You know what's a good time? Dungeon World.
You know what else is a good time? Talking skeletons.
Let's put them together!
Tales of the Talking Skeletons is an anthology of adventures for Dungeon World, loosely themed around the presence of talking skeletons. I've reached out to some of the best RPG writers I know -- plus myself -- for contributions, and the results cover a variety of possible scenarios:
- Bandit, kidnapper, gadabout, and colossal jackass, the Laughing Skull has definitely got it coming. Will you be the ones to bring it to him in The Dungeon of the Laughing Skull? (Chris Longhurst)
- You’ve led a pretty normal life up to this point. You wake up, you go to work, you do your job, you go home to those you care about, you get some rest, and repeat the cycle. Your job just happens to be pretty different from most: you work and live in a dungeon as one of its many “keepers”. Most adventurers would likely call you a monster but, really, you’re just doing a job. Things have gotten weird lately. It used to be quiet and life would just sort of happen. Now though? You’re losing bits of time and your memories are starting to get confused and fractured. You can find out what’s happening by picking your way through the dungeon yourself but it’ll be dangerous. It’s the only way to get answers and restore your peaceful way of life. (Allie Bustion)
- Robbing the Empress' most precious vault in her tallest tower was going to put you on the map. Everything was going to plan until a giant, undead dragon ate the spire in one bite, vault and all. Now you're In the Belly of the Dracolich! Explore the necrotic innards of an ancient undead dragon, fight skullgrubs and bloodgheists, and find a way to escape with at least some of your treasure haul intact. (Jay Iles)
I am Chris Longhurst, and for this project I will be contributing a single adventure, doing all the layout, and organising the whole thing. My most notable previous endeavour is probably Pigsmoke, a Roleplaying Game of Sorcerous Academia, but I've also written Plague of Storms (a Dungeon World campaign framework), and Gods and Monsters for Evil Hat's Fate Worlds Patreon campaign.
Allie Bustion is a freelance tabletop game designer and sometimes streamer. She loves professional wrestling, putting together outfits she can't afford, small animals, and Overwatch. She likes talking about stuff with people and it turning into long drawn out discussions of humanity and our interactions with each other. You can find her on Twitter (twitter.com/madpierrot) rambling about something at 4 am and then on Patreon (patreon.com/madpierrot) later trying to pull it together into a game idea.
Jay Iles is an RPG designer based in Oxford, UK. She’s the lead designer of Legacy: Life Among the Ruins, Harder They Fall, Wizards Aren’t Gentlemen and more. She’s been running Dungeon World for more than 5 years, and her favourite bone is the scapula.
Full-page art pieces for Tales of the Talking Skeletons will be provided by Courtney 'Seage' Howlett. As a preview, here is the Laughing Skull himself with his customary gravitas:
The art for the Vanitas tiers will be done by Risa Hulett. I don't have any previews yet because the Vanitas pictures will be determined by you, the backers.
Whipstache Designs is lined up to do the maps that all good dungeons require.
The initial part of this Kickstarter pie is going to pay Allie and Jay, buy art and maps for their adventures, recoup a few up-front costs, and recruit an editor. (Plus a healthy buffer to cover fees, taxes, and unexpected problems.)
Each stretch goal covers the same costs for one adventure: writing, editing, art, maps, buffer.
Fulfilment will be done through DrivethruRPG print on demand for print copies, and pdfs can be redeemed through DrivethruRPG, itch.io, or both.
All stretch goals are extra adventures to be included in the main book and pdf. If we reach the goal, everyone gets the goods!
A line of queens returns one last time to leave their mark on a world that thought it left them behind. In skull form.
The desolation of their line long ago heralded a dark age of patriarchy, the erosion of which led to a new enlightenment and a burst of innovation. In addition to creating snazzy airships, electric carriages, and gas-free lamps, the new scholars have also rediscovered much ancient history that was thought lost. And a strange mystery surrounding the warrior queens of Isenhall. Vandals had desecrated their tombs and scattered their skulls to the four winds; now it's up to you to find them. A university professor contracts your brave heroes to find the skulls and reunite them. Upon finding the first skull you realise something's off: it's talking. She's become spooky, if regal unlife. Find her mothers and daughters. For science. For profit. And a once in a lifetime wish. Goddess knows what those queens will do when they get their heads together...
- Discover the secrets of an ancient curse.
- Explore and rewrite history.
- Smash a patriarchy that smashed some skeletons.
- Hijack a zeppelin or something?
- Unravel a mystery wrapped in an enigma, concealed within references to an 80s song.
- Date skulls.
Katherine Cross is a sociologist and widely published gaming journo/critic who finally gave in and just started writing her own games. Her RPG credits include Pathfinder, Eclipse Phase, Pigsmoke, and the Worldfall campaign setting of Legacy: Life Among the Ruins 2e. Her Twitter is @Quinnae_Moon.
When the river flow drops and ominous stones of warning are uncovered, it is revealed that something ancient has awoken and will soon blight the land. Descending into the dark and ruins of a lost age, can you conquer the River Caverns of Lost Saqah?
Graeme A. Barber is a geospatial technician and blogger from British Columbia. His work in RPGs has been in the field of consulting for world building, and in critical analysis on his blog (POCGamer.com). A long time gamer, this is his first published adventure. In-between posting on twitter (twitter.com/POCGamer) and slowly going mad while researching material for his blog posts, he enjoys anime, “B” grade films, and scuba diving.
Two wizard prehistorians, locked in a bitter rivalry, turned to lichdom for the upper hand. Decades later, their war for paleontological supremacy threatens to end construction of the Grand Neutonian Railroad. Can you pull off the Mesozoic Caper, or will you end up in their fossil hoards?
Paul "Ettin" Matijevic is a freelance writer from Sydney, Australia. His previous RPG works include Breakfast Cult, Retrocausality, and the Fate conversion of Inverse World. When he's not watching anime, playing WoW, and thinking about dinosaurs, Ettin moderates tabletop gaming forums, posts on Twitter (twitter.com/ettin64), or writes setting seeds on Patreon (patreon.com/ettin).
All print copies will be fulfiled through DrivethruRPG's print on demand scheme. People who back for a pdf will receive a code for DrivethruRPG and a code for itch.io and can redeem one or both of them as they see fit.
Risks and challenges
I have successfully run a single Kickstarter before -- Pigsmoke, the Roleplaying Game of Sorcerous Academia -- and although it was about a year late finishing up it did succeed and every part of it has been delivered as promised.
Quite apart from the lessons I learned doing that (principally, that I know less about printing than I thought I did) I've been kicking around the RPG industry for a good long while and I'm familiar with every bit of the process of creating a product. This sort of thing is well within my wheelhouse.
Since this project is being co-ordinated by me and me alone, it carries the usual risk that if I fall grievously ill or get run over by a bus, there are going to be delays.
The big risk other than that is that something may befall one or more of the other writers or artists. I have contingency plans but if that happens then I'll probably just wait for them to get better -- it's what I did last time, and that seemed to meet a generally positive reception despite delays incurred.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)