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Five tabletop roleplaying games set in the twisted world of the immortal and unknowable black monk, who offers salvation… at a price.
Five tabletop roleplaying games set in the twisted world of the immortal and unknowable black monk, who offers salvation… at a price.
301 backers pledged $18,435 to help bring this project to life.

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The Black Monk is a series of five games set in a strange fantasy world where time means nothing anymore. Each game is set in a unique part of a desolate world, with strange characters passing the time until the Black Monk visits.

In between these visits, the character's lives are interrupted by sometimes trivial and other times confusing events. Everything seems to fit together like an elongated jigsaw puzzle, but no one can see the starter pieces stretching across the horizon.

But they don’t complain. There is always more work. The village needs workers.

Then one evening, the sun stayed in the sky all day. When there should have been night, the sun remained. And now it feels as though it’s been years since the Black Monk came. But perhaps it was yesterday. Nothing is right…

Is that blood?

The first Black Monk game was written a year ago and is available online. For completion's sake, it is available through this kickstarter as well.

 

In The Black Monk, Sunrise End the characters live in a desolate, but vibrant world where time seems to have lost meaning. Living for decades, perhaps longer, in isolation from others, the people of Gallow’s Dawn toil in work, visited often by a mysterious and powerful figure known as the Black Monk.

Whenever the Black Monk visits, the sun disappears and night falls over the village. Whenever the Black Monk leaves, the sun reappears and hangs in the sky for days on end. While the sun is still there, there is work to be done. And when the sun disappears, the people of Gallow’s Dawn can rest.

But the people of Gallow’s Dawn want neither work, nor rest. They want an end to this seemingly meaningless cycle of tedium and punishment. The Black Monk is neither wicked, nor fair. He just is. A thing that predates the valley. A thing that predates reason.

Is that the sun returning?

 

People can come and go as they please, but why would they want to. Thornwood is paradise. Granted, the Thornwood Beast haunts the forest just outside the village. But if you avoid the forest, you’re fine. No harm can come to those who just do their work and enjoy the fruits of eternity.

But stories have began that a figure known as the Black Monk has been traveling the countryside. Sometimes his visits bring sickness. Other times redemption. No one has ever heard of him before, so these are obviously rumors. Who would dare interrupt paradise?

Why is the sun fading?

 

In The Black Monk, Oubliette the characters live inside a dark monastery that’s been turned into a self-made prison. It’s name is Absalom, home to roughly 100 people, all living in fear of the outside world.

The outside world. Desolate. A place where time has lost all meaning. A place where a host of unimaginable monsters dwell, including the undying Black Monk. A vile man bent on keeping the inhabitants of Absalom alive just long enough to drive them insane.

Whenever the Black Monk visits, the sun disappears and night falls over the valley. The people retreat to the monastery. Whenever the Black Monk leaves, the sun reappears and hangs in the sky for days on end. For hours after, the residents remain, fearing a surprise return of the Black Monk.

Inside, the hours drag on. Endlessly. It’s cold. Is this eternity? Or damnation?

How are there shadows inside the darkness?

 

It’s been ages since the Black Monk visited and the people of Witherfall  built a tower in preparation for his return. They no longer fear his reprisals and sudden turns of mood. They have readied themselves.

There will be no more suffering.

The sun is fading now. The torches are lit, the boiling oil and defensive machinery are ready. It’s only a matter of time before the Black Monk is finally sundered and returned to the ether.

Is that an army of shadows he brings with him? Or just more damned?

 

Black Monk, and all its extensions, utilize an innovative game system called Praxis.

Praxis is GMless gaming at its best, offering player motivations, and broad outlines that allow you to take a deep dive into the characters without distracting, overt maneuvering.

Everything is character driven. You and your fellow gamers, are characters inside the story and authors outside the story. You create scenes based on your individual character wants and needs. If you succeed at a milestone, you move forward in the story along one path. If you fail, your side effects (trepidation) open story pathways in another direction.

Everything you need for your specific character is on a character sheet like this one.

Each player receives a unique character sheet to build their characters. Each sheet provides world building questions, character motivations, relationships with others, names, quirks, abilities, and so on. It acts as a guide encouraging players to fully flesh out the “world” their characters inhabit and since no two sheets are the same and much of the play centers on how your character interacts with the others in the game, it virtually guarantees that no two gaming experiences are the same. Ever.

Black Monk is 96 pages long, complete with all the rules, advice, and character sheets needed to play.

This project is 99% complete, with the exception of game 6 and the omnibus. Within a month of the project funding, I hit the print book button and ship your game. Don't expect any long-winded updates about the project being delayed. Because it's done. The day the project ends, I hit send and your book gets printed and shipped.

(Or we can exchange the hostage in a parking lot, somewhere.)

You are buying a finished game. A progressive step in GMless games. A project that I'm really proud of.

I love playing these games.

 

At $1000, all five games fund and I send out PDFs and books to all the backers. However, if we get further along, the following additional character (and stretch goals) are given to backers for free based on their pledge level.

Each game already comes with six characters.

The Homunculus from book 2 and the Green Manalishi from book 3.

The Red Pope from book 4 and the Rat Fiend from book 5.

The Doomfairy from book 2 and the Thornwood Beast from book 3.

The Chimeric Gargouille from book 4 and the Rat King from book 5.

 

The Embalmer from book 2 and the Dryad from book 3.

 The Sexton from book 4 and the Golem from book 5

This is the big stretch goal. At this level, I release a 6th game in the series, along with both of it's advanced character classes: the Cyclops and the Lord of Locusts. No details about this game are being revealed at this time. I will reveal the game title when we reach this level.

I also make quick-reference scene cards available with all the scene types defined in handy cards that you can place on the table for players. More on this later.

 

The TBN from book 2 and the Judas Lantern from book 3

The Bailiff from book 4 and the Sculptor from book 5

I create and offer the Black Monk omnibus: all six games in one book. Backers have the option of getting a hardcover version that would never be available once the kickstarter concludes.

Two additional free characters for use in ANY black monk game. TBD.

Character compendium created, which I think is essentially what people wanted from the omnibus. All 40+ characters in one PDF package. Free to backers of $33 or more. A book of characters will also be created, but not for free. More on this in the coming months.

Seriously, if we make it this far, I'll have to do something amazingly cool. Maybe a 7th black monk game. Yes. I'm already brainstorming another story.

cover art (Black Monk 2) by Paolo Nagase Rotelli

character art by Juan Ochoa

voice over by Simon Taylor

music by Erik Carl

 

Risks and challenges

There are few risks, if any. The games are written and the art is done. If the kickstarter is overly successful and I there are more characters or art to do, it's only a matter of time to complete them. I've run over a dozen kickstarters and everyone always gets their games.

Note: I do not use BackerKit. I will never use BackerKit. I will never change shipping prices on you. I will never sell your information.

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $9 or more About $9

    Black Monk 1 PDF

    I missed the last project. Please send me this game that I can get for $10 on drivethrurpg for $1 less. Please!

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    Pledge $9 or more About $9

    Black Monk 2 PDF

    I have Black Monk 1 and I don't think 3 through 5 are going to be any good. Please send me sunrise end (PDF) and all the stretch goals that come with it.

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    Pledge $17 or more About $17

    Black Monk 2 and 3 PDF

    Okay. I really don't want Black Monk 2, but I guess I have to buy it to get #3. Please send me the PDFs for sunrise end and ignorant sun. Plus the stretch goals. I deserve them.

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    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    Black Monk 1 Book

    I don't have the first game. I mean, I could go buy it online, but I'd rather make you do all the work. So. Send me the printed book and the PDF. And some stretch goal stuff, too. Me me me!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Black Monk 2, 3, and 4 PDF

    I like the idea of owning numerous Black Monk games, but not all of them. That last one is clearly an afterthought. Pfft. Towers. Who wants that? Send me the PDFs of sunrise end, ignorant sun, and oubliette. And all the sweet stretch goals.

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    Pledge $33 or more About $33

    Black Monk All PDFs

    All of the PDFs. Including #6 if the game gets that far. And the stretch goals. And don't forget my combo sized upgrade. The macho drink is free, mr. pinto.

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    Pledge $68 or more About $68

    Black Monk Books 2 to 5

    I already have the first game. I don't need another one. Just give me all the new stuff. Now!

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    Pledge $80 or more About $80

    Black Monk Books All

    I don't have any of these games. And I want them all. Books 1 to 5. Softcover editions, please. And the PDFs. And all the stretch goals. And a pony.

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    Pledge $120 or more About $120

    Black Monk Books All (Hardback)

    I see you're not doing a 2 to 5 hardcover reward tier. Kind of sick of making so many to keep track of, huh? I hear you. No worries. I'll buy all five of them in hardcover. Thanks.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Omnibus + Softcover

    The tier ships in two stages. The Black Monk softcover books 1 through 5 ship in stage 1 this year. The hardcover omnibus ships sometimes next year when it's completed. The omnibus is only sold through this Kickstarter. It will never be available again, EXCEPT, in the likelihood that I kickstart more Black Monk games. This assures that only people who back the black monk have access to this project. I reserve the right to keep a few copies for myself. Shipping costs are covered in this pledge level.

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Omnibus + Hardcover

    The tier ships in two stages. The Black Monk hardcover books 1 through 5 ship in stage 1 this year. The hardcover omnibus ships sometimes next year when it's completed. The omnibus is only sold through this Kickstarter. It will never be available again, EXCEPT, in the likelihood that I kickstart more Black Monk games. This assures that only people who back the black monk have access to this project. I reserve the right to keep a few copies for myself.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Everything, Ever

    Everything on this list. Softcover. Hardcover. PDFs. Stretch goals, plus over a hundred PDFs and a dozen other books from post world games online store. Buried in games.

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Funding period

- (30 days)