A few torches, and a mountain of courage. That's all it takes to go down into the lands of endless darkness.
This project delivers a full 5th Edition campaign of dark fantasy adventure. It begins with undead plagues upon the surface, and then sends the heroes into the Underworld. Into the hungering dark.
Allied with vampires, the darakhul of the Ghoul Imperium turn their attention to the surface. Emperor Nicoforus the Pale remains wary of further expansion, but others are not satisfied with caution. These ghouls have set plans in motion to gain further control of the surface world and spread their dark religion across the land.
This project delivers a full adventure from levels 1 to 13 that begins with stirrings of ghoul trouble in Zobeck and eventually sends heroes into the Underworld to confront the leaders of the ghoul uprising. And it doesn't stint on the dangers of the Underworld: purple worms, bone collectives, kobold tinkers, otyughs, the derro and their strange madness, and, of course, the ghouls with their baronies and armies, implacable and alien and utterly without pity.
The Empire of the Ghouls for 5th Edition Kickstarter offers three main elements:
1) the Empire of the Ghouls adventure campaign hardcover for the GM, a continuous storyline for an epic adventure from levels 1 to 13, that also includes new undead magic, a detailed tour of the Ghoul Empire, new monsters, and unforgettable villains.
2) an Underworld Player's Guide softcover book of new player options, including new underworld races, new subclasses and tools, backgrounds, and undead-themed spells.
3) a set of additional encounters, the Underworld Lairs. These standalone, single-map adventures are similar to Eldritch Lairs or Creature Codex Lairs. This book will contain between 5 and 12 such encounters, depending on stretch goals.
Together with some book-expanding stretch goals, this project provides new cavernous, dark lairs, character options, and a full campaign to draw adventurers against the dark gods and their minion. Here's an easy reference for all the pledges and rewards.
The core print books (Empire hardcover, Underworld Player's Guide softcover, and the Underworld Lairs softcover) will all be offered as add-ons for those who want more than one copy.
While we always like to throw in one or two other add-ons of interest, offering a larger number of items makes it difficult or impossible to deliver EU-friendly and Canadian-friendly shipping. So we're going to keep it simple.
Additional add-ons may be announced over the course of the project; all add-ons will be available to backers during the Survey phase of the project (so you need not pay for them as part of your initial pledge).
A large and proven creative team has been working on this project since early 2018. The designers on this project include lead designer Richard Green plus contributing designers Chris Lockey, Dan Dillon, Jeff Lee, Jon Sawatsky, Kelly Pawlik, Mike Welham, and Wolfgang Baur. The project editor is Meagan Maricle.
Naturally, the look matters as well. The Kobold Press art director is Marc Radle, and our lead cartographer is Jon Pintar. Our cover artist is Craig J Spearing, and the video also features art by Bryan Syme, Egil Thompson, Roberto Pitturru, and William O'Brien.
We have early stretch goals commissioned by Darrin Drader, Richard Green, Jeff Lee, Jon Sawatsky, Wolfgang Baur, and Kelly Pawlik. (If a particular stretch goal is not funded, it may be published separately.)
This project builds on earlier Ghoul Imperium work by Wolfgang Baur, Scott Gable, and others.
Shipping costs from the US to anywhere outside North America have risen sharply in recent years, so we are once again partnering with groups in Canada and the EU. Kobold Press will pay customs and import duties for those packages, but they will take additional time to ship as they enter the mail system after an additional journey.
Our best guess for those Canada-friendly and EU-friendly costs right now are roughly $24 shipping for Canada and roughly $34 for shipping to the EU. The UK, Norway, Switzerland, and Russia should expect shipping costs of approximately $50. We do not have an Australia estimate yet but anticipate shipping costs of $70 or more; we will not be working with a local partner due to the relatively low volume.
To calculate shipping to your location from the US, you can use the US Postal Service calculator and assume a Medium size flat rate box: https://postcalc.usps.com/
Our goals are primarily about improving the campaign by adding new material to the Lairs book, expanding the lore of the underworld, and providing more player options.
The compiled and unlocked goals are listed first, then the 3 next goals in line. With your help, we hope to unlock everything and provide a rich, dark, and dangerous campaign!
And that exceeds our wildest dreams by a ton! Thank you to all backers for your support!
Risks and challenges
Kobold Press has published over 100 printed books and hundreds of PDF releases in its 13-year history. The main challenges to timely completion have been the loss of designers or artists due to illness or family issues. While there is no guarantee that the team will remain healthy, you'll be kept informed if any such issues come up.
We have a full manuscript for the Empire of the Ghouls campaign currently in editing, and we have designers working on the Player's Guide and Lairs. However, there are always risks, and the largest risk for a small company like Kobold Press is a health issue or personal tragedy for one of our primary contributors, such as the publisher, art director, or lead editor. We can't plan around that, but we have mitigated it by having text and art and maps either complete or assigned.
In addition, our past projects have shown us that overseas manufacturing and shipping to locations outside the US both carry substantial risks, especially with respect to 1) tariffs, brokerage fees, and customs fees, and 2) increases in US postal costs. To address the first we partner with EU and Canadian partners, and we are hedging against the second by charging postage separately in BackerKit.
Based on prior years' trends, we fully anticipate another rate increase by the US Postal Service on January 1, 2020. If it follows past years, it will affect shipping overseas to a larger degree than US shipping, where we expect a more moderate increase in costs. You can find US international postal rates for a 3 pound hardcover to 5 pound multi-volume package here: https://postcalc.usps.com/
In addition, the complexity of international fulfillment mean that overseas rewards will take longer to fulfill than rewards shipped within the US. We strive to make sure they are as timely as possible, but working with overseas partners invariably means that timelines are longer and deliveries more complex.
On the digital side, please note that Roll20® is not responsible for the completion, quality, or timely delivery of this content; it will deliver the associated reward only if and when all digital materials are provided in a timely manner.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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