About this project
We leave you with our sneak peek images. Enjoy!
The Welcoming Chamber
Jing Statues - Each of these has a different function within the temple.
Mini Screen Inserts - These are works in progress and will probably have changes made to them before release.
The Grande Temple of Jing is the dungeoncrawl that rules them all. It is a megadungeon designed in the spirit of old school games, but with modern rules and sensibilities. It is presented here for the Pathfinder system, but it can be modified to play with your favorite fantasy RPG. It is designed for levels 1-20 but if this Kickstarter reaches its first stretch goal, then we will add content for epic level characters as well.
A part of the grande temple was originally published in 2000 as a thin, digest sized book, compatible with the d20 system. With your help we will update, upgrade, and MASSIVELY expand that book. In effect, we will make it the adventure it was always meant to be. Our goal is to create a full color hardcover tome that any roleplayer would be proud to have on their shelves. Professional production will ensure that retailers can display the book confidently on store shelves.
We are proud to announce that the Grande Temple of Jing will feature several celebrity contributors starting with:
Jonathan Tweet - veteran game designer. Designer of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition. Creator of 13th Age, Ars Magica, Over the Edge, and more.
Monte Cook - prolific RPG author. Designer of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition. Creator of Numenara and owner of Malhavoc Press.
Skip Williams - sage RPG designer. Designer of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd Edition. Author of several RPG books, and columnist for Dungeon Magazine's "Sage Advice."
Matt Mayfield - riddlemaster and trickster. President of Cloud Kingdom Games, and author of several riddle themed books, including Riddle Rooms #1, Riddle of the Unicorn, Lair of the Sphinx, and more!
Dave Gross - Writer and editor, formerly of Dragon and Dungeon magazines and Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition. Author of the Pathfinder Tales novels Prince of Wolves, Master of Devils, and Queen of Thorns--and co-author with Elaine Cunningham of Winter Witch.
Jim Ward - Legendary TSR designer, owner of Eldrtitch Entertainment, author of Pools of Radiance, Deities & Demigods (1st edition), Metamorphosis Alpha, and more!
Chris Pramas - award-winning game designer, writer, and publisher. He is best known as the designer of the Dragon Age RPG and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 2nd Edition, and as the founder and President of Green Ronin Publishing.
Grimtooth the Troll - the infamous trap obsessed troll will be released by Jing into the grande temple! There, Grimtooth and his minions (Ken, Liz, Rick, Steve, and Bear) will set up some fantastic deathtraps for unwary adventurers!
Larry Wilhelm - author for paizo's pathfinder society organized play system. Best known for his work on Humans of Golarion, the Pathfinder Society Field Guide, and several scenarios including No Plunder no Pay, and The Immortal Conundrum.
Stan! (Writer, Cartoonist, Game Designer, and Raconteur Par Excellence. Co-founder of Super Genius Games and The Game Mechanics, formerly Creative Director for Dragonlance, Ravenloft, and many other D&D Worlds).
Ed Greenwood (Author, Editor, Legend. The Original Elminster. Creator of the Forgotten Realms. Author of hundreds of articles and over two dozen books including Elminster Enraged. Ed is our last celebrity contributor.
*Kevin Andrew Murphy (Author). One of George R.R. Martin's Wild Cards authors and a writer for Pathfinder Tales. He has previously written fiction for White Wolf's World of Darkness. We slipped Kevin in after Ed...because we could. :)
Thank you for helping us to bring you these incredible celebrity contributors!
Some backer rewards allow people to contribute a monster, treasure, or level to the Grande Temple of Jing. If you choose these rewards, we will work with you to create something unique. Your work will appear in the book, right along with the celebrity contributors we mentioned above!
The grande temple is the dungeon home of a trickster god named Jing. The archetypal trickster, he is the first of his kind in any universe. He is the god of mischief, the god of thieves and scavengers, the god of fortune and misfortune.
It is said that Jing stole life from the creators, shadow from the darkness, and time from the universe itself. He tricked plants and animals into giving up their secrets - then he bestowed that knowledge upon men and beasts. He has made fools of kings and gods, and taken from them their weapons, their totems, and their finest treasures. Though sometimes caught, Jing has always escaped - and gotten the better of his captors in the process. Some say that Jing is only caught when he wishes to be.
It is also said that one day he settled down, having stolen everything in the world that he desired to possess. Jing built a home for himself, an incredible fortress fixed somewhere between fantasy and reality. The archetypal labyrinth, it acts as both home and temple, and between its walls he has stored all the wondrous things he has acquired over the eons. Of course he has guarded these treasures with horrific beasts, deadly traps, and devious puzzles. But that's not the point. The point is that Jing invites gods and men alike to visit at any time, take whatever treasure they can win, and leave with all that they can carry.
So long as they can find the door that leads out.
The GTOJ is a no-holds-barred good old fashioned dungeon crawl. It is written in the spirit of old school RPGs, but with modern rules and sensibilities. The grande temple consists of virtually endless levels, and is full of monsters, traps, and treasures for players to discover.
And oh, what treasures. Players will rush to discover some of the most powerful items ever created. Magical weapons that level up when the players do. Rings that stack. Potions that combine. It may sound a bit unblanced, but players will need these items for the challenges that lie ahead of them.
For players, the GTOJ represents the ultimate dungeoncrawling experience. Magic permeates the temple, and being a trickster deity, Jing weaves it for his own purposes and merriment. He is a major god and wields supreme power in his home. As a result, a room or area can contain virtually anything - and often does.
Do your players like caves full of orcs, and classic dungeons filled with mythological monsters? The Grande Temple's got that. Do they like labyrinths set in sewers, cornfields, and maybe even a coral reef? The Grande Temple's got that too. Do they like adventures set in taverns, towns, and deep dark forests? Got it. Do they like gauntlets filled with traps, an entire level based on puzzles, or an arena where they can fight to the death? Check. Maybe they like dragons sitting on huge hoardes, undead rising from their graves, and treasures that fill them with awe. The grande temple's got that and more.
Players will be enthralled by the many wonders of the grande temple and challenged by its many clever tricks. Magical puzzles, devious riddles, and wondrous magical effects will keep them entertained for hours and allow them to experience the height of dungeoncrawling fun.
Perhaps the best example of Jing's trickery is the resurrection mechanic. You see, Jing draws great amusement from the trials of his guests. So much so that if they entertain him…but die in the process…he will often resurrect them so that they can continue. What does this mean to the average player? It means they can seek and find incredible treasures and artifacts - things that they normally only see in their dreams. And if they die in the search - but amuse Jing in the process - he just might grant them a do-over.
On a final note, it is worth pointing out that The Grande Temple of Jing allows designers to explore their imaginative side and really push the boundaries of fantasy, magic, and dungeoncrawls. We LOVE trick filled dungeons, and so do our celebrity contributors. We've armed them with the tools they need to create some FANTASTIC dungeon levels, and we've set them loose in the grande temple. We've asked them to really push the limits and design something that they could never include in a "normal" megadungeon. We can't wait to see what they come up with and we're ready for anything! Are YOU? Are you ready for Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams and the rest of our contributors - UNLEASHED???
For the GM, the grande temple represents the ultimate expression in dungeon design. Levels are modular, so GMs can pull them apart, rearrange them, and add their own content easily. Despite it's size, linked quests keep players moving along so that the adventure is not just a series of endless rooms. The GTOJ can be run as an epic dungeon campaign, as a group of themed dungeon levels, or even as a series of one shots. And since it's the home of a trickster god, the GM is freed up to run the game any way they choose - and even add content that would not be appropriate in any other dungeon.
Perhaps more importantly, GMs are free to tweak the rules to suit the play style of their group. For example, they can modify the dungeon to make it more or less deadly. If the resurrection mechanic is considered too broken, it can be ignored or altered. Also, the treasure level can be set to low, medium, or high. At the high level, the game can be run "Monty Haul" style, allowing groups to blow away rooms full of creatures with ease. At the low level it becomes a deadly grind that will challenge even the most experienced players.
And finally, the GM can set the mood of the game simply by choosing to play levels of a certain theme. Some levels are filled with beasts, others with the undead. Some levels host villages and towns, and others are little more than a gauntlet filled with traps. Whatever the mood of the group and the GM, there is a world of adventure waiting for them in the Grande Temple of Jing.
The format of the book is another thing that sets it apart from the everyday megadungeon. We try hard to eliminate filler text and get right to the heart of a dungeon adventure. Detailed maps, concise writing, and informative icons allow us to pack a lot of information into a small space, without losing the details you need to run the game. Each room has it's own map near it's description, so the GM can see important details at a glance, including scale, terrain, hidden objects, and initial position of creatures.
In fact, the GTOJ has been specifically designed so that GMs can just pick a level and jump right into the game with little or no preparation. A lot of emphasis is put on the maps themselves, because with a good map and a few notes, any GM can weave a fantastic adventure with ease.
And what notes we've got. Sidebars, icons, minimaps, pullouts, box text - these are just some of the tools that are used to let the GM jump right into the adventure with almost no preparation - and keep play going for hours and hours. When the grand temple was originally released, this format got a lot of praise from fans and critics alike. With your help we'll update and improve it, and bring dungeon presentation to the 21st century.
The book will be at least 144 pages in size and will grow with every stretch goal. It contains at least 20 dungeon levels, one for each character level 1 through 20. It contains multiple hooks for bringing characters into the adventure, and details several different ways that they can experience it. Rules are provided for playing a gritty, standard, or Monty Haul style game. Special rules for the Dice of Fortune and Misfortune are included, allowing the GM to resolve contentious issues quickly and keep the game flowing. A special section teaches the GM how to customize the adventure to fit their own game world, play style, and gaming group. Finally, it is jam packed with bits - new monsters, cool treasures, and more random tables than you can shake a +1 stick at.
We have a good number of backer rewards packaged in a variety of ways. We've tried hard to come up with rewards for every budget.
The Grande Temple of Jing is an adventure, and so is this kickstarter. Therefore, we've themed the main goal and stretch goals to add a little fun to this endeavor. We hope you enjoy it.
The world is caught in winter's grasp, and you find yourself sitting around the great fire pit of your guildhall. Drinks and stories flow freely and everyone seems in good spirits. In warmer seasons you would probably be off on a mission for your guildmasters. But not today. Today you can only talk of adventures that have come and gone. Today you can only dream of adventures yet to be.
Soon, the tales grow as long as the night, and you find yourself nodding off. As the fire dims, you listen to the story being spun by a small cloaked man that you don't recognize. His voice is hypnotic, and as you listen to it, you drift in and out of sleep.
The man tells a story of a strange temple far away, a labyrinth filled with endless treasures. He speaks of a god so vain that he dared all brave hearted folk to come and plunder his home - for that is what the temple truly is. And then he begins to tell of a treasure so wonderful, so magical, that you force yourself to wake up. Only then do you see that your entire guild is asleep and the man is staring straight at YOU. The fire is pulsating, giving off strange shadows and making everything seem unreal. The man smiles and drops a scroll at your feet. As you reach to pick it up, he throws a pellet to the ground. There is a flash and a bang and he is gone. Your guildmates wake up, and you tell them what happened.
The scroll turns out to be a map that would seem to lead directly to the Grande Temple of Jing. Your guildmaster decides it is a sign, and vows to mount an expedition.
Stretch Goal #1
Congratulations! The expedition is successfully funded and you are a part of it! You ride in the vanguard, helping guide the expedition with your mysterious map. You travel for weeks through hills and forests before coming to a large valley in an uncharted part of the wilderness.
You are surprised to discover campfires dotting the valley like fireflies. It would appear that you were not the only ones to follow a map left by a strange man. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people throughout the valley. Each group bears a map like yours, and have taken to calling it Jing's "invitation" to plunder his home. Like your own guild, they are eager to take him up on his offer.
The problem seems to be a massive set of double doors that bar entrance to the temple. They are magically sealed, and nobody has yet determined how to open them. The doors are covered in strange flowing runes, but for some reason you - and everyone else - can read them. They say
An elderly warrior in ornate black mail stands before the door now, his helm tucked under his arm. His face is sharp but his speech is courteous and marks him as highborn. He says he is Lord Enforcer of the Empire of Kulaiya, a place you have never heard of. He seems uninterested in knowing who you are.
"We've tried everything" he spits. "No magician here can break the spell that guards these doors and no force will open them. We've tried to understand the hidden meaning behind the glyphs, sending first one man, then two, and then ten to try the doors. Thus far our every strategy has failed." He looks at you with sharp blue eyes. "Do YOU know how to open these doors?"
Stretch Goal #2
The scene in front of the doors is devolving as frustration begins to take hold. A group of huge, bearlike men pushes to the front and begins to muscle people out of the way. The Kulaiyan warrior stands up to the "Chorak" as he calls them, but it is clear that the situation is getting out of control. Something needs to happen, and soon, or else a battle is going to break out. You look again at the flowing runes, trying to decipher them.
The object in the riddle has a head and a tail, so it must be a coin. Yellow sunshine probably refers to the color, which would be gold. One by two by ten is twenty, and the sound must "ring" for gods and men so..."The sound of twenty golden coins" you shout. But nothing happens. Reaching into your belt pouch you count out 20 golden coins and toss them in the air. They fall to the ground and bounce, ringing off the stones of the entryway. The runes on the doors begin to glow with an inner blue light. The coins vanish, and with a groan, the doors open. Silence falls across the valley.
For solving the riddle you are given the honor of being the first to enter. Before you, a long coridoor stretches into darkness. The Kulaiyan warrior thrusts a burning torch into your hand and follows you in. You both gasp. The passageway appears to be made of pure gold. As you walk along it, you can hear the Chorak bellowing behind you, fighting to decide who will enter next. But soon the sound fades away and when you turn, the entryway has vanished. Only a few others are with you. You make introductions, decide to stick together, and carry on.
Inside the temple you discover a labyrinth of immeasurable proportions. Entire races live here, stuck in some kind of balance of power. Kobolds, orcs, goblinoids, and other humanoid creatures have lived in these levels for untold generations and often bump into each other as their tribes grow. Sometimes they trade, sometimes they fight, and sometimes they hunt each other to extinction. The entire area is like a powder keg. Your arrival is like a match.
You fight many fierce battles and hold your own against the vicious races and horrific beasts of the grande temple. Against all odds you befriend a tribe of Hobgoblins, who tell you of a secret library that might hold a key to escaping the temple. It lies beyond a series of cursed caverns, and with their help - and sacrifice - you find it.
You now stand in front of an ornate oak door. It does not seem to have a lock or even a handle. A closed book is painted on it, the cover towards you, it's spine unreadable. The face of a malevolent demon leers at you from the cover. You wave your hand over the book as if turning a page - and it opens, the paint flowing across the door as the image changes. With a click the door swings open.
Inside is a small circular library, it's shelves rising high out of sight. No more than half the shelves contain books. A set of scroll racks has fallen over, dumping papers and maps all over the floor. Huge columns of books are stacked in the center of the room. The entire library is festooned with loose papers - torn up books or scrolls perhaps. What a mess. Maybe if you organize it, you can find what you need.
Stretch Goal #3
You set to work cleaning up the library. First, you set up the scroll racks and then begin to clear some floorspace by putting books onto shelves. Some of your companions help you. Some stand guard.
As you move books off the floor, you notice that they were covering up a drawing on the floor. It seems to be a crude picture, a kind of pictogram. You show your companions. One of them, a winnow named Augie tells you that he knows what it is. Augie is small, and slight - what you might call a halfling in your world. But no halfling you've met can move like Augie. His race uses the magic of speed, and he bops around you like a hummingbird as he speaks.
"It's a jinx. My people invented them but almost anyone can use them. You draw a picture that shows what you want to happen. And then you draw a circle around your picture, see?"
You look. The image shows a book, and what looks like a ship's wheel. There is an "X" through the ship's wheel. Augie continues. "Anyways, you pour a bunch of magic into it - spells and stuff, you know? And then the jinx does whatever you want."
"Whatever you want? That seems pretty powerful."
"Well sure, it is, but it isn't - see? They're only as powerful as their maker. And they can be unmade really easy. Watch."
He leans over and rubs at the jinx. "I unmake you." he says. Then twice again "I unmake you. I unmake you." There is a *pop* and a wave of energy shimmers out of the pictogram and through the library. Then, something magical happens.
The books on the floor begin to float, and soon begin to sort themselves onto the proper shelves. The scrolls and maps roll themselves up tight and reorganize themselves. The scraps of paper reconnect as they float in the air, some of them finding their way onto the scroll rack, others into books. In moments the entire library is organized.
"Wowee" whistles Augie. He looks down at the Jinx. "I get it. See the book? That means this place, this library. And that wheel thing…see the X? That means to break something. So this Jinx was to break this library."
He whistles again. "I've never seen a Jinx this powerful before. Maybe it's got extra power because we're in this temple."
The library turns out to be everything you hoped for. You find an ancient tome that tells the tales of many Honored Guests who had been trapped within the Grande Temple of Jing. In only one tale, the hero escapes, using a magic compass that always points the way home. The story ends when the hero returns, hoping to plunder the temple a second time. This time he is slain by a cursed slingstone, and buried with his treasures in the Hero's Graveyard. His name, "Kee" is etched upon the door of his tomb.
In a margin of the book, someone has written a series of numbers: 03-04-09. Your group finds a map with that number written in the top right corner. The map has strange writing in it that you translate to "Central Gravecaves." The map is dotted with buildings and burial mounds. You find many other strange things in the library, including maps of lands you've never heard of, a menu from a tavern, and even a recipe for orc stew. The magic of the library does not allow you to remove any books from it, so you stay long and learn all you can. When you are ready, you head out in search of the Hero's Graveyard, in a place called the Central Gravecaves.
On the journey you meet a ghostly merchant that trades for goods and information. He tells you the best, and safest, route to the Gravecaves. First, you follow "The Old Man" an underground river that shelters a race of strange aquatic monsters. Then you run the Golden Gauntlet, a series of deathtraps that connect the Upper Levels to the Middle Levels. Before you know it, you are within a mile of the Gravecaves. A shift in the air blows a breeze through the tunnel and past your face. Even from this far away you can smell death.
The tunnel you have been traveling in empties into a massive cavern. It is illuminated by an unearthly green glow that seems to emanate from the stalactites high above you. The light displays a disturbing scene - a graveyard that stretches as far as the eye can see. Burial mounds and gravestones dominate the landscape, but here and there, stone sarcophagi and huge tombs break up the monotony. The dead of all the races of the upper levels have been buried here over countless generations. And somewhere, in one of these final resting places, is the Hero's Graveyard and the Tomb of Kee.
You begin to search. The mounds and graves are endless, but as you move through them, you begin to see patterns. There are graveyards within graveyards here, with huge areas dedicated to the different races that you have met along your journeys. Flags and banners sprout from some graves, tattered and aged, yet still showing the tribal symbols of the Lickspit Kobolds, the Gnashteeth Orcs, the Wolfbrother Goblins, and others. But nothing that would suggest the graveyard of heroes.
You come across an ornate fountain. Once it flowed with water but now it is bone dry and choked with dead black vines. You recall it from the map in the secret library and are able to orient your group in the direction of the Heroes Graveyard. You soon find it and it is huge. And packed. And amazing. A hodgepodge of mounds and barrows, graves and cairns, and here and there, a mausoleum. You have found the haystack. Now it's time to find the needle.
One of your group, a lizard person named Zaraza begins to chant and stamp her feet. Her bone shirt rattles as she casts a spell. She thrusts an arm toward a grave and the body within is instantly disentombed. It lands on its feet and stands there, a thrall waiting for instruction. Zaraza reaches inside her long lizardine mouth and breaks off one of her own teeth. As blood oozes from her mouth she steps forward and pushes the tooth into the mouth of her thrall. “We seek the tomb of Kee” she hisses. “You will lead us to it.” The zombie does as it’s master commands. Soon you stand before a small tomb. It is a simple affair, a stone box with little to distinguish it. There is a ward carved on the door to keep out intruders. The following words are written in strange glyphs that you somehow understand.
"Know ye that whoever enters this tomb is doomed to eternal restlessness, and shall wander this cursed temple ever after."
Zaraza cackles and turns to her undead servant. “Enter the tomb and bring me whatever lies within.” The zombie pushes through the door and can be heard rummaging around. Before long it emerges with something in a rotted leather satchel. Zaraza takes it out and gives it to you. It is an ancient compass, tarnished but still working. Your group erupts in cheer.
Zaraza hisses “Silence. Don’t you feel that? Something has changed.” You look around. The green light coming from the stalactites high above has subtly changed to a darker green. And some of them are starting to change to a dull purple hue. “Look there” Zaraza spits. Skeletal hands are beginning to erupt from the graves around you. They are everywhere.
Stretch Goal #4
Due to limits set by Kickstarter, the story cannot be completed in this space. To read the entire story from the POV of those who roleplayed it, please see the following updates:
The Call to Adventure
The Upper Levels
Escape From The Grande Temple of Jing
Risks and challenges
We believe heartily that a well detailed map and proper book layout is the key to running a great dungeon adventure. As such we will be spending significant time developing the very best layout that we can. It's possible that this process will be more complicated than expected, and potentially delay the project.
Should this, or any delays happen, we'll keep you informed through e-mails and social media.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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