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A fantastic new MEGADUNGEON for Labyrinth Lord and other Old School Role-Playing Games. Designed by Barrowmaze author Greg Gillespie.
A fantastic new MEGADUNGEON for Labyrinth Lord and other Old School Role-Playing Games. Designed by Barrowmaze author Greg Gillespie.
322 backers pledged CA$ 40,242 to help bring this project to life.

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CA$ 40,242

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The Forbidden Caverns: Call to Adventure! By Zhu Bajie
The Forbidden Caverns: Call to Adventure! By Zhu Bajie

INTRODUCTION

Long ago, an ancient people, the Archians, built a thriving civilization in the shadow of a great mountain. Among their many accomplishments, they studied the dark mysteries of arcane energy. Through knowledge of the cosmos, they harnessed their innate magical abilities. They also created new types of magic and created extraordinarily powerful, and sometimes unpredictable, spells.

For a thousand years the Archians ruled their world. Until a great cataclysm befell their civilization. Some say they became reclusive, selfish, and lost themselves within the eldritch energies they studied. Others say that some Archian sorcerers grew in power and challenged their gods. One thing is known for sure -- their grand civilization came to an end. Lightning wracked the city from above and great earthquakes split the ground from below. The quakes swallowed the city into the ground and created a labyrinth of canyons and sunken ruins where a thriving civilization once stood. Finally, the great mountain exploded in an erruption of fire and brimstone that bombarded the city ruins and turned the once fertile region into a barren wasteland.

In the centuries that followed, the land remained lifeless.

Recent rumours suggest the desolate expanse around the lost city of Archaia has become a home for bands of orcs, goblins, and worse. They use the ruins to strike at nearby villages and raid caravan routes. Others think there is more to these groups than meets the eye...

Are you brave (or foolish) enough to enter The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia?

WHAT IS THE FORBIDDEN CAVERNS?

This Kickstarter campaign is designed to support the creation of a new megadungeon adventure called The Forbidden Caverns of Archaia (Forbidden Caverns or FCA).

Forbidden Caverns is designed for Labyrinth Lord but can be played with any Old School Role-Playing Game (or their clones) from the 70s and 80s such as B/X, First or Second edition, OSRIC, or Swords and Wizardry. This scenario can also be played with the DCC RPG with conversions.

This new medgadungeon adventure is designed to support a medieval fantasy campaign lasting months and years. FCA will support first through high level play.

I estimate the final draft to be between 180-250 pages and approximately 500-600 encounter areas. If you are unfamiliar with Barrowmaze Complete, that project was 259 pages in a two-column format (cover to cover) and well over 600 encounter areas (excluding the barrow mounds). PDF poster maps will be in both black and Old School blue.

Forbidden Caverns opens with a gazeteer of the region in which the adventure takes place. This includes a cultural history as well as the detailing of several small villages that provide a base of operations for an extended campaign. Like the mounds in Barrowmaze, Forbidden Caverns also provides some low hanging fruit above-ground to get wise players started. The project includes a large outdoor map of the canyon ruins with individual encounter areas broken down. The dungeon proper will be leveled and connected to the great mountain that looms on the horizon above the canyon ruins. This approach merges my own particular style with inspiration drawn modules like the Caves of Chaos and Night's Dark Terror.

My local gaming group is playtesting this adventure.

Remember prices are in Canadian Dollars so there's AWESOME SAVINGS for all my peeps in the United States and abroad. If you are unfamiliar, the 2015 average conversion for the year was $1.00 USD = 70 cents CAD. The average for the last year (June 2015 to June 2016) was $1.00 USD = .67 cents CAD (citation: bankofcanada.ca). 

Here are some samples from Barrowmaze Complete with the cover by ex-TSR artist Erol Otus. The cover and page samples represent the style you can expect with The Forbidden Caverns of the Archaia:

Barrowmaze Complete Samples
Barrowmaze Complete Samples

WHO AM I?

My name is Dr. Greg Gillespie. I am an Associate Professor (Tenured) of Popular Culture at a university in Ontario, Canada. I regularly teach a senior undergraduate course entitled The History and Culture of Role-Playing Games (for realz). I am also the author/designer of a very popular Old School megadungeon called Barrowmaze Complete. You can read widely about Barrowmaze on the internet or you can find it here.

I have a very successful, crowdfunding track-record. I completed three crowdfunding campaigns over the last four years either on-time or ahead of schedule. You can find them on Indiegogo. Through my professional expertise, I know how to create, manage, and deliver outstanding game projects.

ART AND THE OLD SCHOOL

In my opinion, crafting an OSR dungeon is about much more than creating an adventure. It is about celebrating the origins of the hobby, the classic fantasy gaming experience, and understanding that dungeon crawling isn't supposed to be about long exhausting combats but rather an equal mix of exploration, combat, and role-play. These values are very important to me and find expression in both gameplay and aesthetics. Just like Barrowmaze, Forbidden Caverns will place a premium on amazing art. I will get the band back together including the talents of Cory Hamel, Zhu Bajie, Stefan Poag, Peter Pagano, Trevor Hammond, and Stephen Thompson.

Similar to Barrowmaze, every monster in the monster section will have its own illustration. In the past I have worked with former TSR artists Erol Otus, Jim Holloway, and Tim Truman. I hope to work with these and other TSR illustrators again on this project for a colour cover and also interior art.

Cory Hamel has created some fantastic concept illustrations over the time we have worked together to give you an idea of the aesthetic we have in mind for a few of the humanoid monsters. There's more to come!

 

Troll by Cory Hamel
Troll by Cory Hamel

 

Bugbear by Cory Hamel
Bugbear by Cory Hamel

 

Orcses by Cory Hamel
Orcses by Cory Hamel

 

Owlbear by Cory Hamel
Owlbear by Cory Hamel

PLAYTESTING

Here's a pic from our recent playtesting session. The group had their two men-at-arms killed on the way to the canyon and so had to fight off these skeletons down a couple sword arms. I painted all the figures (Cleric by Otherworld), bases by Dragon Forge Designs, and terrain (Dwarven Forge):

Playtesting Forbidden Caverns
Playtesting Forbidden Caverns

MINIATURES

The miniatures package add-on includes five old school froglings, three turtle shields, and two bricked-up walls. Bases are not included. The froglings appear in both Barrowmaze and in Forbidden Caverns and are reminiscent of an old Saturday morning cartoon from the 1980s. The miniatures will be cast in metal by RAFM. All sculpts are complete and in-hand.

Frogling I
Frogling I

 

Frogling II
Frogling II

 

Frogling III
Frogling III

 

Frogling IV
Frogling IV

 

Frogling V
Frogling V

 

Bricked-Up Walls
Bricked-Up Walls

 

Scale with Citadel miniatures
Scale with Citadel miniatures

 

The Greens
The Greens

So the full miniatures package includes what you see above: 5 froglings, three shields, and two bricked-up walls. Each miniatures package is $50 CAD (approximately $38 USD) and the price INCLUDES shipping around the world.

This add-on is open to all backers and you may add as many as you wish. The miniatures will not be sold individually. A miniatures only pledge level is available at the same prices noted above.

THROW-INs and ADD-ONS

This project will be detailed, provide depth of engagement, and be super fun for your gaming group. There is no list of stuff to add persay, rather the more funding the campaign receives the more I can invest into and develop the final product. I have an excellent reputation across the interwebs for value-added projects. If you are familiar with Barrowmaze Complete, you already know what to expect.

ORIGINAL JIM HOLLOWAY COVER ILLO

This is TSR-ex Jim Holloway's original "Mummy Attack" from Barrowmaze II. This piece of art was beautifully and tastefully framed. I spared no expense. See rewards.

The Mummy Attack by Jim Holloway
The Mummy Attack by Jim Holloway

SUMMARY

Forbidden Caverns is my next sandbox-style dungeon adventure. Similar to Barrowmaze, FCotA will employ the fun (and lethal) design principles essential to the Old School Renaissance. Of course, you can expect the unexpected in my design style and the continued emphasis on traps, tricks, puzzles, logistics, resource management, time, and mind-teasers that make the game worthwhile...and drive your players crazy.

Thank you for taking the time to read this campaign. Those of you who supported Barrowmaze in the past know that it was a labour of love and can expect the same level of enthusiasum and creativity in The Lost Caverns of the Archaia. If you have any questions leave a comment or get in touch. Please be sure to spread the word via your social networking outlets - blogs, forums, facebook, twitter, G+, etc. The grapevine is the best way to spread the word to the OSR community.

Thank you, Greg \m/

Risks and challenges

There are always potential challenges to any large project. However, I have an established track record of successful campaigns that have either shipped early or exactly on schedule. I have afforded myself a manageable writing and play-testing schedule with a shipping date of August 2017.

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    Pledge CA$ 15 or more About $11

    Rock On!

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    PDF Only

    A pdf of the The Forbidden Caverns megadungeon.

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    Hardcover/PDF of The Forbidden Caverns

    A hardcover and pdf of The Forbidden Caverns megadungeon including postage around the world.

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    Pledge CA$ 150 or more About $114

    Hardcover/PDF of Both Megadungeons

    Hardcovers of both The Forbidden Caverns and Barrowmaze Complete megadungeons and pdfs including postage around the world.

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    Pledge CA$ 500 or more About $381

    Hardcover/PDF of both + Create Monster

    Hardcover/PDF of both Megadungeons plus I will work with you to create a new monster, place it in the adventure, and develop an original illustration with Cory Hamel, Stefan Poag, or Zhu Bajie.

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    Pledge CA$ 2,500 or more About $1,905

    Framed Original Jim Holloway Art

    Hardcover/PDF of both Megadungeons PLUS the original, beautifully framed, Barrowmaze II backcover painting by ex-TSR artist Jim Holloway. Shipping to your location included.

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    Pledge CA$ 5,000 or more About $3,811

    Private OSR Gaming Session

    Hardcover/PDFs of both megadungeons plus I will fly to your location in the US, UK, or Canada and run a private, EPIC, weekend session of Forbidden Caverns for your gaming group. Huzzah!

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Funding period

- (28 days)