Adventure: This tabletop role-playing game adventure also is a self-contained mini-setting. Because the action takes place on a flying circus, Dreams of Aerie is easy to adapt to any game world. Drawing on Barnum & Bailey and Cirque du Freak, this book's main plot elements involve a murder mystery, the rivalries of circus guilds, urban adventuring, and monster-hunting. Countless hooks allow side trips and alternate storylines, as each of the 90+ circus folk hide shadowy pasts and secret motivations. The heroes must contend with secret societies vying for hegemony among circus folk. If left to its own devices, a monstrous presence hidden aboard heralds catastrophic world events.
Sourcebook: This book's setting includes the circus itself, standing amid side shows and carnie shacks, themselves surrounded by a ring of permanent shops and dwellings called aeries, perched at the edge of the clouds. Two more decks lie below with all that the Greatest Show on Calidar needs to function, as well as its dark secrets. Although written for the World of Calidar, this setting is nearly self-contained until the referee starts unfolding the hidden stories of circus folk, and connects them with the chosen game's universe.
Contents: Dreams of Aerie is a 124-pg full color book, 8" 3/4 x 11" 1/4, which may gain additional pages and internal art as stretch goals are reached. Deck maps are included in the book, as two-page spreads, along with inset maps. Deck maps can also be obtained as separate 12"x18" posters, labeled or unlabeled, depending on one's pledge or as add-ons. This book is system-neutral: guidelines to help adapt the adventure's game statistics to common RPGs are bundled with the book at no charge. This digital file and a series of game aids for the players and the referees can be printed for quick reference during play.
What is Calidar: Directly inspired from the author's original Princess Ark’s stories published in the 80s and 90s, adventures in the World of Calidar focus on flying ships. This fantasy setting was created to host new stories and RPG accessories much in the style of TSR’s popular D&D Gazetteers. The first Calidar book "In Stranger Skies" was nominated for the 2014 RPG Geek Awards’ Best RPG Supplement. It also is a top rated RPG accessory on EnWorld.
Airman: All hands hoay, an' no hornswagglers, says I! For this contribution, you will own a digital image of the circus's main deck, at 96 dpi resolution (labeled.) This pledge level also unlocks any digital files offered as add-ons (including those not available to the public), as well as printed deck plans and poster maps.
Master: Avast ye, matey! This pledge level earns you the digital copy of Dreams of Aerie (non-print-enabled) as well as the digital image of the circus's main deck, at 96 dpi resolution (labeled.) This pledge level also unlocks any digital files offered as add-ons (including those not available to the public), as well as printed deck plans and poster maps.
First Mate: Shiver me timbers! At this pledge level, you own Dreams of Aerie's softcover book, its digital copy (print-enabled), your name printed in the book's Honor Roll, the 12"x18" printed poster map of the circus's main deck (labeled) and the digital image of the same, at 96 dpi resolution. This pledge level also unlocks most add-ons.
Captain: Aye, aye, Cap'n! At this pledge level, you own Dreams of Aerie's hardcover book, its digital copy (print-enabled), your name printed in the book's Honor Roll, one each of the three labeled 12"x18" printed posters (the main deck, lower deck, and orlop deck) and the digital image of the main deck at 96 dpi resolution. This pledge level also unlocks all add-ons.
Admiral: Yo ho, yo ho! A Skylord's life for me. At this pledge level, you own Dreams of Aerie's hardcover book with personalized message and autograph from the author, the book's digital copy (print-enabled), your name printed in the book's Honor Roll, one each of six 12"x18" printed posters (labeled and unlabeled versions of the main deck, lower deck, and orlop deck), digital images of all deck plans at the full 300 dpi resolution, a cloth sheet with a graphic element of your choice*, AND you also get to name one of the circus's random roustabouts. This pledge level unlocks all add-ons. Postage (including outside the USA) is included in this pledge.
(*) Cloth Sheets: graphic elements available are (1) a map of the Great Caldera, (2) a map of the Kingdom of Meryath, or (3) the collection of all the gods' symbols. Format: color, twill cotton, 16"x24" .
This Kickstarter's intent is to fund cover and layout artists, the illustrator, the project editor, and the cost of your rewards (print & postage.) Artist Eric Lofgren has committed to producing the colorful but eerie and quizzical cover artwork needed for this book. Joe Garcia will bring his trademark humor to internal illustration, bringing to life as many carnie folk as our stretch goals will permit. Janet Deaver-Pack has staked her claim upon the project's editing, while Thorfinn Tait will pull all the pieces together, including the massive number of map insets. All four and yours truly have worked together before on "Beyond the Skies," Calidar's previous book. "Dreams of Aerie" is to be printed on demand via DrivethuRPG, which eliminates mass printing, warehousing, and retail distribution.
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!”
Add-Ons are items that aren't included with your pledges' core rewards. Please let us know which add-ons you want, if any, using Kickstarter private mail. Postage is included for these items, except for a few when mailed outside the USA. Please do not forget to add to your pledge amount the value of your add-ons, along with any extra postage. Printed items may not be available until December 2017.
Airman and Master Pledges: They enable you to purchase any digital files (PDFs), printed 12"x18" deck plans, and other poster maps listed as add-ons.
First Mate Pledge: In addition to the above, this pledge also offers additional copies of the softcover book.
Captain & Admiral Pledges: These pledges make all items listed as add-ons available.
Available Add-On Items:
- $20.00 Additional Ca1 "Dreams of Aerie" softcover (for First Mate pledge level or higher.) +$2 outside the USA
- $30.00 Additional Ca1 "Dreams of Aerie" hardcover (for Captain pledge level or higher.) +$2 outside the USA
- $8.00 Poster Map 1 Great Caldera + $5 outside the USA (airmailed from USA). Available directly from the author, this poster of the Great Caldera, Calidar's "Known World," is rendered in realistic art style. Will autograph on request. Non-gloss and measuring 28"x22", it is folded down to approx. 7"x11" and mailed in a large padded envelope.
- $8.00 Poster Map 2 Kingdom of Meryath + $5 outside the USA (airmailed from USA). Available directly from the author, this map of the Kingdom of Meryath, a region of the Great Caldera, uses a hex grid and stylized symbols more practical for close up gaming. Will autograph on request. Non-gloss and measuring 28"x22", it is folded down to approx. 7"x11" and mailed in a large padded envelope.
- $5.00 Any single Deck Plan (printed 12"x18" labeled or unlabeled)
- $3.00 for each additional Deck Plan thereafter (+$1 outside the USA)
- $8.00 CAL1 "In Stranger Skies" PDF document (print-enabled)
- $18.00 CC1 "Beyond the Skies" PDF document (non-print-enabled)
- $5.00 for either CST1 or CST2 PDF documents (print-enabled): These two 64 page files, "Under the Great Vault" & "Skies of Fury," are available exclusively to Kickstarter backers.
If you plan on owning printed copies of these books, save your cash and use available access codes instead (see below.)
Access Codes: The Standard Access Package offers backers up to Captain pledge level four access codes with a total value up to $12. Two are worth $4 each, redeemable when purchasing the printed titles CAL1 "In Stranger Skies" and CC1 "Beyond the Skies." The other two are worth $2 each, redeemable when purchasing CST1 "Under the Great Vault" and CST2 "Skies of Fury."
The Premium Access Package offers backers at Admiral pledge level four access codes with a total value up to $24 (two worth $8 each and two more worth $4 each respectively, as explained above).
These personal access codes will be e-mailed to you soon after the Kickstarter campaign ends. You can redeem any or all of your codes as you order the printed versions of these books, if and when you wish. Access codes are valid up to 6 months after their delivery (one code per book, as designated above.) Printed versions of these books include the corresponding PDF documents free of charge.
For those who didn’t know, if funding exceeds the initial goal of $7,500, subsequent targets are listed here. As they are unlocked, each will add more or better internal art to “Dreams of Aerie.” Stretch goal benefits are included in your core rewards.
$9,000: The Peaceful Chinook nearly doubles the number of internal illustrations and adds 4 pages to Dreams of Aerie--to a total of 128 pages. Make sail, says I, for our journey merely begins!
$11,500: The Fitful Levanter upgrades the internal art from pencil work to ink work, increases the number of illustrations, and pushes the book's page count to a bold 132. All hands on deck!
Further stretch goals will be revealed as the previous ones are reached!
Risks and challenges
As a general note, this is the third Kickstarter event for the Calidar series, the first two being highly successful with many stretch goals unlocked.
Design and Editing:
The book itself is written and awaiting final editing. All floor plans and deck maps (some of which are featured in the video presentation) are complete as well. Those of you who have backed my first ventures (thank you) are familiar with my writing style and design abilities since the 1980s. 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 “Dreams of Aerie will be as good as or better than “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 two books. I’ve completed all floor plans and diagrams.
Printing & Shipping
As with the first two books, printing will be handled by Drivethru RPG, ensuring the same quality and choices that “In Stranger Skies” offered. The publisher—me—will handle fulfillment personally, as I did for the first books. No warehousing or retail distribution is needed, as books and deck maps are printed on demand. All materials are made in the USA for the US market or printed in and shipped from the UK for the rest of the world.
Backers Outside the USA
Most items offered in this Kickstarter campaign are postage free for residents outside the USA. This remains true, however, so long as the Pound Sterling does not increase and push the cost of printing and shipping from the UK beyond what this fundraiser can afford to absorb. These costs are currently indexed at 1.30 USD to 1 GBP. Given that one cannot foresee today how the Pound Sterling will trade vs. the US Dollar six months later, foreign backers may have to cover excess cost at the time rewards are fulfilled.
As of May 2017, postage for items ordered through DTRPG from the UK stands as follows, based on current GBP rate (presently included for most items in this Kickstarter campaign):
-----Up to 64 pg...........up to $6
-----Up to 256 pg.........up to $8
-----Up to 224 pg.........up to $12
Bundling orders does help limit postage. Poster maps and deck plans cannot be bundled with book orders as they come from different sources, and are therefore subject to extra postage. Shipping is a complicated issue to handle in a crowd-funding format. The point of this campaign is to generate funds to purchase art, pay for services needed to produce "Dreams of Aerie," printing Kickstarter rewards, and mailing them to backers. There is no intent to rely on crowd-funding as a source of profit.
Final Note: Allow several weeks for delivery once rewards have been ordered. Notice will be e-mailed to backers when this is done (do check your spam boxes while expecting notifications and digital materials as some important e-mails may end up there.) Although some printed rewards are delivered quickly, some destinations demand more time for delivery (especially Western Canada, some European destinations, and others outside North America and Europe.) Books are shipped in stiff cardboard sleeves.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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