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A green-hued, dark-fantasy, old-school mini-setting and bestiary set in a twisted middle-England.
A green-hued, dark-fantasy, old-school mini-setting and bestiary set in a twisted middle-England.
A green-hued, dark-fantasy, old-school mini-setting and bestiary set in a twisted middle-England.
322 backers pledged £13,953 to help bring this project to life.

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The Midderlands - An OSR Mini-Setting & Bestiary

£13,953

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The Midderlands is an old-school game setting with bestiary for use with old-school role-playing games. It is based on Swords & Wizardry Complete, but could easily be used with other old-school systems and even non-OSR systems such as D&D or Pathfinder.

It is a green-hued, dark-fantasy, late-middle ages, early-renaissance view through grime-smeared spectacles. The setting itself is based on an area in the middle of England near where I live called The Midlands. Many of the locations are loosely based on reality, but others are pure fantasy from an addled mind.

The setting part of the book contains something I call "game-juice". Not heavy of history and monotonous detail, but enough to get the game-juices flowing and let the game master twist and tweak as they need to in order to fit their campaign.

There is also humour and occasional swear words.

*** If you are reading this for the first time or you read this a while back and are revisiting, then please check out the Updates. There is lots of extra information and extracts there too :)

****SPECIAL ADD ON ANNOUNCEMENT****

Increase your pledge by £14, and get the following extras when we get to The Midderlands Book/PDF release. This is an equivalent of over £50+ worth of awesome, RPG-related stuff for just £14...

  • "Free PDF" coupon for The Demon Stones adventure in both Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry flavours (from DTRPG/RPGNow).
  • "At cost Print" coupon for The Necrophidian Journals Black Edition Graph Paper Book (from DTRPG/RPGNow).
  • Free download link to Havenland MEGA set of map symbols.
  • Free download link to Narrasil set of map symbols.
  • Free download link to Neath 3D set of components for SketchUp.

For more details refer to Update 10 here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/608764698/the-midderlands-an-osr-mini-setting-and-bestiary/posts/1948361

The Fluff...

3D Visual (subject to change)
3D Visual (subject to change)

"Situated in the middle of Havenland is an area known by the ancestors as the Middle Havenlands. They don’t use that name much any more, preferring to talk lazily, and skip letters.

In strange accents, often misheard and little understood by those outside of the central region - they call it “The Midderlands”, and themselves “Midfolk” or “Midderlanders”.

There are many peculiar folk that call these Midderlands home. Generally mistrusting of outsiders, they suspiciously eye strangers, close doors, bar windows and scurry in opposite directions. Maybe the area has had a troubled history and that is why the folk behave the way they do.

All that aside, there are good folk too. These folk just want to subsist peacefully and not have interference or “goings on” in their lives. Nothing is ever that simple.

As well as the people of the area, there are the places. The towns and hamlets, the woods and hills, the lakes and the rivers. Amongst all these places are stranger locales too; circles of stones, strange towers, castles and burial grounds.

Everywhere, the Midderlands is tainted by a green-hued menace that rises from the deep and affects nature and order, sometimes subtly and sometimes catastrophically. It rises from the mysterious subterranean realm known as Middergloom. Often described as hell bathed in green fire and flames. Green-tinged slime, noxious vapours, and miasmas creep upwards, amongst them viridian-coloured demons, lime-green tentacles and other malachite horrors claw their way to the surface to wreak havoc. The Lords of the land are always working to keep things at bay. The realm of Middergloom is deliberately nebulous and mysterious, and left for you to develop as needed to suit your campaign.

The vileness that lurks below taints the skies above the land too, known as The Drab. The atmosphere is a hint of green rather than blue. The colour can shift between turquoise and sickly yellow-green in a short space of time. When night comes and the Drab clears, the midfolk can see the constellations surrounded by wispy green nebulae, strange wandering stars and comets, and a single many-cratered moon.

There are many things to keep the inquisitive minds of treasure seekers amused. There are also many things to keep the treasures where they are.

Things stir in this viridian-hued landscape. Evil eyes blink and watch. Teeth and claws scratch and sharpen. Gaping maws slobber and drool.

All is not content in the Midderlands."

Reviews and Comments

As well as seeing Midderlands-related posts on my Google+, Facebook and Twitter feeds, some folks have seen drafts of this work, and made comments on various work-in-progress. Some of those are here;

"...every single page there is a nugget of something that makes me go "Yes! this would be cool!" - Shane Ward - 3 Toadstools

"The manuscript is very cool! Definitely has some cross-over potential with Dolmenwood stuff." - Greg Gorgonmilk - gorgonmilk.blogspot.co.uk

"This looks awesome!" - Elizabeth Chaipraditkul - Angry Hamster Publishing

"...if you don't understand the marvelous RPG resource Glynn will be Kickstarting, check out his Google+ posts." - Newt Newport - D101 Games

Preview Reviews

So, who is involved in this and how?

Glynn Seal - Writing (Setting & some Bestiary), Artwork (Setting & Bestiary), Cartography, Layout, Project Manager - He has written the setting elements, and also had the hand on design/layout, artwork, cartography, and will be handling the project management. Glynn has been professionally involved in the production of technical drawings for 27 years, and semi-professional cartography/design for the last four years as MonkeyBlood Design. Equally at home with traditional mediums or PC applications, Glynn has provided cartography, artwork and book layout works for other independent publishers as well as a few of his own products. Glynn first played Red Box D&D when he was about 12 years old. His favourite old school cartography is that of the TSR UK series of modules, and he loved reading Magician, Silverthorn and Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist. Check Glynn out further at MonkeyBlood Design, Google+, Twitter and Facebook.

Edwin Nagy - Writing (Bestiary) - Edwin cut his professional gaming teeth with Lesser Gnome, working a little on Whisper & Venom and more than he could have imagined on Death & Taxes. He has since edited, written, and worked on rules translations for Frog God Games, Dark Naga Adventures, and MonkeyBlood Design. Having started in the long ago with AD&D, Edwin currently splits his gaming time about 50/50 between fantasy and horror, enjoying Call of Cthulhu and various old and new editions of D&D and its ilk. He avoids long walks on the beach for fear of deep ones.

Mark Nolan - Writing (Adventure) - Mark lives in the Midderlands. No, really, he does. His average day consists of not getting stung by Centidemonpedes and immersing himself in alternate worlds. Having crossed many RPG paths from sci-fi to traditional hack and slash greatness, he is as happy with the traditional style RPGs as with the new Age story based games. The Midderlands is a return to the great classic style of gaming, and when offered the opportunity to contribute Mark jumped at the chance.

Jim Magnusson - Artwork (Bestiary) - If Glynn is like Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, then Jim is like the Human Torch or maybe even Peter Parker. While Glynn is professional, Jim is like the more light-hearted, fun-loving, not-on-time prankster. But still, something gets delivered and it comes from the murky deeps of a crazed mind. Everyone always say they played some red box, but Jim played all the Swedish games of the time - Drakar och Demoner, Mutant, Wasteland, Kult and also some classics like Champions and Dark Conspiracy. Who knows what was played first?

Juan Ochoa - Artwork (Setting) - Juan is creating a couple of pieces of setting art to grace the book. Check out his website for awesomeness.

Matthew Pook - Editing - Matthew is a resident of the Midderlands, but not a native. It is his task to make Spot Hidden rolls on an almost prodigious basis, ‘tut’ quietly to himself and shake his head, before politely suggesting to Glynn that he might like to change one or two things.

He has been gaming since 1980, writing reviews since the year 2000, and editing things since 2008. These began with the infamous Masks of Nyarlathotep Companion and have continued with titles for Cubicle Seven Entertainment, Miskatonic River Press, Modiphius Entertainment, Sixtystone Press, Goodman Games, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess, including Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Roleplaying, 2nd Edition, Scenic Dunnsmouth, The God that Crawls, The Magnificent Joop van Ooms, The Monolith from beyond Space and Time, Death Love Doom, Fuck for Satan, something nobody can mention, Better Than Any Man, The Doom-Cave of the Crystal-Headed Children, Tower of the Stargazer, Blood in the Chocolate, England Upturn'd, and The Squid, the Cabal, and the Old Man. (If you think that the last sentence needs editing, you now know what he has to put up with.)

Matthew likes to review games. His reviews have appeared in Steve Jackson Games' Pyramid and Pagan Publishing's The Unspeakable Oath magazines and currently appear at Reviews from R’lyeh (rlyehreviews.blogspot.com). He lives with a ridiculously large games collection, an understanding perky Goth, and the requisite four cats. Only one of which is called Kitler. All four are related.

The book content is intended to be A5 and approx. 192 pages, and is currently divided up as follows:

Introduction

Explains a little bit about the Midderlands and the people within, the counties, governing hierarchy, currency, religion, etc.

Introduction - sample
Introduction - sample

Locations

All the hamlets, small towns, large towns, points of interest, rivers and lakes, woods and forests and the roads are detailed with text and in some cases with maps.

Locations - sample
Locations - sample

Oddities

This section deals with the oddities of The Midderlands from strange items, spells, flora and fauna.

Oddities - sample
Oddities - sample

Creatures

The largest section in the book, this contains all the creatures created for The Midderlands. There are twenty-five creatures in all. Each is presented as a monster, and a non-player character. Also, eighteen of these are presented as race-classes for you to play - weird, cool and crazy!

Creatures - sample
Creatures - sample

Adventure

The book contains a sample starting adventure.

Adventure - sample
Adventure - sample

Hex Map Locations

This section details more than twenty-five of the hexes on the map, as well as some randomly-generated locations.

Hex Locations - sample
Hex Locations - sample

 

Appendix

The appendix contains random tables, a consolidated Midderland monster chart, and the OGL licensing information.

Appendix - sample
Appendix - sample

The Map

There is also a hex map of The Midderlands setting showing all the counties and locations. This is provided in two flavours...

A2 Map Colour - sample
A2 Map Colour - sample

 

A2 Map Parchment - sample
A2 Map Parchment - sample

 

The aim of this is for you to get a book in your hands once you've checked out (pledge plus shipping). No hidden extra costs to pay later with at-cost coupons for PoD quality. This is going to be worth the gold quids!

There are various pledge levels, and they include different content. See the table below, and the explanations below it.

What you get at what pledge level
What you get at what pledge level

PDF Book

A bookmarked, PDF version of the book.

The digital versions of the book will be delivered via OBS (DriveThruRPG and RPGNow). No extra cost other than your pledge for this. You will need to setup an account at DriveThruRPG or RPGNow prior to delivery. This email address will be collected by survey on successful Kickstarter, just in case its different to your Kickstarter address.

PDF Book/Map files fulfilled by DTRPG/RPGNow
PDF Book/Map files fulfilled by DTRPG/RPGNow

PDF Map

The PDF (or JPG format) version of the map comes in two flavours; Colour and Parchment. Each is sized to allow you to self-print at A2 at 300dpi if you want to get these off your screen and in your hand. You will receive files for both colour and parchment versions.

The digital version of the maps will be delivered via OBS (DriveThruRPG and RPGNow). You will need to setup an account at DriveThruRPG or RPGNow prior to delivery. This email address will be collected by survey on successful Kickstarter, just in case its different to your Kickstarter address.

Print Book 'Standard'

There will be nothing "standard" about this book. I have decided to go for the most professional quality book I can - this has to be about quality. This is not the usual print-on-demand offering. I have contacted seven different printing companies with a book specification, and requested samples of books from them. My chosen printer has been established in the UK since 1862 and they make wonderful books. The Print Book (Standard) will be A5 casebound, smyth-sewn with green head and tail bands, matt-laminated cover with spot-UV titling, and printed end papers. It will have two green ribbons, and come with an additional Midderland-themed printed book mark. The pages will be printed in colour on 115gsm silk paper. It will kick butt.

SAMPLE - Cover spread
SAMPLE - Cover spread

Print Map

The map will be printed both sides on 130gsm gloss or silk paper. On the one side will be the colour version of the map, and on the reverse will be the parchment version. The map will be A2 sized and folded to A5 and inserted loose into the book.

Print Book 'Collector'

This book is identical to the Standard version with one very noticeable addition. It will have a separate, slip-on, leather covering in the image of a Midderland creature, the Muckulus, created by the fabulous Abbot Hollow Studios. It will be in green leather, with three randomly-positioned, red-slit eyes.

Note that these are bespoke, custom-made, one-of-a-kind and each one will vary. Rest assured that they will be amazing additions to your book collection and the talk of the gaming table!

Oh, I'll sign and number the book as well just for the hell of it.

Muckulus
Muckulus

 

The image below is representative only for the eyes to be used in the covers... of which there will be three, randomly placed and various sizes.

Red slitty eyes!!
Red slitty eyes!!

And the image below will be representative of the rectangular frame that will surround the three eyes.

SAMPLE ONLY of the kind of covers made by Abbots Hollow
SAMPLE ONLY of the kind of covers made by Abbots Hollow

The image below is indicative of the green leather colour and texture, which will be wrinkled a little (more like above).

SAMPLE ONLY - Green leather colour/texture
SAMPLE ONLY - Green leather colour/texture

The images below are representative of how the slip on covers fit. Note that these will obscure the printed endpapers but still allow removal for photocopying the endpaper content if needed.

SAMPLE ONLY - Slip on cover fitting
SAMPLE ONLY - Slip on cover fitting

 

SAMPLE ONLY - Slip on cover fitting
SAMPLE ONLY - Slip on cover fitting

 

SAMPLE ONLY - Slip on cover fitting
SAMPLE ONLY - Slip on cover fitting

 Art Book

The Art Book is where I have done a lot (not all) of the original ink drawings for the project. I'll write a little thank you message inside it too. Here's a flip-through.

There is just one of these books, it's the original one... and you could own it!!

Please be aware that NO copyright or license to use the artwork for commercial purposes will pass to the pledger with the book.

£12,000 - An added bonus for funding will be a Crypts & Things conversion notes PDF.

£12,500 - A bespoke S&W Complete, Midderland-themed character sheet will be created and become part of the book.

£13,000 - Each copy of the book will include a second copy of the map.

£13,500 - Each copy of the book will include a second printed bookmark.

£15,000 - A separate 16-page adventure will be created. It will be PDF only and available to any pledge levels with the 'PDF Book' reward.

Shipping : The cost of shipping is NOT included in the pledge levels above. The costs are dependent on your location and will be added to your pledge when you checkout. For information on shipping zones and countries - see here; http://www.royalmail.com/international-zones.

These costs are;

Shipping Costs due on checkout
Shipping Costs due on checkout

The costs are at the mercy of the UK postal service and because of the book size are just outside of the "large letter" rate and deemed to be a "small parcel".

Delivery : By the time the campaign ends, the text, book art and layout should be close to completion ready for editing. Once funds clear, I will arrange editing, and once the changes are made and I am happy with the layout, I will prepare the files and issue final files to the printers.

Printing turnaround is 4-6 weeks and once I get everything delivered to me, I need to send a book to Abbot Hollow to have the leather "Collector" covers made. Once these are made and shipped to me in the UK, I can start to arrange and implement reward shipping. All rewards will be shipped in one run once I have everything available (I didn't want standard books shipped before collector books). During this time I expect I will be going mental :-)

Dependent upon the amount of backers, the shipping might be in batches based on backer number order. So it could very well be first come, first served. I will know that a bit closer to the time.

Everything should be out by Christmas 2017 if not before. That will be a nice Christmas present to yourself ;-)

Please note that all images included above are representative and may be subject to slight change.

The success of this Kickstarter depends on the generosity of people like yourself. They can only pledge if they know about the campaign, so please feel free to spread the word in any way that you can - blogs, tweets, carrier pigeons, octopus messengers, smoke signals, and brain-burrowing centidemonpedes.

Also, pledge at the Slitherling level and get an extra copy as a Christmas present! Your mom will love it!

THANK YOU!

I'm really lucky to be surrounded by a wonderful community of gamers and publishers and the online gaming communities on social media are often warm, encouraging, enthusiastic and awesome. Without all of them, a project like this, delivered by myself would not be possible.

Thanks for consideration in supporting this project, and if you have backed this, then please give yourself a pat on the back - you are the best!

Glynn (MonkeyBlood Design) June 2017.

Risks and challenges

So, this is my very first Kickstarter.

I have been involved in many Kickstarters as a committed and timely contributor and have backed many too. I have created and self-published books already via OBS.

So, I have created books before, but only as print-on-demand. This time I want a quality not achievable by PoD. I have done a lot of supplier research for the printers to ensure I found the right company to deliver what I wanted in terms of quality and delivery.

I understand many of the risks, and have experience of project management in other areas of my life. I am thorough by nature and this Kickstarter would not be "active" unless I was sure of successful delivery.

I have many things already in place. The book is already at 170+ pages, and I only need to finish off some small aspects, get a few pieces of art wrapped, and send off for editing, make the changes and send to the printers.

Short of Armageddon, not meeting funding needs or ill health this will happen.

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Funding period

- (30 days)