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About this project

Tyrants & Hellions is a Dungeon Master's aide, containing twelve villains complete with schemes, lairs, backstories, and everything else you need to drop them into your own 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign. Within its 250 pages you'll also find the methods, both mechanical and thematic, used to create villains that spark the imaginations of your players. Finally, the back of the book will contain villainous archetypes, options for every player class if you have a group that wants to take a walk on the evil side.

Every villain in Tyrants & Hellions is designed following the same core principles as the Total Party Kill Handbook and the Trap Compendium: easy to use, minimized prep time, and plenty of scaling options to adjust it to fit your game. In other words, they're Dungeon Master friendly. Your job is hard enough already, let us make it easier.

One of the new scaling features we'll be introducing in Tyrants & Hellions is time. Some groups meet weekly, and can handle a villain with plans that take 10 sessions to come to fruition. Some groups are lucky to meet once a month, and, unless your players take exemplary notes, they're going to forget a few details. The villains in Tyrants & Hellions are written around a midpoint between these two extremes, and have advice for how to scale the villain's schemes so they take longer or get rolling more quickly. The game should fit your group's schedule, not the other way around.

The writer's maxim is "show, don't tell" and we'd like to follow that advice by setting you up with a sample villain from the book: Amunrahx the Intrepid, a Red Dragon Tyrant whose story arc runs from levels 5 to 10. Note that the artwork and formatting here isn't final, and even the written content may change in the final release of the book. Basically, if you like this preview, you'll like the finished book even more.

Click here to get the promo!

Other villains include:

  • Purgos - Once the high wizard of Khorrenthal, Bessadia Silune forsook her humanity to save her people, sealing them in stasis and committing an act of unspeakable evil to become a Lich. She waits until the lost empire can rise again. But as years of undeath sap her sanity and the protective spell begins to weaken, she again turns to drastic measures to stave off extinction for her people.
  • The Silver Knight - A champion of the orcs, the Silver Knight is an immortal hero blessed with divine power. None know the origin of this hellion, as every time one is struck down, another rises up mere days later. Each one wields the same axe and wears the same shining armor, both far beyond the forging capability of even master artisans.
  • Whim - A doppelganger who you can retroactively weave into the backstories of your players' characters, Whim thrives on manipulating and tricking the "statics" (those who can't shapeshift) of the world. Shapeshifting is a primal joy for Whim, and your players may find some of their closest friends and family have been impersonated by the devious doppleganger. Whim may not stay their enemy forever, but even if diplomacy prevails, a shapeshifter is mercurial in form and temperament.

Like with our previous Kickstarter campaign for The Total Party Kill Handbook, we're reaching out to you to help make Tyrants & Hellions the best it can be. If you pledge at the Adventurer level or higher, you'll be able to vote on community-submitted villains for inclusion in the book. Everyone pledging at the Storyteller level or higher will be able to both vote on villains and submit villains to the Rogues' Gallery. We'll take the top-voted idea and adapt it into one of the villains featured in Tyrants & Hellions, crediting you as the original creator!

To make Tyrants & Hellions a truly indispensable companion for the busy Dungeon Master, we'll be adding The Villainous Workshop to the book. This 20+ page section offers insight into the design process for all the villains in Tyrants & Hellions, built to inspire and help you design your own nefarious foes. Here's a quick preview of the building blocks for villainy:

  • Introductions - A general returns from war, victorious over a hated enemy. A hero to the people, he seizes power, declaring himself emperor!
  • Goals - Her homeland has been ravaged by civil war long enough, it is time to unite the factions. If strength of arms is all they respect, so be it.
  • Schemes - The heir to the throne is weak-willed and easy to manipulate, it's time the monarch was removed so a more cooperative ruler can take charge.
  • Lairs - A flying tower, suspended on a cloud, which can conjure a lethal lightning storm once every month.
  • Artifacts - A dragonslayer's longbow which deals incurable wounds to any true dragon its arrows strike.
  • Aftermath - The villain's army descends into pillaging and looting, disintegrating into groups of bandits. Any surviving Lieutenants declare themselves leaders of these splinter factions, battling for what scraps remain.

You'll also find a class-specific plot hook section with twelve tables, each offering eight ways to engage players of every class. These are loose concepts, meant to provide the starting point for an adventure. If you have killer content and you aren't sure how to get your players over there, this is how to do it. Some examples include:

  • Fighter - A powerful warrior finds a cursed weapon, which compels him to seek out stronger and stronger opponents until he is beaten by a worthy foe. He challenges the fighter to single combat. If the fighter wins, the weapon leaps into his or her hand, giving them the same curse. A spell can free the fighter from the curse, but what is to be done with the blade?
  • Monk - While meditating, the monk begins to hear two voices. One voice begs the monk for help at a remote location, the other warns them to stay away. After a week, the voices stop.
  • Warlock - The warlock's patron goes silent for several days, leaving them unable to recover spell slots. When the silence ends, their patron has been usurped by another entity, one with a far harsher contract. The warlock has one week to agree to the new terms or face dire consequences. Of course, they could travel to the patron's home and make an appeal...

The last section in Tyrants & Hellions is villainous archetypes, introducing a brand new archetype for every class in the Player's Handbook. Much like the Death domain for Clerics, and the Oathbreaker archetype for Paladins, sometimes your players want to make a character that walks on the dark side. You can also use these to make villainous NPCs using player classes. Here's a teaser:

  • Sorcerer: Bloodcaster - They all know sorcery is in the blood. You know how to extract every last drop of magical power from yours.
  • Warlock: Celestial Pact - What could be more evil than stealing the power of an angel and using it for your own ends? Not all pacts benefit the patron.
  • Druid: Circle of the Woad - Balance must be maintained. Civilization has grown too fast and too far, you will keep it in check. You will level cities with nature's fury.

Everyone can find something to love in Tyrants & Hellions. Beginning Dungeon Masters can run the villains exactly as they are in the book, giving you balanced, interesting, and engaging opponents for your players without you having to spend hours preparing for your game. Experienced Dungeon Masters can slice, dice, and rearrange the villains, taking the ideas you like most and adapting them to take your game to the next level.

Tyrants & Hellions is the result of decades of tabletop gaming experience across multiple game systems, distilling the elements of successful villains created by the entire 2CGaming team into a single resource. You can reap the rewards of our hard work.

In short, if you want to spend less time prepping and more time playing, this book is for you.

 Here you'll find detailed descriptions of each reward tier, explaining exactly what you'll get if you pledge at that level.

At the Supporter level, you're giving out of pure generosity. You want this project to succeed, and you have our deepest thanks for your support. You'll get all the updates so you can follow along with the project and enjoy behind the scenes previews of development.

Adventurers carry only what they need. At this level you'll receive a digital PDF of Tyrants & Hellions as soon as it's ready. The first 50 backers can pledge at the Early Bird Adventurer level for $5 off, as our way of saying thanks for being among the first to support this project.

You'll also be able to vote on villains in the Rogues' Gallery, which is a community-based selection process determining the twelfth and final villain in Tyrants & Hellions.

Nothing says Storyteller like cracking open a fine tome. If you want a physical copy of Tyrants & Hellions, this is the tier for you. You'll get a hardcover book shipped directly to you, as well as the digital PDF as soon as it's finished.

Shipping costs will be collected after the Kickstarter campaign concludes, as discussed later on in our Shipping section, but you can expect them to be a lot lower than our previous Kickstarters because we're printing locally in several countries around the world.

Finally, not only can you vote on villains in the Rogues' Gallery, but we'll be counting on backers at the Storyteller tier and above to provide villains themselves! You can submit villains to the Rogues' Gallery and the community will decide which one they most want to see come to life in Tyrants & Hellions.

LIMIT OF 15 BACKERS

You don't just want to get the book, you want to be a part of it! At the Valiant Hero level, you'll get all the rewards of the Storyteller pledge tier: the physical book, the digital PDF, and the ability to submit your villain ideas to the Rogues' Gallery. On top of all that, you'll tell us about one of your favorite tabletop RPG characters, and we'll write them into the book! 

You can make requests for how to include them, depending on whether you want your character to be an ally of the players or a lieutenant to a villain, but ultimately we can't make any promises. When we offered this reward for The Total Party Kill Handbook, we were able to make every request happen, and we're hoping to do the same for Tyrants & Hellions!

LIMIT OF 15 BACKERS

For the best first impression, look no further than the Deluxe Storyteller pledge tier. You get all the rewards of the Valiant Hero tier: physical book, digital PDF, submitting villains to the Rogues' Gallery, and a written reference of your favorite character.

But your book will be special. Backers at the Deluxe Storyteller level receive a premium copy of Tyrants & Hellions printed on 70 lb premium paper with a gloss cover. These books will never be retailed, provided only to Kickstarter backers, pre-orders, and occasional special-event giveaways.

LIMIT OF 5 BACKERS

So, you want to blow your players' minds? This is your pledge tier. At the Lord of Villains reward level, you'll get all the benefits of the previous tiers: deluxe physical book on 70lb premium paper with glossy cover, digital PDF, the options to submit villains to the Rogues' Gallery, and a written reference to your character.

You'll also get the chance to meet with the 2CGaming team via Skype (or another virtual platform like Google Hangouts) and put us to work on your home campaign. Bring us an idea for a villain, an encounter, a dungeon, or even an entire campaign, and we'll work with you for up to 2 hours to make it awesome. Then you can take it to your table and watch your players' jaws drop. 

LIMIT OF 1 BACKER

Do your villains make players quake with fear? Do they shatter worlds and laugh at feeble heroes who attempt to stop them? Are their backstories so tragic and heart wrenching they make angels weep? Become a true Mastermind and add your villain to the Tyrants & Hellions retinue.

At this level you'll receive all the benefits of the Deluxe Storyteller tier: a deluxe copy of Tyrants & Hellions, the digital PDF, and a written reference to your character.

But most importantly of all, you'll develop a concept for a villain alongside the 2CGaming team, meeting up via Skype (or other virtual platform) for a series of calls to turn it from idea to polished antagonist. You'll be involved every step of the way as we bring your villain to life. When it's done it will be included in the book, and we'll unleash it on the world in the finished Tyrants & Hellions for everyone to marvel at.

 

Art Expansion I: Additional Sketches - $21,000

At this level above our funding goal, we can pick up another black and white illustration from the brilliant Ambrose Hoilman for every villain, including any we unlock through stretch goals. At $21,000 we can add one extra piece of art to every villain in the book providing visual aides to their backstory and schemes.

The 13th Villain - $22,500

A baker's dozen. The legend of Ravilvost, the Apex Dragon will be included as the 13th villain in Tyrants & Hellions. Want a taste of a very high-level Archvillain? Ravilvost will terrorize your 17th to 20th level party.

Art Expansion II: Amazing Maps! - $24,500 

Every $250 you pledge above our previous stretch goal gets us a map by the legendary cartographer Tommi Salama. At a total of $24,500 we can get one of these maps for every villainous lair in Tyrants & Hellions!

Two More Villains! - $27,500

This is the big one. Once we've unlocked extra art to make the book look gorgeous, we can start adding more villains. For every $3,000 you pledge above our previous stretch goal, we'll add another pair of villains to Tyrants & Hellions. This new villain will include all of the Art Expansions unlocked to this point (and beyond) in addition to all the standard bells and whistles.

We'll start off with a pair of Hellions: Hex, the Minotaur Lord and Jibblinplip, the Continential Ooze.

More to come...

If we get even more support from you, we'll keep building on and adding to this project to make sure it's the absolute best it can be.

We've got some very exciting news on this front. The printer we're working with, IngramSpark, has printing facilities all around the world, including Europe, and Australia. This means as many books as possible that we print as part of this Kickstarter will be printed and shipped locally, saving you a ton of money. In most areas, fulfillment will be handled through Amazon, and in areas where Amazon doesn't offer that service, we'll make alternate arrangements.

Shipping fees from locations other than the US will be collected through BackerKit after the Kickstarter campaign ends. This means we can charge you exactly what it will cost to ship a book to you, no more, and help save you even more money. Here are our estimated shipping costs for non-US locations based on a 3 lb. book:

  • Canada - $7
  • United Kingdom - $7
  • Other EU - $7
  • Australia - $7

How awesome is that? Those are the estimated maximum cost of shipping, so depending on where you live in those countries, you may pay even less than that to get your book. If you live somewhere not listed and want a shipping estimate, you can contact us directly via a message or leave a comment, and we'll provide one.

Because 2CGaming is a small company, we can't afford to keep our books warehoused internationally, so this low shipping rate is only available as part of this Kickstarter, as well as for any books pre-ordered before the book's release. After Tyrants & Hellions is released, all books will be shipped from our HQ in the U.S., meaning international shipping will be close to $20.

 

Fresh from the word mines where he unearthed the Total Party Kill Handbook and the Trap Compendium, Steven Gordon is back to bring a true gallery of nefarious rogues to life in Tyrants & Hellions. With four published 5th Edition books under his belt and close to two decades of Tabletop RPG experience behind him, he's ready to make Tyrants & Hellions amazing.

Also returning from the Total Party Kill Handbook team is Ambrose H. Hoilman, artist extraordinaire. One of two character artists on the team, Ambrose will be responsible for bringing the humanoid villains of Tyrants & Hellions to life, giving you inspiration and your players something to fear.

Ambrose is a freelance illustrator from Western North Carolina. He has been working as a freelance illustrator full time for the last two years. For almost a decade before that, he worked as an illustrator and graphics specialists for a cultural resource management company.

Check out his work at ambrosehh.com

The second villainous artist, Damon Westenhofer will be focusing on the monstrous creatures of Tyrants & Hellions, making dragons and demons leap off the page and right into your players' worst nightmares.

Look into his work at: http://www.damonwestenhofer.com/

John Cason - Formatter

The man with the plan, John Cason is behind the gorgeous layout and style in the Trap Compendium and Epic Legacy. He's lending his hand to Tyrants & Hellions to design its visual theme and make sure it's as easy to read as it is good to look at.

As 2CGaming's Founder, Jon Kelly keeps the wheels spinning smoothly both in front of and behind the scenes, coordinating schedules, overseeing project development, and making sure things are done on-time and with exceptional quality.

2CGaming is a small company and we're committed to doing it right, or not doing it at all. Put another way, we can't afford to make projects there's no demand for, and Kickstarter helps us guarantee there's an audience for projects we create. 

Everyone on the 2CGaming team strongly believes in paying our writers and artists a fair wage for the work they do, and Kickstarter helps us raise the funds to do that. We also want to be open and transparent about how we're using the funds this Kickstarter aims to raise. To that end, we've prepared a budget spreadsheet which details exactly how every dollar will be spent. 

You can review that here: Budget Sheet

The pie chart below provides a broad overview of how we're allocating funding for the project.

If you any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please send us a message or leave a comment. We love hearing from you.

Risks and challenges

2CGaming has now successfully delivered on two Kickstarters: the Total Party Kill Handbook and the Domes of Ishaq-Zahur. Distinct from these, we've also published six additional titles. We've learned a lot along the way, and there's no reason to expect any problems delivering Tyrants & Hellions on schedule.

Our previous project on Kickstarter, City of Sands, is still in development, but the timelines for these projects aren't going to overlap in a meaningful way. Steven will be finished with his writing work on City of Sands by the time this Kickstarter concludes on May 1st, leaving him free to focus on Tyrants & Hellions, and City of Sands will be edited, formatted, and released by the time the writing is done for Tyrants & Hellions, allowing the editors, artists, and formatters to focus on one project at a time. Those of you following both projects closely will also notice very minimal overlap in artists between the projects. The teams are almost completely independent.

That said, surprises may happen. Projects like this involve a lot of moving parts, and something might go wrong somewhere. We're confident we can resolve any problems that occur with development, production, or shipping, and keep delays minimal. 2CGaming is committed to delivering an awesome product on-time.

As always, questions are appreciated! If you have any concerns, reach out to us with comments here on Kickstarter or on our website www.2cgaming.com/contact

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    Be a part of the story! Tell us about your favorite D&D character and we'll write you into Tyrants & Hellions. You might be a veteran hero the players need to seek out for information, a reanimated bodyguard of an evil Lich, or a sentient sword buried in a dragon's hoard!

    You also get the physical book! You will receive a hardcover copy of Tyrants & Hellions, as well as a Digital PDF. You can vote and submit villains to the Rogues Gallery!

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    You want the best, and you'll get it. The deluxe print edition of Tyrants & Hellions is printed on 70 lb premium paper with a gloss cover, giving it that extra flash and style to make it look great at the table and stand out on your shelf.

    You also get a written reference, we'll include your favorite D&D character in the book. Finally, in addition to the deluxe hardcover copy of Tyrants & Hellions, you'll get the Digital PDF as well, and you can vote and submit villains to the Rogues Gallery!

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    Put the team to work! At this pledge level you get to leverage the 2CGaming design team to help you create an awesome villain for your own game. You'll submit an idea, whether it's a fully fleshed out idea or a rough concept, and then meet up with the team via Skype to discuss and refine it into something amazing.

    In addition, we'll write either your favorite character or your newly created villain into Tyrants & Hellions as a written reference.

    You also get the physical book! You will receive a hardcover copy of Tyrants & Hellions, as well as a Digital PDF. You can vote and submit villains to the Rogues Gallery!

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    If you want to leave your mark on the world, this is for you. Work with the 2CGaming team to design an awesome villain guaranteed to be included in Tyrants & Hellions. This reward involves a series of Skype calls, so be ready to pitch your idea!

    You'll also receive a physical book, a digital PDF, and your favorite D&D character will be written into the story of the villain you create!

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