Absolute Tabletop is proud to present: A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin – a campaign setting guide and worldbuilding toolkit for forging your own dark fantasy realm.
Evil reigns in the realm of Dragongrin. The Dismembered Lord extends his reach and the free lands kneel before his shadow. But his dark forces do not march unopposed. There are those who do the impossible in Dragongrin. Some call them fools, traitors, troublemakers – others call them heroes. You are those heroes, and this is the book you need to forge your legend.
Like many Game Masters and worldbuilders, we’ve always dreamed of creating our own campaign setting guide. After 19 published books, we’ve gained the experience and perspective needed for us to make a campaign setting guide that is both useful and unique. The first book we published back in 2015 was a humble PDF set in the dark fantasy realm of Dragongrin, so it’s fitting that we’ve come full circle, making Dragongrin our first setting guide.
We’ve come a long way since that first PDF, and we consider our last two books – Adventure Kit: Oath of the Frozen King and Be A Better Weapon Master 2 – to represent a unique sweet spot of customization and usability. We’ve learned a lot writing these books, using them at our own tables, and garnering feedback from our online community of more than 5,000 people. We aim to use all of that to create something unique – but we can only do it with your help.
Help us build A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin, our first hybrid campaign setting guide and worldbuilding toolkit. At the moment, the book is well underway – we’ve been conceptualizing and writing it for the last year. Now that we have our rough draft, the work of designing the look and feel of the world through concept art and graphical elements has begun.
During the summer, we’ll start putting some of the new mechanics in the book to the test. Simultaneously, the rest of the book will develop and take shape – our drafts of the various sections of the book will progress into print-ready sections, and the sketches and concept art will mature into polished illustrations. Our aim is to release the final version of A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin in April 2019, but we'll also deliver small, stripped-down pieces of the book throughout the year via our online production diary.
The current outline for A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin is built in sections. Our ambition is to produce a campaign setting guide that is much more than a tome of world history. We want the book to be an atlas of inspiration, and to contribute to your games in a meaningful way. The lore of Dragongrin is only the beginning. We seek to offer new methods of prep for Game Masters, and inventive pathways of character creation for adventurers.
A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin – Proposed Sections:
- Section I: Primer – Getting familiar with the world, and roleplaying within it.
- Section II: Character Creation – Building a hero unique to the realm.
- Section III: Life in Dragongrin – Everything from dominant culture to cosmology, presented in fun, usable ways.
- Section IV: Regions – Regions unique to the realm, including everything you need to explore them as a player or Game Master.
- Section V: Wonders – The extraordinary facets of the realm, each getting a section full of roll tables and lore.
- Section VI: The Darkness of Dragongrin – Thematic rules options for combat, treasure, and monsters.
- Section VII: Toolkit – Modular tools and options for customizing your own version of Dragongrin.
As with any Kickstarter, these sections are subject to change as the book takes shape. And while our page count may fluctuate, our current calculations put A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin at around 325 pages (without stretch goals). This will be a monstrous book, jam-packed with usable content.
We have taken this project to Kickstarter for four main reasons:
- Fund art for the book – from concept work to gorgeous, finished illustrations.
- Fund the time we need to turn our drafts into proofed and print-ready sections.
- Fund the post-production and printing of the hardcover copies of A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin.
- Reach a whole new audience to explore the dark fantasy world of Dragongrin.
A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin is an atlas of inspiration. This robust campaign setting guide brims with the unique lore and rich history of the world of Dragongrin. Also included are customizable options and prep tools, making this a truly modular worldbuilding toolkit. Discover the dark fantasy realm of Dragongrin, learn of its troubles and conflicts, and then make it uniquely yours, bringing it to life at your game table.
Fully compatible with 5E, A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin includes extensive setting background and mythos, unique regions and cultures, new player options and mechanics, and a host of inspirational tools and creative techniques for building your own version of this twisted, troubled world.
So what makes A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin worthy of a spot on your shelf? We’re excited to show you, and bring you along as we create a campaign guide you’ll want to use again and again.
We built A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin on four important pillars that make it a campaign setting book unlike any other.
- Infinite Inspiration: Discover a world steeped in danger and conflict, where evil has won and heroes aren’t welcome.
- Unmatched Usability: Utilize a one-of-a-kind campaign guide that’s as useful on-the-fly as it is in planning your campaigns and prepping your sessions.
- Total Customization: Use modular add-ons and dozens of tables to create your unique version of this dark fantasy realm.
- Unique Mechanics: Challenge your players with new rules for treacherous travel, heroic infamy, brutal monsters, and thematic races.
1. Built for both sides of the screen. We’ve designed A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin from the ground up to be equally useful for Game Masters and adventurers alike.
2. Written from the perspective of the Dismembered Lord himself. The dark ruler of Dragongrin is a chronolich who steals the days and memories of his foes to reshape time and keep himself alive. He is the titular Dead Man, which provides an unprecedented viewpoint for conflict to build stories and craft adventures.
3. Not just another dusty tome of history to memorize. It’s a dynamic, hands-on idea source, designed to focus on the facets of the world ripe for creating characters with depth, forging adventures, and telling compelling stories.
4. Brimming with unique lore, but effortlessly customizable. A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin makes it simple to turn the dials and customize the character details and world lore, allowing you to build your Dragongrin.
5. Oozing style and theme with evocative layout and gorgeous art. Darkly beautiful landscapes, treacherous villains, and horrifying monsters come to life within its pages.
6. Prepping your dark fantasy adventures made easier than ever. With the included roll tables, inspirational tools, and creative kickstarts, you’ll be prepping daring and dangerous adventures across the landscape of Dragongrin in no time.
7. A labor of love that we’re excited to finally share with you. Dragongrin is a setting near and dear to our hearts. We’ve adventured in this world together for years, and have spent countless hours building it alongside our incredible community of friends and gamers. This is a book we’re ecstatic to make with your help, and share with you to use at your game table.
Decades ago, the Dismembered Lord rose to power. With unforeseen technology and incomprehensible magic, he struck down the valiant armies that rose against him, and reshaped Dragongrin to extend his own life and power. Now, to be a hero in Dragongrin is folly, and to take up steel against the rising darkness is a fool’s errand. And yet there are those who dare. Do you dare?
Pledge now, and help Absolute Tabletop make A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin!
Jon Pintar – Jon is an illustrator and concept artist working on RPGs, tabletop games, and video games. He's currently a freelancer, gathering experience in the industry. Designing worlds, stories, and characters is his passion.
Jake Perez – Jake Perez is an artist and illustrator from Orange County, California. When he's not digitally painting, he can be found playing games, watching bad horror movies, and spending time with his wife and kids.
Brandish Gilhelm – Runehammer's Brandish Gilhelm is a rising force in RPG and tabletop artwork. In 2017, he made the leap from a 20-year career in video game concept art to full-time RPG artist, writer, and designer. He is most well known for the YouTube channel Runehammer and the best-selling game Index Card RPG.
Aleksandar Kostic – Aleksandar Kostic is an artist, game master, lover of books and comics, metalhead, and father of two. He spends most of the time drawing or crafting tabletop terrain.
André Torres – André is a Portuguese concept artist and illustrator with a focus on fantasy art. During the day he works on art for casino games, but at night he follows his passion helping bring amazing worlds and their inhabitants to life! He loves DMing and RPGs in general.
StoryForge – StoryForge is team of AAA concept artists and illustrators who have worked for some of the biggest gaming and entertainment studios, including Blizzard Entertainment, Wizards of the Coast, Riot Games, Fantasy Flight Games, and many others. They’re now on Kickstarter Drip creating monthly asset packs full of original, homebrew content including story hooks, character and monster illustrations, play-ready maps, NPC tokens, stat blocks, and more – all to inspire and super charge your game prep!
Michael Barker writes and publishes our Be a Better Game Master series, which explores the narrative and inspirational side of roleplaying games with a system-agnostic approach. These tomes are brimming with useful advice, easy-to-use methods, and tools for an easy jumpstart of creativity. He also runs the Be A Better Game Master YouTube channel, where he offers practical advice for Game Masters and players alike. When he’s not managing AbTab’s coffers or writing RPG content, Barker runs a home recording studio. He lives in New Mexico with his wife, a herd of dogs, and two hairless cats.
Matt Click is our in-house editor, layout guru, deadline lich, and the creator of worlds such as Erenoth and Harbinger. He’s also the guy behind A Fistful of Dice on YouTube, and the Dungeon Master of the popular D&D live campaign, The Provokers. Matt lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two cats, and pit bull. He has writing, editing, and game design credits with the likes of Wizards of the Coast, Microsoft Studios, Fantasy Flight Games, and EN World.
James Kearney is one half of the dynamic duo known as Tabletop Terrors, along with his brother, Tim. James keeps the gears turning behind the scenes – our website, online orders, email list, and everything in between. He’s a deep well of wisdom when it comes to implementation, logistics, and design. He is also the co-creator of Dragongrin, the dark fantasy world where evil has won. He lives in Florida with his fiancee, a laid-back pit mix, and two fat cats. He makes a living in programming, web development, and driving go-karts.
Tim Kearney is the other half of Tabletop Terrors, and a jack-of-all-trades lore master/game designer/art director/sasquatch, whose dark fantasy world of Dragongrin is being turned into Absolute Tabletop’s first campaign guide. He believes that unused creativity is not benign, and that playing tabletop games is one of the most wildly fun ways to flex the imagination. He loves helping people forge their own stories, and conquer the crucible of creativity. By day, Tim is a mild-mannered loud guy at an office job. Tim lives in Florida with his wife,daughter and not nearly enough pets (but plenty of woodland creatures surrounding his home).
Risks and challenges
Q: Will you finish the book?
A: Absolutely. At this time, A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin is well on its way to completion, and is being workshopped by our dedicated alpha readers. We’re at a point in the process now where we need to develop art and layout assets. This will be our twentieth published RPG book and our second Kickstarter – based on our previous experience, completing the project in its entirety by our planned delivery date should not be an issue.
Q: Will you deliver on time?
A: We are confident we will deliver on time or early. In 2017, we successfully funded Adventure Kit: Oath of the Frozen King, and delivered backer rewards ahead of schedule. We also posted regular backer updates every two weeks with full transparency regarding the progress of the project. We are fully committed to do the same with A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin. The book is well on its way to being completed, and we’ll be using much of the allotted time to sharpen the tone of the lore, playtest and refine the mechanics, and meticulously edit the book to deliver a polished product of exceptional quality.
Q: Do you expect any delays?
A: Not at this time. Obviously we cannot account for issues beyond our control – printing delays, shipping mishaps, late-stage art revisions, etc. But we’ve successfully navigated both printing and shipping issues many times in the past, including with our last Kickstarter, and feel confident in mitigating potential issues before they arise. For instance, if the number of physical products we need to print and ship far exceeds our estimates, we may opt to use another printer or distributor who can better handle the quantity. If delays do occur, our backers will be the first to know – we operate with full transparency!
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