Conan: Rise of Monsters (Relaunch) (Canceled)
King Conan and the Circle of Iron stand against Thoth-Amon’s rising Legion of Set!
(Sorry for the silence and thanks for your patience. We were working on some game-changing options but they just aren't going to work out. Here's the update we were going to post on Monday.)
It seems clear we haven't managed to put together a package compelling enough for most Kickstarter backers. As we stated on the project's main page, we have financing to manufacture CROM regardless of the amount raised, but given the relatively low number of backers we've decided it's best to move on.
We love our game and are extremely proud of it. It's been a joy to run at game stores and conventions across the country, and we appreciate all the good times we've had with our fellow gamers.
We're also extremely proud of what we accomplished on the miniatures. Time and time again those who looked at the real-life production models at those same stores and conventions have told us how impressed they are with them, then posted their delight on social media.
But ultimately, this kind of product at the price we need to charge given our scale and premium paint work just doesn't seem a good match for Kickstarter. Nor is it possible to offer the kind of discount distribution and retail are used to.
So for that reason, we're going to shut down the project once and for all.
We greatly appreciate YOUR support and constructive comments, and are extremely thankful for all the help we've received from our friends at Conan Properties, Reaper Miniatures, and Ulisses Spiele.
We're fortunate that we can close out the project with every artist, freelancer, and manufacturer paid, and we hope you enjoyed the free game we put up on DTRPG (it will be taken down later this week so take a look while you can--we've updated the Fate Cards with the cool Blood Magic and Rampage boosters you didn't know about too!).
We don't know what will happen with the Reaper resin terrain... please check the Reaper Minis site in the coming weeks for an update.
Finally, we're all extremely fortunate as Robert E. Howard fans that there are so many other great Conan games to play right now. We encourage you to do so to support the overall effort--we've certainly gone all in on them all. :)
Conan: Rise of Monsters is an epic fantasy battle game with high-quality painted, 34mm, hardened PVC figures, fast-play rules, custom dice, and more. The backstory is a brand new tale inspired by Robert E. Howard's original Conan tales and the Marvel and Dark Horse Comics stories and adaptations.
*** UPDATES! ***
UPDATE! The rules and all Fate, Unit, and Terrain Cards will now be translated into French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, and Polish! Right now these will be PDF only. We'll update you if there's any change. Thanks to Pinnacle's translation partners for joining us on our new Pulposaurus project!
UPDATE! We're near a big Stretch Goal that adds a brand new painted MERCENARY unit to every Conqueror Pledge and higher, the Free Companions! See the Second Stretch Goals graphic below, and help us spread the word to get yourself these tough new rowdies!
UPDATE! Our core team received the latest manufacturing quotes here at the Origins game convention and decided that Conan: Rise of Monsters won't be offered through traditional distribution. The nature of our project and the tight margins means it's really a direct-only product. We will work with individual stores sometime after the Kickstarter backers get their orders and offer the Conqueror and Warlord expansion at a "net price" with a suggested retail of $199 each. Individual figure sets will only be offered directly through our website.
We love and support our favorite local gaming stores with all our other games, but it's just not feasible with a project of this nature at the price point we want to maintain.
(Please get the latest update, marked v2 on the Sticky Note on the first page, after about 9pm EST on 6/15! We're at the Origins game convention and updating over wifi is going a little slow!)
Thoth-Amon has assembled the Legion of Set to bring the Serpent God into Hyboria. His sorcerers, swordsmen, and serpents scour the lands, gathering ancient artifacts and destroying the icons of those gods who might oppose their apocalyptic plans.
King Conan has forged an alliance to stop them—the Circle of Iron. His knights, archers, pikemen, and oliphants are all that stand in the way of the dread sorcerer and his dark crusade.
Pulposaurus is part of Pinnacle Entertainment Group, makers of Savage Worlds and Deadlands, and publishers of Robert E. Howard's Savage World of Solomon Kane!
If you're new to Pinnacle, please check out a few of their other 14 Kickstarters here:
Conan: Rise of Monster's design team is:
- Lead Designer: Jack Emmert (City of Heroes, Neverwinter Online)
- Art Director: George Vasilakos (Eden Studios, Zombie Planet)
- Production Director: Timothy Brian Brown (Dark Sun, Ulisses North America Studio Head)
- Creative Director: Shane Hensley (Savage Worlds, Deadlands)
See the Design Team section below for more!
Conqueror Two Player Core Set
The Conqueror pledge comes with everything two players need to play, including 30 painted miniatures, unit cards, custom dice, game tokens, Destiny gems, a Fate Deck of tricks and tactics for each side, two full-color cardboard terrain boards, and the rules!
The Warlord Expansion
The Warlord Expansion adds more unit cards, Destiny gems, Fate Cards, terrain boards, and more top-quality painted miniatures for both sides, including some truly MASSIVE MONSTERS!
The Warlord Expansion also comes with the Fall of Mitra Campaign, a 48 page book of scenarios AND campaign rules that tells the story of Thoth-Amon’s quest to raise Father Set, the destruction of the Temples of Mitra, and King Conan’s creation of the Circle of Iron!
Best of all, it features BRAND NEW material from SAVAGE WORLD OF CONAN CREATOR ROY THOMAS!!! Check the ROY THOMAS section below for more on his involvement!
Early Bird Art Prints
If you're one of the Warlord Early Bird backers, we'll send you TWO art prints featuring Victor Moreno's incredible covers suitable for framing. Mount these two icons of swords and sorcery on your wall, O Prince, and dream of days of high adventure...
Conan: Rise of Monsters has simple core rules but complex strategies so no two battles are ever the same. Here's a quick overview of how it plays... look for more (including videos) at our website, and look for live play videos with brand new players direct from the Origins game convention the week of June 15-18!
Did you miss the announcement above? The entire game is available right now, totally free, at DriveThruRPG! Download the rules, Unit Cards, Terrain Cards, and Fate Cards, grab some of your own minis, and give it a try! Then you can decide if you want to go in for the real thing!
Now let's run through the basics...
We want you to be able to play the game minutes after opening the box. That's why we made a game that's simple to play but complex to master, and more importantly, gives you fully-assembled, professionally painted miniatures right out of the box!
We aren't selling unpainted miniatures...it's not the experience we want to provide and it's not our license. Veteran hobbyists can always add additional highlights and details as they see fit, but we think the vast majority of players will be very happy with the work—our playtesters certainly have been!
Conqueror Production Minis
Here are production versions of the miniatures that come in the Conqueror set so you can see exactly what you're getting. We're working on the Warlord Expansion miniatures now, and will show you the 3D sculpts and production models as they arrive.
Most of the minis are what we call "Games Workshop" size, or around 34mm. The Oliphant and Scion of Set are both a massive 100mm!
Circle of Iron Miniatures
Legion of Set Miniatures
We'll be showing you the Warlord sculpts as they come in and get finalized... here's a sneak peek!
The funding goal of $40,000 is for the extras we want to make for the game, including the Stretch Goals listed below. The true cost of the game is far higher, depending on how many sets we actually make. Pulposaurus and its partners believe strongly in Conan: Rise of Monsters, so we're financing the game along with your help as a backer.
We know most minis games on Kickstarter add additional miniatures to pledges as Stretch Goals, but that isn't feasible for this project given the upfront expense of our painted models. Instead, we've put all the figures available into two very affordable boxes, and are packing as much additional value as we can into accessories that enhance actual gameplay. This includes veteran versions of the units for more variety during play, additional themed Fate cards, story-driven campaigns with surprise events, high-quality cardboard terrain boards with weird effects worthy of a Howard yarn, and a few other surprises we'll unveil along the way!
First Stretch Goals
Here are the first Stretch Goals, please spread the word about our labor of love if you're so inclined and we'll open up even more!
Second Stretch Goals!
We're doing great, and there's SO MUCH MORE TO SHARE! Help us run through these next Stretch Goals and we'll show you what's next!
Add the amounts below to your pledge to add boxed sets, heroes, units, and monsters, or Reaper's official Conan: Rise of Monsters terrain to your order.
We will offer these Add Ons again during the Pledge Manager stage, but we recommend you Add On the money now so you unlock more Stretch Goals!
Add Ons may incur additional shipping, particularly heavier items like Reaper's resin terrain.
Core Box and Dice Add Ons
Want extra copies of the boxed sets or more dice to better savage your foes in one fell swoop? The sages have answered.
Circle of Iron Add Ons
Note that players can field multiple copies of named heroes. In these cases, imagine one is actually King Conan while another may be an an old ally rallying from the cold mountains of Cimmeria.
Legion of Set Add Ons
Players may field multiple copies of Set's champions. A second Akivasha might be another vampiress, for example. Or perhaps Thoth-Amon's chronomancy has triggered some strange and portentous anomaly!
Deluxe Reaper Miniatures Resin Terrain
Our friends at Reaper Miniatures made resin versions of the Cursed Terrain, special landscapes that dot the battlefields of Stygia and beyond that have special effects in the game. We hope to unlock flat terrain board versions via our Stretch Goals that we'll include with every order, but for those who want their battlefields to really stand out, Reaper's high-quality, deluxe castings are a must!
Unlike the miniatures, terrain comes UNPAINTED. It's made in the US of top-quality resin and sculpted by fan-favorites Bobby Jackson, Jason Wiebe, Kevin Williams, and Chris Lewis of Reaper Miniatures. Each terrain piece is hand-poured in the highest quality gray resin to capture the details from the original sculptures and bring the Age of Conan to your battlefield!
Rules for "Cursed Terrain" can be found along with the game rules, Fate Cards, and Unit Cards on DriveThruRPG.com.
Inspiration for Conan: Rise of Monsters comes from Robert E. Howard's original tales as well as the fantastic interpretations by writer and editor Roy Thomas on Savage Sword of Conan, the comic series originally published by Marvel in the '70s and currently sold by Dark Horse Comics.
Accompanied by the art of legendary artists such as Barry Windsor-Smith, Gil Kane, John Buscema, and so many more, Thomas' Conan tales hold up alongside the source material...a tall order as any true fan of Howard's knows!
Pulposaurus' co-founder Shane Hensley said this: “My own writing is heavily influenced by Stephen Crane, Robert E. Howard, and the Marvel crew of the ’70s… Roy Thomas being first and foremost among a team of giants. I think what truly inspires me with Roy’s work is how he and the artists were able to take Howard’s unique style, so flavorful and atmospheric, and not just ‘illustrate’ it, but make something new and different yet somehow more true to the source material. Look at the image of Natohk The Veiled One (the wizard Thugra Khotan in disguise), below. This is one of those key moments where Roy Thomas, John Buscema, and Alfredo Alcala really nailed the power, mystery, and raw excitement of Howard’s world.”
Check out our interview with Roy Thomas here, and look for his work in the Fall of Mitra campaign book!
For those who supported our first Kickstarter for Conan: Rise of Monsters, thanks! We greatly appreciate it, as well as the constructive criticism most gave to make it better this time around.
The original Kickstarter raised over $100K before we canceled it, but we had a problem in the way we structured things we felt wouldn't satisfy ourselves or our backers. We've learned a lot since then and are now ready to plunge back into the fray. We hope you'll join us!
What Happened to the Adrian Smith Miniatures? We've decided to stick with one art style, so we aren't reoffering the Adrian Smith miniatures. Adrian did amazing work, but Victor Moreno's art on this project is absolutely stunning and we want to keep things consistent. Thanks to Adrian for his previous support!
What About Those Who Pledged at GenCon 2015? First, thanks again! You guys and gals saw our miniatures first-hand and posted about their quality on social media. We appreciate it!
If you recall, you were promised the alternative Adrian Smith Conan and Thoth miniatures for pledging there. While this is a new project and a fresh start, we still want to honor and thank you for your earlier support. We'll be contacting each of you separately and offering you credit toward our Add Ons. This is a great way to pick up an extra Oliphant, Devil of the Outer Dark, or whatever YOU choose to get with it. :)
How Come More Miniatures Aren't Stretch Goals? We're offering all the miniatures up front this time, divided into two boxes—the Conqueror core set and the Warlord expansion. The problem with offering the miniatures in the Warlord Expansion as Stretch Goals is a little complicated if you haven't been run a Kickstarter yourself, but here's the situation for those who are interested.
The usual way to get people excited about board and miniature games on Kickstarter is to offer a basic package then add to it as the project is successful until the package becomes too good to pass up.
Most of the games that do this are able to do so because plastic minis on sprues are very inexpensive if you have enough quantity to make the molds in the first place.
Conan: Rise of Monsters high-quality, painted miniatures means a higher cost per miniature (but we think it's still a fantastic bargain!). A typical plastic sprue might cost pennies, but our minis are assembled, painted, vacuum packaged, and come ready to play.
When we followed this model the first time, it was hard to get to the Stretch Goals we accounted for because they were at fairly high levels to actually cover the costs.
That means there's a sweet spot between what we want to be in the box and the price... just like every other non-Kickstarter project out there. Makes perfect sense, right? But since this is Kickstarter and we all want cool Stretch Goals, we decided the best thing for this project is to offer what we think is a fair deal for the game and minis, and then add all the other things we think add tremendous fun to the game. That includes booster sets for each side's Fate Decks, "Cursed Terrain" boards, veteran versions of the unit cards so you can get even more use out of every model, and of course loads of scenarios to reinforce Howard's sense of narrative to your battles.
Thanks in advance for understanding the complexities of running this particular project on Kickstarter!
Other games let you play out Conan's existing adventures, and we love those too. Rise of Monsters tells a new story that Robert E. Howard never told, but we think he would enjoy! Our tale focuses on Thoth-Amon, a compelling character who first appeared in The Phoenix on the Sword and was later the main character of Dark Hose Comics fascinating Book of Thoth.
When we first meet the Stygian sorcerer in The Phoenix on the Sword, Thoth has lost his powerful "Serpent Ring of Set" and become enslaved to an outlaw named Ascalante. The wizard schemed to slay his enslaver and accidentally became entangled with Conan from afar.
Thoth next appeared in The God in the Bowl and The Hour of the Dragon. Once again the two titans fail to meet, but Conan continues to foil Thoth's machinations through his own adventures.
Our Stygian antagonist next appears outside of Howard's official tales in L. Sprague de Camp's Conan the Buccaneer and Conan of Aquilonia. Much like our own backstory to Rise of Monsters, de Camp's tale involves Thoth-Amon attempting to raise the great snake god. Conan stops him, of course, and at the end of that non-canonical series, finishes the struggle with "He was the greatest of all the foes I have overcome. I shall miss the old scoundrel, in a way."
The original idea for Conan: Rise of Monsters came from Shane Hensley, founder of Pinnacle Entertainment Group and creator of Deadlands and Savage Worlds. Shane is a super fan who published the Savage World of Solomon Kane and even attended the 100th anniversary of Howard's birth in Cross Plains, Texas, in 2006.
Shane's love of all things Howard and his friend Jack Emmert's desire to do a great "bronze age" minis game with fantastic monsters seemed a natural fit. The name "Conan: Rise of Monsters" came naturally, and since the acronym was "CROM" the two friends knew they had to make it happen.
The proposal to our long-time friends at Conan Properties was accepted, and Jack Emmert, founder of Cryptic Studios, creative lead of City of Heroes, City of Villains. Champions Online, Star Trek Online, Neverwinter Online, and now Studio Head for Daybreak, began designing the core dice mechanics. Jack re-read every Conan tale, notated the characters, units, and monsters that appeared there, and committed them to his nearly eidetic memory.
Jack also re-read all of Marvel Comics' Savage Sword of Conan, a fantastic resource to see how Roy Thomas and others translated Howard's often intentionally-murky descriptions of strange creatures into the visual medium of comics. (We were very fortunate later on to actually enlist the legendary Roy Thomas' aid on the project! See above!)
Jack and Shane's great friend George Vasilakos, owner of Zombie Planet and Eden Studios, jumped on board to handle the graphic design. George brought on the phenomenal Victor Moreno to handle the art. Victor knocked it out of the park, creating phenomenal images we think redefine Howard's world for a modern audience.
The production of a game like Conan: Rise of Monsters is a massive undertaking. So the final partner, Timothy Brown, creator of Dark Sun and now Studio Head of Ulisses North America, was brought on to wrangle the complicated process of translating the team's wild ideas into an affordable reality.
Darrell Hayhurst, line manager of Torg Eternity, came on board as a designer for the relaunch and graciously ran demos at stores and conventions all over the country. We met Jason Peck and his son Caeden at a livestream demo at one of our favorite local game stores, Games U, and after he became a fantastic playtester and editor.
Reaper Miniatures helped us TREMENDOUSLY, promoting our game and creating the incredible resin scenery found under the Add Ons section. Special thanks to Ron Hawkins and Ed Pugh for their PHENOMENAL support to our little team!
Our Previous Work in Robert E. Howard's Worlds
We told you we were Robert E. Howard fanatics. Shane is particularly fond of Solomon Kane, the puritan adventurer, and published the Savage Worlds version of the roleplaying game through his company, Pinnacle Entertainment Group. Click the picture below if you want to know more.
All of us Conan fans are blessed to live in a world with fantastic comics, figures, statues, and games galore! Drink deep of these treasures, fellow barbarians!
Shipping is calculated by your Pledge Level and location. Click "Back This Project" and enter your information to see the total before you commit to the final pledge.
We have shipping centers in Germany, the US, and Australia. This allows us to assure that we are US, EU, and Australia-friendly. Other locations will be more expensive based on how difficult it is to ship from these three centers. If your country is not included in our shipping list but you think it might be accessible from one of our shipping locations, please contact us and we'll check!
Conan and all related unique characters and locations are © Conan Properties. Used under license.
Hey! Thanks for reading all the way down to the bottom!
Risks and challenges
Our funding goal of $40,000 covers the extras we want to bring you. The real cost of the project is well over half a million dollars, depending on how many sets we wind up making.
Pinnacle and its partners are financing the operation, the game is already designed and has been playtested for over two years, and our manufacturing partner is a solid company with many other published titles. That means the primary risks are international issues we have no control over that might delay production or shipping.
- (20 days)