Go forth, errants, to walk the Way's Margin!
The Blackwood is a fantasy setting inspired by folklore and high-flying martial arts action. It's Grimm's Tales meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It's The Witcher series meets Kung Fu Hustle. It's Iron Monkey meets Brotherhood of the Wolf. You are errants, a class of wandering adventurers, who search a landscape of deadly beauty for a way to save the settled folk of the Elder Kingdom from ruin.
A shining kingdom in the middle of a huge, forested wilderness. Warriors who flit through the trees like squirrels. Malevolent woodland spirits and fearsome magical beasts. An absent king, and the threat of corruption and collapse. These are the stories that await under the boughs of the Blackwood.
The Blackwood Errantry Codex is an officially-licensed campaign setting for the award-winning Savage Worlds RPG from Pinnacle Entertainment Group. We're producing a complete guide to gameplay in the Blackwood, including a full-length Plot Point Campaign, The Way of the Elder King.
The finished book will include:
- 18 new Edges and 9 new Hindrances
- 5 new Races and 5 new Arcane Backgrounds
- 4 new Setting Rules full of folkloric whimsy and wuxia action
- 40+ new creatures and foes
- A Plot Point Campaign, The Way of the Elder King, complete with Savage Tales
Please note: you will need a copy of the Savage Worlds core rules and the Fantasy Companion to play in The Blackwood. But you're in luck! Both are available at www.peginc.com for $9.99 each in PDF format.
Folklore... and Wuxia?
The lumberjack hefts his axe. Beside him, his blue dog's hackles rise. Their magic bread crumbs may help that brother and sister find their way home, but in the clutches of this foul elf with the secret name they are powerless. Good thing the healer with such impressive fighting skills is sailing through the branches overhead to gain a flanking position.
But what's that noise? Sounds like the healer ran into some trouble. There! He's grappling with one of those ghastly hopping ghouls, but... he's holding his own. Now, to make quick work of the elf before those kids get eaten...
In the Blackwood, you won't run into Paul Bunyan, Hansel and Gretel, or Wong Fei-Hung, but you'll encounter characters very much like them. This is not your typical fantasy world of dwarves and halflings. Elves aren't crafting mighty rings of power, they're turning your friend inside out and cooking you into a stew. You'll journey through a forest full of slippery magic, where the terrain changes with the winds, and the right song might guide you better than the finest compass.
In keeping with the Savage Worlds design philosophy, we've created a few Setting Rules and character options to invoke the spirit of both folklore and wuxia. In the Blackwood, you'll be able to master a variety of fighting schools and use almost any object as a weapon. Spend all your time around pots and pans? In your hands, they're as deadly as any cudgel. We've also expanded the Dramatic Task rules to simulate navigating the changing paths and slippery magic of a forest right out of Grimm's Tales. And this is just a taste of what's in store!
Want to learn more? Check out our FREE Quick Start Bundle for The Blackwood on DriveThruRPG:
This bundle comes with everything you need to start playing in The Blackwood:
- 10-page Setting Primer with a brief history and a preview of character options and gear.
- 6 pregenerated character archetypes
- 4 one-shot adventures comprising a year in the Blackwood.
And best of all, it's totally FREE! So download the bundle, gather your friends, and set off into a forest full of magical tales.
We've come to Kickstarter to reach the widest possible audience and to make The Blackwood Errantry Codex a book we can be proud of. With the exception of a few Savage Tales and stat blocks, the manuscript is finished. Now we need your help to make this book a reality!
Our base funding goal will produce a grayscale book full of beautiful art from our artists. We've gathered an excellent creative team, and they deserve a fair wage. Stretch goals unlock more art, color production, and some other special goodies we'll get into later.
At every pledge level, backers receive immediate access to the in-progress draft of The Blackwood Errantry Codex through Backers Only Update #1. You'll get an exclusive first look at the text you're helping to turn into a proper book. Please let us know what you think!
Our first two backer levels are straightforward:
- Storyteller ($10) - Get the The Blackwood Errantry Codex in PDF format, and your name is added to the Roll of Errantry at the front of the book.
- Cartographer ($15) - Get a PDF copy of The Blackwood Errantry Codex and credit in the Roll of Errantry. Plus, you receive a code to order one Print on Demand copy of the 12"x18" paper map of The Blackwood from DriveThruRPG.com priced at production costs. You will still need to pay shipping fees.
- Errant ($20) - Get a PDF copy of The Blackwood Errantry Codex and credit in the Roll of Errantry. Plus, you receive a code to order one Print on Demand copy of The Blackwood Errantry Codex from DriveThruRPG.com priced at production costs. You will still need to pay shipping fees.
- Knight/Dame ($25) - Get the PDF, a POD for the physical book, and a POD code for a copy of the 12x18" paper map of the Blackwood.
After that, we start to offer extra rewards:
- Classicist ($50) - Everything from the Knight/Dame tier, and you get to describe an NPC for the list of random characters in the Errantry Codex.
- Sentinel ($100) - Everything from the Knight/Dame tier, plus you get to describe an NPC and either a village or a tavern in the Blackwood.
- Noble ($250) - We pull out all the stops on this one. You get credit in the book, a PDF and POD code for a physical copy, and the 12"x18" paper map. You also get to contribute an NPC and either a village or a tavern to the game. Finally, Eli will run an online adventure (up to 2 sessions long) for you and your friends.
This is our first Kickstarter, so we're putting fulfillment duties into the capable hands of DriveThruRPG. When The Blackwood Errantry Codex is ready (estimated November 2017), backers will receive an at-cost code to print their books on DriveThruRPG. They can order softcover or hardcover as they prefer. Please keep in mind: backers will still need to pay for shipping costs.
We've hosted our products on DriveThruRPG for months now, and have only ever received excellent service and support. We're confident they can help us deliver a beautiful book to all our backers on time.
Our stretch goals are focused on improving the core product. We'll unlock more and better art, along with a few easy-to-produce goodies. Endless add-ons and whatsits are enticing, but for our first crowdfunding project we want to keep things manageable.
$6,000--Art Upgrade #1: We'll commission 2 chapter header images from Jabari Weathers, and 2 encounter images from Per Folmer. PLUS, this tier unlocks a character sheet by Karl Keesler--FREE for all backers!
$7,000--Book of Tales: At this tier, we'll commission a fellowship of guest writers to produce a series of one shot adventures and Blackwood folklore fiction. Guest writers include: Alyson Grauer, Gustav Kollmeyer, Eric Lamoureux, Jeremy Lilley, Manuel Sambs, and Richard Woolcock.
$8,000--Art Upgrade #2: We'll commission 2 more chapter header images from Jabari Weathers, and an additional environmental piece from Julia Metzger. PLUS, this tier unlocks a custom Blackwood Campaign Deck from Richard Woolcock! This deck will make generating your own adventures a snap, even on the fly. The Campaign Deck will be an add-on for $5. If you add to your pledge level, we'll supply you with a code to order the deck from DriveThruCards. Expected delivery for the Campaign Deck is November 2017.
$9,000--Layout Upgrade: At this tier, we'll be able to pay our layout designer, Nathan D. Paoletta, to produce in color. We'll also be able to convert a large chunk of our already-commissioned art into color at this tier!
$10,000--Art Upgrade #3: Colorization is the name of the game for this stretch goal. We'll colorize even more of our previously commissioned art.
$11,000--Full Color: At this tier, we'll be able to commission enough color art that we won't need to rely on stock art in the book. The result will be a big, beautiful, full-color book!
Additional Stretch Goals: As we get close to $11,000, we'll start to reveal additional stretch goals!
We've been developing The Blackwood out in the open over the past year. In that time, we've made a few videos and given a few interviews. Check out our chats and actual plays below to get a taste of The Blackwood straight from the horse's mouth.
- Role Play Public Radio - Eli chats with Ross about The Blackwood.
- The RPG Academy Podcast - Eli chats with Michael on the Show and Tell podcast.
- The RPG Brewery Interview - Eli talks about The Blackwood with Jamie for his first-ever podcast interview!
- Savage Worlds GM Hangouts - Eli takes a deep, geeky look at some of the Blackwood's mechanics.
- Veiled Fury Entertainment - Manuel Sambs invited Eli on to chat about the inspirations behind The Blackwood.
- The Wild Die Podcast - Eli chats with the guys about The Blackwood and The Mythic Gazetteer.
- The Blackwood Character Options Teaser (YouTube)
- The Official Blackwood Playtest Campaign (YouTube)
- One Shot RPG: Leafstone and Silk One Shot (Twitch)
- The Wild Die Podcast - Bonus Episode: The Flying Canoe AP
You can also check out our blog, where we've made quite a few posts about the Blackwood: The Mythic Gazetteer
At the end of the day, a successful project is the result of a good team working together. Let us introduce all the fine folks helping to bring The Blackwood Errantry Codex to life:
The Mythic Gazetteer
- Eli Kurtz - Theoretical Cartography and Applied Metaphysics - Living in Chicago, IL for the past 6 years, Eli started writing The Blackwood not long after moving away from his home in the forests of Missouri. He's been playing and GMing tabletop RPGs for 15 years. After honing his craft over the course of many a campaign and one shot, Eli is publishing his first book with this project. When he's not writing and playing RPGs, Eli is an actor in the Chicago storefront theatre scene, and he moonlights as a corporate drone. He's thrilled to be marrying that Keely gal in December.
- Derek Smith - Lumberjack in Chief - A native of the Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, Derek is a practicing attorney who has been friends with Eli and Keely since the three were in college. Eli introduced Derek to tabletop role playing games, and Derek has had fun delving in fantastical worlds of adventure ever since.
- Keely O'Sullivan - The Realist - Living in Chicago, IL for the past 6 years, Keely has watched Eli develop and bring The Blackwood to life. She is a lover of nature and fantasy and is just getting her feet wet in the RPG world. She's looking forward to leveling up with Eli at the end of the year
Our Artistic Champions
- Per Folmer (Artist) - Per Folmer is a Swedish artist. He’s been working as a freelancer since 2011, doing mostly fantasy and science fiction art for RPGs. Currently living in Dalarna, he works primarily on the computer but he also enjoys a good session with oils and inks. You can check out his portfolio at https://perfolmer.carbonmade.com.
- Enmanuel Martinez (Artist) - Enmanuel Martinez is a graphic designer, concept artist and illustrator. He's been a freelancer for 6 years, working on board games, tabletop RPGs and video games, also writing some stuff just for fun. You can check out Enmanuel's portfolio at www.artstation.com/artist/lema000.
- Julia Metzger (Artist) - German concept artist and illustrator Julia Metzger loves to work on both video games and RPG publications. Her goal as an artist is to breathe life into new worlds through character, creature, and environment design. Several years experience of working in-house and as a freelancer help her to realize a variety of fantastical visions. More of her images can be seen at www.juliametzger.net.
- Eric Quigley (Artist) - Eric Quigley is a freelance illustrator working predominately in science fiction and fantasy. He has worked with Monte Cook Games, Green Ronin Publishing, DwD Studios, Hero Forge Games, and many more. He currently resides in Portland, OR with his beautiful girlfriend and cat, though strongly considers himself a dog person. You can check out his illustrations on Google+!
- Jabari Weathers (Artist) - Jabari Weathers is under suspicion of being a goblin prince from beyond the veil who is currently seeking refuge in Baltimore, Maryland. He makes fantasy and sci-fi art to keep up his glamor (and because it’s fun). He also enjoys tabletop RPGs, singing in public places, and things that are thoroughly uncanny. He's worked on the Dresden Files RPG, the second edition of 7th Sea, and a medley of other indie RPG work. You can view his work at his portfolio site, or follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
Our Excellent Guest Writers
- Alyson Grauer - Alyson Grauer is an omni-talented artist based in Chicago, IL. She is currently blogging/podcasting her way through the Disney animated film canon on her blog, Dreams to Become, where you can also find her podcast, DND20 Public Radio, and her various new fiction adventures. Her debut fantasy novel is called "On The Isle of Sound and Wonder". You can also find Alyson on Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/WhimsyArtifice
- Gustav Kollmeyer - Gus is a full-time struggling writer with a strong love of breathing air. His short stories and flash pieces range from dark to absurd, and back around again to sometimes slutty. If you have a stomach for such things, check Gus out at wearybirds.wordpress.com.
- Eric Lamoureux - Born in Montreal, Canada, Eric Lamoureux lives in Erie, Pa with his wife Amy. Eric has been a freelance writer for Savage Worlds for two years and is best known for the adventure module Fuhgeddaboudit!. He's written for Obatron Productions, Fabled Environments and is now part of the Just Insert Imagination team. Eric is also the co-host of the Wild Die Podcast.
- Jeremy Lilley - Jeremy has been playing role-playing games for over 20 years. He enjoys creating his own content for his home games. Recently, he's fallen in love with gaming online with people from around the world. You can check out his many excellent Actual Play videos on his YouTube channel.
- Manuel Sambs - Manuel is a 36-year-old Savage Worlds enthusiast from Germany. He started as a humble player back in 2013 and since then has become a veteran GM, Twitch RPG streamer, created an infamous conversion, and released two free setting-neutral Savage Worlds one sheets. You can contact Manuel on Google+.
- Richard Woolcock - Richard Woolcock is a freelance RPG writer, and has written Savage Worlds material for Obatron Productions, SPQR Games, Sneak Attack Press, Gun Metal Games, Melior Via, and Just Insert Imagination. You can read more about his work (including free tools and supplements) on his blog at savage-stuff.blogspot.com.
Miscellaneous All Stars
- Karl Keesler (Character Sheet) - Karl Keesler is an award winning Art Director. He is part of Dog House Rules and took his passion for graphic design and gaming and turned it into a Gold ENnie in 2004 for Best Electronic Product for their flagship book, Sidewinder: Recoiled. Karl also specializes in character sheet design work. The most recent being for Olympus Inc.
- Nathan D. Paoletta (Layout) - Nathan D. Paoletta is a graphic artist, game designer and independent publisher hailing from Chicago, IL. In addition to freelance work, he publishes his own games, including the award-winning World Wide Wrestling RPG. He makes bad jokes about pro wrestling on twitter @ndpaoletta and obsesses over The Rockford Files @TwoHundredPod. Find out more at ndpdesign.com.
- Eric Simon (Kickstarter Consultant) - Eric runs Four-in-Hand Games. Among other things, he is the line developer for Steamscapes, a historical steampunk setting for Savage Worlds.
Risks and challenges
We're new to publishing and to Kickstarter, which is our biggest liability. We've been researching successful Kickstarter methods for more than a year now, and we've supported many projects to understand the experience from the backer perspective. We've learned there are three core ingredients for success: achievable goals, open communication, and honest work. Here's where we stand on each.
We know it's easy for a Kickstarter campaign's ambition to outgrow the creator's capabilities. As much as we'd love to offer add-ons like GM screens, custom dice, and Bennies, we know each of those will increase our logistical dance by a significant amount. For our first project, we're focusing on improvements to the core book and a few easily-achievable goodies. In particular, we've decided to publish our guest writers in a separate volume to make sure there's no delay in the release of the core book.
As creators, we hereby pledge to you that we will keep you informed at every step of the way, for good or ill. As investors in our project, you deserve to know about all our triumphs, and any setbacks that may occur. It's the only way you can make an informed decision about your support.
To make sure things go smoothly, we've hired some excellent people to help out. We're paying fair wages so they can take pride in their work. We know our strengths (writing, cartography, and project management), and we've hired these folks to shore up our weaknesses (art, layout, and Kickstarter expertise). Together, we know we can bring you a book you'll love, and we can do it on time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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