NZ$ 4,568
pledged of NZ$ 999pledged of NZ$ 999 goal
4days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, March 24 2019 1:00 AM UTC +00:00.

Steve HickeyBy Steve Hickey
First created
Steve HickeyBy Steve Hickey
First created
NZ$ 4,568
pledged of NZ$ 999pledged of NZ$ 999 goal
4days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, March 24 2019 1:00 AM UTC +00:00.


Soth is a tabletop roleplaying game where you play cultists in small-town America. Your goal is to summon a dark god without making your family and neighbours suspicious. (Think of it as a cross between Breaking Bad and the Cthulhu mythos.)   

You can check out a 11-page preview of Soth, right now, here: Kickstarter preview 

If you back this project, you’ll immediately receive the current version of the rules (download it from Backer Update #1). This version was published in 2015. It's received lots of great actual plays and discussion on podcasts like She’s a Super Geek and The Gauntlet (from 24:45 minutes in, with spoilers at the 32.25 minute mark). Update #8 has two short audio clips of people playing the game.

What is this kickstarter for? 

This is a Kickstarter to create a print-on-demand softcover version of Soth with new art. As a backer, you’ll be investing in upgrading the existing game. 

Soth 2015 is a labour of love: I laid it out, designed the cover, created player- and GM-handouts to summarise the rules, and I illustrated the game using Creative Commons photos. 

Soth 2019 will have: 

  • 5 pieces of new interior art (funded)
  • Professional graphic design and layout (funded, probably speeding up delivery by 2 months
  • A new, full-colour front and back cover image designed by George Cotronis (funded)

This is not a second edition (or even a 1.5 edition): the gameplay will be the same. However, the rules will get a few minor clarifications and (depending on funding levels) the handouts will receive some professional graphic design. 

You’ll see snippets of the new interior art further down this page. Together, they tell a story of two cultists trying to summon Soth. The game’s tone can move between black comedy and noir thriller, and I think these illustrations really capture that. 

Art by Zoey Hogan
Art by Zoey Hogan

I'm currently running a competition to reveal a third piece of new art (see this update for details). There are seven challenges, and we complete each challenge I'll reveal a new section.

 I’ve already created a test proof using DriveThruRPG’s print-on-demand service.     

But Kickstarter funding will make this project move along much more quickly, and the end product will be much higher quality. 

In addition, one percent of the money raised from this kickstarter will be donated to Women's Refuge, a New Zealand-based organisation for women and their children, that works to help prevent and stop domestic violence in New Zealand.

One percent will also be donated to benefit the families of the Christchurch mosque attacks. Soth could not been written without the help of the gaming community in Christchurch.

Why have you set the funding level at $999? 

I want to pay the artists and professionals on working on Soth 2019 at their full commercial rates. 

Zoey and Gino (the two artists) have already finished and delivered their art and I've already paid them. But they charged me mates rates (about 50 percent of their normal fee). 

I strongly believe that people in the creative community should be paid what they’re worth, and I want to pay them their full commercial fee. 

I also want to get advice from Keane Chan, a professional graphic designer. Keane will identify ways I can improve the current version of Soth while I tweak the layout myself.  Because we reached our first stretch goal, Keane will re-layout the entire book in Adobe Indesign. This will probably speed up the delivery date by at least two months.

Funded! Next stretch goal at NZ$4,800 

We've already secured Keane's services for 15 hours of work. That was the shortest estimate Keane gave me for how long re-laying out Soth would take.  

Stretch Goal 3 is to hire Keane for 10 further hours. That’s for five hours of buffer, in case the re-laying out takes longer than estimated. After we've seen the proofs (the draft version of the printed product) from DriveThru's printer, Keane will also spend up to five hours adjusting the pdf. We’ll hit this goal at NZ$4,800. 

Who is Team Soth? 

Steve Hickey (author) 

My name's Steve Hickey. I’m probably most well-known as the editor of Monster of the Week by Michael Sands. 

In addition to Soth, I’ve also designed, edited and published My Life as the GM (which is a guide to running My Life With Master) and Left Coast: The Short Story edition. I first published Left Coast as a stretch goal reward for the Radio Free Albemuth kickstarter (and delivered it on time). 

I’ve written and directed Hopeless, a romantic comedy feature film, and been the head writer of Lovebites, its spinoff TV series (here's a link to Episode 16, which guest starred Jemaine Clement). 

Zoey Hogan (artist) 

Zoey / Cap O' Rushes is a comic artist and illustrator living in Washington State. She has done illustrations for 1001 Knights and The Endling, as well as visual novel projects with Paper Star Studios. She has assured me that she is definitely not 3 cats in a trenchcoat. 

Gino Moretto (artist) 

Gino is a full time teacher and part-time artist living in Wellington, New Zealand. His art has appeared on The Drabblecast, Star-Ship Sofa, and the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine

Keane Chan (graphic designer) 

Keane is a freelance graphic designer living in Wellington, New Zealand. He has 15 years of experience in graphic design, with a strong background in print design and production, and has worked in advertising agencies and magazine houses. When he's not laying out type or retouching photos, Keane can be found discussing the outcome of a Pirate vs Ninja battle. 

Reward levels 

In order to speed up delivering the game to you, this Kickstarter only has a few reward levels: 

  • Supporter
  • Pdf-only
  • Print-on-demand coupon
  • I will run the game for online for a group of four. 

Supporter: Free pdf of current version

As soon as you back (at any level), you can download a pdf of the current version of Soth. Click here to download it from this backer-only update.

Pdf version of Soth 2019 

You'll receive a pdf version of the revised and polished version of Soth

If you've previously purchased a pdf of Soth, you'll receive the upgraded pdf for free. 

At-cost coupon for a print-on-demand version 

By backing at this level, you'll receive a coupon allowing you to print a copy at-cost. 

Printing and shipping are not included in this level. You will order a copy of the book from DriveThruRPG's printers.  When you order, you'll pay the 'print at-cost' charge (currently, approximately US$3.20) and you'll also pay for shipping 

Running the game online 

I will run Soth for groups of four players. I received the 'Best GM' prize at New Zealand's largest convention four years in a row.  

• Please note: this level is limited. I'll run Soth four times.  


I really like the way Soth is structured, and the way it plays! It does so many clever things. The way it handles table talk is great, too—it's social engineering to keep the cult together. 
                 — Jason Morningstar, Fiasco, Night Witches, The Shab-Al-Hiri Roach

Soth is so good. If I was going to make a list of my favorite rules / mechanics from games I've played in 2015, the Mask of Sanity stuff would be way up there. It has led to some of the best RP I've seen from my group.
                 — Jason Cordova, founder of The Gauntlet 

Soth captures the essentials of committing ritualistic murders to summon a dark god that will destroy humanity, but in a way that's hilarious, murderous fun. I'm excited to play it again!  
                 — Mike Sands, author of Monster of the Week   

This is such a wonderful, innovative game, that takes the staple premise of most modern horror roleplaying games and subverts it wickedly. 
                 — Andrew Kenrick, Dead of Night 

You can check out more testimonials and get more of a sense of the game in this video:

Thanks for checking out this kickstarter. 

If you back it, I hope you enjoy reading the pdf you’ll be able to download immediately (from the first backer-only update). 

I wish us all the best of luck in summoning Soth. 


Risks and challenges

This is my first Kickstarter.

To give you the confidence I can deliver Soth, this risks and challenges section is going to be longer than usual.



I've delivered multiple time-bound projects in my professional life: I’ve directed a feature film, and I've been the head writer of a TV series where I was responsible for delivering scripts on time. I've also run deadline-driven volunteer projects.

I’ve delivered stretch goals on-time for two kickstarter campaigns (Monster of the Week and Radio Free Albemuth), and I’ve backed 34 projects—so I’m familiar with expectations and pitfalls of delivering to backers.

In addition, I've taken the following steps with Soth 2019:

• The game has already been written. You’ll receive the 2015 version of Soth as soon as you back.
• The art has been paid for and delivered.
• I have a support team of experienced publishers and Kickstarter-deliverers to advise me if I run into any difficulties.
• To ensure delivery is as quick as possible, this campaign has no add-ons. All the stretch goals are to either make Soth 2019 better to look at, easier to use, or to get it into your hands faster.



This kickstarter is not raising funding for me to work on it full-time.

If we don't raise enough to pay Keane to polish the graphic design, then delivery will depend on my capacity to complete the work myself. I've laid out two 120+ page books and created the test proof, so I'm confident I can do this.

I’ve previously had carpel tunnel syndrome (also known as RSI or OOS). This means I have to carefully manage my workload to prevent a recurrence of chronic pain.

I've budgeted until September 2019 to complete the work myself.



After the campaign closes, I expect to issue backer updates either:

• whenever there is news
• at the end of each month.

I’ll update you on milestones reached and on any delays or sicknesses. I’ll clearly identify updates (in the subject line) that require a response from you.

In order for backers to track our progress whenever they like, I’ll set up a publicly-viewable project status Trello board. I’ll attach a link to that board to every update.


Usually I’ll only be able to respond to comments between 6pm till 10pm New Zealand time.

Please note that it may take me a long time to respond to comments. I tend to get overwhelmed with trying to craft a ‘perfect’ response rather than focusing on delivering a timely one. This is a bad habit I’m trying to break, but I wanted you to be aware of it.

In case of emergency, I've deputised two friends (one of whom has run a Kickstarter before) to respond to comments on my behalf.



If any emergencies happen or unforeseen delays emerge, I'll spend 24 hours trying to resolve them myself, consulting with my support team.

I’ll then notify you via update as soon as possible, either with the solution or to let you know what’s happening.

If it seems appropriate, I may ask for your (the backers’) advice on possible next steps and solutions.



I've designed and organised the commercial printing of bookmarks, flyers and direct mail letters.

But because I don't have much experience with the book-printing process, I'm aiming to deliver a print-on-demand product.

Our graphic designer, Keane Chan, is experienced with this and will be able to advise me.

The biggest challenge will be in reviewing the proofs of the print-on-demand version of the game. I have assumed there will be at least two trials to create a high-quality product.

As I’m based in New Zealand, there will be a reasonably long delivery times to review each proof. I am hoping to arrange a colleague based in North America to review the proofs.

This is one point in the process where my estimated delivery timeframe could easily slip: I will keep backers updated about it.



The pdf is already done with spaces to insert art.

If Keane is unable to complete his graphic design consultation, I have several fallback positions:

• I could consult with other graphic designers I know personally
• I could crowd-source feedback
• I could publish the game in the best possible state that I can personally achieve.



Because I'm based in New Zealand, it's compulsory for this project to
use New Zealand dollars.

Previous Kickstarter campaigns based in Australia and New Zealand have experienced errors when backers are charged at the end of the campaign. Apparently, this is due to the way most people configure their credit card.

I am researching how backers can adjust their credit card settings to avoid this error and I'll brief backers on this in the final week before funding.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ


  1. Make a pledge without a reward

    About $7
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 1 or more About US$ 0.69


    Receive information and updates about this project.

    Estimated delivery
    9 backers
    About US$ 0.69
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 9 or more About US$ 6

    Pdf-only (unwaged)

    A pdf version of the game available to people who are unwaged or students. (Approx. US$6.00)

    Estimated delivery
    18 backers
    About US$ 6
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 12 or more About US$ 8


    A pdf version of the game. (Approximately US$8.00.)

    Estimated delivery
    80 backers
    About US$ 8
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 15 or more About US$ 10

    Print on demand (updated)

    A coupon to receive an 'at cost' print-on-demand version of the game. You will also receive a pdf version of the game. (Approximately US$10.25.) ... Please note: (1) This level DOES NOT INCLUDE the costs of printing OR shipping. You will need to pay for printing (approximately US$3.20) and shipping when you redeem the coupon. (2) This price will be cheaper than the retail (post-Kickstarter) POD version. (3) This level REPLACES the 'Print on demand' level for a single game, below.

    Estimated delivery
    192 backers
    About US$ 10
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge NZ$ 220 or more About US$ 151

    Run Soth online

    I will run a game online (or in person, if it's easy for us to meet in real life) for you and three friends.

    You'll also receive four pdf versions of the game and four print-on-demand coupons. (Approximately US$150.00.)

    Estimated delivery
    Limited (4 left of 4) 0 backers
    About US$ 151
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. All gone!
  8. Reward no longer available

    Pledge NZ$ 20 or more About US$ 14

    Print on demand

    A coupon to receive a print-on-demand version (POD) of the game. You will also receive a pdf version of the game. (Approximately US$14.00.) ... Please note: (1) This level does NOT include shipping. You will pay for shipping when you redeem the coupon. (2) This level is cheaper than the retail (post-Kickstarter) POD version. However, it does include a profit margin of around US$10, to raise Kickstarter funds.

    Estimated delivery
    Reward no longer available 23 backers
    About US$ 14
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.