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Celebrating West Virginia's culture and stories through an illustrated book of folklore, fantastical creatures, history, haunts, and 150+ monsters!
Celebrating West Virginia's culture and stories through an illustrated book of folklore, fantastical creatures, history, haunts, and 150+ monsters!
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132 backers pledged $7,528 to help bring this project to life.

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Bestiary of American Cryptozoology, Mythology, & Paranormal

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Video music: Manor Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

*Add-Ons*

  • Full Color Printing - $150 on top of tier - maps, monsters, and illustrations in full color!
  • Dust-Jacket & Linen Binding w/ Select Color Printing (HARDCOVER ONLY) - $150 on top of tier - Forest Pine Color - Pearl Linen Binding & Full Color Silk Laminate Dust Jacket
  • Leather Binding & Foil Stamp w/ Select Color Printing (HARDCOVER ONLY) - $300 on top of tier - Forest Green Leather - Gold Foil Stamp 
  • For tiers of $40+, bestiary e-books are now automatically included, & RPG version e-books can be added for an additional $5

*Only one add-on per backer (except for adding an e-book)! These editions have minimum print runs of 10, so they are more costly than average print on demand publications*

*Additional note - the RPG and Regular versions can be swapped in each tier for hardback/softback; ex.: one tier offers a hardback bestiary & soft back RPG bestiary; you can receive a hardback RPG bestiary & soft back regular bestiary instead upon request

  • The publication and printing of one modern bestiary (in these versions: soft-cover, hard-back, artbook, and RPG Tabletop version) about every known/imagined fantastical, mythological, folk, and prominent paranormal creature/entity/object from West Virginia; if this project is successful, Ohio & Kentucky will be the next 2 volumes
  •  Featured In This Book:(Bigfeet) Apple Devil, Fairfeet, Grafton Monster, Stonemen, Yahoo, Yellow Gape, Woodland Crooner,  (Aves) Day Hoot, Departure Bird, Devil Eggs, Proboscis Bird, Thunderbird, Tlanuwa, WV Roc,  (Extraterrestrials) Flatwoods Monster, Grinning Men, Silver Saucers and Other UFOs, Vegetable Man ,  (Fae) Blue Grims, Graveyard Puck Groves, Common Faeries, Common Brownies, Nunnehi, S'liss, Common Sprites,  (Plants) Dandy-Lion, Four-Leaved Clovers, Goldenberry Bush, Pallidae & Waxen Acorns, Red Ramps,  (Halfings) August's Black Augur, Cursed Children, Metamorphae, Moon-Eyed People, Shadow People, Slank, Wakened Children, Wampus Cat, WV Banshee, Wicks, Yunwi Tsunsdi',   (Insects) Fireco Monster, Laced Amberwing, Golden-Headed Handsome Trig, Glass Beetle, Night's Mare, Tongue Bunnies, Visitor Bees , (In the Waters) Monongy, Fangmalia, Mudbottoms, Ogua, Winifred,  (Other Mammals) Abbagoochie, Appalachian Black Panther, Beastmen, Black & White Things, Catawampus, Devil Dog, Giants, House Bats, Midsummer Canine, Nyah-Gwaheh, Obsidian Bobcats, Phantasmal Fox, Pipisanguisuge, Sheepsquatch, Snarly Yow, Southern Masked Bear, Ternion Black Bear, Yakwawiak   (Reptiles) Cumberland Dragon, Divine Rattlers, Hesink, Rain Snakes, Storm Snappers, Uktena , (Unclassifiable) Mothman, Red Eyes, Headless Angle, Moving Mountains, Old Stone Men, Stoneclad, Stonecoat, Corpse Walker,  (Mysterious and Wonderful Objects) Death Crowns, Evil Eye Charm, Kindling Chimes, Star Quilts, Weeping Woman Statue,   (Paranormal Entities) over 150 haunts from Charleston, Huntington, Morgantown, Parkersburg, Wheeling, Martinsburg, Beckley, St. Albans, Bluefield, Moundsville, Hurricane, Point Pleasant, Weston, Lewisburg, and many other cities, plus strange locations to visit or things to see
     

Some short excerpts can be found on the online Modern Bestiary 

Bestiaries (or bestiarum vocabulum) are large, stylized books about mythical creatures that people once created to document strange creatures, pass on moral lessons, and entertain with intricate images and fanciful imaginations. Today, when people think of bestiaries, they think of medieval bestiaries- used as magical or explanatory books in pop culture.

These medieval tomes were very inspirational and fascinating to me- in fact, their colorful, otherworldly, and sometimes crude artwork comes only second to Arthur Rackham's art in terms of influencers. I have also been fond of strange creatures, monsters, and folklore my entire life, and have always hoped to make my own version of a bestiary.

My bestiary will not be a copy of the medieval bestiary. It will have some medieval-esque art at the beginning of each entry, anatomy studies, close up artwork of the creatures' special attributes in different styles (penciled realistic, some as if drawn up in a hurry, or boxed-in inked drawings, more reminiscent of medieval art), and will be a combination of history, fantasy, and my own imaginings. The books are portrayed as being written by a traveling, Appalachian artist and crypto-historian. They will provide an in-depth look at monsters and strange flora from West Virginia; they would also be an excellent tool for writers, tabletop rpg gamers (RPG version written for any D20 system- implementing new, unexpected battles), or those wanting to know more about folklore or Appalachian culture in general. 

For every $500 raised, I would like to donate 1 book to a West Virginia High School to ensure these stories and the practice of storytelling carries on to the next generation

The journal-bestiary-encyclopedia hybrid is a project I intend to work on for several years, with the first 3 Kickstarters/Volumes focusing on: 1) West Virginia, 2) Ohio, and 3) Kentucky's monsters. I chose these three states because:

  • I grew up in the tri-state area
  • I am familiar with most of its lore
  • West Virginia is particularly well-known for its large number of cryptid/paranormal activity
  • They seemed like good places to start, featuring well-known monsters like the Mothman, Flatwoods Monster, Pope Lick Monster, and Loveland Frogmen 
  • The areas also have a large supply of old wives' tales and superstitions from Appalachian culture; I could use these to generate new creatures or explanations for the sayings

One additional reason I want to study and write about folk, mythological, & cryptid creatures from these places (which, mostly lie on the Appalachian region) is because my whole I've been persuaded to not be proud of where I came from or my heritage. This set of books will celebrate the best parts of Appalachian culture and history- the tradition of storytelling, the historic struggles of a hardy people, entertainment through fear, and the desire to believe in the unseen- while also voicing some of its worst aspects (feelings and generalizations associated with Appalachia, as well as our modern cultural struggles- poverty, drug use, and lack of educational funding). 

In the future, I'd like to run campaigns for other state-specific bestiaries.

Entry's Literature? Each of these if applicable:

  •  Habitat, Location, and Nesting
  • Life Cycle and Life Span
  • Mating and Reproduction
  • Physical Traits & Special Abilities
  • Diet & Daily Life
  • Historical Sightings/Documentation
  • Summoning/Banishing/Luring
  • Dangers/Hazards/Precautionary Actions
  • Practical Uses (Cooking, Medicinal, Crafting, Etc.)
  • Other Sensory Info (Smells, Sounds, Feels Like)
  • How to Track/Find
  • How to Distinguish from Similar Creatures
  • Folk Tales, Songs, and Individual Encounters
  • Ideas and Adventure Prompts for DM's (RPG ver.) 
  • Stats, Abilities, Unique Spells (RPG ver.)
     

*Also included will be categories and category descriptions, which explain the differences between closely related creature types, like fae, the paranormal, and Bigfoot species/varieties.

Art? A variety of ink, watercolor, and graphite images will be created for the book in a few different styles: medieval, rushed/sketched, realistic, and spot studies. 

*Only the artbook & E-Books will supply colored versions of the art; other versions will only contain black & white artwork. This is due to the high-cost of color-printing books with over 500 pages.

Artbook - A Crypto-Historian's Sketchbook: an Artist's Notes & Drawings of the Fantastic Creatures of West Virginia will be an 8.5x11 in. premium, photo perfect bound paperback book that is fully colored; it will contain all artwork from the project in vibrant colors paired with notes and doodles. 

Softcover Bestiary - In the Land of Catawampus: the Complete Exploration of West Virginia's Elusive, Ghostly, and Fanciful Beasts will be a softcover book printed in black & white; it will feature all cryptid, mythological, paranormal, and imaginary creatures, their histories, interactions/impacts/purpose in our world, anatomies, habits, diet, life cycle, etc. It will feature several black & white drawings of the creature, its anatomy, and close up studies/notes. It will have a special cover for Pre-Ordering the book; the only way to get this cover version is through the Kickstarter.

Flatwoods Entry
Flatwoods Entry

Hardcover, Top Backer's Special Collector's Edition Bestiary - In the Land of Catawampus: the Complete Exploration of West Virginia's Elusive, Ghostly, and Fanciful Beasts will be a hardcover book printed in black & white; it will feature all cryptid, mythological, paranormal, and imaginary creatures, their histories, interactions/impacts/purpose in our world, anatomies, habits, diet, life cycle, etc. It will feature several black & white drawings of the creature (some not in the softcover version), its anatomy, and close up studies/notes. It will have a special cover for Pre-Ordering the Special Edition of the book; the only way to get this cover version is through the Kickstarter.

Leaping Devil Entry
Leaping Devil Entry

RPG Tabletop Bestiary, a new Monster Manual: working with Youtube's Dungeons and Coffee, the creature's, items, and plants from the book will be edited and formatted to use in tabletop games, like Pathfinder or Dungeons and Dragons, with adventure ideas, special artwork, stats, and unique abilities compatible with any D20 system. Any backers who donate $100+ will receive an e-book copy of this version

RPG Apple Devil
RPG Apple Devil

I will be printing through a self-publishing service I trust and have used before- Lulu Publishing. As I have with my previous Kickstarter, I will create a few different drafts to ensure the product is up to par with expectations. Through Lulu, I plan to offer a more affordable, soft cover, perfect bound version, a hard-cover w/ dust jacket collectible version, singular volumes (also soft cover w/ perfect binding), e-book version, and an art book version (perfect bound paperback, with higher quality photo prints) for those that only desire owning the anatomy illustrations.

I expect to have the books ready to publish by late Fall/early Winter 2019. I will give updates of the entries and art as it is completed, will send out the books as soon as they are published, and keep everyone involved with the process. 

Where Does the Money Go? This is a very valid question that any backer should ask. For this project:

  •  Cost for book proofs; at least one is required for each version
  • Cost of reward creation
  • Expenses for a Proofreader(s)
  •  Experienced self-publisher 
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Alaska (2017) 
  • Literary experience 
  • Several years of illustrative experience 

Rewards are listed under each tier, though I would like to add extras to all packages if I am able (original art, stickers, bookmarks, etc.).   

Original art will be picked by each backer. Higher tiers and the earliest backers will have first choice in the original artwork they receive. 

Those requesting unique entries/creatures will also receive extras revolving around their custom request.   

E-Books bought during the Kickstarter cost $10 less than their post-release versions.    

Meet-Up? I'd like to schedule a meet-up of all involved in the Kickstarter. I plan on taking a poll, but I thought it would be nice to meet up at the Mothman statue in Point Pleasant, or the Friday before the Mothman Festival.   

Will My Name Be In The Book? Yes! There will be a section after the sources listing every backer and any comments they want published along with their name (no profanity/vulgarity). 

*Add Ons*

  • Full Color Printing - $150 on top of tier - maps, monsters, and illustrations in full color!
  • Dust-Jacket & Linen Binding w/ Select Color Printing (HARDCOVER ONLY) - $150 on top of tier - Forest Pine Color - Pearl Linen Binding & Full Color Silk Laminate Dust Jacket
  • Leather Binding & Foil Stamp w/ Select Color Printing (HARDCOVER ONLY) - $300 on top of tier - Forest Green Leather - Gold Foil Stamp 

*Only one add on per backer! These editions have minimum print runs of 10, so they are more costly than average print on demand publications*

*Additional note - the RPG and Regular versions can be swapped in each tier for hardback/softback; ex.: one tier offers a hardback bestiary & soft back RPG bestiary; you can receive a hardback RPG bestiary & soft back regular bestiary instead upon request

Looking like a cross between a bigfoot and troll, the Grafton Monster is a hairless, aggressive bigfoot that fears loud noises and consumes mostly meat; it is named after and most well known for its appearances near Grafton, West Virginia.  

Fully grown Grafton Monsters have hulking, muscular bodies that are lean in the spring and grow pudgier until winter. At their thinnest, males weigh around 600 pounds and females 700 pounds; at their heaviest, males weigh about 800 pounds and females 900 pounds. They can be anywhere from seven to nine foot tall even with their strange posture; the creatures always keep their head tucked close to chest, even while sleeping. This may be due to the neck’s vulnerability: Grafton’s hide is thick and rough, except around the neck, where it is thin, stretchy, and smooth (this is where offspring hang onto their mothers). Graftons have a hairless, stark white hide that darkens to a chestnut brown mid-summer and pales again after mating season (early fall). Their skin is also compared to that of a seal because of its slick appearance, which is caused by a thin layer of sweat and musk.  

All Graftons live in pits dug after the winter thaw or recycled from a previous year. The pits are large to comfortably house the creatures, and are supported by beamlike branches. It is important to note that females’ dens are lined with stones and colorful objects, unlike males’. Additionally, females have a fifth, large, thumb-like appendage on the inner foot (males only have four toes) that is used both offensive and defensively; it is tipped with a thicker, sharper nail that can easily tear into flesh. Length of this appendage varies from female to female, some being shorter and located near the heel, while others are longer, resembling a more human foot.

This species of bigfoot is concentrated in Grafton, West Virginia, though the population has spread to other nearby, dense woodlands. Sandwiched between the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad and the Tygart Valley River, the small town of Grafton boasts a population of a little over 5,000 people, bountiful farmland, and thick forests. Graftons can live in any densely wooded, temperate habitat; they have been spotted as far north as Michigan and as far southeast as Virginia. 

Social Interactions, Daily Lives, and Development  

The Grafton lifecycle can be divided into four sections: infantile, youth,  juvenile, and adult.   

Infants are born blind, deaf, and unable to walk; mothers remain with offspring for three months, only briefly leaving the nest to discard of refuse. At three months of age, the creatures are left alone for the first time; uneasy without the presence of their caretaker, they crawl around the dark tunnel and yelp. A large boulder is placed at the pit’s entrance, blocking their escape and keeping them from harm. Sight and sound are fully developed in the creatures by five months of age, though they are still unable to stand until eight months. At six months, mothers will begin carrying offspring on their neck while hunting. Meat is introduced into their diet at about one year (when all forty-three teeth have grown into place), though their mother’s milk is still their dominant source of nourishment. At fourteen months, Grafton Monsters learn to hunt and are allowed out of the nest without supervision, marking the beginning of their youth. Though out of sight, the creatures never venture outside of their mother’s marked territory. 

Grafton Monsters leave the nest on their second summer and never return. At the age of two, they are juveniles. Males wander the woodlands, hunting for food and a mate (that is, if an acceptable candidate is happened upon). Females begin looking for a suitable nest location, but are not fully mature until age three.  

Grafton Monsters gather in pairs once every summer to mate. This is one of few non-violent meetings between the beasts. When a female has reached maturity, she will claim a section of land near water that is secluded by trees and other foliage. Due to the small population, there are rarely fights over breeding territory; disputes that do occur are settled by displays of strength that may include rock throwing, terrain destruction, or physical violence- which sometimes results in death. Once a nest has been secured, females will mark its boundaries with their scent and gashes on trees; they will live here for life unless challenged or evicted by natural or human activity. After Graftons feel their territory is secure, they will begin digging a deep pit (about five feet deep and four feet wide; the tunnel is also at an angle). Thick stumps and branches are placed inside the tunnel for support; these areas are often wider for the creature to maneuver around without hindrance. The pit’s entrance is lined with riverbed stones and camouflaged with dried bushes, dead leaves, and branches. Additionally, brightly colored flowers and objects (like toys or soda cans) are collected and arranged in and around the nest. Females decorate their residences with these items and stones to attract the attention of males. Pairs will bond if males find the nest and its arrangement pleasing, signaling their answer by placing a colorful item they have found into the nest. If they are not impressed with the nest, they will take one of the arranged items and leave. 

Males will return to an expecting nest three times a week with gifts of meat. The food is left at the tunnel’s entrance; otherwise, the two creatures do not interact. During this time, the female will give birth to 1-3 offspring in the tunnel, leaving them untouched for a day or two. Once the young are 3 months old, the male will cease to visit the nest, unless the female has died. If the female has died, her rotting corpse will alert the male to her passing; this triggers a response in the male, who takes on the role of mother for the remainder of the offspring’s childhood. 

Grafton Monsters do not reach old age. Instead, every Grafton that reaches year seven leaves its nest/home and goes to the river. A deep pit is then dug about 1 ft. away from the water’s edge. The creature will lay down in the hole, covering itself in dirt and mud, then remaining still. This is the natural end of a Grafton’s life. While going to their deathbeds, the beasts act as if in a trance, responding to no outer stimuli, only trudging with a blank stare.

Solitary Hunters  

Unlike other bigfeet, the Grafton Monster hunts alone. While hunting, the Grafton Monster emits a low, rumbling whistle that could be mistaken for distant thunder. This sound alerts other Graftons of their presence, warning them to keep away. The creature hunts both at night and during the day, though more often after dusk. It avoids noisy areas, and is seemingly scared of particularly loud sounds. 

During the winter, Grafton Monsters survive predominantly on fish like Walleye or Trout, non-migratory birds, and the occasional Whitetail Deer or unattended pet. The creatures eat less during the cold season, consuming a large meal only once a month. However, the fat stored from numerous, previous meals provide the beast with much needed energy and insulates it from the cold. For the rest of the year, Graftons will hunt larger prey⸺like deer or coyote⸺more frequently and smaller prey⸺like snakes, squirrels, birds, lizards, turtles, and fish⸺less frequently. 

West Virginia Wave| Summer of the Grafton Monster  

At 11 pm, on June 16th, 1965, Robert Cockrell, a young reporter at the Grafton Sentinel, was heading home on Riverside Drive. Wanting to get there soon, he sped down the curvy, dark roads. Suddenly, his headlights illuminated a huge, stark white creature that stood on a cleared off section of grass on the right side of the street. It was much larger than a man (over 7 ft. tall and 4 ft. wide), appeared to be headless, had a hide with a sheen to it, and displayed no concern⸺remaining motionless as he drove by. 

Fearing what he saw, Robert drove faster and tried to calm down. He and two friends returned to the grassy roadside that night to investigate. After searching for over an hour, they found nothing but trampled grass. However, they did hear a low, eerie whistling sound that seemed to follow them down the riverbank; they never discovered its origin.

When Robert returned to work the next day, he was reluctant to share his story, but decided to tell his editor anyway. An article was published on June 18th, sparking a monster hunt. Over 100 citizens scoured the woods armed with flashlights, bats, and crowbars in hopes of meeting the ‘headless horror’. More than 20 claimed to have encountered it. Soon after, the local police department searched the area, but found nothing. The newspapers played down the incident, though word of mouth generated even more interest, clogging Riverside Drive with bumper-to-bumper traffic every night.  

On June 19th, the Grafton Sentinel dismissed the creature as a wildly imaginative story caused by a lack of recreational facilities and spring fever. Yet, reports of the beast popped up and down the Tygart River, even as far north as Morgantown. Eventually, the monster huntings died down, though no one forgot about the strange beast by the river.   

Risks and challenges

1) I may not meet deadlines on time. Sometimes unforeseen events, tragedies, or complications arise that delay a project's progress. If something like this were to occur, I would inform those involved and re-envision a more accurate completion date. Also, I may get a large number of high-tier backers, which may prolong project completion (due to custom bestiary work, handmade rewards like stickers, etc.). Additionally, I may need more time to edit the book or artwork, as I want to send out a good product.

2) The entries may not be as interesting/magical/accurate/engaging as you would like. I have provided some examples of in progress entries to give you a feel of what my writing style is like so that you know what to expect and are not surprised/disappointed.

3) The bestiaries may not be super high quality. In order for me to not charge $100+ for one book (especially WV's- it is massive), decisions had to be made. I can't print full color in the bestiary- it triples the price. I would love to send out leather-bound copies, but the price is also much higher. I have to compromise by offering colored copies of selected art, hard or soft bound black and white versions to make it affordable for you and more accessible to the public.

4) You may not like my re-imagining of paranormal entities. In these books, I do not treat them as deceased human spirits, but as separate creatures from another plane of existence, who often pretend to be dead people (except in parts of the RPG version). I find it refreshing and more interesting, but you may not. I also enjoy ghost stories, and see this as a way of adding to them and modernizing them.

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    Paranormal Entity

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    Bite of the Pipisanguisuge

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    Fairfeet & Pallidae

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    Fleeing Apple Devil

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    Corpse Walker's Bone Collection

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    Snarly Yow in the Shadows

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    Call of the West Virginia Yahoo

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    Den of the Monongy

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    Oak of the Pallidae

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Friend of the Nunnehi

    Access to event meet-up information, name in the book w/ your comment (special recognition), add your paranormal/cryptid encounter to the book (will create a new creature surrounding your idea or experience, will credit your name, and base it on specified locations; will also be in all versions of the book, with a special thanks to you), 5 signed prints, original artwork, and a copy of the regular and RPG E-Book versions of the bestiary.

    Includes:
    • Name in the Book w/ Comment
    • Custom Bestiary Entry
    • RPG Tabletop Bestiary E-Book
    • Bestiary E-Book
    • 5 Signed Prints
    • Original Artwork (anatomy studies and sketches)
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    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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    Pledge US$ 200 or more About US$ 200

    Evening Flight of the Mothman

    The Top Backer's Special Collector's Edition hard-cover bestiary (special first-edition with unique cover only available to purchase by backing the Collector's Edition tier of the project & includes additional artwork), soft-cover Bestiary, access to event meet-up information, original artwork, handmade sticker and bookmark, name in the book w/ your comment (special recognition), RPG Tabletop Bestiary E-Book, and 10 signed prints. Thanks for your support!

    Includes:
    • Top-Backer's Limited Edition Hardcover Book
    • One Physical Copy of the Bestiary
    • Original Artwork (anatomy studies and sketches)
    • Original Bestiary Artwork (not the anatomy/sketch drawings)
    • RPG Tabletop Bestiary E-Book
    • Handmade Sticker
    • 5 Signed Prints
    • Name in the Book w/ Comment
    • Handmade Bookmark
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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 1 backer
    $
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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $400 or more About $400

    Dreams of a Wakened One

    Top Backer's Bestiary, RPG Bestiary, original artwork, access to event meet-up information, 2 handmade stickers, a handmade bookmark, name in the book w/ your comment (special recognition), and add your paranormal/cryptid encounter to the book (will create a new creature surrounding your idea or experience, will credit your name, and base it on specified locations; will also be in all versions of the book, with a special thanks to you).

    Includes:
    • Custom Bestiary Entry
    • Top-Backer's Limited Edition Hardcover Book
    • RPG Tabletop Bestiary
    • Handmade Sticker
    • Handmade Bookmark
    • Name in the Book w/ Comment
    • Original Bestiary Artwork (not the anatomy/sketch drawings)
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 0 backers
    $
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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge US$ 600 or more About US$ 600

    In the Land of Catawampus

    Top-backer's Limited Edition Bestiary, 2 handmade stickers, handmade bookmark, 5 signed prints, access to event meet-up information, name in the book w/ your comment (special recognition), add your paranormal/cryptid encounter to the book (will create a new creature surrounding your idea or experience, will credit your name, and base it on specified locations; will also be in all versions of the book, with a special thanks to you) and receive all art associated with it.

    Includes:
    • Custom Bestiary Entry
    • Custom Bestiary Artwork
    • Top-Backer's Limited Edition Hardcover Book
    • RPG Tabletop Bestiary
    • 5 Signed Prints
    • Handmade Sticker
    • Name in the Book w/ Comment
    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Limited 1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (54 days)