About this project
Second in the World of Calidar collection and for use with any RPG, this book unveils the gods of this fantasy universe. At its core lie the descriptions of pantheons for the main races and cultures of the Great Caldera, their individual deities, their mythologies, alliances, and foes. Each chapter reveals the history of the ancient peoples who summoned these gods into existence and established their cults. A significant part of this compendium details special powers mortal followers and priests can earn, based on the strengths of their piety. “Beyond the Skies” goes on to flesh out myriad servants of the gods, demons, demigods, divine cabals, the politics of pantheons and their internal rivalries, the bond between tribal shamans and Calidar’s World Soul, the spirit lords of the Dread Lands, secret societies and knightly orders among mortals, right down to death and what lies beyond. This book provides quite a lot of mechanical bits to enhance the game in addition to mythologies, secret plots, and the floor plans of temples and secret brotherhood lairs, each an invitation for encounters and adventures.
Much like those of ancient Greece, gods interact with mortals and epic heroes in game of chess reaching past nearby planets and outer planes. However powerful they are, they face a world of dangers including another universe whose monstrous deities seek to devour all: from the masses of mortals to their divine patrons. They will not relent until, perhaps, they gobble the World Souls themselves—the magical core and the source of life of the planets in Soltan’s ephemeris. As bleak as Calidar’s future may seem, the gods fear that their deaths aren’t the worst of fates. This aspect of their peril-fraught existence is one element contributing to the dynamics of this fantasy setting, as it directly affects the players’ heroes and the realms in which they go on adventuring. This compendium is crucial as it will influence all future titles published in this series.
All told, this book includes a minimum of 220 color pages, up to 260 with all stretch goals unlocked, approx. 8.5” x 11.5”. Text comes close to 200,000 words, tightly fitted. It provides at least 10 geographic maps showing the extent of cults in the realms of the Great Caldera, 10 full-page floor plans depicting the temples of leading deities, 11 more floor plans for the lairs of secret societies, and 8 diagrams detailing the personal relationships of the gods within their pantheons. A team of illustrators stands at the ready to produce matching illustrations, which is the main purpose of this crowd-funding effort. The more successful it is today, the more art will grace the pages of this compendium, with an end goal of one illustration for each of 89 gods.
Important: Ownership of the first title, Calidar “In Stranger Skies,” is recommended to better enjoy this book (see add-ons, later on this page--the PDF is available there for just $6). “Beyond the Skies” does not demand any specific role-playing game system, as all provided materials are designed to be easily converted.
Directly inspired from the Princess Ark’s popular medieval-fantasy stories, adventures in the World of Calidar focus on a flying skyship and its heroic crew as they became stranded in Stranger Skies. Much like TSR’s original D&D Gazetteers, the first Calidar book fleshed out the wayward crew’s new home, the Kingdom of Meryath. It was nominated for the 2014 RPG Geek Awards’ Best RPG Supplement. It also is a top rated RPG accessory on EnWorld. A number of gazetteers are intended to follow, each depicting a realm of the Great Caldera, Calidar’s “known world.”
From Neuroglyph on EnWorld: "In Stranger Skies is a really fascinating and unique world setting offered to the gaming community by a veteran RPG designer. The details about the Soltan Ephemeris and its planets and moons really transports the heroes to a wondrous new world where the sky is no longer the limit, and multiple worlds offer potentially unlimited exploration and questing opportunities."
From the Other Side blog: "In a sea of "grim dark" settings Calidar brings back magic, fantasy and adventure to "D&D" and any game you care to use it with."
From Dreamlands: "It is a very successful introduction to a setting, and a brilliant way of conveying the mood and feel of the setting that Bruce is aiming for much more compellingly than a mere description could."
Friedrich Ulf Röhrer-Ertl "They are too beautiful. The cloth map of [Thorfinn's] work is the main reason I will back the Kickstarter at Admiral level."
Many thanks to the original backers of “In Stranger Skies,” who made this world come to life! Thank you!
Our objective today is to commission quality art for the cover and internal illustrations, as well as editing and layout. Text is already written. Maps and diagrams are done. As stretch goals are met, more art will be added with the final ambition of one illustration for each of the gods, pushing the book’s page count to 260. Subject to the success of this crowd-funding effort, several artists have stepped forward to illustrate “Beyond the Skies.”
Den Beauvais is one of the most prolific and versatile artists in the field of Fantasy/Science Fiction today or in any venue he passionately explores. He has won numerous awards for his cover art for books, magazines, game boxes , comics books and a host of other mediums. His artwork is widely sought after by collectors and has graced classic book covers by such renowned authors as Isaac Asimov, Margaret Weis, Piers Anthony and Gordon R. Dickson. Den’s imagination knows no borders. Today, he is a highly sought after artist in the field of fantasy and Science Fiction art.
Joe Garcia -- "Hey everyone! I'm a family man, sequential artist, and published gaming illustrator from Henderson, Nevada. I specialize in high contrast, grayscale, pencil drawings, and pen and ink line-work. I took some general high school art classes, however most of my training came from emulating the styles of comic and fantasy artists who could tell a story with a single image. As much as I love illustrating, I always aim to be a storyteller first."
Eric Lofgren was born and lives in Western Canada. He's had a long history of working in one graphic field or another. Beginning with two years working in a commercial sign shop and 10 years running his own sign business. Also one year as a digital photo-retoucher, a year full time as a landscape painter and two years as a tattoo artist. And finally, a recognized freelance illustrator in the RPG and CCG markets since 1999.
Bradley K McDevitt -- A 25 year veteran of the gaming industry with over 500 published credits, having done artwork work for WotC/TSR, Goodman Games, Atlas Games, and many more. Additionally, he has been an Art Director for GDW, Dark Skull Studios, and currently works with FASA on the Fading Suns TTRPG. He lives in Ohio with his wife Jessica, and when not drawing monsters, enjoys a wide variety of styles of music, surfing the 'net, as well as writing short stories and role-playing games.
Simon Todd -- The British artist and writer, Simon Todd, has been involved in fantasy role playing games since he first encountered a box set of Dungeons and Dragons in a post office on Rhode Island in 1979. Although trained as a sculptor specializing in large scale wood carving, Simon turned to writing and illustrating in 2002 and is currently busy developing his own company, MontiDots Ltd, producing new adventures, game settings and board games. Simon has already worked for the likes of GP Adventures and Dungeon Crawl Classics and is becoming a regular feature at Gary Con. Simon lives in Yorkshire with his family.
Thorfinn Tait: "I'm a Brit living in northern Japan. My association with Bruce Heard began with my hex maps of Mystara, for which I am well known in the Mystara community. Just over two years ago, he asked me to take charge of Calidar's maps, and I have been assisting his work on Calidar ever since. I have a great passion for maps of all forms, both real and fantasy, which I am now applying with great earnest to my mapmaking efforts."
Also key in this book’s success are editorial guru and mistress of scrolls, Janet Deaver-Pack, along with website wizard and fearless father of fireworks, Leland Schaidle, without whom many a thing might have fallen apart. To Leland's credit also are this page's presentation video and its animations. And yes, there is an author (the guilty party hiding behind everyone)—you might have heard of me as the lead creative and manager of Mystara’s D&D Gazetteers in the 80s and 90s. I also authored the “Voyage of the Princess Ark” series in Dragon Magazine during that time. Luckily, most of my job’s already done!
Important: The "Stranger Skies" PDF add-on is available with any pledge level. Add-ons requiring shipping (printed books, maps, and so on) are offered only at First Mate pledge level and above. Add-ons are optional titles you would like to add to your pledges. Please add the value of add-ons manually to your pledges.
Shipping & Handling: Costs are generally included for the USA only. Additional shipping fees are required outside the USA. They are listed for each item below. For this project, US shipping costs have been deducted from international mailing fees up to a point. If you have questions about foreign mail or wish to request a large number of add-ons, please contact the author to make other shipping arrangements.
- 1. $6.00: “In Stranger Skies” PDF (Click here for more information on CAL1 “In Stranger Skies.”)
- 2. $18.00: “In Stranger Skies” softcover book + PDF (132 pg, std. color, approx. 8.5” x 11.5”) -- Outside USA add $4.00
- 3. $32.00: “In Stranger Skies” hardcover book + PDF (132 pg, premium color, approx. 8.5” x 11.5”) --Outside the USA add $5.00
- 4. $8.00: Poster Map #1 Great Caldera (from available stock—click here for more information about poster maps) -- Outside the USA add $2.00
- 5. $8.00: Poster Map #2 Meryath (from available stock—click here for more information about poster maps) -- Outside the USA add $2.00
- 6. $9.00: CST1 "Under the Great Vault" printed booklet (60 pages, standard color, softcover, approx. 8.5” x 11.5”). Includes a series of short story prequels connected with “In Stranger Skies,” as well as an English-Kragdûras Lexicon. Exclusively offered to Kickstarter backers. -- Outside the USA add $3.00
- 7 $9.00: CST2 "Skies of Fury" printed booklet (60 pages, standard color, softcover, approx. 8.5” x 11.5”) Includes RPG adventures written with non-game specific game statistics. Exclusively offered to Kickstarter backers. -- Outside the USA add $3.00
- 8. $34.00: “Beyond the Skies” additional softcover book -- Outside the USA add $4.00
- 9. $54.00: “Beyond the Skies” additional hardcover book -- Outside the USA add $7.00
Best ye dinna answer questions from strange wizards, mate. Move along if ye ken whit be safest fer ye...
For those who didn’t know, if funding exceeds the initial goal of $12,800, subsequent targets are listed here. As they are unlocked, each will add more internal art to “Beyond the Skies.” Stretch goal benefits are included in the backers’ core rewards.
Tier 1—Peaceful Chinook: $14,500... UNLOCKED!
The initial funding accounts for just one illustration per pantheon, truly a minimum. The Peaceful Chinook carries instead up to 2 illustrations per pantheon. Make sail, says I, for our journey merely begins!
Tier 2—Fitful Levanter: $16,500... UNLOCKED!
The Fitful Levanter brings the number of illustrations to a precious 3 per pantheon. All hands on deck!
Tier 3—Gusty Mistral: $18,500... UNLOCKED!
The Gusty Mistral pushes the number of illustrations to a whopping 5 per pantheon. To faraway shores, me hearties!
Tier 4—Burning Sirocco: $20,500... UNLOCKED!
The Burning Sirocco drives forth the number of illustrations to a jaw-dropping 7 per pantheon. Batten down the hatches!
Tier 5—Unrelenting Tramontana: $22,500
At the heart of the Unrelenting Tramontana, the number of illustrations surges to a startling 9 per pantheon. And the skyships go wild!
Tier 6—Howling Williwaw: $24,500
Before the Howling Williwaw, the number of illustrations rush to a thunderous 11 per pantheon (approx.) More artists may climb aboard, with a rolling broadside to greet them!
And one more for the dream goal to follow in due time...
Bruce Heard: I write books because I have a passion. It brought me to TSR in my twenties. Today I do what I do because it is what I wish. Leaving a few more things behind to be best remembered by is my purpose. A rich man I am not, but an older one certainly. If you can help make my dream come true, then I say to you, “Bless your heart, my friend, and happy gaming!”
Just like all of you, we are fans of the product we are designing, and we stand behind it. We are as excited and eager as you to see it succeed.
Risks and challenges
As a general note, this is the second Kickstarter event for the Calidar series, the first one being highly successful with all or most of its stretch goals unlocked. The link to the first project is located in the author's bio.
Design and Editing:
The book itself is written and awaiting final editing. Those of you who have backed my first venture (thank you) are familiar with my writing style and design abilities since the 1980s. The writing in the first book was clean and solid. My long-time partner in life, Janet Deaver-Pack, is a published author and a professional magazine contributor. She has produced and edited a number of anthologies along with much of what I’ve been writing during the past decade. We’re confident that “Beyond the Skies” will be as good as “In Stranger Skies.”
Art, Maps, and Layout:
All artists involved in this project are long-time professionals in the industry. A substantial part of funds raised in this Kickstarter are intended to finance their work. Thorfinn Tait has already produced geographic maps in his own outstanding style. Thorfinn will also handle the final product layout as he has done already and quite well with the first book. I’ve completed floor plans and diagrams. Leland Schaidle will also bring to life more than a hundred color symbols, badges, and coats of arms which I’d originally drafted. The video on this page speaks highly of Lee’s professional skills.
Printing & Shipping
As with the first book, printing will be handled by DTRPG, ensuring the same quality and choices that “In Stranger Skies” offered. The publisher—me—will handle fulfillment personally, as I did for the first book (successfully I might add). This also means that core rewards for backers in the USA may be bundled with their add-ons, save for the PDFs. All rewards will be printed in and mailed from the United States or the UK. Depending on the contents of rewards, especially at Admiral level, Priority Mail is possible. Hardcover books are intended to be packed in rigid mailers for better protection (an improvement from the first book). Many of the add-ons already are in existence and only require shipping.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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