About this project
Here's a super fun graphic covering the revealed stretch goals!
UNLOCKED! Story Pack PDF 1
A pdf containing three single-session adventures written by Bruce Cordell, Chris Pramas, and Steve Winter.
UNLOCKED! Tombs of the Desolation PDF
The first setting expansion for Shadow of the Demon Lord, this 16-page pdf reveals the toxic hellscape that spawns hordes of undead, the death lords who control them, and the black pyramids that drift across the dunes. This expansion includes player and GM content.
UNLOCKED! Upgraded Rulebook
Shadow of the Demon Lord is now a 160-page full-color softcover book filled with everything you need to play and run the game. Backers at $24 and higher also get a 32-page pdf expansion.
UNLOCKED! Short Story by Richard Lee Byers!
An all-new short story written by author Richard Lee Byers.
UNLOCKED! Story Pack PDF 2
A pdf contain three single-session adventures written by Ken Hite, Steve Kenson, and Steve Townshend!
UNLOCKED! Alfheim PDF
The second setting expansion for Shadow of the Demon Lord, this 16-page pdf reveals the twisted hidden kingdom of the faerie folk. In its pages, you will discover the court of the Faerie Queen, a look a some of the bizarre denizens, and gain new player options.
UNLOCKED! Short Story by Erin M. Evans!
A brand new short story set in the world of the Demon Lord.
UNLOCKED! Story Pack PDF 3
A set of three single-session adventures written by Monte Cook, Shane Hensley, and T.S. Luikart! Unlocks when funding reaches $60,000.
UNLOCKED! Cults of the Demon Lord PDF
The third setting expansion for Shadow of the Demon Lord, this 16-page pdf supplement reveals some of the most insidious and dangerous cults at large in the ruins of the Empire. In addition to setting information and an adventure, this supplement offers additional player content. Unlocks when funding reaches $65,000.
UNLOCKED! Upgraded Rulebook
Shadow of the Demon Lord becomes a 192-page, full color, hardcover. You know you want this. Unlocks when funding reaches $70,000.
UNLOCKED! Short Story by Erik Scott de Bie!
An all-new short story set in the world of the Demon Lord! Unlocks when funding reaches $75,000.
UNLOCKED! Story Pack PDF 4
A set of three single-session adventures written by Rich Baker, Jason Bulmahn, and Miranda Horner! Unlocks when funding reaches $80,000.
UNLOCKED! HELL PDF
The fourth setting expansion for Shadow of the Demon Lord, this 16-page pdf reveals the Pit of Hell, a place that exists within the world of the Demon Lord and one filled with corrupted faeries, forgotten gods, and the souls of the Damned. This expansion includes new player options, including the Cambion ancestry, an adventure, and the setting information you need to create your own adventures set here. Unlocks when funding reaches $85,000.
UNLOCKED! Short Story 4 by Elizabeth Bear
An all-new short story set in the world of the Demon Lord! Unlocks when funding reaches $90,000.
UNLOCKED! Story Pack PDF 5
A set of three single-session adventures written by Scott Fitzgerald Gray, David Noonan, and Stephen Radney-MacFarland! Unlocks when funding reaches $95,000.
UNLOCKED! Upgraded Rulebook & Short Story by William King!
The Shadow of the Demon Lord rulebook becomes a 256-page hardcover (including the extra 32 pages from killing 20 achievements). Also, we get a new short story set in the world of the Demon Lord by William King! Unlocks when funding reaches $100,000.
UNLOCKED! Short Story 5 by James Lowder
An all-new short story set in the world of the Demon Lord! Unlocks when funding reaches $105,000.
UNLOCKED! The Frozen Wastes PDF
The fifth setting expansion for Shadow of the Demon Lord, this 16-page pdf reveals the the frozen wastelands south of the Empire, a vast realm infested with giants, trolls, and the corpse of a dead god, whose dreams awaken terrors in the ice. This expansion includes new player options, including the Jotun ancestry, an adventure, and the setting information you need to create your own adventures set here. Unlocks when funding reaches $110,000.
UNLOCKED! World of the Demon Lord 1
The first print supplement describes a new world for the Demon Lord's conquest. The 64-page expansion presents an apocalyptic wasteland where survivors struggle to find water, gasoline, and medical supplies, while fleeing from cannibal gangs, demons, and monsters spawned from nightmare. The product includes rules for modern vehicles, an assortment of new gear, and an adventure that showcases this scorched world's awesome features. If you dig demons, Mad Max, and deadly car chases, this expansion is for you! Unlocks when funding reaches $115,000.
UNLOCKED! Story Pack PDF 6
A set of three single-session adventures written by Cam Banks, Chris Sims, and Skip Williams! Unlocks when funding reaches $120,000.
UNLOCKED! Horrors of the Void PDF
The sixth setting expansion for Shadow of the Demon Lord, this 16-page pdf reveals the endless Void, the darkness between realities. Explore the wreckage of countless worlds drifting through the infinite dark. This expansion includes new player options, such as the incarnation ancestry (formerly angel), an adventure, and the setting information you need to create your own adventures in this terrifying place. Unlocks when funding reaches $125,000.
UNLOCKED! Story Pack PDF 7
A set of three single-session adventures written by Stan!, Matt Forbeck, and Ed Greenwood! Unlocks when funding reaches $130,000.
LOCKED: Unspeakable Things
The second print supplement for Shadow of the Demon Lord presents a menagerie of terrifying and strange creatures found haunting the land's darkest corners. This 64-page monstrous expansion gives you even more weirdness to test groups struggling to survive in the world's last days. Unlocks when funding reaches $150,000.
LOCKED: The Grand Grimoire
The third print supplement for Shadow of the Demon Lord is a 64-page sourcebook detailing a whole host of strange and nasty and disturbing spells, enchanted objects, warped landscapes, and artifacts. Unlocks when funding reaches $175,000.
LOCKED: World of the Demon Lord 2
The next print supplement, you play colonists on a far-flung planet at the edge of the galaxy, struggling to survive against hostile aliens, killer robots, and diminishing supplies. And then the Empire goes silent. Unlocks when funding reaches $200,000.
Shadow of the Demon Lord is a roleplaying game of dark fantasy—a genre that weaves elements of horror into a fantasy world. In the game, you create and play characters struggling to survive in a land sliding toward oblivion, a place infested by demons, roaming mobs of undead, strange magic, unhinged cultists, and all in the ruins of the last great empire of mankind. If you love Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, the Ravenloft and Midnight settings, Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law series, Glen Cook’s Black Company books, or heavy metal music, then this is the game is for you.
The game takes place in a world standing on the brink of the apocalypse. What is the cause? Who is responsible? The Demon Lord, of course! This being of staggering power and boundless evil authors the catastrophes blighting the landscape. Each new horror released reflects the Demon Lord's approach, the touch of its shadow, and its growing hunger for not only the planet but the entirety of all things. Although near, the Demon Lord remains outside the cosmos, rattling the cage of its prison as it strains to escape the Void to visit catastrophic destruction to your world.
The apocalyptic tone is on a dial. If you don’t want to blow everything up right away, tune it down low and the game plays fine as a less perilous, dark fantasy roleplaying game. But if you are inclined to crank up the volume, the game provides several catastrophic templates you can use to model how the world is falling apart. These templates represent the Shadow of the Demon Lord; wherever the Shadow falls, chaos and upheaval are born. The Shadow might loose global pandemics, famines, droughts, earthquakes, demon princes to stomp across the countryside, the living dead, and other world-spanning disasters and threats.
The game system helps you tell interesting and exciting stories. To make this happen, the game system is easy to learn, plays fast, and requires little preparation to play. All these ensure both novice and veteran players can enjoy the game together. Here are a few ways the game met its goals:
Easy to Learn: The GM decides if a character’s action happens, doesn’t happen, or might happen. If it might happen, a roll of the die determines the outcome. You use the core mechanic to resolve any task, whether you're punching a demon in the face, trying to kick down a door to get away from that demon, or dodge the vomit it spews from its mouth.
Your character develops with the story. Each time your group completes an adventure, the group's level increases. Each increase adds cool stuff to your character. You might learn spells, a trick with a weapon, or some thing else that might help you survive. All benefits you gain come from the paths your character follows. The first adventure you play through helps you decide the first path you will choose. If you spend a lot of time fighting, you might become a warrior. If you cast a spell from a tome bound in human skin and barbwire, you might become a magician. At higher group levels, you choose additional paths that might extend previous choices or take your character in all new directions. You can choose any path you like so you can play the character you want to play.
Plays Fast: Stories (adventures) are playable in one game session lasting from 3 to 5 hours. Stories are short, covering about one page per hour of expected play. You can also complete a typical campaign (a string of 11 connected adventures) in 11 game sessions. The core book has rules for playing characters up to level 10. This means that if you meet once a week for a 4-hour session each time, you can complete your campaign in about two months. That’s six campaigns a year!
The benefit of short campaigns is that the game lets you tell more stories, create more characters, and experience more of the game's options. As a player, you’re not locked into one character for one year or longer. You can have several. And, as a Game Master, it is possible to run a complete campaign in a compressed time span. Best of all, the campaign brevity gives other interested members of the group a chance to become the Game Master.
Little Preparation: You can make a starting character in about 5 minutes. You make one big choice, note the information on your character sheet, and you’re ready to go. And a Game Master can prepare for a game in the time it takes to read a couple of pages of text.
If you'd like more information about the game design, please visit schwalbentertainment.com. There, you’ll find news about the game, design diaries, and much more!
The game’s complete and ready to move into production. I spent most of 2014 writing, designing, testing, developing, and putting the game in front of hundreds of people. Now I need your help getting Shadow of the Demon Lord into the hands of my editors and then into layout, through printing, and onto your gaming table. It’s ready, but I need your help to make it happen. Backing this campaign will make Shadow of the Demon Lord a reality. Here's a fun graphic that shows you the backer levels:
Once we hit the funding goal, unlocking stretch goals add value to your pledge. For one, the book gets bigger and sexier, letting me add even cooler and more terrifying content to the game—all of which is already written! Better still, unlocking stretch goals will give you Demon Lord fiction by Richard Lee Byers, Erin Evans, Erik Scott de Bie, James Lowder, and Elizabeth Bear. Other stretch goals deliver new adventures by some of the best designers in the business. If you want to see Shadow of the Demon Lord adventures by Bruce Cordell, Steve Winter, Monte Cook, Jason Bulmahn, Ken Hite, Steven Townshend, Shane Hensley, T.S. Luikart, Rich Baker, Miranda Horner, David Noonan, Scott Fitzgerald Gray, Cam Banks, Matt Forbeck, Steve Kenson, Chris Pramas, Stephen Radney-MacFarland, Chris Sims, Stan!, and Skip Williams, let's get this bad boy funded and start unlocking the awesome!
Since we funded and unlocked several stretch goals, the core rulebook will now be a 224-page, full-color hardcover rulebook! In addition, all backers of $24 and higher gain the 48-page Demon Lord Companion PDF.
There will be two versions of this rulebook.
·The PDF Edition: The electronic version of the final Shadow of the Demon Lord game.
·The Print Edition: The printed edition that will be available for sale worldwide after a successful Kickstarter campaign (delivery is expected by December 2015).
Both versions include a copy of the character sheet, shown below.
Here are some prototypes of the book's layout.
In addition, this campaign offers two more products: Tales of the Demon Lord and the Starter Guide.
UPDATED! Tales of the Demon Lord is a PDF, approximately 48-pages long, that presents a complete campaign for Shadow of the Demon Lord. It includes one starting adventure, two novice adventures, four expert adventures, and four master adventures.
The STARTER GUIDE pdf is about 36 pages long and includes rules for creating starting characters and the game's rules. Print it and hand it to your players to help them make starting characters.
In addition to the rewards, you can also pick up add-ons. When you make your pledge, just increase the amount of your pledge at the time you make it. Once the Kickstarter campaign is over, you will be able to designate which add-ons you want.
$2 Turn Token! This handy prop reminds everyone what part of the round you are in.
$3 Demon Lord Stickers! Show your fealty to the Demon Lord by placing these delightful demon skulls on things you or others own (with their permission of course). Shipping is included.
$6 Demon Lord Dice! A pack of three 6-sided dice plus a 20-sided die infused with the Demon Lord’s favor or scorn. Shipping is included.
$12 Character Sheets! A stack of 20 snazzy character sheets on which you can record your character’s triumphs and defeats. Shipping is included.
$12 GM Screen! You asked for it and now you can add it. Featuring the gorgeous art from the book, the GM screen puts all the crucial information you need to run the game in one place. This trifold screen measures 16” across and stands 4.5” tall. Shipping included.
NEW! $8 All the Fiction! Want the fiction and nothing else? This add-on delivers all the fiction unlocked in the stretch goals.
NEW! $10 All the Story Packs! This add-on delivers all the adventures unlocked in the stretch goals.
NEW! $12 All the Settings! This add-on delivers all the setting expansions unlocked in the stretch goals.
NEW! $20 World of the Demon Lord 1 in Print! Get the 64-page setting expansion in print.
$24 T-shirt! Proudly display your fondness for Schwalb Entertainment by wearing these fetching shirts. (Men’s Small to 5XL and Ladies' Small to 3XL). Shipping is included.
$24 Kickstarter T-Shirt! Remember this thrilling campaign with this bad-ass commemorative t-shirt designed by Jordan Bickimer. (Men's Small to 5XL and Ladies' Small to 3XL). Shipping is included.
$36 Demon Lord Mug! Drink your favorite beverage from this handcrafted mug bearing the mark of the Demon Lord. Shipping is included.
$56 Shadow of the Demon Lord! An extra copy of your new favorite game. Includes a $10 shipping credit.
In addition to stretch goals, we're also using Achievements to make the campaign even more exciting. When we get any 10, 20, and 30 achievements, we unlock the achievements awards as you can see on the delightful graphic below. To help the campaign gain achievements, post pics, videos, and other neat stuff on the Schwalb Entertainment Facebook page. Make sure you tag your contributions with #SOTDLKS!
Following Monte Cook Games' lead, we’re not locking you into a single shipping method. Instead, we're offering you some options. All print books include a shipping allowance. This amount covers basic shipping in the United States. So if you’re good with basic shipping, you shouldn’t have to pay a penny more.
You can, however, choose a different option. When it’s time to ship your rewards, we’ll ask you how you want your book(s) shipped. You’ll be able to choose a faster or more trackable method, though it will likely cost more. If your shipping allowance doesn’t cover it, you can pay the difference at that time.
International backers have the same options, but the final cost of even basic shipping will require additional payment. As with domestic backers, you choose your shipping method, apply the credit, and cover the difference.
I'm using Backerkit to manage fulfillment. So if you choose print options, you will get information from them about selecting your rewards when the Kickstarter wraps.
If you have surplus bucks from your shipping credit, you’ll be able to apply the remainder to anything else you’d like from the Demon Lord store.
Last, the estimated delivery date is for the Shadow of the Demon Lord game. Some rewards might come earlier, and some will arrive later.
You can also help spread the word by grabbing one of these awesome images and using it as your profile pic (and driver's license pic)!
Special thanks to Matt Marson and Larry Howe for filming and assembling the video, Trey Call of Dirty Proper for the music, Dan Heinrich and Andrew Follett for the character sheet, Elizabeth Peterson for the logo, Patrick Parker and Chris Sims for graphics, Hal Mangold for layout, Jared von Hindman for the achievements art, Ivan Dixon and Svetoslav Petrov for the amazing art, and everyone else who helped get this campaign up and running!
Risks and challenges
I waited to launch this Kickstarter until the game was written for a reason. I am cautious. I didn’t want tragedy, writer’s block, being hit by an asteroid impact, madness, or corruption to interfere with the design. Since I'm here and giving you a chance to pre-order this sexy game, this means the game is written, tested, and ready to go into the final stages of production. These stages include editing, layout, art acquisition, printing, and shipping the printed products into distribution. Though I am using the very best people in the business and I am confident we'll sail through these stages laughing all the way, things happen. To mitigate the risks, I have backup people in place just in case an editor gets sucked into a black hole or an artist decides to change careers mid-way through the project.
The biggest challenge is fulfillment. The difficulty fulfilling the Kickstarter rewards increases with its size. I will handle shipping the rulebooks to backers with the help of my dear friends and family. Digital products will be available as soon as they’re done. And if we unlock additional print products via stretch goals, they’ll be out as soon as we get them done.
Before launching this Kickstarter campaign, I received a physical and discovered that I am in fine health and in no danger of succumbing to natural causes between now and the end of the year. Of course, the hobo might get me, in which case, well, my clones will have to take over.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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