Adventure Kit: Shadows Over Driftchapel - 5E Compatible
The second volume in our line of ENnie-nominated Adventure Kits™ – modular locations and encounters to build endless adventures.
This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Mon, October 8 2018 3:59 AM UTC +00:00.
Prep Less, Play More.
Somewhere between pre-written adventure modules and your own simple prep notes, there’s a sweet spot – our ENnie-nominated Adventure Kits™.
We’re Absolute Tabletop, an indie publishing outfit committed to making products we’d actually use at our table. Our first in the series, Adventure Kit: Oath of the Frozen King, was successfully funded on Kickstarter and delivered to more than 1,200 backers in 2017. Pledge now to help us complete production on our next Adventure Kit: Shadows Over Driftchapel.
Adventure Kits from Absolute Tabletop are fully 5E-compatible, and provide versatile, flexible frameworks for roleplaying game adventures. Much like a model kit, some assembly is required. We provide the pieces – all you need is some paint, a little glue, and a steady hand.
Prep-light, improv-heavy GMs enjoy the versatility and flexibility that Adventure Kits provide, while GMs who prefer heavy prep appreciate the toolkit, creating a fully fleshed-out adventure quickly and easily.
This versatile adventure-building resource contains everything you’ve come to love about Adventure Kits: modular locations and encounters, intriguing NPCs and fulfilling plotlines, encounter and scene generators ready for on-the-fly-use – plus a few extra stretch goals, if you’ll help us fund beyond our mark!
Adventure Kit: Shadows Over Driftchapel, takes place in the world of Gloam, a near-apocalyptic, Victorian/Colonial-inspired fantasy realm brimming with black powder and shadowy horrors beyond human reckoning. As the end of all things approaches, the humans of the Five Dominions cower behind the walls of their dwindling cities, clinging to vile gods twisted by the creeping darkness of the Gloam. Meanwhile, scarce tribes of elves and dwarves, corrupted by the shadows, eke out a savage survival in twilit forests and crumbling caverns.
Now, foolhardy men and women, wielding misplaced bravery and trusty flintlocks, venture beyond the crumbling walls of their cities on horseback or aboard dirigibles, seeking fortune and redemption across a cursed, gaslit landscape. Humanity rules over a doomed world – but time is running out.
Inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard, Shadows Over Driftchapel provides you with everything you need to undertake grisly adventures in a pulpy, horrific fantasy setting.
In Adventure Kit: Shadows Over Driftchapel, the adventurers enter the troubled seaside town of Driftchapel, unearthing ancient horrors rooted in the town’s very fabric. With cunning, fire, and steel, they must seek out the vile, writhing evils that hold sway over Driftchapel and its townspeople – or else succumb to the whispers themselves.
Adventure Kit: Shadows Over Driftchapel contains the same basic structure you’ve come to expect from Adventure Kits, plus a few thematic surprises.
Within an Adventure Kit, you’ll find inspiration, mechanics, and ready-made, modular add-ons. Use as little or as much as you need to create your unique adventure.
- Unique Adventure Setting: Discover the dwindling realm of Gloam, a land teetering on a knife’s edge and teeming with all manner of eldritch horrors.
- Gorgeous Maps: A brilliant, full-color map of the seaside town of Driftchapel by our ENnie-nominated cartographers.
- Shadowy Locations: Each area of the adventure includes a flavorful description and applicable mechanics, as well as sights, sounds, and sensations. Describe on-the-fly and fill these locations with modular encounters and NPCs.
- Grisly Encounters: Fully modular encounters that work in any location! Find combats, skill challenges, puzzles, roleplay opportunities, and more.
- Dynamic NPCs: Shifty Driftchapel residents with physical descriptions, unique traits, and dark secrets. Drop them in any location and generate adventure twists to experience a new story every time you play.
- Rewards and Loot: After the adventure is over, what spoils remain? Bestow upon the survivors loot and social rewards, and find ideas for continuing the adventure.
- Endless Variety with the Toolbox: Modular add-ons and adventure enhancements like madness mechanics, thematic phrases, area descriptions, trinkets and loot, and generators for endless monsters, skill challenges, NPCs, and traps.
Adventure Kit: Shadows Over Driftchapel is fully written and edited. Initial art and layout are already underway. We have taken this Adventure Kit to Kickstarter for several reasons:
- Fund additional art for the book
- Fund the post-production and printing of softcover copies
- Reach a wide audience with our modular adventure-building tools
"Do not seek eager what lies beyond the walls of man. Hither comes the Gloam – the twilight of all things." – The Final Tenant of the Creed
- The Gloam Encroaches on the Five Domains: With fire and iron, we snuffed out the Old Magicks – and, as a result, the wards holding back an endless darkness shattered. The Gloam seeped into our world. With it came vile arcane magic, unfathomable horrors, and a ceaseless darkness both figurative and tangible, inching us ever closer to the end of all things.
- The Withered Road: The encroaching darkness of the Gloam swallows more of humanity’s domain each passing day. Like a twisted vein of refuge amidst the inky gloom, the Withered Road is a simple thoroughfare of pallid earth that extends from one side of the realm to the other, dotted with roadhouses and villages. The Road offers a fleeting reprieve from the Gloam – and the terrors that dwell within it.
- The Grand Bastion of Oubliette: As the Gloam encroached on our domain, we took refuge in the dwarven ruins of the Pinnacles. Upon those crumbling, ancient stones, we forged the great city of Oubliette, only reachable by dirigible. Oubliette, our sky-breaching city, is dotted with beacons of gaslight, and spared the horrors of the Gloam – for now.
- The Crown and the Creed: From the last great human city of Oubliette, the matriarchal Crown rules alongside the Creed, a pantheon of gods worshipped for their benevolence and justice. The power of the Crown wanes, and the voice of the Creed is little more than a strangled whisper.
- The Veiled Mages of the Ordisterium: Veiled alchemists and arcanists, the ordists of Oubliette are Crown-sanctioned magic-users. They bend the eldritch arcane to their whims, and are responsible for black powder and the blaugas that lifts our dirigibles and lights our lamps. Their most impressive and terrifying creations – the ogres – are elephantine magical machines designed to withstand the crippling power of the Gloam. Ordists serve throughout the human dominion, and can be found from Oubliette all the way to the meager villages at the edges of the frontier.
- The Ruling Regencies: Governing the remnants of a once-great empire, four regents act as overseers in service to the Crown. These four dominions are the boglands of the Barony of Strand, the mountainous Duchy of Rekart, the frigid County of Thulrand, and the forested Margrave of Hildebrandt – each of them supplies a valuable resource to the Crown, and each is plagued by their own unique darkness.
- The Black Crusades: The Crown and the Creed saw our great destiny, and called us to arms. The ordists perfected our black powder, and with fire and iron we drove the elves and dwarves and their Old Magicks to the edge of extinction. Those few meager tribes that escaped justice slipped into the shadows, and exist now as distant myths – fairy tales we spin for our children.
- The Forgotten Glory of the Dawnhammers: In the Black Crusades, the anointed Dawnhammers cut down the armies of the ghasts in great, bloody swaths. Armed with flintlocks, hatchets, and the stark black-and-white garb of their faith, these puritanical templars are scattered now, a remnant thanklessly forgotten by the people they once protected.
- Familiar Forms, Twisted in Shadow: From the wolves that stalk the wilds, to men and women dwelling in frontier villages, many mortal creatures have become warped by the unfathomable energies of the Gloam, now appearing savage and monstrous. They roam the wilds and ruins of the world, searching for answers and respite – or prey to sate their dire whims.
- A Plague of Ghasts: Once innumerable, now twisted and warped by the Gloam – the few remaining elves seek to usurp humanity with dark magic. Halting their ages-old feud with the maligned, stone-skinned dwarves, these ghasts live like vermin beneath the earth and in the dark wilds. Iron burns their fiendish flesh, and fire sends them skittering.
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.
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.
Nate Vanderzee – A lifelong lover of fantasy fiction, Nate Vanderzee is a cartographer operating under the name Sellsword Maps. In addition to drawing maps he spends his time teaching high school, parenting his 3 kids, and making Tabletop RPG videos for his YouTube channel, WASD20.
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 managing 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, daughter, 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
Risks and challenges
Q: Will you deliver this project on time?
A: Absolutely! This will be our third Kickstarter, and our twenty-first published RPG book, all of which we’ve written, produced, funded, managed, and delivered to customers under deadline. We know our way around a production schedule, and are adept at managing projects and meeting deadlines. Our first Kickstarter, Oath of the Frozen King, was delivered to backers on time. Our second Kickstarter, A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin, is currently in full production and also slated for release on time.
Q: Is this book already written?
A: Shadows Over Driftchapel is fully written and edited. Layout and art are in-process. With your help, we can commission additional art and do a full print run of the book.
Q: Don't you still need to deliver A Dead Man's Guide to Dragongrin?
A: We are currently on target to deliver A Dead Man's Guide to Dragongrin as promised in Spring 2019. Shadows Over Driftchapel is a much smaller project that is already fully written and edited. We often manage multiple releases at once, and Driftchapel’s release should not affect our timeline for A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin.
Q: Do you anticipate any delays due to art?
A: We'll be using artists that we’ve worked with for years, who have always delivered high-quality art on or before deadline. We’ve already begun sourcing the art, working with the artists and preparing for any level of success with sketches and thumbnails so that the wheels are already in motion. We don’t foresee any delays due to art.