Welcome to Ramen Sandwich Press’ fourth Kickstarter campaign in support of Places by the Way. This campaign offers you your only chance to copies of the Limited (Kickstarter Only) Edition of Places by the Way #4: Sylvanhome.
Places by the Way
For those of you who missed our earlier campaigns, Places by the Way is a series of short modules that I’m creating for use with Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. They work fine as short stand-alone adventures, but each Places by the Way module is meant to be a kit for creating a memorable interlude in a larger campaign. Each entry in the series consists of two versions sold separately but similar in content. One version is set in the Forgotten Realms, so Ramen Sandwich Press sells it exclusively through Dungeon Masters Guild. The other version assumes a generic setting and complies with WotC’s Open Game License. It’s available through DriveThru RPG, RPGNow and Dungeon Masters Guild, and a print version is available through Amazon and other online outlets.
For purchase links and product information, check out the Ramen Sandwich website. We also post news, announcements and random musings to our Facebook page, and I have posted some designer's notes to my personal blog, "I Think We've Been Playing It Wrong."
Places by the Way has two inspirations. One is the line of mini-adventures that AEG published as part of the D&D 3rd Edition open license boom. I recall that the word count for those modules was only 5,000 words. I wrote a few of them, and they suggested to me that the short form could be made to work in adventure modules as it does in fiction. That is to say, if the typical folio-sized module is the novel, and the hardcover campaign books that WotC is publishing for 5th Edition are epics, there should be also be a place for the module equivalent of short stories.
The other inspiration is the strangely important role that side quests play in what we now recognize as standard CRPG structure. Side quests are those little tasks that you can find throughout the game world, and while they have no direct bearing on the main story, they allow you to accumulate XP, money and items, and meet memorable NPCs. If they’re done well they can add real flavor to the game experience. Fallout remains one of my very favorite CRPGs. One of the first things that jumps back into my mind is Tandi, the Shady Sands girl voiced so perfectly by Cree Summer. Her wistful musing about what lies beyond her little village convey the fallen melancholy of that world so beautifully that it made me forget all about finding that water filter. My goal for Places by the Way is that somewhere in the series, I will create an NPC encounter that has an effect like that. My disadvantage is that I won’t have a talented voice artist to help. But I’m going to try to create a moment in a campaign that you will find memorable out of proportion to its role as a diversion.
Places by the Way modules average about 15 numbered locations, each of which offers an encounter, noteworthy items, noteworthy NPCs or an opening into which you can hook your existing campaign.
We’re on to Places by the Way #4: Sylvanhome, which describes a small community of wood elves. In D&D's conception of elves (which draws heavily on Tolkien), sylvan elves embody a particular tension between their good alignment and beneficent attitude toward other beings on the one hand and their isolation and deep suspicion of outsiders on the other. Sylvanhome works on that tension, depicting an elven settlement uncertain of how to respond to the presence of humans in a forest they are used to having for themselves. It will be up to your players how deeply they want to involve themselves in Sylvahnhome's affairs, but entertaining situations will unveil themselves if they do.
Sylvahnhome is still being written, but we expect that it will be in layout by the end of November and the Limited Edition will be ready to ship in mid-January, as soon as Kickstarter clears payments from this campaign. Ramen Sandwich Press could use a little extra funding to make sure we can pay for stuff like layout, art and maps in a timely manner. So we’re turning to the Kickstarter community once again in the hope that you’ll help us keep this series going.
Our rewards focus on a special, “Limited Edition” of each OGL Places by the Way module. It contains an Easter Egg of additional content that is not part of the version that is sold to the wider public, and we will not offer it outside of Kickstarter campaigns. Think of it as an inside joke between me and the good folk such as yourself who back Places by the Way.
$8 Sylvanhome PDF: PDF of Sylvanhome Limited Edition.
$22 Sylvanhome print: Print copy of Sylvanhome Limited Edition, signed to you by me, author Douglas Sun.
$27 PDF + Print combo: You’ll get both the signed print version and the PDF version. No need to choose one or the other.
$78 Catch-up special: We overprinted the Limited Editions of Places by the Way #2: A Treasure on the Rocks and Places by the Way #3: Secrets of Oyster Cove, to allow for accidents while signing copies — like my hand slipping, or the pen exploding, etc. Fortunately, this only happened a few times. So we have some spares and I’m happy to sign and sell what we have left. This reward also includes signed print copies of those two modules (which are linked) plus Sylvanhome, and we’ll throw in PDF copies to boot.
Risks and challenges
The risks associated with this project are minimal. Sylvanhome is still being written, but we anticipate that it will be ready for layout by Thanksgiving and that we will get it to the printer before the end of the year. Our experience to date with producing and publishing Places by the Way has taught us a lot about keeping our timetables realistic and what we need to do to stick to schedule. However, that experience has also taught us that we need to make sure that we can cover our bills — and that's where the Kickstarter community comes in.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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