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From the author of The Dungeon Dozen! A weird underworld adventure and campaign setting for Swords & Wizardry and other old school rpgs
From the author of The Dungeon Dozen! A weird underworld adventure and campaign setting for Swords & Wizardry and other old school rpgs
From the author of The Dungeon Dozen! A weird underworld adventure and campaign setting for Swords & Wizardry and other old school rpgs
519 backers pledged $21,756 to help bring this project to life.

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Operation Unfathomable

$21,756

519

NEW STRETCH GOALS ADDED!

See below for details

A party of experienced adventurers led by the stalwart Prince Eyraen have stolen an artifact from Syantides, Sorcerer-King of Mur, and entered the Underworld on a mission of vengeance. That brave band is lost and presumed dead. Perhaps a smaller, stealthier party can succeed where mighty heroes failed? You’d better hope so...

The Hydra Collective is proud to announce its second Kickstarter: OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE by writer and artist Jason (The Dungeon Dozen) Sholtis. Jason is expanding his critically acclaimed adventure from Knockspell #5, honed through hundreds of hours of playtesting, into a full-fledged mini-campaign! In addition to the expanded text, the Hydra Edition of OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE will feature new art by Jason and layout by award-winning designer Jez (A Red & Pleasant Land) Gordon.

 

An early sample of Jez Gordon's layout
An early sample of Jez Gordon's layout

 

From the author: "I wrote OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE originally to be a one-off adventure and for utility as a convention scenario. As such, the gloves were off both in terms of danger level for player characters and the campaign-changing potency of the enchanted treasures they might run off with. Going against my own advice, I used it to start a campaign.

Four years and hundreds of game-hours later, the campaign continues (and is still fun). As every DM knows, there is no substitute for play when it comes to breathing life into a setting. I believe the Underworld of OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE has that lived-in feel precisely because it has been explored extensively at the table and its secrets probed by a number of minds sharper than my own (I have awesome players).

I hope you enjoy it as much as I have."

 - Jason Sholtis  

 OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE is an internally-consistent, gonzo funhouse that runs like a subterranean wilderness trek instead of a “down the 10 foot hall and kick in a door” affair. There are random elements aplenty to keep GMs guessing as well as players. No balanced encounters to be found here, but the clever setup allows low level characters to drop into the dungeon “deep end” and still have a chance of making it out alive—if they’re smart and wary.

OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE includes:

  • Underworld Phenomena: Novel environmental hazards to challenge explorers like Horizontal Cave Lightning, Whirlwinds of Unbidden Transportation, Sudden Seismic Events, and many more! 
  • Fractious Factions: Enter a crossroads of Underworld civilization where combat is only one of the options (and often not always the wisest!) for dealing with its denizens. The PCs can make a temporary truce with Blind Antler Men or forge an unlikely alliance with the minions of Nul the Mindless God! 
  • Races, Weirdos and Chaos Godlings Galore: Over two dozen new creatures, from Batwinged Dwarfs to Shaggath Ka the Worm Sultan, malevolent...and even more malevolent!
  • Near-Endless Adventure: Enough NPCs, encounters, and areas to explore to keep a campaign going well beyond the initial scenario.

 

OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE is only the beginning. We've got a number of great stretch goals lined up:

$8,000: The Odious Uplands [UNLOCKED!] You’ve read about the Underworld, now plunge into the wilderness above it. Additional adventure awaits in Stonespear Province, Upper Mastodonia! Whether the players flee from titanoswine and saber-toothed apes to the relative safety of monster-proof Fort Enterprise or set out in search of the lost Chaos Converter atop Mount Impossible, The Odious Uplands offers a complete wilderness with over two dozen distinct areas to explore, each populated with unique creatures and characters.  

Rumor has it a colossal ghost haunts the Fossil Forest, a locale in the Odious Uplands.
Rumor has it a colossal ghost haunts the Fossil Forest, a locale in the Odious Uplands.

 

A sample Odious Uplands spread
A sample Odious Uplands spread

 $11,000: Jez Gordon Maps [UNLOCKED!] Jez Gordon, award-winning cartographer for A Red & Pleasant Land and Death Frost Doom, turns his considerable talents toward maps of the weird underworld of OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE!     

$15,000: Stefan Poag Chapter Headers [UNLOCKED!] Nothing says weird fantasy role-playing like the art of Stefan Poag. You’ve seen his unique style in places like Dungeon Crawl Classics, now see it emblazoned on every chapter of OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE

$16,000: Dungeon Dozen [UNLOCKED!] The critically acclaimed DUNGEON DOZEN by Jason Sholtis now included! For more on the Dungeon Dozen, see: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/129931/The-Dungeon-Dozen

$17,500: Completely Unfathomable Hardcover [UNLOCKED!] Odious Uplands and OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE together as they were meant to be in one handy tome!

$18,000: Dungeon Dozen II Sneak Preview [UNLOCKED!] A special, no-art preview of the upcoming DUNGEON DOZEN II, the sequel to the much beloved supplement by Jason Sholtis. 

$19,000: Operation Unfathomable Players Guide + Mini-Comic [UNLOCKED!] Everything that your players need to enter the world of OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE!

$20,000 DCC Conversion [UNLOCKED!] Dungeon Crawl Classics and OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE, two great tastes, brought together by Paul (Mystic Bull) Wolfe!

$23,000 Illustration Booklet All the art of OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE and the Odious Uplands in one convenient place for evoking awe and terror in your players!

$25,000 Faction Tracker PDF The Underworld is complicated place, this will make it easy to keep track of the actions and reactions of the various groups.

$29,000: The Art of Jason Sholtis  Bewildering Images will be a retrospective on Jason's art, from throughout his rpg career and beyond.

Unlocked Add-Ons  

Odious Uplands:
The perfect companion piece to Operation Unfathomable, taking your underworld campaign topside! $9 for the PDF, $16 for the at-cost print coupon from DrivethruRPG/RPGNow.

Dungeon Dozen: Jason's classic collection of d12 tables is available at $8 for PDF. (We sadly cannot offer print copies of Dungeon Dozen as an add-on, and print coupons will only be available to backers at the Underworld Ranger tier.)

Operation Unfathomable Player's Guide: Setting introduction, world map, new player options, and a four-page mini-comic by Jason Sholtis. $4 for the PDF, $5 for the at-cost print coupon from DrivethruRPG/RPGNow.  

Completely Unfathomable: Both OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE and Odious Uplands in one hardcover. $18 for the PDF, $32 for an at-cost print coupon from DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. 
Completely Unfathomable DCC Edition: OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE and the Odious Uplands, now with that Dungeon Crawl Classics flavor that you love. $18 for the PDF, $32 for the at-cost print coupon from DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. 

Estimated At-Cost Print Coupon Costs    

Operation Unfathomable: $4.16 + shipping    
Odious Uplands: $4.16 + shipping    
Completely Unfathomable: $9.75 + shipping  
Operation Unfathomable Player's Guide: $2.70 + shipping  
Completely Unfathomable DCC Edition: $10.09 + shipping

To Be Added As They’re Unlocked Add-Ons


Operation Unfathomable Illustration Booklet: The ultimate visual play aid for you Operation Unfathomable campaign. $5 for the PDF, $8 for the at-cost print coupon from DrivethruRPG/RPGNow. 

Faction Tracker: Bring the chaos of the Odious Uplands alive with this handy set of rules and counters. $5 for the PDF.

Bewildering Images: The Art of Jason Sholtis: Personally curated by Jason himself, and beautifully designed by Jez Gordon, this is the definitive collection of Jason’s comic and RPG art. $12 for the PDF, $17 for the at-cost print coupon from DrivethruRPG/RPGNow.



Estimated At-Cost Print Coupon Costs 
Operation Unfathomable Illustration Booklet: $2.72 + shipping
Bewildering Images: The Art of Jason Sholtis: $8.33 + shipping


IMPORTANT SHIPPING NOTE:
Once the books are completed, an at-cost coupon from OneBookShelf will be sent out to backers who have chosen physical rewards. To receive your book, you will need to pay the at-cost price of the book and the shipping price (estimated at $4 for United States shipping, and $5-9 internationally.

Risks and challenges

The manuscript and the art for OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE have been completed. Editing is in process, and layout lies ahead.

Between the creators and the production staff, we've published a dozen indie rpg works. The Hydra Collective has the successful Slumbering Ursine Dunes Kickstarter under its belt, and we bring lessons learned from that experience to this campaign. We take deadlines seriously; we are proud to have delivered the main Slumbering Ursine Dunes adventure both PDF and print on time, and plan to do the same with OPERATION UNFATHOMABLE.

All that said, we're a small, hobbyist publisher with a small, part-time staff. Despite what steps we might take to mitigate them, delays are always possible. We will strive to be transparent and communicative with our backers throughout the process.

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    OPERATION UNCERTAINTY

    For the curious not willing to fully commit to the mission. All backers get access to sample sections of the draft in PDF format, without art or maps.

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    WOOLLY NEANDERTHAL

    Have to travel light? Receive Operation Unfathomable in PDF format and the sample draft sections.

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    UNDERWORLD EXPLORER

    Delve deeper with all previous rewards and an at-cost coupon from DriveThruRPG/ RPGNow for the Operation Unfathomable print edition. Backer must also pay for shipping.

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    THE BLUE ANTI-CHAOS PILL

    Prophylaxis against chaos! Receive Operation Unfathomable and all the unlocked stretch goals in PDF.

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    THE RED ANTI-CHAOS PILL

    Get ready for a mega-dose with Operation Unfathomable and all the unlocked stretch goals in PDF, and an at-cost coupon from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow for the print edition of Operation Unfathomable. Backer must also pay for shipping.

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    UNDERWORLD RANGER

    You, seasoned and expert explorer of the Underworld, will receive Operation Unfathomable and all the unlocked stretch goals in PDF, and an at-cost coupons from DriveThruRPG/RPGNow for the print edition for those same products. Backer must also pay for shipping.

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    NUL PRIEST

    Lose your mind when you receive Operation Unfathomable and all the unlocked stretch goals in PDF and print—with print editions personally signed by Jason Sholtis (instant collectors’ items) and shipping paid!

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    CHAOS GODLING

    Rule all you survey with all the items in the previous tier PLUS a piece of original art that Jason selects especially for you!

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Funding period

- (30 days)