Warning: LotFP stuff is probably not kid-friendly. Because sexviolenceheavymetal. If you think gaming text and illustrations should be something you can share with the whole family, LotFP isn't for you.
Now that that's out of the way:
Saturday, June 15, 2013, is Free RPG Day. Hundreds of game retailers worldwide are GIVING AWAY free gaming stuff. LotFP wants to be a big part of that by putting thousands and thousands of copies of a brand new adventure into gamers' hands FOR FREE.
The release has to be top-notch. First-class artwork, the best adventure possible, and an all around magnificent presentation. This will be the first real exposure to LotFP for thousands of gamers - not reading reviews or thumbing briefly through a book in the store or downloading a PDF and taking two seconds to flick through between looking at LOLcats and Youtube videos, but something they can take home and absorb at their leisure. It must make the best impression possible and make the reader want more more more. No expense can be spared.
Financing such a release - one with no direct sales revenue - is difficult for a small publisher.
That's where this crowdfunding campaign comes in. You're going to help. We're going to make sure every damn gamer out there gets a copy of LotFP's Free RPG Day adventure. The goals listed here cover the printing and art and other production expenses.
$2500 This will cover the cost of all the art and other content as well as covering the costs of the perks that get us to this point. Because we can't wait for this campaign to end before commissioning all the art and such, the project begins in the hole. If we just hit the $2500 goal, Better Than Any Man will be a PDF-only release, made available on Free RPG Day.
$15000 The main goal, where LotFP gets to do what LotFP does best: GO INSANE. This allows LotFP to get 9000 copies (Free RPG Day's Platinum Level!) of Better Than Any Man to game stores to be given away for free. And the adventure will be 64 pages long! THIS WILL BE NUTS!
Of course there's a lot of middle ground there - less copies, less pages, but we'd really really really like to get the $15000 done and blow everyone away. If we get this done in print, Better Than Any Man will be available as a free PDF the week after Free RPG Day (as per that program's rules).
(also keep in mind that the $15000 would include the Kickstarter fees, royalties for all of the material made available for this project, the cost of manufacturing and shipping all the reward materials, and then the production costs for Better Than Any Man.)
In the middle of a catastrophic
war, one group of women has taken control of a ravaged city and declared
"No more war." Deposing the ruling elite and establishing their own
government, they have made enemies of everyone in power - the Emperor on
his far-off throne, the invading army, and the religious and merchant
classes of their own city - while the impoverished masses support none
of them. Events are in motion that cannot be stopped, but the final
outcome of these events will be decided by an unlikely group of
adventurers who stumble upon the situation at just the wrong time.
Better than Any Man details what happens when the Player Characters stumble into a situation on the verge of a complete breakdown. Will they get involved? Who will they support? Will they survive? Will they find a way to profit in this ruined state?
Thousands will die, and tens of thousands more lives will be ruined. The laws of God and nature will be violated. What happens here will never be forgotten by those who witness it, no matter how much they try... Welcome to No Man's Land.
Oh, yeah, did I mention the usurpers are all sorcerers and half of them lair in dungeons? And an ancient evil is taking this opportunity to strike?
Although the adventure will use the historical Thirty Years War as the backdrop to the adventure, it will be easily adaptable to your fantasy campaign milieu.
We've put together some great rewards to get this financed. Here's what you can get:
Better Than Any Man is being shipped straight from the US-based printer to the Free RPG Day distribution warehouse, where they will go out to the local game stores. You go to your local participating game store and just pick up a copy!
But the Cynthia Sheppard cover art to be used for the version going out to stores (and used for this Kickstarter campaign) is altered. Censored. Made safe for a general audience. That isn't very LotFP, but the Free RPG Day adventure won't be very good advertising if the shops don't put the darn thing out for display! But by contributing at the First Level or higher, you can get a cover with the real artwork, where the creature is far more terrifying.
This reward will be included with all First Level perks and higher.
However... it's been brought up numerous times to me that not all game stores are participating in Free RPG Day (BOOO! HISSSS!), and many people don't live near a game store at all, and it seems you want a physical copy of the Better Than Any Man adventure too! Now this campaign wasn't originally set up to get copies of that adventure to individuals (individual mailouts are an added expense, the idea was just to get the adventure from the printer to the Free RPG Day organizer's warehouse and that was going to be it for me), so there is an added expense involved.
Add $5 to your pledge for a physical copy of Better Than Any Man, but only if you cannot or choose not to get a free copy from your local game store... for Second through Fourth levels. Fifth Levels + will get a copy with their basic pledge, and if you've only selected First level, it will cost $7 to get a copy.
These are the main rewards for participating in this campaign. Each is a small adventure, between 8-16 pages, that will inject instant oddity right into your game. These adventures will be available in PDF form after the campaign but the print versions are available only as part of this campaign! These are written for LotFP but compatible with any class-and-level six-ability-score old school RPG.
Another S***** Adventure
Into the sewers! Part adventure and part sewer construction kit. Whenever your players go below the city, you'll be prepared. If they don't want to go under the city, you'll have the tools to get them there. Writing by James Edward Raggi IV, cover art by Rick Hershey, sewer geomorphs by Dyson Logos.
Dungeon of the Unknown
Located near the coast of hex 2214 of the Isle of the Unknown, this dungeon enshrines the mysteries of the Isle’s lost Minoan past. The module includes scaling information that allows it to be immediately and effortlessly used to challenge characters from 1st through 10th level. It features: 2 Dungeon Levels, 20 Rumors, 2 Wandering Monster Tables, 6 Sample Goop Monsters and a Random Generator to Make Countless More, 12 Treasures, 12 Weird Locations, 19 New Monsters, and 7 Human Encounters. Writing by Geoffrey McKinney, art by Amos Orion Sterns, maps by Dyson Logos.
Lamentations of the Gingerbread Princess
Sometimes, wishes do come true. A dreadful encounter with a most cheery land. Writing by Zzarchov Kowolski, cover art by Cynthia Sheppard, maps by Dyson Logos.
Tower of the Navelgazer
The PCs will get to know themselves inside and out as they are drawn into adventuring in their own bodies simultaneously while those bodies are already adventuring! Writing by James Edward Raggi IV, cover art by Andew McIntosh, maps by Dyson Logos.
We are making 8 different monster cards. They'll be A6 size (105 × 148mm), full color, thick double-sided glossy laminated cards with the monster pic on one side and the game stats and mechanics of the monster on the other. (If you have one of the Natural 1s/20s cards, you know the format.) One RANDOM monster card (we will not take requests for specific cards) will be included with FIRST LEVEL or higher perks. Pembrooktonshire Gardening Society members get two different cards.
If you want more cards, add $10 per additional card (no duplicates will be given as long as you are receiving 8 or less), or $50 for the whole set ($45 for Pembrooktonshire Gardening Society members).
The monsters are all taken from previous LotFP releases (Carcosa, Death Frost Doom, Death Love Doom, Isle of the Unknown, LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, two from the original Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and Their Modern Simulacra, Vornheim) with all new art by Aeron Alfrey. Here's one of the new monster art pieces that will be on the cards:
Alfrey's doing one more piece of card art for us: The sewn-up cadaver from Tower of the Stargazer. On the flip side is a handy 30 item chart called "What's in that corpse?" for use when your upstanding players feel the need to loot their foes' corpses inside and out.
If you participated in any of LotFP's previous crowdfunding efforts, you get this free with First Level and greater rewards. Otherwise, add $7 to your total.
We're making a promotional LotFP die, a black six-sider with a Dead Sign (symbol of the Duvan'Ku, the ancient civilization behind the evils in Death Frost Doom and Death Love Doom) replacing the 1. Perfect for building a sense of dread with the "Rule of One." What's the Rule of One? When a PC does anything all "I'm so clever and have thought this out and nothing in the rules says I can'!" of course the Referee has to allow it. But that player must roll a d6, and if it comes up 1, well... the Referee gets to screw with the player and nobody can complain because, hey, you rolled a 1 you poor bugger.
Add $4 to your total if you want one of these, $6 total if you want a set of three (for rolling characters!), or $15 total if you want ten of them.
By popular demand we're also getting some d30s, black with white numbering, and you can get one of those by adding $2.50 to your total.
Isle of the Unknown is an adventure/setting released by LotFP, and this will be a set of 14 cards: Each of the 13 Zodiac mages (art by Jason Rainville) and the statue with the rainbow harp (art by Cynthia Sheppard), with the art on one side and stats and powers on the other, all on A6 size (105 × 148mm), full color, thick double-sided glossy laminated cards.
Add $75 to your total ($70 for Gardening Society members) to get a full set of these cards.
If you get the Monster Cards set and the Corpse card and this Isle set, they'll all come in a cool little custom box with a bonus card.
LotFP has friends and supporters helping us to get this done. These PDFs aren't made specifically for LotFP (save Kiss of the Frog God), but they're worth your while anyway. Various reward levels give you the following PDFs:
Anomalous Subsurface Environment #1-3 Put those dark elves back in their box and get your gonzo on! Riches, glory, and super-science await the bold and the clever in the deep places under the ground. This module describes the dinosaur- and wizard-infested future of the Earth, the city of Denethix, and the first level of the megadungeon that beckons from below: the Anomalous Subsurface Environment. (courtesy of Henchmen Abuse)
Darker Paths 1: Necromancer The necromancer is a master of death and the undead; his spells are centered on dealing with crypts and tombs, creating and treating with the undead, as well as emulating some of the powers of the undead at higher level. The Necromancer is an optional character class suitable for either PC or NPC use, with details on more than 75 new spells. It is suitable for use with any RPG compatible with the basic or advanced versions of the world's most popular role-playing game. Take your campaign down a darker path with the necromancer! (courtesy of BRW Games)
Daughters of the Deep For centuries peace has existed between the fishermen of San Gropia and the local sea beings. But something has happened, and that peace is threatened. There has been a recent plague of disappearances among the fishermen within the coastal communities; the men have slowly disappeared! In one village along the southern coast, the entire male population has vanished, leaving only the women, young and elderly to defend themselves. Hearing of their plight, your little group of adventurers decides to journey to the village, out of curiosity, and--perhaps--to gain a few gold pieces. But, upon arriving, you find there is a greater mystery behind the missing men; the strange behavior of a local lad, and hints of an angry god. (courtesy of Robert Pinnell)
Delve #1 Welcome to the Old School Revolution! Delve! Zine is an adventure in and of itself. Furthering the exploration of the Old School Gaming scene, Delve! Zine is the work of Johnathan L Bingham, one of the more prolific artistic contributors to the "Old School Renaissance". Primarily known as a visaul artist, Delve! is a zine dedicated to exploring the weird fantasy side of Old School Gaming. Operating heavily under the influences of the oft proclaimed Appendix N authors, Delve! also explores other influences such as comics luminaries Jack Kirby, Mike Mignola, Steve Ditko and more as well as 1950's-1970's horror/sci-fi/fantasy film, and a dash of old school punk rock. So, put on some Ramones, grab a beverage, and Delve! in to a wild ride! (courtesy of Ostensible Cat)
The Fane of the Poisoned Prophecies For years, lords and warriors have delivered riches to the remote Sun Temple in exchange for prophecies from the mysterious oracle who dwells within. But of late, the oracle’s advice has soured. Some say the oracle has gone mad and lost her powers. Others believe she has forsaken her allegiances and seeks to collapse the kingdom. Rogues whisper of enormous piles of gold and jewelry within the Sun Temple – perhaps no longer guarded. Wealth, power, and surprising secrets await those who dare explore the Sun Temple and beyond! (courtesy of Chaotic Henchmen Productions)
How to Host a Dungeon How to Host a Dungeon is a solo game of dungeon creation where you build a dungeon through its history from the dawn of time... When you complete your game, you have a dungeon history and map suitable for a dungeon crawling role-playing game or just your own enjoyment. (courtesy of Planet 13 Games)
Kiss of the Frog God The first 6-Pack adventure for Lamentations of the Flame Princess and compatible old school systems sees the characters entering the cursed town of Morbury where people are missing and somethign foul and twisted lurks in the godless swamps.6-Pack Adventures have everything you need for an evening's gaming—battlemat, tokens, monsters, pregenerated characters and adventure! (courtesy of Postmortem Studios)
Knowledge Illuminates Grab your dice and hire some henchmen, you're going to need them.Knowledge Illuminates is a campaign starter adventure full of possibilities.Explore a dark fantasy world in search of an unending treasure.But within this adventure lurks a horror that will haunt the players for years.So buckle up that helmet, sharpen that sword, and bring an extra pair of iron spikes, this adventure is for the big boys.(courtesy of GM Games)
The Manor #1 and #2 The Manor is a jammed packed, Old School zine. Inside you'll find a stink'n old salt pit with one of my favorite creatures, a d12 table from the mischevious mind of Jason Sholtis, one of the many secrets of Rural Pennsylvania, a poetry slam by an old time blogging favorite Rusty Battle Axe, a table of random forest encounters and a boot merchant with a bad, bad past. (courtesy of GM Games)
Many Gates of Gann Barbarous hyena-men who raid villages and kidnap girl-children? Bah! Unremarkable in our world! But when these raiders retreat safely past ancient sculptures that vaporize intruders, into heretofore unopened vaults believed to hold a weapon of primal terror, and past the gates that guard ancient treasures never beheld by man? Aye! Now these are rumors worthy of adventure! What bold souls will dare pass into centuries-old chambers protected by the Many Gates of the Gann?(courtesy of Chaotic Henchmen Productions)
Oubliette Issues #1-8 A magazine for old school fantasy roleplayers. Written for Labyrinth Lord, but also ideal for use with any Basic/Expert/Advanced original or clone, with little or no adjustment required. (courtesy of Oubliette Magazine)
The Random Esoteric Creature Generator for Classic Fantasy Role-Playing Games and Their Modern Simulacra Nevermore worry that your players have memorized every monster’s stat, power and weakness. Nevermore resort to tired fantasy clichés, and worn out monsters fought a thousand times before. The Random Esoteric Creature Generator ensures that each monster your PCs cross is unique, unexpected, and best of all – unknown. With an unlimited number of horrific combinations, this is the last monster book you will ever need. (courtesy of Goodman Games)
The Realm of the Technomancer “It’s Mutant Future™ mayhem!” “No, it’s a Labyrinth Lord™ dungeon crawl!” Relax, guys, you’re both right! REALM OF THE TECHNOMANCER challenges players of both campaign types with an unusual dimensional crossover adventure, presented in a unique back-to-back format. Just open the side you want to use tonight! (courtesy of Faster Monkey Games)
The Spire of Iron and Crystal Deep in the wilderness stands the legendary Spire of Iron and Crystal, a bizarre structure of twisting iron and four enormous crystals that seem to grow from the very ground itself. The fabled riches of the Spire have never been plundered, for no entrances have ever been found.... until now. Your party of adventurers has discovered the long-hidden secret of entering the Spire. (courtesy of Frog God Games)
Stealing Cthulhu Stealing Cthulhu is my guide to Lovecraftian storytelling for roleplaying games. Its central idea is: by stealing, adapting and combining Lovecraft’s ideas, you can create scenarios that seem new and horrific. It includes Cthulhu Dark, my rules-light system for Cthulhu gaming. (courtesy of Thieves of Time)
Stonepick Crossing The tiny town of Stonepick Crossing sits on top of an old dwarven dam holding built some 500 years ago to end a long war. Recognizing the futility of direct assault, the dwarves built the dam to flood the goblin caves, flushing the foul creatures out of their caves and into the slaughter of honest combat. Now 500 years later, the dwarves have moved on and a small thorp has sprung up. Mystery surrounds the protected town and rumors abound: locals disappearing in the middle of the night, strange noises from underneath the dam and even rumors of a monster in the lake percolate through the community. Which rumors are true and which are the ale-addled ramblings of old men fearful of their own shadows? (courtesy of Expeditious Retreat Press)
Strange Magic: Classes New characters classes for use with B/X D&D® and similar gaming systems. These streamlined sub-classes take the rules for the standard classes and modify them to create new character options. Includes Bard, Monk & Assassin, Order of Stellar Reason, Paladin & Anti-Paladin, Reverend Sisterhood, and Witch classes. (courtesy of Robertson Games)
This Just In From GenCon Monsters PDF This 5 page PDF by James Edward Raggi IV contains a short essay about using monsters and four brutal creatures. Originally offered as a perk for last year's This Just In From GenCon podcast funding effort, it's now available to all of you as well.
LotFP is a Helsinki-based tabletop RPG publisher that specializes in traditionally based fantasy RPG rules married to rather dark and strange influences, and its core game is called Weird Fantasy Role-Playing! I asked people how they'd describe it (because anything you'd read here would be blah blah marketing, right?), and they came up with this. (I bet that post will be fun once the trolls show up!)
Horror movies, heavy metal, weird fiction, sword and planet, Early Modern history, and lots more unpleasantness have served as inspiration for LotFP releases.
Hell, LotFP is so cool that we released a book (Zak's Vornheim) that won a technology award. Beat that.
Check out an in-progress, artless new version of the Rules & Magic book here. There's still some editing and cleanup to do but there it is. Be sure to check out the Summon spell and rules quirks here and there.
We've sold over 20,000 books and PDFs since opening the business in 2009, and now we'd like to rise to the next level... and so the goal of participating fully in Free RPG Day!
Sure, Free RPG Day can lead to greater awareness amongst gamers (and retailers!) which can result in more sales and that helps LotFP as a company, but why does that matter to you as a fan of LotFP or gaming in general?
Glad you asked!
- Greater interest means more players for the game. More online discussion about the game. Tabletop role-playing is a social experience and a greater presence means a greater pool of people for you to play with, discuss with, and generally do all the things RPGs allow you to do.
- More promotion means more sales, which just might mean bigger print runs for future items which would result in a lower retail price on each copy. You never know.
- The spreading of the LotFP ethos further into gaming. Even if you don't care about LotFP per se, it's certainly hard to argue that it ever falls victim to the rather conservative wish-fulfillment attitudes displayed by most of the RPG industry. Whether it's the unusual artwork or content, complete silliness, the willingness to intentionally put out campaign-transforming material disguised as regular adventures, and its generally uncouth, unbalanced, and unsafe attitude (and sometimes all of the above in the same release!), LotFP lights your brain up every time out. Maybe some more success down this way would loosen up the rest of the stuff showing up on game store shelves a bit. Hell, maybe it'll inspire someone to do the same thing but better.
- You know how LotFP has stuff out or in the works by Kenneth Hite, Vincent Baker, Zak S, Dave "Oderus Urungus" Brockie and a bunch of others? Well we can keep the game fresh and varied by having more people do work for LotFP if it's more popular. You know those people from 2012's crowdfunding efforts that didn't get funded and people went "awww..." Let's get them on board! And the projects could come out more regularly so if there's some LotFP stuff you don't like, you don't have to worry about it delaying the stuff you do like quite so much anymore.
- Speaking of crowdfunding, I'd love there to be no need for crowdfunding bigger projects. Let's be honest, you'd rather just pay money when something is ready to ship, we'd rather not have the pressure of having taken people's money for a project that can't ship out for months yet, it's all a bit naff, and with more fans and more buyers of LotFP stuff, we never have to deal with all that nonsense again. Until next year's Free RPG Day drive!
- You actually do want the items being offered as rewards because they're damned cool.
- ... don't you want to see what thousands of people not familiar with LotFP will say about a full adventure? Probably won't be boring, so you're multiplying your reading pleasure!
- You like getting mail from Finland just so you can show everyone you know "Hey! I got mail from Finland!"
Notes and disclaimers:
We will send out confirmations and such after the campaign ends, so if you don't want a particular reward (example: you are due a What's in the Corpse? card and would rather not receive it), you will have the opportunity to tell us that after the campaign ends.
LotFP is a Finnish company and James Edward Raggi IV is coordinating all of this behind the scenes but this Kickstarter account and all the behind-the-scenes payment stuff is being officially handled by the USA's own Matt Johnsen. He's been the LotFP sounding board and general helper since like 1998 so you know he's cool. He plays guitar and writes a lot of songs for Pharaoh. Go buy Pharaoh albums on CD or whatever the hell you people do these days here or here or here.
All adventures are in the standard LotFP A5 size.
All prices listed for this campaign include postage worldwide.
Eighth Level physical Perks will be mailed out from the Finland HQ as a tracked parcel immediately after payment is deposited (unless you also ordered dice, in which case you need to wait a couple more weeks for those to arrive).
All other physical perks will be mailed out Economy Class the week after Free RPG Day from the Finland HQ. Add $7 to your contribution if you want First Class shipping.
Most PDFs will be sent as soon as they are ready after payment is deposited when the campaign ends, which might take a week or so? However long all the back-end Kickstarter stuff takes after the campaign ends. Then there's the survey you'll need to answer to confirm your rewards, but that should go out (he says optimistically) within a few days of campaign end.
In the case of the four Main Adventures, they'll still need art and layout and editing and all that jazz so it'll be a little longer, but as soon as the PDFs are done, they'll go out.
Risks and challenges
Publishing an adventure involves many people and many steps. There's writing, playtesting, editing, layout, artwork, cartography, plus printing and shipping.
As this project goes live, all the basic writing is complete and those responsible for all the other steps have been lined up. There is always the possibility that someone will cancel, turn in completely unacceptable work, be late, the project manager might get hit by a truck, etc., and that can affect turnaround time. We'll replace people if we have to so all the listed names are subject to change!
The reward adventure PDFs will go out when ready, the physical rewards will go out on Free RPG Day, but the Free RPG Day adventure will go to the printer on time if it has to be a scanned handwritten scrawl.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The rewards are the 4 "main adventures" (Tower of the Navelgazer, Another S***** Adventure, Dungeon of the Unknown, Lamentations of the Gingerbread Princess) and PDFs and other rewards described. The Kickstarter is all about funding Better Than Any Man, but the rewards do not include it.
That's silly, you might say. Why wouldn't it be included?
When the project went live, the basic $2500 funding level would cover a PDF being released, so promising a physical book that may not exist didn't make sense. When that was doubled and it was clear there would be a print run, the idea was giving Better Than Any Man away for free in game stores.
Also, Better Than Any Man is being printed in and shipped to the warehouse for Free RPG Day on a different continent than the other rewards are being printed and shipped from... This was the whole reason behind offering the other adventures and PDFs, *because* BTAM was not on the table as a reward.
(The Reward at First level and higher includes an alternate *cover* only - the adventure is being printed with a detached cover, similar to early LotFP releases like Death Frost Doom, Tower of the Stargazer, etc. so you could just swap out the covers - and even if no regular printed version would have been made, the full color map inside the cover wouldn't be easily printed out at home by many so it's still a worthwhile reward by itself.)
However, a few days after the campaign began it was pointed out - repeatedly - that many backers don't have a local game store participating in Free RPG Day so they *can't* get a copy that way, and they wanted copies available through the campaign here (see Updates #3 and #5).
So Better Than Any Man is now available, but not as part of the basic rewards - the reward pricing scheme didn't factor in shipping a supply of books across the ocean to then be mailed back out individually to everywhere on Earth. (Or alternately to be shipped to an alternate US location to then be packed and mailed as separate shipments from the other rewards, if that's how we end up handling it.)
So to get a copy of Better Than Any Man, add $5 to your pledge for Levels 2-4, or add $7 for Level 1. Levels 5 and greater backers get a copy at no extra charge.
Or you can get it from your local participating game store at no cost.
whew. Sorry for the confusion, it seemed so straightforward on this end...
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