RPG rules). Although the tables are structured to tie directly into the rewritten travel moves, they can be used in any game in which a fantastical landscape is explored.
The new follower rules are written by Jeremy Strandberg, and are intended to give NPC hirelings more substance without a significant increase in bookkeeping. I like Jeremy's modifications so much now that I can't go back to the original Dungeon World hireling rules. However, if you don't like the added mechanical weight, these rules can be ignored; they are independent of the other systems presented in The Perilous Wilds.
So why do I need your help? To pay for art and printing.
The main thing lacking right now in terms of content is a host of glorious black and white illustrations, to be produced by Keny Widjaja, the same artist who created all of the drawings for Servants of the Cinder Queen. Keny is a a good friend whom I trust to deliver the goods on time, and has given me a very reasonable quote for his services. The header image for this project is a small portion of the wraparound cover that he's already completed—although it's killing me to do so, I'm saving the full cover image for the final release of the book!
I could set the funding goal significantly lower, with the intent of a strictly digital, pdf-only product. But I love printed books, especially for use at the game table, so it's really important to me that The Perilous Wilds be a well-printed, beautifully-illustrated, and functional concrete object. Servants of the Cinder Queen was essentially a high-quality "zine"—something you could print yourself at a copy shop with high quality control—but The Perilous Wilds will be a 72-page squarebound book, printed on an offset press in Burlington, Vermont. It'll be more expensive than printing in China, but I want to keep the production local, and instead of waiting a month or more for the slow boat to arrive, I can have the books in my house three hours after the printer calls to say they're done.
Following are the stretch goals for this project, further add-ons which will be unlocked if the listed funding level is met. All of these become available in digital form to all backers who pledge $15 or more; a hard copy of Freebooters on the Frontier will be shipped to everyone who pledges $30 or more.
UNLOCKED! $5000: The Perilous Wilds Survival Kit. A pdf collection of blank record sheets for all of the things you'll come across in your adventures: steadings, regions, dungeons, followers, and monsters, all designed to be filled in at the table during play. Also includes blank map templates for drawing maps from scratch, in both Voronoi and classic hex-map styles.
UNLOCKED! $5500: Mad Vandel's Map Pack. A collection of 6 maps by cartographer extraordinaire Josephe Vandel: 3 "terra incognita" maps that include detailed coastlines, beyond which lies uncharted territory; and 3 beautiful regional maps with terrain drawn in place, but unlabeled and awaiting the scrawled handwriting of your party. Perfect starting points for any fantasy campaign, providing enough detail to spark the imagination while allowing you to make the world your own.
UNLOCKED! $6500: Perilous Almanacs. An illustrated collection of 8 regions, written according to the "almanac" format detailed in The Perilous Wilds. These regions can be used as examples of how different writers make use of the flexible almanac format, and/or plugged into any campaign as you see fit. Seek shelter from the chaotic winds that scour the limestone flats of Rachel Kahn’s “Ancient Alvar,” or brave ghost and goat-man alike as you scale the the snowy heights of Michael Prescott’s “Three Faces.” Other contributors include Donna Almendrala, Jon Lewis, Jeremy Strandberg, Josephe Vandel, Jonathan Walton, and Sophie Yanow.
UNLOCKED! $7000: A Book of Beasts. An illustrated, 24-page, digest-size bestiary of 40+ creatures written by me, using the creature generation tables included in The Perilous Wilds. These monsters are organized by terrain type instead of alphabetical order, so when you need one you can just flip to the section that corresponds to the party’s current location.
UNLOCKED! $7500: Freebooters on the Frontier. This is my “fantasy heartbreaker”—a game that strives to marry my memories of playing original D&D in the late 1970s with my love for Dungeon World, with added inspiration from the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. If you're familiar with Funnel World, one of my previous projects, you might call this Advanced Funnel World. It’s a 32-page, digest-size book, content-complete and currently in playtesting with my weekly game group. The PCs—comprised of the classic four classes of Fighter, Thief, Cleric, and Magic-User—plunder the wilderness for treasure, with the goal of stashing enough away to one day retire. Character generation is mostly randomized (down to name and appearance), and the fatality rate is high; survival is the name of the game. Arcane and divine magic are volatile, and their effects are subject to structured negotiation. For instance, arcane spells are generated using a Vancian spell name table that holds the potential for more than a million different spells, and it’s up to the player and GM to decide what each spell does in play according to its name. The three spells the Magic-User had in a recent playtest session were "Barbaheer's Ingenious Wings," "Enveloping Hammer," and "Munnohulik's Entangling Aether."
NEW STRETCH GOALS - ADDED 5/1/2015
UNLOCKED! $11,000: Mad Vandel’s Map Pack Expanded. 3 more unlabeled regional maps added to the Map Pack.
UNLOCKED! $12,000: A Folio of Followers. 24 illustrated NPC Followers in card deck form, by Jeremy Strandberg and others. This will be a pdf file, made available later on DriveThruRPG as a print-on-demand card deck, just like the Servants of the Cinder Queen Character & Item deck that was a stretch goal for that campaign. Each card will include a portrait of the Follower on one side, and stats on the reverse.
UNLOCKED! $13,000: Freebooters Illustrated. Freebooters on the Frontier in its basic form is not an illustrated book. But I would dearly love it to be! I have found a great artist for the job, and I want to pay him properly.
UNLOCKED! $14,000: Borderlands of the Unknown. An adventure for Freebooters on the Frontier, by Jonathan Walton! A pared-down take on the classic wilderness exploration adventure modules of the late 70s and early 80s, written to suit the harsh world of Freebooters.
UNLOCKED! $15,000 (FINAL STRETCH GOAL): Perilous Deeps. 6 plug-and-play dungeons by various authors from the RPG community, using the dungeon format established in The Perilous Wilds, expanded and altered as each author sees fit. As Perilous Almanacs demonstrates how to write regions, Perilous Deeps will show how to write pared-down dungeons that allow GMs to improvise within an established structure.
FINAL FINAL STRETCH GOAL - ADDED 5/22/2015
UNLOCKED! $16,000: A Book of Beasts, print edition. Everyone who pledges at the $25 level or higher will receive a copy of a print version of A Book of Beasts, at no extra charge!
Risks and challenges
Given my experience with two previous Kickstarter campaigns, both of which were delivered on time and within budget, I believe my estimate of the time and resources required to complete this project is realistic. The only unknown is what will happen after the files reach the printer, who comes highly recommended, but with whom I personally have not worked before. I believe my projected schedule includes sufficient wiggle room to provide for a September 2015 delivery of all physical goods.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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