Shaintar is a rich and detailed fantasy setting, loved by gamers for decades. A few years ago, excitement built around the idea of a shared experience in Shaintar which would shape the very world itself. Sean Patrick Fannon's living campaign was born: Justice & Life. We'll talk more about this later.
About the same time, Savage Mojo helped Sean run a Kickstarter to create an amazing variety of source material for Shaintar. While Sean had to step back from much of the project, Savage Mojo took over the realm of Shaintar, allowing our friend to focus on other parts of his life while still being involved in the creative process.
In January 2017 we delivered the last of the 26 books in that Kickstarter. Guidebooks for kingdoms and cities, reports on organizations (both good and evil), short adventures and... but where was the killer campaign book, the epic story line for an epic fantasy world?
That's where the living campaign comes in. Those gaming groups have been running epic story arcs non-stop, and it's time to bring some of those into the spotlight. With your help we're going to publish their first, amazing story arc for everyone to enjoy, and have you tell the story for yourselves in your own way.
This is Shaintar's first plot point campaign, complete with Savage Tales and all the trimmings.
The living campaign is a form of collaborative storytelling. It's pretty amazing and here's how it works: every game that takes place in the community affects the story line for that year. The events of one group may affect others while progressing the overall story arc to a dramatic conclusion.
Best of all, events that happen in Justice & Life change the world, permanently. They become part of the lore of Shaintar, so participants from all over the world have a chance to write the future of the entire setting.
In 2013 the year in Shaintar was 3123... the year of Thundering Skies.
"This has been, by far, the most rewarding experience I've had the pleasure of partaking in!" ~ James Olexa, Jan 2017
Shaintar's first worldwide campaign event saw strange beings appear - wind wraiths, lightning elementals and storm magi, among many others. Here's the story in brief (click on the images to download a pdf of the overview). SPOILERS: We're trying to stay spoiler-free but you may find minor spoilers in the plot overview document.
Who's the secret master? What's the agenda? Justice & Life was mobilized. Heroes scrambled to defend Shaintar and repel the attacks, to investigate and strike back....
"I find that I can craft much more in depth stories and plots when the opponents are not just nameless monsters holding potential loot for the heroes. When the enemy is another human, elf, etc. there’s the potential to find out more about that foe. Interact with them, (and) role-play." ~ Stephen Dragonspawn (2017)
In what we believe is the true spirit of Kickstarter, we have a unique opportunity for collaborative storytelling and without Kickstarter we wouldn't have the fund to develop it into a finished book. It's as simple as that. This is what Kickstarter was made for, after all.
Right now we have the core of the story arc and some amazing characters, locations, and encounters from the Justice & Life groups. The next stage is to turn that into a campaign sourcebook for every fantasy roleplayer to enjoy, and we're giving backers the chance to contribute too (see the Collaboration reward tiers).
By backing this project, not only do you have the opportunity to play through the campaign, you also have the chance to shape the story of Shaintar. The events in the book will be official canon for the Shaintar setting, the definitive write-up of Year 3123 in Shaintar history.
This is a unique opportunity to join in on the ground level of a thriving community of GMs and players who are telling vibrant and epic high fantasy stories. We want to tell those stories right, and to give others the ability to share in them.
First Servitor of Storms (Villain)
So, a little backstory here. About 8 weeks ago, I was asked to go on the Wild Die podcast and talk about Shaintar and we set it up and it happened. Fortunately for me, another fan of Shaintar, Stephane, joined the podcast with Gary and Eric and it turned out to be a great conversation. Now, Gary started teasing that he was going to get the villain pledge when we launched and he was true to his word. So we got together on social media and through a fantastic conversation here, Ssa'tehveen Draco, a Draykin (perhaps the only one in the world) came to be. He is a terrible being who's sole desire is to bring dragons back to Shaintar so they may rule. What role does the Tempest have for him? You'll have to wait and see...
Shaintar Year 3123: Thundering Skies adventure.
The player's gazetteer is 32 pages long. It contains some setting information and enough story background to help someone new to Shaintar get started. There's also a number of new Edges, gear and other special goodies offered.
The GM's section contains everything in 64 glorious pages. You get the full plot-point campaign, Savage Tales, specific setting information not provided to players, and stats for all the bad guys from great to small. This is your full toolkit for running an epic high fantasy campaign your group will remember for years.
NEW: Free Goodies!
Every backer at Adventurer tier or above (so almost everybody) will get a free copy of the Shaintar: Legends Arise Player's Guide pdf and a free copy of the Shaintar: Legends Unleashed Player's Guide pdf.
Exclusive Kickstarter Cover!
Only available through the Thundering Skies Kickstarter, we're offering an exclusive wraparound cover for the hardcover book. This cover will not be used on pdf or softcover formats and will never be sold publicly. It's only available here.
Below is a reminder of the amazing cover by Tomek Tvorek for Shaintar: Legends Unleashed and that's a sample of what's possible. We're still toying with ideas but we have two artists in mind for this and we know you'll love their work. The softcover & pdfs will have a blue cover with a smaller front image as shown above, and that's what will be available to buy after this Kickstarter finishes.
Every Thundering Skies hardcover you get through this Kickstarter, whether it's part of your pledge or through add-ons will get the exclusive cover. If you were ever thinking of getting additional copies for friends and family, this is the time to do it!
Bonus: Click the above image to download it as 1920x1080 wallpaper for your desktop.
Special opportunities available. We're giving you the opportunity to be creatively involved and to influence the story. Design allies that help the heroes, memorable enemies who add new challenges, or plot twists to increase the depth of the story. See the Collaboration reward tiers for those options. They're limited, and a one-time opportunity to have your name in the credits of this epic roleplay book.
"This is the first tabletop I've ever even considered playing. I've played video games and MMOs from the early age of 5 (I had older brothers). I always thought tabletop was weird and a little strange but out of all the games I've played this is by far one of the best storylines I've been introduced to and the writer in me thrives for it. I'm entirely spoiled from playing any other game - ever; mostly in large part because Shaintar is an amazingly fantastical place and Howard Brandon is one hell of a GM. " ~ Ashley Leuenberger
Note for print versions: see the "Shipping" section below.
We're committed to delivering stretch goals which give you, the backers, extra shinies for free - the more we succeed, the more we can give back to you! None of these stretch goals change any add-on pricing. Even as we make the book bigger or shinier, you get better and better value for your pledge money.
$11,000: A set of six pdf pre-generated characters for you to play with. There will be a character sheet on one side and a quarter page, sepia-toned illustration on the back with the character's background. This stretch goal is for players (and a part of the Adventurer pledge level), but also something GMs can use - any of these heroes who aren't played by players are suitably iconic NPCs.
$12,000: We're going to seriously bump the artwork. We'll take the six illustrations of our iconic heroes (see above) and turn them into beautiful full page images, full color and full wow! factor. Apart from supercharging the pre-generated character pack, these illustrations will also be part of the main book, so that's six pages of full color illustration for everyone to love there!
$12,500: We've gone $2,000 past our goal and we're celebrating in style. We'll add 8 pages to the Thundering Skies book. More adventure means more hours of epic gaming. We haven't decided how those extra pages will be split, but any pages added to the player's section of the book will add to the Adventurer pledge level, as well as everyone else's.
$13,500: At this point we're going to add another 8 pages to the Thundering Skies book AND upgrade all the illustrations in those pages to full-color rather than sepia toned and tinted.
$14,500: Just like the $13,500 stretch goal, at this point we'll add 8 more pages to the Thundering Skies book AND upgrade all the illustrations in those pages.
$15,000: If we get this far, we'll celebrate by creating a print-and-play pdf map pack for the Thundering Skies campaign. Everybody who pledges at the Adventurer tier or higher (that's most of you) will get a copy for free.
We are offering a heap of goodies as add-ons.
You can have any of the following books by simply adding to your pledge: $20.00 for a pdf, $35.00 for a softcover, or $45.00 for a hardcover. If you want multiple copies, just add multiple amounts. During the post-Kickstarter survey we'll sort out which books you want from the list below:
- Thundering Skies
- Shaintar: Legends Arise
- Shaintar: Legends Unleashed
- Southern Kingdoms (anthology)
- Independent Nations (anthology)
- Enemies, Old and New (anthology)
- Black Lantern Reports (anthology)
Thundering Skies is the campaign book you're backing right here in this Kickstarter, the first major story arc campaign for Shaintar.
Shaintar: Legends Arise and Shaintar: Legends Unleashed are the core Shaintar setting books. Sean Patrick Fannon's beautiful vision of Epic High Fantasy is laid out in those.
The four anthologies collect together the wealth of material from Shaintar's long and illustrious history in four handy volumes. However, if you want any of the original pdf guidebooks, Black Lantern reports or short adventures on their own, you can get those at 3 for $12.00. What's in the 3 for $12? Click here for a full list (it's a long one!).
What's in the anthologies? All this is in the anthologies...
Print+pdf offer: If you're getting the add-on of a print and its PDF, and both are from this list, then take $10 off the combo. Consider it an extra bonus of being a backer.
NEW! You can have a copy of Thundering Skies for the Fantasy Grounds virtual tabletop for $20.00 (exclusively announced in Update #4).
For physical books, please see our "Shipping" section below. We will send these products as soon as we have them available. In the case of some (the core books, the first two anthologies, and the original short format books), they will be sent to you as soon as the dust settles from the Kickstarter. Thundering Skies and the second pair of anthologies will be released in the coming months.
Gayle Reick - Line Developer, Shaintar. She's worked in the gaming industry off and on since the early '90s and gained experience as a playtester for Champions 4th Edition. She followed it up with work as a localization producer at 3D0 and a stint in a hobby games retail store, developing a unique series of skills that has allowed her to fit right in the Savage Mojo family.
Howard Brandon - Project Manager, Shaintar Legends Awaken (formerly Justice & Life) and Shaintar Rules Guru. He's been a part of the Shaintar J&L since 2013 and over the past four years Howard has taken over management of the collaborative campaign, written books and rules for the Shaintar realm, and joined the Savage Mojo team on future development. When not running and playing Shaintar, Howard attends conventions, speaking about gaming, running events, and promoting tabletop RPGs as a hobby and storytelling medium.
Darren Pearce - Lead Writer. He's already written nearly a million words of guidebooks and black lantern reports. Now heading the writing team, he's got loads of material to work from and we can expect a spectacular product from him. He's also got credits for Doctor Who: Adventures in Time and Space, Mongoose's Lone Wolf and more besides. His list of credits contains fiction as well as RPG game design.
Carinn Seabolt - Editor. She's one of the partners over at Evil Beagle Games and has agreed to continue editing the Shaintar product line for us. In addition, she's the one making sure we keep Shaintar the epic high fantasy we love to play in. She's also done quite a lot of freelance editing and works as part of the customer service team over at DriveThruRPG.
Alida Saxon - Art Director. It's because of Alida that the Shaintar books have a fantastic style and consistent look and feel. She takes the manuscripts, commissions illustrations, and turns out book after book that Savage Mojo is (very!) proud to present to the public. She's also a part of the Pinnacle Entertainment Art Direction team, creating wonderful books with them as well.
For more detailed biographies, visit savagemojo.com and click on the "About Us" tab to learn a bit more about who we are and what we do.
Print versions of Thundering Skies and various add-ons are available as part of the Kickstarter. Backers are responsible for paying separate shipping on all print products but please don't add anything to your pledge at this stage. We'll calculate what you owe in shipping during the post-Kickstarter survey.
Printing and shipping will be through DriveThruRPG, so you'll pay them directly, and exactly what it costs them to ship. We feel that's the most accurate and honest way to deal with shipping.
We've made some changes in the last couple of days that might have you wondering where those beautiful featured characters are. Why'd we do this? Well, we were having people ask us where to find this one thing and we realized there was too much going on. We wanted people to find the information really easily. What we've done is create a Hall of Heroes folder where you can download a pdf of these characters. There'll also be a Hall of Villains and other folders added as we create content for you to view. The name of the folder is a link there so have fun & enjoy.
Risks and challenges
At Savage Mojo we're aware of the risks and challenges of Kickstarter campaigns perhaps better than most. We ran a successful Kickstarter for our Dungeonlands realm and we were involved in the Shaintar: Legends Unleashed Kickstarter. Then in 2016 we rescued the abandoned Nightfall Kickstarter. Additionally, from time to time we also work with other companies, helping them with their Kickstarters.
As an example, let's look at the Shaintar: Legends Unleashed Kickstarter. Our initial involvement was administrating the crowdfunding campaign itself, and supplying the visual resources (illustration, cartography, graphic design, and layout). The Kickstarter went wonderfully (414% funded!).
When Evil Beagle Games hit obstacles, Savage Mojo agreed to take over development of the Kickstarter products. It was one of the most complicated sets of rewards you'll ever see, but all the books are complete. We were determined to stick it out until the Kickstarter was finished and now we've done right by the fans. Between that and the process of saving the Nightfall (now Nocturne) Kickstarter, we've learned a great deal about resource allocation and production.
As you can see, we're no newbs at this. This isn't our first rodeo, not even close. In this Kickstarter we're implementing everything we've learned from looking at all those other projects and being a part of them.
Nothing in this world is 100%. That said, we've never met a challenge we didn't stick with until it was overcome. And to date we've always overcome in the end.
This is our promise to you:
Help us help the creative team behind Shaintar. Become a backer at whatever level you can afford. Pledge a few dollars more than the level you choose (the Kickstarter version of a tip jar). In return we'll give you every ounce of energy in our body, every creative thought in our mind. We'll always do everything possible to do the right thing. What more can anyone ask for than that?
- (21 days)