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A queer RPG about community and connection in a haunted roadside apocalypse!
557 backers pledged $10,127 to help bring this project to life.

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$10,127

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Dust Wardens: A Queer RPG of Community and Connection in a Haunted Roadside Apocalypse

Art from the Dust Wardens cover by Anna Landin
Art from the Dust Wardens cover by Anna Landin

What is Dust Wardens?

At its core, Dust Wardens is about bonds. It's about polyamory and queer families and safe havens in a world that wants to hurt us. It's about seeing problems that others refuse to solve and taking the matters into our own hands. In this game, we will take on the role of the titular Dust Wardens, people bound together by a force called Limerence which allows us to draw upon potent magical powers.

How does it play?

Dust Wardens has a similar structure to powered by the apocalypse games, with the caveat that there are no playbooks, and it uses a tarot deck instead of dice.

Characters in Dust Wardens have four stats:

Guts measures your forcefulness and how comfortable you are enacting your will on others.

Glamour measures your dramaturgy and how comfortable you are putting yourself on display for others to see.

Guile measures your cunning and how comfortable you are manipulating others.

Give measures your tenderness and how comfortable you are acknowledging other people's struggles.

When you do something that corresponds to one of the Basic Actions or would be cause for a moment of tension, you draw a number of cards equal to the stat that most closely aligns with the action being taken. The outcome of your action is determined by the value of the highest card drawn:

  • 2-5: You suffer a major setback and don’t accomplish your goal.
  • 6-10: You succeed at a cost or face a difficult choice.
  • Face: You succeed, gaining exactly the outcome you wanted.

Ace cards and Major Arcana cards are special cases:

  • Aces: You succeed, and activate a special ability based on the Ace drawn.
  • Major Arcana: When you draw a Major Arcana, something weird and magical happens. Additionally, if the card is upright, treat it as a face. If it's reversed, consider it a 2. Interpret the card as a group, and decide on its consequence together.

Additionally, you'll swear Vows to each other at character creation. These inform your party dynamics, and are also a crucial part of creating your Coven together. Your magic is powered by love and trust, so upsetting the balance between members of your Coven may have dire consequences! On the other hand, if you work together and hold each other in your hearts, even miracles are possible...

So what's the money for?

Dust Wardens is, essentially, complete. It's currently on its seventh revision, and is awaiting contractor writing, some layout work, and a cover. Primarily, the money from this Kickstarter will be for paying for that labor, as well as ordering and shipping physical copies of the game.

  • $750: kickstarter fees and "just in case" money
  • $250: self compensation
  • $1500: budget for contractor writing and layout
  • $1000: producing and shipping the Zine Edition through Strikethrough Press
  • $2000: producing and shipping  the Book Edition

All money beyond that which is needed to pay for contractors and fulfilment will go to myself, because I need to pay rent.

What are your rates?

All contractor writing and layout will be compensated at a rate of 40 cents per word.

Stretch Goals

For every $1,500 beyond the goal, all contractor rates increase by ten cents a word.

Who's on the team?

My name is Nora Blake (she/her & zi/zin), and I'm a podcaster and game designer and one half of Happy Rebel Tapestries! I have been working on Dust Wardens for just shy of two years now, and I'm very excited to bring it to the public eye! 

Here are some examples of my work!

  •  Facade, a Sparked by Resistance RPG about vampires and the pressures they live under in a society that marginalizes and exoticizes them
  •  Seeds of Rebellion, an anti-fascist RPG of emotion and memory magic
  •  Delver by Happy Rebel Tapestries, a surrealist dreamscape RPG of meaning-making and dungeon crawling

I've also contributed to a number of RPG Kickstarters in the past, including:

  • The Hunted playbook from Interstitial: Our Hearts Intertwined by Riley Hopkins
  • The Zalmoxis playset from Thirteen Demon Princes by Taylor LaBresh
  • The Fallen playbook from Exodus by Erika Shepherd

I'm also joined by a number of fantastic contractors!!

Natalie the Knife (she/her) is a tremendous designer with an eye for delicate and specific writing. You may know her as the other half of Happy Rebel Tapestries. She'll be contributing a chapter about safety at the table and what it means to keep each other's wellbeing in mind when we sit down to play together.

Sasha Reneau (they/them) is a spectacular artist and designer who excels at stirring and evocative language. You may know them as the creator of Spindlewheel. They'll be contributing a tarot glossary to help interpret Major Arcana cards at the table and make sure your game stays weird and magical even if you don’t know tarot!

Erika Shepherd (she/her) is a wonderful writer and designer whose passion and earnestness are a constant inspiration of mine. You may know her as the creator of Exodus. She’ll be contributing a chapter about road trips and vulnerability and what it means to put yourself in the hands of your companions and the people you meet along the way.

Risks and challenges

One way or another, the game is coming out. It's done, so the only hurdles to get past are final layout and actually printing the books.

That said, Kickstarters are never a guarantee! Life can always find a way to complicate things in unforeseen ways.

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Funding period

- (30 days)